Queering the Curriculum: Blog Post Week 11

Having the opportunity to read and engage in the article “As a Sort of Blanket Term: Qualitative Analysis of Queer Sexual Identity Marking” it is discussed and explained how queer sexual identity marking has similarities but is also distinct from other forms of marking. Within the beginning of the article, and throughout the described research, queer sexual identity is explained as an umbrella term to describe individuals or those outside of traditional gender roles or sexual binaries (Z. M. Kolker et. al, pg. 1340). Through this approach of marking, there is greater emphasis towards inclusion, describing identity without revealing specific information, and developing frameworks (pg. 1340). Marking of Queer sexual identity is applied into four different themes. The first is queer as an encompassing label which allows for describing of our own identity and experience, and the identity of others (pg. 1346). Secondly, using queer to avoid explanation. This theme of marking provides one with the ability to reference one’s identity without having to explain other sexual identity labels (pg. 1348) Thirdly, using queer based on who is present. The center for this theme is expressing identity in a position and situation where it comfortable enough to do so. Fourthly, avoiding using queer. This theme of marking discusses how some may not feel accepted with the larger community (pg. 1350) and avoid it all together. The similarities to other forms of marking include making reference to one’s sexual identity.   Other distinctions that are highlighted for queer sexual identity include it being a term that has no precise definition and does not disclose to others what one’s exact attractions are (pg. 1352).

When looking into the second resource, “Queering Curriculum studies” it is discussed and explained how to integrate and incorporate queerness in the curriculum and what this will look like, sound like, and feel like in the classroom (Sykes, 29). To make sure that my classroom is a safe environment and community for all students means always ensuring that I am there to support them, no matter what time, class, or subject, or anything else that is concerning. It means developing relationships with student’s so that I can help create trust that will last throughout the school years. By always reaffirming that this class is a safe space I hope will encourage students to become more engaged and part of the community. I can help show this expanding resource for classes such as language arts, mathematics, and Phys. Ed. It will sound like encouragement and believing students always. This will assist in developing the feeling of a safe space and community.  

After looking into the third reading, “Post-gay, Political, and pieced Together: Queer Expectations of Straight Allies” it is shown to us how the supports of allyship can assist marginalized groups. Despite the promises and commitments, allyship to many is the means to benefit the groups that are privileged and not striving to assist those that could benefit from allyship. Due to this, the position and role of teachers and educators is critical in order to make sure that expectations of students are being committed to and honored. As a teacher, it is necessary to go beyond just covering the content and emphasizing and committing to a brave space. One of the first steps in doing this is through reaching out. By doing this, students will not have to feel pressured to come to the teacher and feel isolated. This is not a trend and is necessary to truly engage in allyship. Making sure that students individually and within groups are able to always feel safe.


Understanding Individual Experiences: Looking at Literacy and Single Stories

Throughout schooling, literacy is a key component that many students are engaged with and expected to learn from. As Kumashiro explains, we learn about our worlds through reading about certain groups of people, which results in students only learning about those specific experiences and perspectives ( Kumashiro, pg. 71). This develops over time into how we read the world. From my perspective as a student in school, I read the world based on the literature, the classes, learning techniques, extracurricular activities, and the interactions with peers and teachers. Much of the literature I worked with was pre-selected by those who held a dominant position. As such, there was little focus on different cultures and ethnicities and instead focused on British classics and North American mainstream novels. When being assessed on these works, there were never any opportunities to discuss perspective. Certain core courses I now see as a pre-service teacher, like Treaty Education were not in place and instead focused more on the science and history disciplines. All sports were based on Western traditions and origins with no opportunity to expand to new options. Finally, much of the pedagogy was structured around a lecture-oriented approach.

All of these factors resulted in biases and lenses to be developed. Having teachers that followed the same practices of learning and instruction, led me to believe that most students learn the same way, and that there is primarily one approach to teaching content. Another bias was due to the fact that certain perspectives were not discussed or taught, resulting in assumptions that they are not as important as other core subjects. As well, there is the bias that only certain Western activities could be adopted as extracurricular, while truthfully there is much more. As Kumashiro explained, certain lenses bring with it political implications (Kumashiro, pg 73).

To unlearn these biases means constantly being aware of them while forming lesson plans and observing the curriculum, and seeking alternative approaches and topics to read and learn that fall within the Western curriculum.

The single-story that was present throughout my schooling was that students with learning disabilities were unable to learn with others for different classes, such as mathematics, language arts, and history. This developed into a larger understanding that these students were not able to participate in the larger classroom environment. There was limited opportunity for discussions on different courses of action, such as the inclusive environment. The truth that mattered was the school, as it was necessary to follow this more segregated approach to classes in order to graduate and move into future classroom environments.

Works Cited

Kumashiro, K, Kevin. Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice., Taylor & Francis Group, 2009, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.libproxy.uregina.ca/lib/uregina/detail.action?docID=446587

The danger of a Single Story. Hosted and Narrated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, July 2009, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED Talk.

Challenging the Eurocentric Approach to Mathematics: Blog Post Week 9

The more material that I am introduced to in the forms of readings, videos, and papers, my understanding of the curriculum is changed and adjusted. This is due to the realization that many of the ways I experienced learning could be altered, bypassed, or was just wrong and missing perspectives. I am still able to learn more about the curriculum as well as different subjects such as Science, Treaty Education, and Mathematics. Many people, both students, and educators may only assume that there is one approach or one perspective although looking at this week’s readings, there are many more.

To answer the first question, and thinking back on my experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics I am able to draw upon examples including elementary school and high school. When learning this content, the format was almost universal among different educators and grade levels. There was a lecture oriented approach with notes serving as the foundation of testing. This was a method of simply meeting the objectives (LittleBear, pg. 78). To many, this approach may work the best, but to many students that span different grade levels, this failed them as there was zero engagement or connection with other approaches to learning or instructional strategy, such as interactive learning or experiential. The overwhelming need to meet objectivity is seen through the emphasis on materialism, and could result in oppression toward certain students as there is a need to have quantity of learning over the quality ( Little Bear, pg. 82). Other aspects of oppression may arise when looking at the presence and pressure provided by the singularity. This concept that we are familiarized and adjusted to, manifests itself in our thinking processes ( Littlebear, pg. 82). An example of this in mathematics would include the notion of one true answer but also the teacher upholding one true approach of achieving that answer. The challenge is, if students are unable to follow this or disagree, the concept of failure becomes a greater concern. Discrimination is present through what isn’t being taught in the classroom or in the context of mathematics. Incorporating components of  Aboriginal Education such as ‘by example’ learning and ‘actual experience’ ( LittleBear, pg. 81) can allow students to take mathematical skills and apply them into an interrelated environment. In the position of an educator, this allows for expansion of teaching strategies and land-based learning engagements in the math classroom to follow a pattern emphasizing process ( LittleBear, pg 78).

When looking into the second reading, “Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community”, I was introduced and guided through the different learning processes that are used by the Inuit people and how they differ from the Eurocentric dominant narrative approaches to teaching that we experience daily. When looking at a series of four broad observations, we see that mathematics is linked to language and how for a period of time, language linked to mathematics changes after Grade 3 which transforms students’ conception of material (Poirier, pg. 54). As well, there are mathematics and culture, spatial relations, and teaching methods. As well, I was introduced to Inuit education through a social dimension with this playing a core role in the development of mathematics. The three core ways in which Inuit mathematics challenges the Eurocentric ideas of mathematics is in the context of counting. The first is oral numeration as this is how their people traditionally express numbers as well, the core numbers of 20 and 400 are pivotal (Poirier, pg. 57). There is also the core utilization of numbers and the different meanings behind them, for example, number 3 can be used in 6 different contexts including patterns, digits, and playing games. The second is a sense of space, which highlights to the reader that systems and constructs that we experience daily could differ from others, for example, how when Inuit people are reading the environment for survival, or determining location in relation to the nearest village (Poirier, pg. 59). The third way could be seen through measuring. This consists of measuring for lengths such as body parts for fitment of different items of clothing and the application of the phalanx unit. Although, through the traditional calendar other factors can be measured, including how the days are structured in length and the strong link to nature to establish the various seasons (Poirier, pg. 62). Currently, certain terms are difficult to expand on including, isosceles triangle and rhombus in the Inuit language. Terms that are established such as triangle can be seen with two different meanings.

In conclusion, all of the resources that I have had the chance to examine this week have contributed to a larger understanding of how the subjects we experience in our daily lives can vary around the globe. This is especially true when looking in the field of mathematics, with many students and educators adopting the principle of objectivity and following the singularity. By challenging the Eurocentric point of view, we can adopt key principles which can make math more approachable to students.

LittleBear, Leroy. “ Jagged Worldviews Colliding: Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision.” UBC Press, 2000, LittleBear2000JaggedWorldViewsColliding.pdf – Google Drive. Accessed 4 November 2021.

Poirier, Louise. “ Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community.” Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, vol. 7, no.1, 2007, pg. 53-67, Poirier(2007) Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community.pdf – Google Drive. Accessed 5 November 2021.

Engaging in Treaty Education: Blog Post Week 8

For the eighth blog post of this course, I had the chance to be introduced to an interesting situation that involves pre-service teachers and the field experience that we will have the opportunity to be part of.

“ During the fall semester several years ago, Dr. Mike Cappello received an email from an intern asking for help. Here’s part of it: “As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada. I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke. The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.”

Treaty Education is a topic that I have had limited experience with throughout elementary school, and in high school, there were connections and discussions toward the topic, yet still, there was no direct focus provided. Within the University of Regina, I have been introduced to a series of educators and resources which have allowed me to understand more about Treaty Education and engage with more questions that are posed.

To answer the first question, What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Education or First Nation and Metis content? we can draw upon a series of resources. Looking at Dwanye Donals’s video, On what terms can we speak, we see that having a connection to a community and traditions can be linked to healing and medicine. There is a currently identified disconnect or historical divide when looking at the basis of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and colonizers. It is through the process of decolonization and Treaty Education that we confront the barriers in place while making sure to identify and confront the captivity of colonial rule (Chambers, 26). Having the chance to practice Treaty Education as well highlights the need for this topic to be discussed more often, including for those who may not directly teach it. This is because it allows us to try a new approach to the curriculum. Currently, curriculum initiatives are focused on content delivery and pedagogical practices and impairments that are based on the thoughts of those who teach the content ( Donald, 2010). This is important to keep in mind as Donald explains, the importance of the past, present, and future are all linked and identified through actions over time. A critical point discussed by Donald is centered around culture. The dominant narratives in place discuss how Indigenous education is extremely cultural which results in failure and pressure toward the dominant forms of assessment (Donald, 2010). To help repair the relations with Indigenous peoples, Canadians need to engage with aspects of the Canadian culture that continues to cause this divide ( Donald, 2010).

To understand the second question and answer, what does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that we are all treaty people? Being a treaty person means realizing the benefits and shared history of the land that I live in and educating future generations. In the position of an educator and having to engage with material that does not often consider or engage with Indigenous ways of knowing can be challenging and result in possible resistance. Although, when looking into resources such as Claire Kreuger’s class videos, there is the opportunity to learn different aspects of Treaty Education and student engagement. For example, the signing of treaty 4 and the Indian Act of 1876 can be seen through online tools and platforms. This shows that being a treaty person means taking the curriculum and adopting it into something that works for the students and Treaty Education. Upholding the rights and responsibility of a treaty means not taking for granted the land that is lived on (Chambers, 7). Having access to the Treaty Education curriculum and the four core strands assist students’ and parents’ learning through interdisciplinary engagement.

Chambers, Cynthia. “ We are all treaty People: The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies”, URCourses, Chambers_We are all treaty people.pdf – Google Drive

On what terms can we speak? Hosted by Dr. Dwayne Donald, 2010, Dwayne Donald – On What Terms Can We Speak? on Vimeo

Kreuger, Clarie. “ Electronic Portfolio, Class Videos,” Claire Kreuger, Class Videos – Claire Kreuger