Assignment 4b: Summary of Personal Learning

The written component of this assignment will be the script and presentation outline I have created. As well the video is uploaded to Youtube by Andrew MacPhail.

ECS 203 Summary of Personnal Learning PowerPoint with Audio Video: By Andrew MacPhail – YouTube This is where the video can be found.

Introduction (Slide 1)

Hello, my name is Andrew MacPhail and this is my presentation for assignment 4b; Summary of personal learning in ECS 203.  For this summary, I will discuss my evolution process of my current understanding of curriculum and pedagogy, my approach to curriculum and pedagogy as an educator and my role, and finally look into uncomfortable learnings I experienced and my future growth.

Evolution Process of Your Current Understanding of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Part One (Slide 2)

Up to this point and throughout my education journey, I have been aware of the curriculum and assumed that it was a fixed, static body of knowledge that was prepared for everyone and encompasses one learning approach. Although, I have seen through this course, that curriculum involves so many various approaches, models, understandings, and does not work for everyone. I now know that being an educator means that taking curriculum into action and adapting it to work with and guide students in their learning. I can do this is through my pedagogical practices. I was introduced to this term when starting this course and came to understand it as the method and process of teaching others. I now understand that pedagogy can encompass new approaches such as land-based pedagogy, culturally relevant pedagogy (Lopez, Anne, 2011, pg. 77).

Having the chance to review the course blog posts, I noted many different ways in which my understandings have evolved. The first point was commonsense which looks at the mainstream and status quo traditional beliefs of a society and how this needs to be challenged. Secondly, in this course, I also had the opportunity to blog about disabilities in education which showed me that the education systems in place assumes and applies dominant narratives towards students with disabilities. As well, how the curriculum naturally works against students with disabilities (Broderick, 2012, 832). Being in inclusive education means deconstructing and addressing this narrative. Thirdly, I was able to expand my understanding toward Treaty Education and reaffirm the benefits that I live with as a Treaty Member and how to draw greater connections to Indigenous history and ways of life. Finally, I was able to expand my understanding of mathematics and draw connections to other culture’s practices, such as Inuit (Poirier, Louise, 2007, pg. 54). 

Evolution Process Your Current Understanding of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Part Two (Slide 3)

One of the most educational aspects of this class was not only having the chance to engage with the course readings and write blogs about them, but also read and hear what my fellow peers had to say. This allowed me to see their thought processes, methodology, key takeaways, and also see what we both shared in our writings.  The first comment example was for Emily Hanson’s “The Umbrella Term Queer” where I found that we reached similarities in our discussion and I could assist in expanding on the implications for allyship including making promises and commitments. The second example was for Brooklyn Diamond’s “Curriculum in action, Understanding Literacy”. When commenting, I drew upon my personal school experiences and then linked this into different examples of pedagogy. The third example was for Gledi Toci’s “Eurocentric Ways in Mathematics”. When stating my comment, I was able to draw connections with concepts discussed in class including curriculum as a product and curriculum as a process.

Evolution Process of your Current Understanding of Curriculum and Pedagogy Part Three (Slide 4)

To answer the question “where do I see Curriculum and Pedagogy now?” I can look back on the readings, assignments, and the discussion had in both lectures and seminars. I know that as an educator, it is necessary to take the curriculum and translate and adapt the material in order to have all students be able to grasp and inquire about their learning. This process means understanding how the curriculum can be put into action but also account for various cultures and histories. This may mean changing certain systems but ensures that an education system does not focus on a particular culture and allows students to apply their own learning process. I strive to do this through my pedagogical practices.

Your Approach to Curriculum and Pedagogy Part One: My Approach (Slide 5)

After having the opportunity to complete this course I now understand and feel more prepared to take the curriculum and develop it when working with students. I would view and approach the curriculum as a process. This means that I would emphasize and grow relationships with students, as well as developing the notion with students that part of our curriculum is what happens in our classroom together as an active process. This means facilitating critical thinking, having an understanding of roles and expectations, and a proposal for action and principals (Smith, 2000, pg. 4). It is necessary to keep in mind that we should not always teach the ways that we have been taught, and this is why I approach my pedagogical practices with discussion centered around interactive learning. This makes the classroom feel more like a community and gets to expand out of their comfort role. I will strive to incorporate as many examples of land-based learning as possible, as well as experiential instruction.

Your Approach to Curriculum and Pedagogy Part Two: My Main Role (Slide 6)

When following curriculum as a process, my main role is to be a facilitator of the interaction and the discussions that will take place. This means ensuring that all students are able to and feel comfortable participating in the class conversations. As a history major, this will mean encouraging animating questions and getting students to think about the ‘why’ of this topic. It also means working with students to guide and unpack certain topics which may be difficult to discuss, including the colonial history of Canada.  Having a minor in inclusive education, I will be working with students that may be part of different subjects and taught in different ways that work best for them. This means that I will need to be flexible and always adapting in my pedagogical practices to meet the needs of every student. My main role is being accommodating to my students for every level, including secondary education.

Uncomfortable Learnings and Future Growth Part One: Areas of Dissonance (Slide 7)

When being introduced to the curriculum, I assumed that it was neutral and can be applied to all students. Although I found it shocking and a learning experience when we discussed in the course about how the curriculum prioritizes certain groups, primarily those of a white, Eurocentric background. As an educator, I need to work against this. Also, I found that at first, I was trying to grasp all the different cross-curricular connections between subjects and perspectives. For example, how there are various perspectives towards mathematics and the connections with cultural norms. Finally, I found it interesting how teachers can follow curriculum in different ways, including process, praxis, product, and syllabus to be transmitted (Smith, 2000, pg. 3). 

Uncomfortable Learnings and Future Growth Part Two: Future Growth and Questions (Slide 8)

I will continue to grow my understanding of the curriculum. This means being aware of the approaches I take and experimenting with different methods of learning and instructional strategies. Prioritizing interaction and discussion throughout different courses. I will always challenge myself to work against the biases and privileges that the curriculum places on people as well as the biases that I may carry. I will also strive to work with and collaborate with others for the benefits of students. I will work to unify inclusive education within existing classrooms. The two key questions that remained for me were: 1. How do I prepare myself for changing curriculum and 2. How do I take theoretical concepts and apply them in the classroom.   

Works Cited (Slide 9)

These are my works cited from the course readings, thank you for watching.  


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,

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

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Sense of Place

Throughout the educational experiences I have had, I am often being introduced to new concepts which can assist me as a teacher and in the classroom environment. At first, using these concepts and applying them may be challenging although, through proper use and establishment of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and sense of place, these can be introduced to students and practiced often.

The first article, Anne Lopez’s Culturally Relevant pedagogy and critical literacy in diverse English Classrooms:  A case study of a secondary English teacher’s activism and agency. To answer the question of “what will culturally relevant pedagogy look like, sound like, and feel like in my future classroom”, first means taking the effort and ensuring that I can use a critical lens to be critically aware and produce engagement with students. This can be done in the classroom environment and a praxis model of curriculum. Having a classroom with different cultures is an amazing opportunity and experience for both teachers and the students as it brings opportunities to practice learning among various cultures and adapt to how they differ ( Lopez, 2011, pg. 77). As this could be linking the curriculum and the different outcomes to students’ different approaches to learning, the classroom would sound like an open discussion. Linking critical literacy to the classroom environment would involve assisting students to deconstruct the power bases, values, and attitudes in frequently used texts and focus on understanding a critical thinking criteria to overcome these dominant narratives and work to empower various social groups ( Lopez, 2011, pg. 78). This would allow the classroom to establish itself and look like an inquiry-driven environment. This approach and pedagogical approach through the teacher offers students opportunities to speak their point of view and on behalf of those who are often silenced or marginalized (Lopez, 2011, pg. 78). Ultimately I would say this finally allows students to feel they are a part of and included in a larger and inclusive environment. This is vital to keep in mind as students will work with literacy that happens in social, historical, and political contexts (Lopez, 2011, pg. 79). With a growing presence of inclusion and methods of learning, culturally relevant pedagogy is a necessary approach for educators.

When looking at the second article, Julia Brook’s Placing elementary music education: a case study of a Canadian rural music program, we are introduced to the concept and benefits of place-based learning and sense of place. The first way in which I can contribute to forming a sense of place is by explaining and guiding students to see that positive relationships can be formed with the land as well as with others ( Brook, 2013, pg. 293). With this comes benefits for the students including showcasing the positive aspects of their place and strengthening their connections to the various performance places ( Brook, 2013, pg. 294). Contributing to a sense also means making sure that diversity is acknowledged in the classroom in more ways than having a discussion, for example including learning opportunities based on students’ perspectives. I think the values that this brings with it will allow all students to learn that everyone has their own sense of place. The exchanging of ideas and connecting activities to experiences could involve exploring different locations for classes such as treaty education or social studies through various field trips. Developing a sense of place allows students to see the value behind their ideas and incorporate their traditions to help deepen their learning ( Brook, 2013, pg. 297). Finally, there is a dynamic between school learning and out-of-school activity which highlights that learning includes more than just the curriculum.

In conclusion, many of these different concepts are new to my education experience yet they bring with them new opportunities for learning. As educators, this means not just understanding culturally relevant pedagogy and sense of place but ensuring there is proper implantation of them in order for students to connect with them and learn.

Brook, J, 2013. ” Placing Elementary Music Education: A Case Study of a Canadian Rural Music ProgramMusic Education Research, Vol.15, No.3, pg. 290-303.

Lopez, A, 2011. ” Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and critical literacy in diverse English Classrooms:  A case study of a secondary English teacher’s activism and agency.English Teaching: Practice and Critique. Vol.10, No.4, pg 75-93.

The Challenges of Progressive Education

For the sixth blog post and looking into the challenges of progressive education, I selected the reading by Waks “John Dewey and the challenges of Progressive education.” Having the chance to be introduced to John Dewey in this course I have been able to understand the key principles and also understand his focus when it came to education, including learning not passive but as an active experience. Dewey also notes education being the current experience and engagement, not preparing for future experience. In the context of Waks work, it can be seen that Dewey’s background of education involved the setbacks he faced when looking at the social approach toward education and moving away from the factory system. This was established during the industrial ages of learning and factory-oriented approaches to teaching. Dewey has also noted that education requires more than just information, but rather intelligence to contribute to retaining knowledge, an example of this could be crystallized intelligence (Waks, 2013, pg. 76).

To answer the first question, of how we can understand new educational trends in relation to the global network context we can see that there is a transition needed to move away from the crystallized knowledge and focus on achieving a fluid understanding of knowledge. This is needed by many of today’s network users (Waks, 2013, pg. 76). As mentioned in the article, global networks are now demanding more interaction and focusing on the speed of thought as “static bodies of knowledge can be reduced to computer software” (Waks, 2013, pg. 76). With this in mind, we can see trends that involve different approaches to learning such as active and cooperative; as well as interdisciplinary projects, networked distance learning, and global spanning universities (Waks, 2013, pg. 77). Many of these points we can directly relate to remote learning during the pandemic. A point that was highlighted and as educators we need to understand is that due to the growing presence of online resources “students are going to have access to stuff that a teacher can’t control, and the more that happens, teachers are going to have to organize their lessons around it”(Waks, 2013, pg. 77). Technology can be a great tool to help utilize education, yet the challenge could be making sure that students are balancing their personal connections with what is required through the curriculum.

Moving to the second question, how may we build upon and direct these new educational trends to realize the contemporary democratic aspiration of a global network society? We can identify a series of different themes to describe and build these trends in the global network society. The first is looking at structural transformation. Dewey attempted transformation to introduce active learning (Waks, 2013, pg. 77). This was then continued through corporate and political elites supporting a networked-based classroom, as they believed it would help with generating more knowledge (Waks, 2013, pg. 78). Due to the current presence of technology and the computer network era, structural changes are more possible. The second theme looks at nature and child instincts where it is explained that a global network society can be utilized through a neo-progressive blend of constructivist methods (Waks, 2013, pg. 78). The primary logic for this method is looking at the benefits that online learning and computer software can bring as an educational resource. The challenge that stems from this would include the connection between technology and real life. A critical component of education involves making sure students are able to apply skills they learn to real-life situations. Finally, there is embryonic democracy. In this point, it is explained that education is subject to a neo-liberal regime which seeks to privatize public education and impose corporation-operated charter schools emphasizing route learning (Waks, 2013, pg. 80). As we discussed in the class, education and curriculum can be influenced and controlled by those who are in power and political organizations. If different aspects of education are privately controlled, then students may not have access to different forms of technology or other necessary resources. As educators, we need to make sure that students are provided with a proper education experience that is accessible for them.

In conclusion, Wak’s article provided greater insight and understanding toward John Dewey as well as the scale and time that is needed to implement change. This reading also emphasized the presence of online resources and the computer network that students are growing and learning in. To ensure that students have equal access to educational experiences means clear communication with educational leaders and democratic publics.

Curriculum Building and Control

For the fifth blog post, having the chance to review and discuss my thoughts on the curriculum and the different political factors and policies, highlights the scale of actions required for the different parties involved. It can be challenging to navigate the different levels of bureaucracy with different positions having more control over others. With this power base comes the question of who decides what needs to be learned. The first reading, Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools by Levin delves into how policies govern every aspect of education which directly relates to the curriculum (pg. 8). With this in mind, we need to acknowledge that every system and ministry has people with their own affiliations, biases, and interests meaning that certain actions could be based on personal values with limited consultation with educators. As well, government influences always impact the curriculum; as the curriculum is part of the politics of those in power. To counter this, strong voter interest drives the external pressure to please the public interest/ voter base. People’s views on education policy is based entirely on their own personal experiences. It can be observed in the past how government changes are subject to media influence and change. The way that curriculum changes are discussed in the media creates a political atmosphere that shows how education is so personal. A fundamental aspect of maintaining curriculum policies is by following the formal curriculum and continuing the creation and maintenance of relationships that are associated with “real teaching”.

The second article, The Saskatchewan Way: Professionally Led Curriculum Development, discusses the question of what the proper curriculum looks like, and how it is established in the classroom. Although we see that teacher input and control is minimized when establishing the outcomes that need to be met are being formed, for example in the K-12 Ontario Curriculum ( Saskatchewan Way pg. 1). In the Saskatchewan context, curriculum development should foster teacher ownership of the curriculum and its development through a collaborative nature ( The Saskatchewan Way pg.5). As well, curriculum development involves “teachers, trustees, administrators, university faculty, and other parties such as parents” (The Saskatchewan Way, pg. 5). Having this legacy of cooperation can continue to maintain everyone’s voice and will help ensure teachers have a direct connection to the curriculum.

Looking into the “Good” Student: Enhancing our understanding of Common Sense

For the fourth blog post, I had the chance to look deeper into commonsense. Experiencing education as a student in high school and through post-secondary, I have seen a focus on following the different rules and systems set in place. By establishing these aspects, they enhance and attempt to benefit the educational experience of all students. Although, as mentioned by Kumashiro, it can be seen that commonsense limits the opportunity to engage in different forms of education and privileges certain people. Many of these points have been historically established, which means as educators we need to work on expanding how students learn.

To answer the first question: what does it mean to be a “good” student? According to commonsense, there are many different elements. In Kumashiro’s work Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson, it can be highlighted that good students fulfill the model that schools and societies often expect. This could mean completing the required assignments, and standardized tests to determine what they have learned throughout the semester (Kumashiro, pg. 21). Other key points that stuck out to me is that students should not show any criticism towards the various approaches to instructional strategy as well as the mere notion of mainstream approaches to different values and perspectives (Kumashiro, pg 22). It was noted that the primary focus for students was to be leaving school with more knowledge than they previously had in September (Kumashiro, pg. 24). A challenge that arises with this is that the knowledge that students may have held prior to attending certain classes may have contributed to their feeling of “ comfortable with uncritical assumptions that supported the status quo” ( Kumashiro, pg. 25). This highlights that “good” students are meeting standards that comply with common sense. If we have the chance to incorporate crises in learning as new information, “good” students would be able to challenge the knowledge they already have which supports the status quo ( Kumashiro, pg. 32).

Looking into the second question of which students are privileged from the definition highlighted, it could be seen that students who have been taught to meet the standards emphasized by society and have adjusted to the one perspective which has been taught by prior educational experiences. This contributes to the need to emphasize to students that relearning concepts can introduce new perspectives and being aware of resistance to learning other things (Kumashiro, pg. 26). As well, students and educators who live in the status quo and from backgrounds of privilege could be continuing to reaffirm the oppressive education systems in place.

For the third question, drawing upon Painter’s work A history of education, we can see how the “good” student has been shaped by historical factors. Within the context of this work, we see that “good” students take their place as a subject in the established order ( Painter, pg. 9). It has been described that students and the educational pathways that they select is a diagram of a tree growing ( Painter, pg.1). This highlights that historically, students followed one path, and experienced growth at a fixed rate on the linear path. This had to be accepted as without education “ man is helpless and ignorant” ( Painter, pg. 2). Being a ‘good student’ has also been shaped by the historical principles that “ development and acquisition of knowledge” ( Painter, pg. 4) are the core elements of education. This article highlights shocking points based on how different cultures of education are viewed through the dominant lens of the white Anglo-Saxon and how historically western education oppresses different cultures and perspectives.

Having the chance to learn more about the concepts and themes that can impact students every day, as well as the systems in place that prioritize the “good” student, shows me that commonsense is present within many different aspects of education. As Kumashiro has mentioned, educators need to utilize different tools to ensure anti-oppressive education.

Looking at Disability within Education

When looking into the first assignment for ECS 203, Critical Summary: Curricular Concept/topic I was presented with a wide variety of different options to select. I selected the topic of disability in education. This topic interests me as someone with connections to the disabled community and persons. Going through different educational settings, I have become aware of a greater presence of segregation and less inclusion, this served as a shocking revelation and highlighted the need for greater change. Upon researching various articles, I choose Teacher CounterNarratives: Transgressing and ‘restorying’ disability in education. To briefly introduce the article I have selected involves looking at the core concepts and themes within, such as dominant narratives that are applied towards students with disabilities; the nature of the curriculum oppressing students with various disabilities; as well as the forming of teachers to systematically underutilize different forms of education.

When reading this article, there were many different points that stood out to me. However, the quote I selected shocked me and highlighted the current perception of students’ disabilities in education; “ unquestioned power of majoritarian narratives to construct students with learning disabilities as feeble, weak, and powerless” ( Broderick et. al, 2012, 832). A concern that arises from this quote is that if the current and dominant narratives, such as this one, stay relevant then students with disabilities will be forced to experience an education system that marginalizes and significantly alters its initial intention. Within the rest of this article, it establishes that reclaiming inclusive education allows for further understanding of inclusion, as well as enhancing our understanding of difference and identity among students in education. We also see that concepts identified within this article allow teachers to ensure that they adopt new principles within the curricula, such as removing notions of conventional wisdom and applying a more explanatory learning style.

After engaging with this reading, I have had the opportunity to form a series of next steps to follow and guide throughout the summary. The first would be to fully analyze all the different core themes, arguments, and perspectives presented in this article, this could be done through more reading as well as taking more detailed notes. Secondly, I would be researching in the field of disability to find two other sources that I could use to assist with this critical summary and further my understanding in this field. Thirdly, I would analyze each reading to find the essential concepts, themes, and understandings presented and relate them to the primary article I have selected. The fourth step would be developing a chart and diagram to highlight similarities and differences, as well as different connections. The fifth and final step would be to take the formed outline and then begin the writing process.