ECS 210 – Curriculum as Public Policy

Before Reading:

  • How do you think that school curricula is developed?

From my point of view, school curricula all comes from one similar basis, and that is what our society expects its citizens to know, represent, and act like. In lots of ways, school curricula is a representation of our society, and the good and the bad of it included. School curricula represents a society and their biases, racial and gender preferences, beliefs and systems. When a curriculum is being developed, the main influencers will always be those that are higher up. What does the government want our children to learn about our society? What do they not want them to know? What kind of changes do they want to imprint onto the younger generations?

After Reading:

  • How is school curricula developed and implemented?

After reading through the reading from this week, as well as digesting this week’s class discussion, I can definitely say that I now have a much clearer understanding of what the process of the creation of school curricula contains. When school systems and individual provinces are deciding what they want their children to learn, many “stakeholders” come into play in this decision. The one most important thing to note is that students – the pupils that will be hopefully benefiting from our educational systems – have little to no say in this process at all. The building of curricula comes down to the society and what they deem important for students to learn, or what they believe all citizens of this particular society must abide by.

  • What new information or perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum?

Before reading this article I did not truly understand how much of a role politics really play in the development of our curriculum and how society views our school curricula. As in the videos we viewed in lecture this week as well, many leaders of our school board can carry their own personal views into our curricula just because they carry the power to do so, even if the public feels differently. Or, if one state has a lot more financial wealth than another and can afford to influence a curricula of an entire country just because they have purchased all the textbooks, this is political interference in our education system. I personally believe that education should be separated from our own and others personal political beliefs and show anti-oppressive characteristics, but unfortunately this may never happen.

  • Is there anything that surprised or concerned you?

Besides learning a lot more about the political side of the education system this week, I did not find myself surprised at any of the information, just for the fact that our world is so much run by politics and money that why wouldn’t our schooling systems be apart of this as well? Although political influences in and around the world of education is not always a bad thing, it concerned me at how these power roles in education may be being abused from a political viewpoint, and influencing our children in the wrong ways.

ECS 210 – The “Good” Student According to the Common Sense

This week in class we had a very rich discussion about what it truly means to be a “good” student under what we believe as the common sense of the public school system, and who these people are. This topic is one that is of very much importance to me, since the topic of race and racism embedded into our curriculum has always interested me. Our discussion on how the idea of a good student has changed over time was also interesting. Back one hundred years ago, this ideal student was very easily stated to be those of an Anglo-Saxon heritage that were literate and male, while the unfavoured student were those that could not be “Canadianized,” which I absolutely hated to hear.

According to our reading from this week, it is also evident that the good student in terms of the common sense is the student that always listens, responds, and does not cause a problem for anyone else, and essentially, never gets to speak their mind. I see this as a problem since growing up, I also knew many students that may have acted the way that the “problematic” child of this reading was described, as well as the fact that I have worked with students myself that are this way, and in no means could I ever say that these children were not good students who didn’t or couldn’t learn, since that is simply untrue.

When Kumashiro stated that. “I assumed that being a student required behaving and thinking in only certain ways, but also because I felt pressure from schools and society to produce this type of student.” (Kumashiro, pg 21), I immediately had certain students that I grew up with or I have taught myself come to mind. I had one student last semester in a Kindergarten room that displayed a lot of the same behaviour characteristics as the student described in the article, and personally, although these students can be hard to handle, they have always been the ones I turn out to really enjoy simply because of these characteristics – they are just being their true selves, and although that may not fit the mold of our school systems and what they expect from students, they still find a way.

As future teachers we must always be prepared for these types of situations in our classrooms, since it is not that uncommon. We must make sure to look past the tightly fit idea of the “perfect” student, since this simply doesn’t exist. We must learn to work with all our students and learn their strengths and weaknesses, and always help them succeed.

ECS 210 – The World of Montessori Education

In class this week we began discussing many of the very influential people within the history of our profession, and how all these theorists still find their ways into the classrooms of today through influence and power over generations. One particular theorist that has always stood out to me is that of Maria Montessori, and the idea of the Montessori classroom. In a Montessori classroom, the child is seen to be completely in control of their own learning, and is very much based on scientific observations of children, and attempts to develop children in all parts of their world, including social aspects, physical aspects, and emotional aspects.

Many of the things that Maria Montessori stated over her career resonate with my own beliefs of how a classroom should be run, including her quote, “The greatest sign of success for a teacher.. is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.” When reading this quote, I immediately thought to how I feel as an educator, that students should be able to lead their own learning and you are there as a guide, which is exactly what this quote is stating. In the Montessori view of a classroom, the teacher’s authority is still present, but not as strong, as we are not there to feed information, but to provide learning tools in order for information to be processed.

As I continue learning and growing as a future teacher, I find myself thinking about how I want my classroom environment to feel someday, and this is exactly it. I want children to feel independent and competent, and know that they are capable of learning whatever they put their minds to!

ECS 210 – Curriculum Theory & the Tyler Rationale

 

As future teachers, we are constantly coming into contact with new information, ways of knowing and teaching, and viewpoints that can all become assets in our future careers, but sometimes we must sit back and think about what all these different viewpoints are truly trying to tell us, and why they are there to begin with.

Within the article discussed this week, the topic of the Tyler Rationale came to the centre of attention. The Tyler Rationale, when defined, is an ordered way of passing curriculum to students in which one must complete a certain task before moving onto the next one, and so forth. This is something I definitely experienced on a daily basis during my own school career, and is actually quite common in most classrooms. An example could be a student completing a test, and once they are done the first page, they must bring it up to the teacher to receive the next page. Some subjects, such as English and History tended to be less sequential, when others, such as Math, were set up and taught in a way that it would be very difficult to learn the concepts if not completed in this manner.

When looking at limitations of the Tyler Rationale, many topics and problems come to mind, beginning with the issue of learning styles. Depending on the student, everyone has their own personal learning style, or the style of teaching that they seem to find to work better for them and lead them to more success than others. When the Tyler Rationale is then applied to a classroom, making the lesson follow a mannerly, restrictive order, some students may feel that this is limiting their learning, since they possibly prefer to begin to understand the topic from the top and break it down into smaller pieces, rather than the ladder.

But, on the other hand, many benefits to this system can also be seen, such as the ability for teachers who use this system to always have an orderly teaching plan on hand, and know exactly how they will lay the class out, and when each subtopic will be discussed. Another benefit is the predictability of how classes will turn out, and what to expect of students during a certain week. This type of predictability and readiness for a teacher is super attractive, since classroom planning does not always go as planned, or as orderly as one may want.

As we advance farther and farther towards are teaching careers, I believe that considering and analyzing the benefits and problems of different styles of teaching and classroom systems is very important to our growth and development, since we must learn that our own personal viewpoints on how a classroom should be set up are not the only viewpoints in our community, and all must be considered and respected.

ECS 210 – First Blog Post/Article Response

This week in class we were assigned to read a document by Kumashiro on the topic of common sense and the problems that follow it within the world of Education, as well as the general population. Kumashiro generally defines the idea of common sense as the regular and expected algorithm of life and social norms specific to a certain group of people – whether that be by race, gender, culture, social class, or, in the context of this article, by school community and where that school is located.

Within the article, Kumashiro takes us through their journey of becoming a teacher in a country and a school community foreign to them, and how the social norms and “common sense” that they brought along from the US ended up clashing with that of the common sense of their new students, causing a culture shock to both the students as well as Kumashiro. Their understandings of how a school day works were based around how they came to know a regular school day in the US, which their students did not agree with, as in their school, it seemed that everything was very standardized and based solely around testing.

I believe it is important that us as future teachers deeply understand the idea of common sense and how there is more than one singular “common sense” in our world, and how these common senses plays a role in our lives as teachers in an ever growing multicultural society not just within our classrooms, but also our greater communities. I believe that this is important since, just as in Kumashiro’s abroad experience, our own biases and “common senses” are constantly being tested by our students as well as our future colleagues upon the basis of all of our own differing upbringings, and we will have to know how to work around this and find a way to provide the best education for our students that we can without disrupting their own environments and causing oppression on certain groups of students, or, in contrary, we must know how to work with our future learners and colleagues to build a curriculum and way of learning and using “common sense” that everyone can understand, as well as putting our focus onto anti-oppressive education.

Planning For The Future

As next semester quickly approaches, it is now time to plan for what I still need to work on to become that teacher I want to be ten years down the road from now. I have come farther this semester than I ever believed I would, yet, there is still so far to go before I enter my pre-internship a year from now. Hopefully, with dedication to my plans and investment in that future teacher, I will be able to grow even more this upcoming semester!

This upcoming year I plan to become even more involved in my community and the teaching community of Regina than ever before, and begin to make even more connections than I did this semester. I plan to hopefully find a job that is more suited towards my future career than my current job is, since this will give me more experience and be a good way to meet more educators, such as a Before and After school program! I also plan to put more hours in at the playschool I spent time at this past semester for my ELNG 200 class, since the experiences I gained there with ESL learners was super helpful and relevant in our very multicultural society we live in today, and I would love to continue working through these experiences, so I have already contacted the owner of this playschool and asked to volunteer more in the upcoming months, which I am super excited for!

 

Growth & Development

When this semester first began, I came in with little to no experience in a classroom, and now, leaving this semester behind, I can now say I have had plenty of field experience between my ECS 100, ELNG 200 and ECE 200 classes, making me feel like a lot of growth in my teaching skills has occurred!

Looking back to the first day in my Kindergarten room, I remember the feeling I had in my stomach that morning. I was so nervous, yet at the same time, super excited. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I was hoping for the best of course. After that day was done, I remember already being so excited for what the next seven weeks were to hold, and the relationships that I was beginning to build with the children as well as the other professionals in the school!

The first few weeks I still felt like I was just feeling everything out. I was slowly getting to know each child on a deeper level, and names seemed to come easy to me, maybe because of all the practice I have had with names because of teaching at dance. The children also came to know me better over these first few weeks, finally learning my name, as well as getting to know me in a less professional setting by simple interaction during playtime. One of my most favourite things over these past few weeks was getting to know my students and what makes each of them unique, and I honestly found myself so grateful I had the opportunity to be apart of each of their lives, even for just a little amount of time.

As the weeks went on, me and my partner both started to feel much more comfortable and confident in the position of their teachers, so our co-op began to give us many more activities to do on our own in the classroom, as well as responsibilities, which was exciting for me! I remember the first time I got to lead the class to assembly on my own with all the other teachers and how confident I felt, as well as the first time I got to read a book to the class and teach them a new letter of the alphabet! My co-op also commented to me on how much my confidence seemed to grow from the beginning, and that truly made me feel so happy and accomplished inside.

As we now move on into the next semester of more growth and development, I will always remember my first experience as a teacher at St.Theresa Elementary School, and how much that opportunity shaped me into who I am today!

 

Professional Field Experiences

 

Over this past semester I had the pleasure of interning in St.Theresa Elementary School’s Kindergarten classroom with the wonderful Mrs. Holle-Meyers, and I am honestly forever grateful for this amazing experience, since the time I spent in this classroom truly made me realize that this is what I want to do for my career someday!

Mrs. Holle-Meyers and the students were such an amazing group to work with, as well as my partner Madison, and the experience of being in a school, in control of and teaching these children who look up to you just as they do their true teacher was a very different feeling for me, since my only field experience before this semester was my classroom experiences at my dance studio, where I am not in control as I was in the Kindergarten room, but as more of a demonstrator for the children. The thing that truly made me feel so happy and accomplished is the amount of students who I got to witness grow in their grammar and vocabulary skills these past few months, which all related back to my ELNG 200 class, where we are currently learning about language acquisition and development, so it was really amazing to see it all happening right in front of my eyes, and truly put the struggles of immigrant children into perspective for me!

As the weeks went by in Mrs. Holle-Meyers room, which now concluded today, I found myself becoming more and more accustomed to the ways of this school community as well as the social norms and expectations that were known in this school, as it was a very different community than my own Elementary school, since it is a Catholic school. Teachers came to know who I was, and I came to know them as well. By the end of today, I truly felt like I was accepted as a  St.Theresa Tiger, and I’ll truly miss this first field experience of mine.

About Me!

Hello fellow educators! My name is Madison Iverson and I am currently a 2nd year student in the Elementary Education program here at the U of R. Ever since I was younger, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher and help young children get through hard times just the same way my teachers did for me! So here I am, 19 years old now and pursuing that dream, and I am loving it! Besides my teaching passions, I also am very passionate about my love for dance and music, and all the joy it brings to my life! I have been a dancer since I was 5 years old, and now I have a teaching position at my dance studio I grew up at as well, which has been so amazing and a very great opportunity for field practice as you could imagine! When I am not dancing or busy with school, I am most likely spending lots of time with my close family and friends, as I am a very family orientated person and I love building close relationships with others, inside and outside of the classroom.