ECS 210 – Unpacking Our Own Biases

From the moment we begin growing up, the way we are raised and brought up into this world effects our schooling, as well as how we see the world, in so many ways. The way we are taught about the world is that builds our biases. The way we see the world is effected by the society we are raised in, our parents religious beliefs, our peers, our race, as well as the school community we grow up within. This can also be known as our personal worldview, which is something that is created throughout our entire lives.

As an future teacher myself, I am always being brought back to my own worldview, and my own biases, and how these biases will directly effect how I teach someday. This is something that I cannot control in a lot of ways, because of the fact that these are so engrained into my life that I cannot see them almost at all. Throughout my entire life I can definitely say that I have grown up in a more privileged light within society, because of the grim details that I am a Caucasian person coming from a well off family, living in very nice neighbourhoods and growing up in the most “safe” and “preppy” school communities. I am not afraid to admit this because of the fact that it completely effects how my teaching will be formed one day, as well as my day to day interactions throughout life, no matter if we want it to or not.

My goal throughout my entire teaching career is to be able to break through the barriers that these set biases have made for me, and learn to teach without or through avoiding these biases, since this is the only way I will come closer with my future students and truly become the teacher I have always hoped to become. I hope for my future classroom to be free of bias and let everyone, no matter where they come from or who they are, feel included and important, as that is the only way we will ever change the future for our children.

ECS 210 – Curriculum as Numeracy

Mathematics is something that is apart of all of our worlds and everyday lives, and something that us as human beings can understand from our earliest years. In lecture this week, many different and new ideas were introduced to me regarding mathematics in the classroom and how they should be taught when compared to how the majority of us were taught mathematics throughout our school careers, and opened my eyes to how important and evident math education is in our elementary classrooms.

When looking back at my own experiences with math education throughout my school years, I personally did not have the best experience, but definitely not the worst. Throughout elementary school I felt that I was quite strong in mathematics, and felt quite confident and actually enjoyed math to the point that I bought extra workbooks for myself to use at home around the age of eight and nine. As I approached middle school, this started to decline as topics started to become more complex an more help seemed to be needed. As I furthered into high school, this only became worse. As I entered grade nine, we spent about one month in math classes that were set up by the school, until the decided what level we all were on and went upon splitting us up based on how “gifted” we were or how much we seemed to struggle, placing me somewhere in the middle of both. Since I was not seen to be “gifted” in mathematics, I was placed with a math teacher that did not seen to care at all about how much we learned, in comparison with the first one I had, who evidently took over the “gifted” children.

When looking at this now, I definitely see where this could have been a benefit for the teachers, but it also looks like strong discrimination against those who didn’t excel in the area of mathematics. In all my other classes there were definitely other children that struggled and were not as strong as others, but a split up of students never was something that occurred. I wonder why now?

Something I have never enjoyed about mathematics in school, even in university, is the fact that it is all based on learning and regurgitating what we have heard from the professor, which as I have learned, teaches the students little to nothing. I personally find I struggle in these type of classes since learning is not truly occurring. Learning will occur when students are taught information and they precede to take that knowledge and apply it to their own work, much how we do here in Education.

ECS 210 – Curriculum as Citizenship

In our society we are taught what makes us a good citizen from a very early place, and how to act in society to fit this mold and play a respectful and contributing aspect. These standards are seen to be quite slim and made in a way that it will most definitely exclude some members of society, and not allow everyone to be seen as a “good citizen” for reasons such as poverty or disabilities. This again builds the power in society and gives it again to those who conform into this mold.

When looking back on my own grade school days, I definitely remember being taught and pushed in the way of becoming a “personally responsible” citizen, through such things as learning to help others in need, and use what we have, as I did attend a school in quite privileged conditions, and help others that are less privileged, and those who did this more became seen as “better citizens” than others who did not. When looking at this idea, and wanting to make sure all people succeed and become great citizens, where does this put students that go to lower privileged schools? How do we teach them about being the ideal citizen when they don’t have the abilities to fit this mold?

In my school, which was also quite preppy in its nature, students who never questioned teachers, or never went against the norm in any certain way, were seen as these good citizens. I think when looking at this now from an outer perspective, this really shows how much school has to do with building us to fit into the mold of our society, and never question why things are the way they are, and keep moving in a stream through life. But, although some people do go through life just like this, others will have a drive to go outside of this mold and question society, but does this make them bad citizens?

There was also a major drive in the building of the “participatory citizen” in my school community, which I personally saw in many ways. Throughout high school I was not the most involved person at my school because of my commitments to dance after school hours on almost all days of the week, which made it hard for me to get involved in school activities. If you were involved in school sports and school clubs, you were automatically seen as a better student in many ways, and a better citizen, which gave you many benefits.

I personally believe that our schools should be teaching students of all backgrounds and privileges that they can be good citizens and are just as worthy of being apart of their countries and smaller personal communities as everyone else, as this is how we will build the society of citizens that we want and need.

ECS 210 – Curriculum and Treaty Education

When living on the land that we do, we will always come across First Nations people and their perspectives within our education system, as they are our first people. But, what about in areas of our province where there is no abundant amount of Indigenous students? How do we as educators go about these topics in the right manner?

I myself grew up in a school community, elementary and high school, where I was surrounded by little to no Indigenous students, and Indigenous and Treaty education was always discussed from an outsiders point of view. This has definitely affected the way I view Indigenous education, and how little knowledge I truly have in this subject area. Students in my school did not act in such a way that they were disrespectful towards any notions regarding Treaty education, but they definitely showed their preference towards European history education much more than Treaty education, although I personally found Indigenous education very interesting and important considering the place we live.

When talking about the statement. “We are all treaty people,” we are saying that we all are living here on treaty land, so we all have a part in this agreement. This only further proves that Indigenous education must always be implemented into all of our subject areas, as we must respect the people of the land we reside on and the knowledge they have to offer us.

As future educators we must know how to properly go about teaching treaty education depending on our audience, as this will always be changing.

ECS 210 – Curriculum as Place

In this reading and lecture I found myself very much engaged in this topic, as the idea of place and how it affects the way our education is handled or interpreted is very interesting. Depending on where you live in the world, or what culture or religion you are apart of, education may look very different for you.

Here in Saskatchewan, Canada, our place is Treaty 4 land as much as it is a Canadian province. This in itself directly has an impact on how our students learn and what they learn, as well as what kinds of colonial issues we deal with as a province. Our education here in Saskatchewan is very importantly impacted by the Indigenous people of our lands in order to pay respect to them, as well as pass on their many ways of learning that we are lucky to obtain. This education that we offer to our children here in Saskatchewan would then be very different then a child growing up in another part of the world without a large abundance of Native American peoples, even though the same concepts would be present in their educational material.

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.