Why Teach Treaty Education?

After listening to Dwayne and Claire’s lecture, and reading Cynthia’s narrative this week there is a few different reasons why it is important to teach Treaty Education in the classroom even if there may not be any students who are First Nations in the classroom. It is important because understanding our past is crucial in moving forward in the future so we do not cause the same harm we once had to First Nations individuals. It is also important because First Nations people were the first people to walk the land we live on, and now we as immigrants are ruling and making all the decisions regarding laws and rights of those who live here because they allowed to share the land with us. Even though lots of students may not understand the content or the purpose of learning about treaties at first, if we start teaching it at an early age the students will have a richer understanding year after year because they will be able to build on their knowledge and hopefully we can reach a point where they find it important to themselves.

I think for me I am always learning about what it means that we are “all treaty people”. I always think back to how the president of the university, Vianne Timmons, starts a lot of her speeches, if not all of them, by reminding everyone that here today we are on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory. She expresses the importance to recognise and acknowledge this. I think it is important because for a long time our society lacked equality of different groups of people, and I think that today we are finally moving towards having equality amongst everyone.

One big thing that I took away from all of this though is the 5 simple step that Claire broke it down into.

  1. Thinking about Theory
  2. Understanding of Identity
  3. Making Mistakes
  4. Rituals and Ceremonies
  5. Building Relationships

Although teaching Treaty education may be uncomfortable at times, the more we take risks and put it into our lessons, the easier it will become. It will take time for the students to absorb the information so I think, just as Claire talked about, it is important to start with information that is manageable for the students and slowly grow and develop from that.

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Critical Pedagogy of Place

The article we read this week presented a very different view on things than previous material we have covered. It talked about how the Mushkegowuk Cree have a very rich connection with the land and how they believe it plays a huge role in the development in children intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually.

Ways the community worked together to inhabit their culture was by bringing the youth and elders together to learn together and share their knowledge of the meaning of the land. Another way they tried to bring back their culture was by having the youth interview the elders, and other community members. This allowed deep connections which would help to strengthen the community as a whole. The radio broadcast was also highly significant, I believe, because it was shared for everyone to hear and think about. Lastly the journey along the river that the elders took the youth on they learn about how to live off of nature would be the most impactful and practice learning experience for the youth to engage in. This would have deeper meaning and connections to the youth because it was lived out and not just talked about.

An example the article shared about decolonizing would be allowing the children to change or shorten names for things because they were difficult to say or remember, this would have a negative impact on the culture because as the children would grow up they would continue to use fewer and fewer of the original words in their language causing it to slowly be changed, and even disappear.

A way I would connect this to my own teaching, particularly in math, would be taking more time to deeper understand and make connections with First Nations content and the context in which they come and adapt the material accordingly. I believe however, that math is a subject area in which is lacking the inclusion of Frist Nations knowledge and I am still struggling with coming up with ways that it can be included in the learning process.

What is a “good” student?

This week after reading and thinking about what it means to be a “good” student, I have realized that it is far from possible in many circumstances. The article describes being a “good” student as conforming to how the school and society wants the individual to act and learn. Students who cannot fit these criteria will often find themselves in trouble and unable to learn how and what the teacher is requiring of them. Students who are privileged by this definition are those who are able to learn in a traditional classroom. They can sit in their desks for long periods of time while remaining quite, and they can learn in way the teachers are presenting the information. Students who are considered “good” students are also able to take in the information the teacher is telling them, memorize it, and then regurgitate it for the tests and assignment they are given. These students are also those who do not question what they are being taught, they just take the information, compete given tasks, and move from one grade to the next.

With these commonsense ideas it is hard to see how oppression affects our society and our schools. The article talks about how students have knowledges and beliefs when they come into the classroom that helps shape their interest, how they learn best, and the place in there learning they are currently at. This information, however is often just assumed and the teacher does not often consider or discuss it. With the methods of teaching today, we are not teaching the students to think critically about the knowledge they are gaining or what they are reading. We as educators are also not connecting with the majority of our learners because we are not catering to those who may have different needs and learning styles within the classroom.

Ideological Literacy vs Autonomous Literacy Models

This week we were required to look deeper at a curriculum in which we hope to be teaching after we graduate. Then we need to decide whether it falls into the autonomous or ideological frame of literacy. The autonomous frames look at the skills that will be developed and will have effects on an individual socially as well as educationally. While the ideological frame takes a cultural sensitive view and sees curriculum as more of a practice rather than a skill.

I took a look at the Foundations and Pre-Calculus 10 curriculum and I think it fits best under the autonomous frame of literacy. It teaches different skills such as number sense, spatial sense, logical thinking, and mathematics as a human endeavor.  Its goal in teaching these different skills is that students will develop the confidence to use these skills in there every day lives, ongoing education, as well as in the work force.

I think that when creating a math curriculum that it can be a challenge to incorporate cultural sensitive information because lots of the curriculum has to do with calculations that don’t often have context behind it. However, through my education experience the math curriculum had been updated and the “new’ math had more word problems and required more problem solving skills that forced the students to use deeper thinking in order to figure out the calculations they should make. I think those are the areas in which ideological literacy can come in and make connections back to society and allow students to realize the application math has in the real world.

How is curriculum developed?

BEFORE:

I think that school curriculum is developed based off the area that it is being developed for. A group of members who represent the province, and then each division or even school come together to decide what is important. Different aspects such as geography, culture, history and many other ideas are specific to the region and thus would play a role in the information that the students are taught and tested on. Each area will also have their own beliefs on different topics and those too would have an effect on how they develop the curriculum.

AFTER:

Curriculum has been determined as what the students are expected to know. It also sets importance to what the teachers should be teaching. It is largely influence and created through politics. While creating it little attention is given to the public because they are more interested on the political views. While creating curriculum they do so with 5 different things in mind: issues, actors, processes, influences and then results. Then they look at the very broad objectives and the very specific objectives.

When making decisions it is very seldom based off of facts, but rather interests. Curriculum is also made by those who are often experts on the topics creating it very difficult for typically teachers to be able to teach it successfully. Although I think it is good that experts are creating it, I think they need to try and create it in such a way that makes the delivery of the content more user friendly. This will allow teachers to have more success, which will allow the students to have more success too.  Curriculum also takes a long time to create causing it to become outdated and stay outdated for a long time before new curriculum is actually piloted and then implemented. This process is often so drawn out that teachers become so used to the “old” ways that new ways become very difficult to adapt to a teach.

How My Educational Philosophy Was Influenced

This week I have been challenged to think more about my educational philosophy and who has had an influence on it. Maria Montessori is one individual that has a philosophy that is similar to what I believe in. Her philosophy is that educators should have a child centered approach to their planning and lessons. This allows for teaching to begin to be inclusive.

Montessori said that the greatest sign of a success for a teacher…is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.” I think that this statement holds true in a couple different ways. One way is that students are all being included and successful in the classroom. Another thing is that the teaching and learning is being controlled by the students and they are connected to their learning and engaged in all the content.

Possibilities for creating an inclusive classroom include no one feeling left out because they are either behind or ahead in the content being taught. Lots of people think that an inclusive classroom is focus on those with some type of disability, but it should also be aimed towards those who have exceptionalities too.  The students requiring different adaptations should be met where they are at so that they want to continue learning and don’t just give up because they think they will never succeed. On the other hand those who are excelling should be given more challenging content so that they are not held back from there potential and sitting in class bored all the time.

Student controlled learning created possibility for a lot of success. If the students are enjoying the tasks and information they are given they will be way more likely to fully apply themselves to the content. Something that may be a challenge for this is accommodating all the different ideas and interests in your class while still covering the curriculum requirements.

This relates to my educational philosophy because I think that creating an inclusive classroom is one of the most important things. I also think that by making your teaching student centered will allow more of the exploration of learning to be done by the students creating an indirect teaching approach.

Ralph Tyler’s Influences on Curriculum Today

Throughout my schooling experiences I have never had to stop, take a step back, and question or analyze the ways in which the curriculum or content of each course was provided to me. This class leaves me constantly thinking about the ways my teachers taught and ways in which we can improve on for the future. During my education experience I had been taught in both the old curriculum, and the new curriculum. At first it was a weird change, and the teachers were uncomfortable in teaching, but as it was practiced more I think it seemed to be a better way to approach the content.

As a student in elementary, secondary, and now post-secondary education every outline for learning has been much the same. At the start you are given a broad view of what you are all about to learn, then you delve deeper into the subject matter, and it all eventually results in a test of the knowledge you picked up. And this is the way in which the Ralph Tyler rationale looks at how education should be done. Everything was very structured in terms of the information you were given and tested on as well as the different topics you were required to research and learn more about on your own.

Tyler is all about the content and how it is being taught and I think this is one limitation. It does not give much room to welcome the difference each student brings to the class when they walk through the door. It also does not give space for creativity. Classrooms need to be able to create an environment in which everyone’s ideas, and differences are accepted, whether it is a physical or intellectual disability, or a difference in learning style. Another limitation to Tyler’s rationale is that it is teacher centered, this means that the students do not get to contribute to what they are learning in each lesson.

A benefit to Tyler’s rationale is that is provides a simple start to developing a lesson plan, or a yearly plan for your classes and the curriculum you are required to teach. It provided a base line to work from. This can allow the educator to start to generate ideas and plans on where they are going to go with the school year. Another benefit is that is can be applied to all age groups and all subject matters.

Tyler’s rationale was and continues to be used a model used in curriculum and school all over. I think educators today are doing a better job at looking at the needs of the students, different learning styles, and the values of the school or community. Although the model does not take account for those typed of adaptations they are still very important to be considered.

 

Should common sense be questioned?

Kumashiro defines common sense as what is the “right way” to do things in a particular region or culture. Traditions on how different concepts are performs are considered normal, especially in education, and anything done differently is considered incorrect. However, the way one area or group does things, may be considered completely foreign or wrong to another group.  For example, In the reading “Introduction. The problem of common sense.” what the Americans considered the right way to educate was completely foreign to the people of Nepal. Nepal taught the way Americans use to so they went in with a feeling of superiority and tried to change the way things were done because they considered their ways to be better.

I think it is important to pay attention to common sense because sometimes things that become natural or habit can often be improved or become socially unacceptable. One example is that education used to be very strict and did not welcome student’s opinions, thoughts or ideas or the ways in which each student may learn best. Today what the students think and ways in which makes each and every individual successful are a huge focus and goal the educators are aiming for. I believe that although common sense is important, that it is also important to keep an open mind to ideas and concepts that are forever evolving and changing.