Mathematics

Throughout my high school experience, I can say that my math experiences were very product and process based. There were people in my class that excelled at math, as it came very easy to them. On the other hand, there were people like me, who had a harder time understanding the concepts of math, therefore, struggling to get the correct outcomes. With math, it is a very direct subject, there is only one right answer for majority of the problems and the teacher usually only teaches one way to get there. If you weren’t good at math, it was harder to understand that there in only one right answer, with one direct pathway to get there. Furthermore, after reading the article, by Leroy Little Bear, it clear that there are many aspects to how math is taught which are discriminatory and oppressive. The mathematical literature that is presented in many textbooks, are oppressive to students who struggle with math, as well as, people who struggle with understanding English ways. Although, I could understand the literary aspects of math, it important to note that all students might not have the same backgrounds, therefore, they will have a harder time understanding the literary concepts in math. Leroy Little Bear’s statement on how colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldview … Typically, this proposition creates oppression discrimination” (pg. 77). This statement is true, because oppression and discrimination is present when students comes from diverse backgrounds and cannot convert their understanding to Eurocentric mathematical ways.

In Poirier’s article, Inuit peoples are challenged in many ways when converting to the Eurocentric math system. Inuit peoples use a different base system, which is the base 20 system, in comparison to the Eurocentric system of base 10. I could understand how challenging this would be to learn a whole other system prior to what you have previously learned. Also, they depend on oral dictation to count. There are challenges that arise in counting for Inuit people, because many of their number differ in different context in which they are being used. Lastly, measuring is different for Inuit peoples, as they use their body parts to quantify dimensions. These are the ways they learn, and curriculum should be revised in order to accommodate to those who have a different ways of learning.

 

References:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XgvnbwyV2EoU7Uj9I7U7nrIwBPHyrHwy/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sIDgjwf9qCdqjhNNhV_GOmlxal1d_ZJM/view

Biases, Lenses, and Single Stories

After watching Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk and reading the chapter from Kumashiro’s book, “Against Common Sense” I’ve came to realize all the biases that were present throughout my schooling experience. Chimamanda mentioned how she read books that were based in white perspectives. I could say the same for myself. My school experience was riddled with Eurocentric perspectives. I never even questioned why every book was dominantly written in a white perspective. I think it is relevant to say, as Kumashiro stated, “students often use lenses that reinforce the status quo.” This was definitely true, there was one lens that I looked through. In my studies, teachers didn’t successfully teach with an anti-oppressive teaching style. Thus, it led us students to have one lens in how we see things. It enabled me to think in only one particular way and only learn about certain experiences that relatable to my own experiences. Kumashiro writes, “When students read literature by only certain groups of people. They learn about only certain experiences and perspectives, especially those of groups that have traditional been privileged in society.” I could agree with Kumshiro, white privilege has shaped me to view things in such a narrow way. We were not taught to critically think on the matter, which is problematic. Reading literature in school that was dominantly viewed through a white perspective, which made it impossible to view things through a different point of view.

In my elementary and high school experience it was clear whose truth mattered. Whiteness mattered, Eurocentric perspectives mattered, there was no diversity in the literature read. There was only a single story that was told and the literature we read was highly political. Although, my experiences with literature has shown to be biased to white culture, it’s time to unlearn things and relearn things with a more coloured lens. As a future educator, it important to question students on the things we learn, as well as, the content we learn ourselves. It is equally important to notice how traditional literature that is usually concrete, in which we have to learn, has to be questioned in an  anti-oppressive way. We have challenge students to see through different lenses.

Curriculum Policy & Treaty Education

Levin’s article, “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should Be Learned in School” describes how the curriculum is developed and then carried out. “Public policy is about the rules and procedures governing public sector activity – what they are, and they are made” (Levin, 2008). These policies highlight almost every aspect of education. It covers, what in school is being provided, how it is being taught and in what context. It is evident, that school curriculum is highly controlled by the government, in many government forms. It is highly political, which was not surprising to learn. “Politics is about power” (Levin, 2008) and every decision in a sense can portrayed as a political decision. I found this to be interesting, considering in schools we try to abolish hierarchy structures, so that everyone is essentially equal. I think it important to note that as educators we have some say in the curriculum, but not as much say as the government. Which leads to a highly controversial topic, when the teachers are the ones in the classroom teaching and not government officials. Further, there are many people help establish curriculum, these are school boards, parents, work force employees, and teachers. It was intriguing to find out that work force employees have a say in the matter. Work force employees are not people I think of when I think of the development of curriculum. I never weighed how many people actually contribute and influence curriculum.

The document of Treaty Education outlines the outcomes and indictors of understanding and appreciating treaty and cultural learning connections. The goals are based on; treaty relationships, spirit and intent of treaties, historical context of treaties, and treat promises and provisions. All of these are very important factors to our Canadian identities and encouraging treaty relations. It is clear that in the past, Treaty Education was not a primary focus, which resulted with people being uneducated about treaty relations. As a future educator, it is significant to our people to educate them in all areas of study, with a strong association to Indigenous Ways of Knowing. The curriculum and policies in education are highly controlled by government officials, this leads to an inconsistency in curriculum. Curriculum and Treaty Education can differ depending on what party or person is in power and their political views on the matter.

References:

Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.

Treaty Education

After reading the article by Cynthia Chambers and watching the required videos correlating to Treaty education, it clear that Treaty education plays a significant role in schools to educate our students about the lands that we live on. Teaching non-Indigenous students, as well as, Indigenous students about Treaty education is purposeful in many ways. It allows our students to be aware of our historical roots, acknowledge the interconnectedness between non-indigenous people and indigenous people, it allows us to build relationships and awareness of Canadian cultures. Teaching Treaty education is about the process of truth telling of our country, understanding how this shapes our identities, and learning from the past mistakes and moving forward as one. Treaty education is important for the unity of our people. Like, Claire Kreuger explained in her video chat, Treaty education is not only for the students we teach, but also for the students’ parent’s understanding of treaties, that was not once recognized in past curriculum. It is to expand our knowledge to all people and to enable them to inform everyone that we are all Treaty people.

Dwayne Donald, talks about, “On What Terms Can We Speak” and how when we sit across from one another, we are constantly missing each other. There is a disconnect between the people that are around us due to colonialism. Dwayne further explains, that “colonialism is an extended process of denying relationship” and how we need to discover a way to speak to each other on more ethnical terms. Teaching Treaty education is not only a way to teach history, but it is a chance to educate students to help them construct relationships, disregarding what colour of skin they might have and enforcing the principles such as equality and a renewal of contact and communication to one another.

Treaty is part of our identities and the integrity of our country. It means that we are all part of the treaty and our role is to fulfill our agreement to mend our relationships and live on this land together, holistically. It is important to note, that in the past our ancestors failed to sustain the treaty agreement, which equated to many tragedies in Canadian history. In this day and age, it is our opportunity to reconcile our relationships and strengthen association with each other, because “we are all treaty people”.

Learning From Place

The article, Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing focuses on the relationship between youth, adults, and elders and their connection to the land. The land is represented in a sacred way and it is an essential for people to learn from the land. They shared knowledge and educated the group of people on the history of the land, language, and cultural identity. In the article, it says that by learning the significance of the land and its traditional ways allows them to act as a resistance to recover and renew traditional and cultural relationships. Elders would share knowledge with youth about the ways to live off the river and the land and sites along the way. This offered the adults and youth an “insight into the importance of land for social and economic well-being among people together in the sharing of knowledge.”

Stressing the importance of the land is crucial to the Indigenous ways of knowing. They say when youth loose a sense of what the land means to them, they lose the connections to form relations together, historically and geographically within their identity. This is true in many ways, if you are not exposed to your culture it may be lost. Learning from place enables the learners to be exposed to certain knowledge that can be effectively gathered by learning from place. After reading and understanding this concept, I gather that the land is a huge part of Muskegowuk culture. It is a determent to younger generations when they lose their connection to the land, because it is such a huge part of their culture and identity. This included their language, traditional values and beliefs, and their spirituality.

After reading this article, it is clear that learning from place is very important. I think there are many ways that learning from place can be useful, within Indigenous culture and within our own cultures. In the article, it is evident that learning from place can teach learners knowledge that they may have never been exposed to otherwise. The idea learning from place could help students connect on a deeper level to their relationship with land, while incorporating Indigenous Ways of Knowing. As a person living on Treaty 4 land and soon to be educating students who live on this land, the knowledge from the article can be used as a tool to teach students about the Indigenous culture, their relationship to the land, and how it shapes their individual identities.

Reference:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dI7wj8JcsOuMVHjWx1aKJy3XzCSoyYuc/view

A ‘Good’ Student

According to common sense, being a good student means following the rules, regulations, and expectations in the school and the classroom. A good student is required to think, behave, and act in a certain way. A student is pressured by the school and society to act a specific way in order to be a role model student and citizen. A good student is pressured to perform at the highest standards and follow instructions that allow students to have specific outcomes that enable the student to ‘look good’ on paper. Students who stray away from these classroom management practices by disrupting the class because they cannot pay attention or sit still are not your ideal student. A good student is viewed similarly to a traditional student in accordance to traditional teaching methods where a subject is taught, and outcomes are to be met. However, students who do not follow as a traditional student are viewed as a hindrance to the classroom and disturbance to their peers. In addition, students who don’t meet these requirements are viewed incapable to learn, because they cannot learn in the ‘traditional’ learning environment. Students are diverse learners, and they do not all always learn in the exact same ways. Therefore, students who learn in this traditional type of way are privileged students. Some may say they “have it all together”, they don’t have troubles in school and probably are not conflicted with too many stressors at home. They are what society wants to see and they coincide with the norms and how things are supposed to be done.

Some people might be blinded by common sense ideas, they don’t see a problem what they are doing or how they do it because it is ‘common sense.’ But, like Kumashiro referred to before, common sense is not the same for everyone. Therefore, common sense ideas allow us to disregard certain situations or people when their ideas of common sense do not align with our own. In a teacher perspective, if we all had the same idea of common sense we would still be teaching in the traditional manner. To challenge our common sense allows us to see that not everyone learns the same way, just like everyone does not have the same common sense. It allows us to see how students learn in different ways with unique learnings, skills, and desires, as well as, it allows us to understand and accommodate to certain students skill levels.

Reference:

Kumashiro Chapter 2.pdg- https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kkJc7k2AyKB-Usl3pujiMAeWpfzmpZRK/view

Critical Summary Assignment: Hidden Curriculum

Hidden curriculum is my topic of choice to research and analyze for my Critical Summary Assignment. Hidden curriculum is important because it plays a significant role in and outside of the classroom. In “The Effect of Hidden Curriculum on Character Education Process of Primary School Students” the author writes, “hidden curriculum possessed in schools are values, beliefs, attitudes, and norms and values which are important parts of school function, ceremonies, and the quality of interpersonal communication” (Cubukcu, 2012). Through this assignment, I hope to further my understanding about hidden curriculum and narrow in on the diverse aspects of hidden curriculum specifically the negative and positive aspects.

In the article it says, “[hidden curriculum] does not provide a clear and distinctive element of the official curriculum for students” (Cubukcu, 2012), therefore, it will be interesting to learn different components of hidden curriculum and how children’s behaviours and beliefs are impacted through hidden curriculum. I aim to discover different supportive activities of hidden curriculum, such as the impacts of cultural activities or free time activities. Further, it will be meaningful to discover how the educator’s attitudes, behaviours, and values, and the school’s atmosphere, routines, and social frame impact the children and their unintended learning outcomes. This is worth consideration, because as a future educator it is important to understand all aspects of a teacher’s role and to understand how a school system can shape each individual through their experiences.

The next course of action I will take to enhance my understanding about hidden curriculum will be to:

  • Research different articles of hidden curriculum
  • Discover negative and positive aspects of hidden curriculum
  • Identify different situations where hidden curriculum is prominent
  • To recognize how society is used as a framework to influence hidden curriculum
  • To familiarize myself with different ways hidden curriculum is present in a school

Reference:

Çubukçu, Z. (2012). The Effect of Hidden Curriculum on Character Education Process of Primary School Students*. Kuram Ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, 12(2), 1526-1534.