Week Three: Curriculum in Saskatchewan

According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented?

According to the Levin article, the government has a great influence on the development and implementation of curricula. Unfortunately, the teachers have minimal say. Considering most of the population has at one point in their lives attended school, the government receives an overwhelming amount of opinion from the public. Like other policies that the government establishes, curriculum is designed in the same manner – the decisions that are made are the ones that will get the politicians re-elected and are not necessarily based on facts or on what is best.

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

This reading discusses a perspective that is new to me. It was interesting to learn about the priorities the government has. For example, the government is more interested in having the population like them so that they can be re-elected (Levin, 2007). I personally believe that the government should know and do what is best for the province and citizens. It is their job to be studying what works and what does not work. I appreciate that they try to listen to the population; however, the population does not always see the bigger picture.

Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

While reading Levin’s article, I was surprised to learn how little of an impact teachers have in the decision-making regarding curriculum. I do not believe that this should be the case considering they know the children best. According to Levin (2007), this is the way it is done because the decisions have more to do with politics than they do with the child’s learning. 

After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan?

I found that Treaty Education article written by the province has very different curriculum goals from the Levin article. For example, the Levin article is more concerned with ensuring students know everything they need to know to get into university. The Treaty Education in Saskatchewan article is more concerned with ensuring students know everything they need to know to be a decent human being. What I mean is, the Treaty Education in Saskatchewan article would like students to understand the history, relationships, etc and how they affect humans today, while recognizing what efforts can be made to continue the Truth and Reconciliation process. It is a much more personal curriculum. The government, as discussed in the Levin article, is more focused on “core” classes. They prioritize one’s ability to do calculations and to write well than they prioritize human decency.

What tensions might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

I imagine that some of the tensions were similar to the tensions we see in society today.  For example, unfortunately, many people get tired of hearing about the changes that need to happen and about Truth and Reconciliation. Whereas, understandably, First Nations people do not believe enough is being done – which is seen similarly right now in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Articles:

Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Available on-line from: https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf

Saskatchewan Treaty Education Document (pages 1-4). https://www.edonline.sk.ca/bbcswebdav/library/materials/english/docs/Treaty%20Education%20Outcomes%20%26%20Indicators%20-%20Feb%2021%202013.pdf

3 thoughts on “Week Three: Curriculum in Saskatchewan

  1. Hi Celina
    Thank you for your thoughts – I agree with you – it is disrupting that teachers do not have as much say as they should with regards to curriculum – especially considering they are the ones who have to adapt and change depending on the students needs within the classroom.

    I have heard that often from students regarding First Nations and Treaty Education, that they are tired of listening to it and having to learn it. I find that sad. I think that is why teachers need to discover a different approach and come at the Treaty Education differently so that it is better accepted.

    Tracy

    • Hi Tracy!

      Thank you for your response! I, unfortunately, have felt the way many students have felt regarding learning about Treaty Education. I remember repeatedly being told about the history, but never been taught why we were learning it. Perhaps if our teachers taught us how it is relevant today and why treaties need to be reviewed frequently, I would have understood the importance. I hope that when I am a teacher, I am able to do that. I also think it would be more effective to help students gain an appreciation for Indigenous cultures and begin to recognize how much we have lost by not respecting their culture. One way to do this would be to show students all of the knowledge that Elders and the land have, rather than just reading textbooks. Incorporating field trips and more hands on learning would be an asset as it would make learning fun and the information more memorable and relevant. There is so much wisdom the Elders and land have to teach us, for example, which plants are edible and which are medicinal.

      What approaches would you be interested in teaching to your students? What was your personal experience like?

      Celina

  2. Great post Celina!

    I am not sure about younger kids, but I would have to agree that some older individuals have expressed anger or a bitter attitude toward Treaty education. I have noticed this through a lot of adults, most of which aren’t even involved in the educational process and they still feel that type of way towards it. With adults such as this, I can only imagine how some kids are being brought up thinking as well. Have you ever thought about how you might approach parents and their issues with Treaty education?

    I appreciate your comments on the Government, I too feel that it should consist of those that have the best interest in mind when it comes to those residing in Canada. It is difficult to even really know who you are dealing with when it comes to the government honestly, are they supporting something because they believe in it or are they just trying to heighten their popularity? I have a feeling it may be the second option more times than not. With that being said, it is a scary thought to have them in control of all of our decisions and documents as important as our curriculum.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Brittany

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