Author: Cyandra Cornish (Page 1 of 2)

Week #12

My upbringing that I had had was through the lens of a middle-class white family in a middle class pretty much all small white town. So, for me my bubble of people that I saw everyday was white and never struggled with money. The interesting thing looking back is that when some people of different raises were brought into this very white small town that I grew up in they were even more rich than the rest of us. So, for me I never really looked at any race and had a bias because for me they were just like me. Played the same sports, got similar grades, spoke the same language, ate the same food (it was a boarding school, so we all ate the same food), and were the same financially. To me everyone was equal, and race really did not separate people. Although I think this is a blessing that I did not grow up with a horrible view of a different race because of my parents, teachers, or society around me there are also some harmful biases and lenses that I bring to the classroom that I will need to work on. First, is that because of this view I have a bias that in a way everyone is the same as me. Like white food is normal, white clothing is normal, English is normal, being middle-class is normal, etc. However, this becomes a negative because that is not the objective truth and that truth is only subjective to what is normal to me. The normal language for someone who went to a French school would be French. And for someone who grew up in the very rich end of Regina’s normal would be that everyone had a swimming pool. How I can work on this is learning about other races, cultures, and ways of living so that my normal includes other languages, financial situations, food, etc.

This video of the single story is something that I really relate to. It is interested because I totally was that college roommate. To explain, when I went to his pretty much all white boarding school there was a boy that I was friends with, and he was white as well. As we became friends, I found out that he was from South Africa. When he first told me this, I thought he was lying. And I did not believe him for the longest time. However, he told me his life story and how his dad grew up there and he met his mom on a trip to Canada and they decided to live in South Africa for a long time and then just a couple of years ago moved to Toronto. I found this so hard to believe because he did not have an accent, he was white, he spoke perfect English, and he was very wealthy back in South Africa he basically lived in a mansion. I remember watching this video and thinking back to this friend of mine and I realized that my one story of Africa was that they had dark skin, did not speak English and if they did, they had a strong accent, were poor, and lived in really small villages with huts as houses. So, when I learned that everything, I thought about Africa was not all true I was surprised. I realize now that the important truth that should be shared is the truth of everyone’s individual experience. Because if it were not for this friend of mine sharing his truth, I would still have just one story of Africa.

Week #11

  1. Think back on your experience of the teaching and learning of mathematics- were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/ or discriminating for you or other students?
  2. Reading #2 identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it.

In my experience learning mathematics was fun and I really enjoyed it. For me I always loved that there was a right or wrong answer. I liked that even if a teacher did not like me in high school, they could not be bias in marking my tests because there was a very clear answer. When I was in elementary school, I really struggled in school I started to fall behind, and every year school was just getting harder and harder because I kept of falling behind. I really fell between the cracks in elementary school because I ask a lot of questions and we had a very large class in my grade 2 year, so I did not get very much attention at all. So when it came to math I remember being so confused because I had no idea what was going on in class and the same reason why I love math now was the reason why I hated math when I was younger. Because there is only one right answer and the teachers only know one way of explaining why that answer is the answer. Why math I understand why so many people struggle with it because if it isn’t taught in the way that makes sense in your brain that you will be completely confused and your grades will be low. But I believe that if a teacher can explain it in a way that makes sense to you then most people would realize that math is not really that challenging.

In reading the reading the three things that stand out to me the most by challenging the Eurocentric ideas are mathematics and language, mathematics and culture, and teaching methods. With mathematics and language, the Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas because math is not taught in the same language. Inuit’s learn mathematics in their own language until grade 3 and then they switch either into English or French. This is not ideal because the language transition is hard as well it is not the best to have to take a subject in a different language because it gives the impression that the Inuit language is not complete. The second idea that is challenged is mathematic and culture. With this, the Inuit culture used a base 20 system in their language as well as their everyday understanding of the world. Whereas we use a base 10 system. With this minor difference, there is a change in the mathematics that we learn. Inuit’s also do not find importance to mathematics in their culture. The purpose of mathematics in our culture is so that we can get a good university education. But Inuit’s do not find a purpose in their day-to-day lives because the Pythagorean theorem the way we are taught will not help them in their lives. In their lives, they have other talents that will not be reflected in their mathematics grade. By only judging a small portion of what mathematics is in the Eurocentric idea they are being graded on things that they do not understand and now being graded on things that they excel at like “Nine Men’s Morris”. The final, idea is challenged in the way that we are taught. In the Inuit culture, most of their knowledge is learned through conversations and listening to elders. So, to learn through writing and reading a textbook is not how they normally learn things. It is just like how some students need examples to learn, others need to just listen, and others need to see it. We are all different and yet the way math is taught is the same. I think that the challenges that the Inuit mathematics will make to the Eurocentric mathematics are a step towards a future of all students loving mathematics.

Week #10

I am so sorry that you have to be in this situation where you feel push back against doing the right thing. It is so hard to share what is right when people of authority around you do not agree or think it is a joke. In my experience I think the best way you can handle it is by sitting down with your coop teacher and sharing with them why you think it is important and how you plan on teaching it in your classroom and if they have any suggestions that may help to focus the students in your lesson. Here are some things to consider sharing with them.

Treaty Ed is in our curriculum for so many reasons and it is important to understand them, otherwise it is easy to brush over it because it is difficult to teach. Just because it is difficult however does not mean that it is not important. Dwayne Donald shares in his lecture that it is important to teach the past because it is our past, Canadas past. We teach about FNMI people in Canada because they are the people that were here first. In other places in the world they learn about the importance of their ancestors so we should do the same her. As well, part of the importance of history is to learn from the mistakes of what happened in the past so that we do not repeat them. Learning about the treaties and the relationship between the Europeans and FNMI people is important so that we can acknowledge our mistakes. Claire Krueger shares that the teachers have a large impact on how students will perceive things. If teachers emphasize the importance of something, then students will follow. By avoiding teaching this we avoid talking with students about the importance of it. They will go on having these thought for the rest of their lives that Treaty Ed is not important because it was never talked about in school.

The understanding of the curriculum that “we are all treaty people” is that we are all in this together, we share the land now, and that there are two sides. Understanding that we are all in this together helps to put the responsibility more on Europeans and less completely on FNMI people like it always has been. This will help us support them in recovery instead of just telling them what they need to do. It is part of taking some blame for what has happened to FNMI people onto ourselves. We cannot go back in time and change what happened. What is done is done and now we live together on the same land. However, it is our job to respect, acknowledge, and support the land that we took from them. They helped us and now we can help them.  Cynthia puts it beautifully when she said, “[i]t is an elegy to what remains to be lost if we refuse to listen to each other’s stories no matter how strange they may sound if we refuse to learn from each other’s stories, songs, and poems from each other’s knowledge about the world and how to make our way in it.” (Chambers). It is our job to learn from them, listen to them, and support them. Because although it is all in the past, we can take time now to learn about what happened to them. Being a treaty people means that both people matter so both should be heard. That is why it is so important to teach Treaty Education in our school systems.

Week #9

Cultural relevant pedagogy in my future classroom will look like many different things. I have seen that in my education growing up that the curriculum was very whitewashed. Everything was taught through the lens of white people. From history, math, language arts, etc. All the subjects reflected what white people believe, and do, and think, and work. However, with the rise in immigrants to Canada, as well as the coming importance toward Indigenous curriculum, the focus of our curriculum should no longer be entirely Euro centric views. I hope that we can spend time learning about all the difference cultures that are represented in the class room and not just focus on white history. By doing this we can bring in parents of the students, elders, and even have students share their stories about the history of their culture, traditions, language differences, math difference, etc. By doing this we will make normal all of the cultures that are present in the class. As well, by sharing and learning about the differences they become normal and there for students will be less likely to have bias in the future because they were able to learn about the truths of so many cultures. It also gets rid of the idea that whites are better then other races and cultures because we will learn about them all equally.

As I said above I really want to have a rounded class that learns about all cultures and races. I think that by having this it will help students have a sense of place in the classroom. To explain, by having students learn and also teach other students about who they are, their culture, their traditions, how they do science and math in their language, we create in environment in the classroom that no ones ideas are better the anyone else they are just different. And being different is not bad it is good because that is what makes us unique. I think that by having this environment in my classroom student will feel free to dress how they want to dress, speak what language they want to speak, and really make them feel like they can be themselves at school. Which in the end will make them feel like Canada is home because for most of them it is but often times they do not feel that way.

Week #8

Hip Hop can be used as a tool to promote social justice and youth activism in the classrooms by breaking so many barriers that have been placed in our school system. The first is the barrier in the relationship between the teachers and the students. For what seems like forever there is a bad relationship between the students and the teachers. Making it so that the teachers feel unapproachable to the students. This makes students believe that they have to lie, cheat, and hide things from the teacher instead of being honest, working hard, and sharing everything with the teachers. As it is said in the article “Hip Hop is the dominant language of youth culture, and those of us who work with young people need to speak their language” (De Leon, 2004, p. 1). It makes so much sense that if we are to be teaching the students then we do not make the come to us, but we go to them. We need to “speak their language”, do what works for them, and engage in their interests. There is also a barrier that has banded African American culture from the schools. Students are able to listen to rap, dressing most rugged, and hip hop are all deemed as belonging “in da streets” so they are not approved for the school. However, we could us hip hop “as a method for organizing African American youth around issues that are important to their survival” (p. 35). By breaking the barrier that tells African American students that what they do is wrong or bad we encourage them to participate in hip hop instead of other things that could lead to crime, drugs, and dropping out of school. Finally, we can use hip hop to bring student together and help them want to come to school. Schools can use “hip hop as a tool for illuminating problems of poverty, police brutality, patriarchy, misogyny, incarceration, racial discrimination, as well as love, hope, joy” (54).

The relationship between hip hop culture and the development of critical consciousness amongst students is their need to feel heard, that they can make a change and that what they say and do matters. In the article, it says that “students viewing schools as key mechanisms in the reproduction of inequality rather than places where education is seen as a practice of freedom, a place to build critical consciousness, and social mobility (Ginwright & Cammarota, 2002). When we do not engage with students and make them feel like an individual, we continue to push an idea that we are just trying to get them in and out of school. The reality is that school is a journey that can lead to critical consciousness. It can only be attained, however, when agendas are not applied to students, but agendas are made to help students learn and develop what they need to grow and learn.

Week #7

From my K-12 schooling I do not remember a lot of citizenship education that was not a personally responsible citizen. I was taught to be kind, help others, give what you can, and do not argue/ fight. And then I remember being told to vote because that is a big deal. How am I supposed to vote when I do not stand for much or all the ideas that are in my head are someone else’. Because for my whole life I was taught that we must listen to what other people who are smarter than you have to say. I was never really encouraged to make my own discission I was always just told what was right and what was not so excepted. I think that this falls into personally responsible citizen because I was told to do the right thing to help fix but I was never encouraged to fix the problem myself.

In my opinion because of the way that personality responsible citizens were encouraged in my school we get a lot of people that do not what to make decisions for themselves. You think about the drop in numbers of people that vote but I would argue that volunteer hours have gone up. Why is it that we think our little bit of time is so important but that our little vote does not? It does not make sense to me why we grow up in schools always being told what to do and then when we grow up and have to make our own decisions and we ask our friends, or family, or google people get upset. In the article it says how conceptions of “good citizenship” imply conceptions of the good society. The curriculum teaches us to be a good member of society and not to do great things or make change.

The way that our system is set up to produce personally responsible citizens is a broken system that needs to be fixed. In the podcast he talks about how if we want to move forward then we have to go back. I agree that the issues with our citizens today is that they did not get a good education when they were young. That taught them how to question things and how to debate and take change into their own hands. Everyone I think agrees that we want to have Justice-Orientated citizens its just the issue of how do we get there.  

Week #6

It is hard to see the truth in curriculum and what it really should be because of the way that curriculum is now. It is hard to write a curriculum for a group of people that are so different and diverse. How do we please everyone in a curriculum that is so rigid? It is also difficult for teachers because they have very limited time and resources to teach everything that everyone would want to be taught in schools. To have curriculum as part of a large public debate it is hard to draw a line between what gets brought into the classroom and what should stay out of curriculum. With this I think that teachers should have the option to teach things that are important to the people in that area instead of having the government dictate what should be taught because every school and even classroom is different and have different needs.

Curriculum is complicated is an understatement. Curriculum is a very generalized term that has to encompass so many things in one word. Curriculum is the lessons that are taught each day, the overall goals of the year, and key topics that are to be discussed, the lessons that students are to learn, etc. To have a curriculum that teachers are expected to follow is almost pointless because every teacher is going to follow the curriculum differently and going to teach different topics and ask different questions and the students are going to learn differently. Curriculum and teachers in my opinion have a hard relationship. Teachers are instructed to follow a curriculum but then they are forced to adapt in every situation. And it causes a tough balance between teacher and curriculum.

Week #5

Teachers can begin at addressing the ways in which our school systems can be more open to homosexual, trans, bisexual, and queer people are by not segregating. In my opinion, the most oppressive thing for any marginalized group is to be segregated. In many situations throughout the day in schools, there are segregated moments that can be avoided if the teacher is able to distinguish them. The main one would be gendered bathrooms. The issue with this is that by having a separate bathroom for homosexual, trans, bisexual, and queer people that segregates but by having individual bathrooms that everyone goes to then there is no chance for children to feel like they are different. Another time is in gym class when teachers often separate kids into groups based on gender. This is not ideal because the teacher will then make assumptions about children’s gender that could be very harmful. The last one that I think is very important is just about the books that we have on our bookshelves. By having books that are based on not just boy-girl couples or boys play football and girls wearing pink we are able to change the way that students will think about the world around them. And will not have problems because they are a boy and they do not like football or a girl who does not like pink.

To me integrating queerness into the school’s curriculum is by being me. I am majoring in math and minoring in physics and I think this is a huge queerness that is not often seen in many schools. Growing up I had two women math teachers and no women physics teachers. By being a math and physics teacher and being a woman, I can queer the gender norm of always having male math and science teachers. I will be able to show young women that they are so smart and able to excel in maths and sciences.

With my understanding, I believe that teachers should be the provider of care for all students. As teachers, it is not our job to push our own agenda. We are there to help the students learn and to grow and become whole humans. We must respect and care for all students as well as support them in any way that we may see fit.

Week #4

A good student is according to commonsense is a student that does as they are told, gets good grades, and leaves with more knowledge then when they came in. The student does as they are told in all situations. Is quite when they are supposed to, engages in discussion when prompted, goes to the bathroom at appropriate times, listened to directions perfectly, and overall does everything that the teacher asks of them. In the article “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson” the teacher discusses what it means to learn. I the diagram it illustrates that student come into the class empty and a good student would leave full, or not at the same level. This is the commonsense that most people would expect out of school and how the student might learn.

The students that are privileged in this definition of commonsense are the students that the best is reflected in a good grade. In lots of cases the student’s grades does not reflect their knowledge or how smart they are. Some students do not do well with written exams and would be better with an oral exam or a project. In other cases, some students are very smart in social skills, art, drama, finance however they are not good at English, math, and science so they are said to be not smart because they will get lower grades. Students that learn well in a structured environment that has a rigid schedule. I for example love schedules and I thrive on structure. I am not good with changes in plans and I find it hard to focus when I have more then one task put in front of me. However, there are many students who if given all the assignments at one time to accomplish would do amazing because they could create their own schedule. Students that do not have their own opinion. I think that in most schools that want students would repeat what was taught to them. If a student already has an opinion on a topic it will be harder for them to change and agree with what the teacher has taught.

The context behind all these students in that historically the government want students that were easy to mold into what they wanted. Historically education was to prep people for the workforce, so cooperativeness, high grades, and good listening are very important to have in the workplace. Other than that the government did not want people to branch off and do their own thing so they have a very rigid curriculum and schedules that students were to follow so that when they got to the workforce it was commonsense to work from 9-5 and only have a few lunch breaks and to do what your boss told you to do.

Week #3

I was interested in the hidden curriculum that is in our school systems. In researching this topic, I came across Rhianna Thomas’s article. It is titled Identifying your skin is too dark as a put-down: Enacting whiteness as hidden curriculum through a bullying prevention programme. Rhianna speaks about a time when she experienced bullying because of race in her classroom. She was able to deal with the situation because her school did have a guild line that any sort of put-down if a form of bullying. So, she talked to the children and the situation was dealt with. However, when looking more into the situation she realized that there had to be a reason that her students would bully another student based on race. Thomas explains that bullying is “the imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim” (page. 7). With this, she realized that race has been in our society a hierarchy system that ended with white people being at the top. So, this imbalance of power that her students were seeing is being of constructs that they see in society and potentially in the school. Because Thomas was able to realize that there was a hidden racial construct evident in her classroom, she then started to work to combat this.

In Thomas’s attempt to prevent racial bullying from happening again she did research on different events that this happened in. “In order to explore how bullying prevention curricula are enacted in the school context within the larger racialized society, [she] offer[ed] an analysis of a personal critical incident [she] experienced early in [her] teaching career” (page. 7). In this research she realized “how messages of white supremacy are often delivered quietly rather than overtly in the day-to-day business of whiteness” (page. 10). She started to pick out little evidence of racism in her classroom and removed them. One example that she gave was that all the princesses in the books that were on her shelf were white with blond hair and blue eyes. With this information, Thomas was/is able to slowly reverse the hidden curriculum of white supremacy that is present in her classroom.

In doing prep research for our critical summary paper I found an interest in the hidden curriculum. When initially reflected on the hidden curriculum after one of our lectures I had thought that it was only positive hidden curriculums. For example, punctuality, kindness, listening when someone else if talking, etc. After reading this article I realized that there are so many more hidden curriculums that often will never be noticed. If it was not for this incident Rhianna Thomas may have not realized that the books that she had on her shelves were leading the students to think that straight blond hair is good. Most people would have never considered her books racist, however, they were teaching a hidden curriculum that will now be stripped away because Thomas was able to see past the hidden curriculum. I hope that I am also able to see past the surface level responses of my students and search to find and uproot any negative hidden curriculum that is in my class in the future.

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