Month: October 2019

Lifelong Diversity

When I first started school, I thought all the students were the same. We were all white, middle class, two parents and majority of us had siblings or would have siblings.  In my little rural town, everyone knew everyone. I knew all the teachers and often had the same teacher that my older siblings had. Year after year, our class would continue to learn the same things with an expansion of each subject each year. All of the books we read were simple and easy to make connections with in ourselves and our families. This was not something I questioned. The only thing that would change was getting a different teacher each year that we already knew and sometimes a new student.

As I became older some of these new students were white and others were coloured. This allowed the classroom and our town to be more diverse. Our class wasn’t all the same anymore. We had new classmates that had just moved to town that didn’t all look like us. My classmates may have changed over the years, but the books we were reading didn’t really change all that much. There were a lot of books that featured white, middle-class people, or were stories from their points of view. Since moving to the “big” city I have learned more about myself and the importance of learning different perspectives. Learning about different perspectives has opened my eyes on how much of the world I was missing.  I continue to learn and see different perspectives. Living in the city has opened my lens of diversity making me realizing the importance of different perspectives, and has allowed me to learn outside of my comfort zone. Thank you, University of Regina for teaching me more about the world.

Please watch this TED Talk given by Chimamanda Adichie, titled “The Danger of a Single Story.”

Think of: What is your education story?

Canada’s History, Current & Future

 Part 1) According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you? 

Curriculum Policy and Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools” by Levin discusses how curriculums are created. Curriculums are created a few different ways. According to the article, curriculum is developed with both the national and provincial governments, as well as school officials. Schools have some influence on what is actually taught, but the government is the deciding factor on what “should” be taught.  I think the most important and major aspect of the curriculum is politics. This made me realized that everything around us may have government/political side. If there is a political side on almost everything and most of the Political voices are often heard from those that are most vocal and are creations and powerful ideas that society wants from members in society to believe. This surprised me, because the government is not the one in the classroom teaching the children. The government may not understand what the student’s/children’s development or capabilities are at certain ages. I assumed that teachers and people on educational boards would have more say in what is being taught.  If the government dictates what “should” be taught, how do they know what is fair for the children to learn/understand so the teachers can teach children while promoting life long learning and student that will be active and productive citizens in society.

Part 2) After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan? What tension might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

The article emphasizes the importance of treaty education in schools K-12. From reading the first four pages of the Treaty Education document I learned the four goals that are to be met through kindergarten through grade twelve. These goals are: Treaty relationships, Spirit and Intent of Treaties, Historical context of Treaties and Treaty Promises and Provisions.

This was interesting to me, because in my kindergarten to grade twelve experience I had not learned much about aboriginals or treaties. Since being at university, I have learned the importance of learning about Canada’s history and current events with aboriginals and the treaties. I believe it is very important for the students to learn about treaty education and the meaning behind it. Society may lack interest in learning more about aboriginals and treaties. When I become a teacher, I plan to teach treaty education to my students so they can learn about the aboriginal culture and their background. I believe it is a huge part of Canadian history and it is important for all people, regardless of age, to understand how Aboriginal people in Canada suffered and still continue to suffer. I believe I can succeed at this because I am learning and continuing to learn more about Canada’s past, Canada’s current and I am a treaty’s person.

Did you learn about treaties?

Are We All Treaty People?

Canada would not exist as it is today without treaties, this being said we are all treaty people. I learned this last year and didn’t really understand what that meant. I continue to learn more about what being a treaty person means and how I am affected by the signing of the treaties. I suggest to all people to learn more about their environment, see how it affects their daily life and challenge them to think what does it mean to be a treaty person and how that makes you, you.

Being a treaty’s person is something I am still learning about. With the little knowledge I have and what I hope to learn through my degree, from classmates, teachers, elder, and various activities, will educate me more and may alter my current beliefs. As of now, I believe being a treaty person is someone living in Canada and understanding Canada past and current events with the aboriginals. I see this with Canada’s history with the aboriginal’s relationship with the treaties. I have learned what the treaties looked like, who are the partners, and how this relationship will take ongoing hard work. Although, all the promises were not followed, the current generation is learning and are making change. This is where I come in, as a future educator, to help students understand and how we can create change and understand the different perspectives.

As a treaty person, I have learned that it is important to learn, explain and teach others what treaties mean. Treaty education is very important. I feel strongly about this and want all people to become more knowledgeable about treaties and aboriginal’s history and how we are still affected by this in our daily life. Understanding our (western) world view and other world views allows us to learn about different perspectives and find similarities and differences between the two. In seminar, myself and my peers/fellow students talked about our earliest memory of learning about residential schools. One person had been learning about them since grade two. This made me think about how much information some of us already have and how we continue to learn about the past. However, I think it is also important to learn about the future and anything else we can learn about aboriginals. Perhaps an elder can talk with students, an elder can lead an activity like smudging, an elder can talk about their life experiences or lead a dance. It is important to educate Canadian students about treaties and to teach students in hopes of life long learning and allow student to see different perspectives and make connections.

Think About… Have you heard that everyone is a treaty’s person? What do you think being a treaty’s person means? How do can you see yourself as being a treaty’s person?

Is History Important?

The article talks about the importance of including old, young, and in between in any sort of learning or decision making process.  The concepts of reinhabitation and decolonization, as they pertain to education, are the topics I have never really thought about before until now.  

Reinhabitation: Elders see the  connection to nature to be very important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development. This can be enforced in everyday lives. It is important to connect the youth with the elders who have a deeper connection to the land. The community marked places with their original names to help the youth understand the Cree concepts.

Decolonization: Decolonization is seen in the reinhabitation as a whole, the students’ river trip allowed the students to reconnect to their history, something colonization aimed to prevent. The use of Indigenous language in the assignments also showed the reclaiming of identity and empowering the people. An example of decolonization is residential schools, because they drastically reduced the communities fluent language speakers.

When considering my own future teaching strategies and classrooms, I believe it is important that I keep the concepts of reinhabitation and decolonization in mind. Students will be able to formulate their own values and perspectives and use them to advocate for change. Future educators can teach, have discussions and learn from others through events like the orange shirt day. We can learn and understand the importance of orange shirt day and why we participate in it, to encourage change, to better education and better the future.

Think about…

  • What is and what does the words reinhabitation and decolonization mean?
  • What orange shirt day is and the importance.