About Miss Remlinger

Hello! My name is Celina Remlinger and I am studying Art Education at the University of Regina. I believe the creative arts are one of the most beneficial ways to grow as an individual, no matter the age. My concentration is in Visual Arts, however, I teach dance at various studios across Saskatchewan.

Summary of Learning


One day, I hope to be an art teacher. That is the reason that I am taking ECS 210. I dream of helping children learn to reflect, communicate, and connect with themselves and others through art. Doctor Laura JJ Dessauer once said, “Art therapy allows for processing and externalization of emotions, explorations of choices, and reflection on conflicts.” I love art because it gives me a chance to reflect and express myself. This class has helped me realize how important that really is. Today, however, I will go out of my comfort zone to try to communicate through audio storytelling instead.


I drew a pathway to represent the journey of growth and self-discovery that teachers take as they endeavor to become the best educators that they can be.


Six short weeks ago, around the beginning of July, I began taking a class about Curriculum as a Cultural and Social Practice. But, in the event that someone asked me what the class I am taking was about, I would simply reply “curriculum” because deep down, I was unsure what Curriculum as a Cultural and Social Practice entirely entailed. 

I remember on the first day, back in July, we were asked to brainstorm, “What is curriculum?”  “A plan or guideline that a class is expected to follow,” was my answer. It took me by surprise when I learned that there were many types of curriculum. I was especially intrigued by the concept of a hidden curriculum. Hidden curriculums are not always hidden. Often, they are obvious, but the reason they go unnoticed is because they have been normalized. After learning this, I first identified a hidden curriculum in my own childhood. I have a very traditional father, and taking this class helped me pinpoint many hidden curriculums that have been in place throughout my childhood. Fortunately, my mother was able to teach us that those agendas were not okay. For example, for the first 11 years of my life, my siblings and I were not allowed to speak when an adult male was in the room. No, we were never told this directly. But we were told to “Be quiet; Grandpa is talking” or shushed when he entered the room. I think a major issue with hidden curriculums is that children are expected to behave a certain way without understanding the reason why. Children learn to accept standards such as that tables are to be moved by “strong boys” and that learning must be done sitting, for standing at your desk is unacceptable. Depending on the situation, there may be a good reason behind these rules, however, there may not be. These hidden curriculums shape children’s minds and who they become when they grow up. 

Now that these six weeks have passed, my view on the definition of curriculum has changed drastically. Yes, I still believe a curriculum can be a guideline. But now, I also know that curriculum comes in many forms and that curriculum is never neutral. 

The fact that curriculum is never neutral was repeated often throughout this course. The curriculum documents are never neutral, meaning, the creators of the documents build the document with their biases or their government’s biases. Secondly, the teachers who teach the curriculum are never neutral either. I think that as a teacher, it is a little more difficult to remain neutral. After all, most teachers want the best for their students and the lens that they teach through is what the teacher believes is the best. It is difficult, although important, to recognize the lens and question if it is really the right one to be using. As teachers, it is our job to understand that we have a lot left to learn ourselves and that we may be wrong with our current understandings.

When the day comes that I am a teacher, I will have to sit or stand at my desk and decide what I will do with the curriculum document that faces me. Before I begin reading and planning, I will take some time to identify my biases and how my biases will affect how I view the curriculum. Secondly, I will try my best to set my biases aside and then view the curriculum document with a clear lens, keeping each and every one of my students in mind. Identifying my biases is not a one time activity. Not just every time I receive a document, but day after day, I must recognize the biases that I am holding within. On my journey to becoming a teacher, I will revisit this process frequently. One of my main concerns of teaching is integrating Treaty Education within the curriculum. I do not want my students to just listen about Treaty Education, but I want them to live it. I believe that some of the best learning is done through experiences, such as time spent on the land, listening to stories, and building relationships. I hope I can make that happen in my classroom. I know how important it is, so I  am also worried that I will not be able to do it justice. Fortunately, incorporating Treaty Education into our classroom is a skill we practiced during this class. There are so many exciting things to learn about each and every culture, it is almost overwhelming. To deal with this, I will set small goals and build from there. In this way, I will become a facilitator – someone who can take curriculum and use it as a tool to build life-long learners.

Throughout ECS 210, I experienced cognitive dissonance when we learned about the making of the curriculum documents. I was surprised to learn that politicians have a big influence on curriculum. Before, I used to think that there were professionals, who perhaps had a Doctorate in Education, that created the curriculums. I imagined that they spent time researching and reflecting on what works and what does not work in the actual school setting. Too often, teachers are given a curriculum that does not fit with the reality of the classroom. We see this today with school starting back up mid-pandemic. Children are expected to wear masks and stay six feet apart. This is going to be nearly impossible. I was also very disappointed to realize how many of the politician’s decisions were based on what would get them re-elected and not necessarily based on what is best for the people. I believe that the bigger decisions should be made by professionals who have done research, taken and analyzed statistics, had practical experience, and have reflected on the past. 

I am happy to be entering the world of education at a time when people realize change is needed. Slowly, but surely, we work towards developing more appropriate ways of teaching and knowing.


Week 6

Part 1 (Numeracy): Using Gale’s lecture, Poirier’s article, and Bear’s article, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it.

Inuit mathematics and Eurocentric mathematics have opposing approaches to learning. Each approach is unique and has an important place in learning mathematics. 

Firstly, the Eurocentric approach to learning math is very objective and linear. What this means is that learning is very progressive; there is an order in which things are learned. Inuit mathematics challenges this. Inuit mathematics is relationship-based. The Inuit believe that everything works together and everything is animate, including math (Bear 2000). Bear (2000) explains that Inuit mathematics is “cyclical,” meaning, instead of learning things linearly, patterns are studied to understand topics on a deeper level. Much like the rest of Inuit culture, math is looked at in relation to the bigger picture. 

Secondly, the Eurocentric approach focuses on the written form. Worksheets, formulas, and handwritten practices are used frequently. Inuit mathematics challenges this approach by teaching orally. Poirier (2007) reminds us that Inuit culture teaches through storytelling and life experience. Inuits have a strong sense of spatial awareness since they spend so much time outdoors. Therefore, Eurocentric mathematics is more 2D, while Inuit mathematics is more 3D. 

Thirdly, the Eurocentric approach teaches mathematics as “knowledge for the sake of knowledge.” Inuit mathematics challenges this by approaching “knowledge for the good of all” (Bear, 2000). They aim for their knowledge to help others and not just be theoretical. 

Part 2 (Literacy): Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered? What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

Throughout school, I had heard many of the same single stories that Chimamanda talked about. Looking back, the majority of the novels we read in school were about children who looked like us. Then, in the occurrences where that was not the case, they were novels that shared the hardships about that country. As a rural community, we were also taught about how lucky we were to be from the countryside, and that city kids were lazy and ate MacDonalds all day. I remember in Grade 7, being warned by our homeroom teacher to be careful of all the bad people in the city when we set out to University. Fortunately, since then, I have been able to travel and meet many people from all across the world. Many of the girls I had met were just like me, except bilingual – which I was jealous of. Unfortunately, there are still biases I bring to the classroom. I am grateful for the safety and security I have experienced in Saskatchewan, and I often feel pity for those that have not experienced this. I was raised in my schooling to have a very white, colonialist, traditionalist, and European bias. To unlearn these and work against these biases, it is important to read books from other cultures, to study movies made in other countries, to travel, and to build friendships with people all over. There is still so much for me to learn and I am definitely going to focus on strengthening other lenses so that I am able to teach my future students to not have single stories.

References

Bear, L. L. (2000). Jagged worldviews colliding. In M. Batiste (Ed.), Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision (pp. 77-85). UBC Press.

Poirier, L. (2007). Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community, Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(1), p. 53-67.

Week Five

What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus? 

From my experience throughout Kindergarten to Grade 12, I would say that the Personally Responsible concept of citizenship was the focus. The Personally Responsible Citizen’s role in society is to help others, be responsible for themselves and their actions, and to abide by government laws. In my experience at school, there were definitely set standards of how we were expected to behave. One of the examples in this week’s article suggests that a personally responsible citizen would “pick up litter.” The school that I attended had a population of fewer than 100 students from K-12. Our community had a population of about 360 people. Every year on World Environment Day, the town would be divided up into sections for each grade of the school. We would all go out together to pick litter, doing our part as a citizen in the community. 

Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship. 

The Personally Responsible citizen approach to the curriculum taught us how to take responsibility and care for ourselves and our community. We all wanted to have a good reputation through the eyes of the older community members. One downfall of this approach is that we were not pushed to be better. Maintaining the Status Quo was enough. We were not encouraged to be creative regarding how we could make the world a better place. Unfortunately, this is acceptable in our community because nobody wants to be uncomfortable here. 

What does the approach we take to citizenship instruction in any given place tell us about that place? About what the curriculum makers value? About what kinds of citizens they want to produce?

The approach we take to citizenship instruction in a place tells us the values and goals that the given place has. When the Personally Responsible citizen is produced, they are expected to take care of themselves and those around them. They clean up after themself and simply abide by the “common sense” laws established in their community. A Personally Responsible citizen has a good reputation. The Participatory citizen wants to make a difference in their community. Their schools have produced citizens who are capable of planning things for themselves. The schools that produce Justice-Oriented citizens could make the greatest positive change in our society. These members challenge themselves to figure out the source of a problem. Perhaps they will figure out what would actually help the community or perhaps a more effective method in doing so. Regardless of the citizen that is produced, I believe they are trying their best. If a school could produce citizens of all three types, they could all work together to make their society strong.

Week Four: Building Curriculum

Hello!

Thank you for your email. First of all, you are doing well taking the first step, seeing the importance of Treaty Education and wanting to integrate it into your classroom. I understand it is difficult to teach a perspective that has not only been rejected by the students, but their other teachers/mentors as well. First, start by trying to capture their attention. Surprise them with facts or share stories that leave them interested in the topic. I believe one of the best ways to approach this topic would be by emphasizing the purpose and relevance of Treaty Education. Your students do not understand why or how it affects them, but it is our job to persevere! 

There are many purposes of teaching Treaty Education. You probably already have many ideas. Treaty Education must be taught and implemented in the curriculum because it affects everyone – whether they are Indigenous or not. In reality, “We are  all treaty people.” We are all living in this country together and must find harmony. Treaties bind us together. Chambers (2012) explains that, “The treaties certainly were, and continue to be, an invitation – an invitation to meet again: same time, same place, next year.” Without revisiting the discussion time and time again, people will stop taking responsibility for one another. As we live in this country together, it is so important to constantly be listening to each other’s perspectives and stories. The Indigenous People have many Ways of Knowing and understand the land differently in a much different way than your students appear to have. Your students will one day be the decision-makers in this country and so it is extremely important that they see the value in learning these other perspectives. Donald (2012) explains, “The past occurs simultaneously in the present, and deeply influences how we imagine the future.”  Together, we can all find and form the truth. 

Again, thank you for your email. I hope this helps.

Celina

References

Chambers C. (2012) “We are all treaty people”: The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies. In: Ng-A-Fook N., Rottmann J. (eds) Reconsidering Canadian Curriculum Studies. Curriculum Studies Worldwide. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137008978_2


Donald D. (2012) Forts, Curriculum, and Ethical Relationality. In: Ng-A-Fook N., Rottmann J. (eds) Reconsidering Canadian Curriculum Studies. Curriculum Studies Worldwide. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137008978_3

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

Week Two: History of Curriculum

  1. What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?

According to commonsense, a “good” student meets the teachers’ expectations and behaves appropriately according to the teacher’s or society’s set standards.  A few of these expectations and standards include following directions, sitting quietly (which represents listening), getting along with others, and completing homework as the teacher assigns on time. 


2. Which students are privileged by this definition of the “good” student?

Students which are privileged by this definition of the good student are those that are able to meet the expectations. They have been raised in stable homes that have provided for their basic needs, get enough sleep, have nutritious meals, have healthy outlets for their energy, and have supportive people who listen to them.  On top of that, they have been trained to do what they are told, such as to sit quietly in desks for long periods of the day and to respect authority. The good student has been accustomed to telling the teacher what they want to hear instead of pushing boundaries and thinking outside of the box. The “good” student, probably does not have obvious mental health or behavioral issues, any exceptionalities such as ADD or challenges learning. They probably come from a culture that has very similar values and expectations regarding learning as the school does. Personally, I would have been considered privileged and defined as “a good student”. However, part of the reason I was considered this was because I was too shy to bring attention to myself as well as scared of possibly be told my ideas were wrong. 

3. How is the “good” student shaped by historical factors?

Painting (1886) shares a lot about the history of education. Unfortunately, it was common historically that education was mostly only offered to a select type of people – men and the upper-class. Education was meant to train people to fit into society’s standards so that they could contribute to the economy. In some cases, the people were trained so they could work effectively as “a good employee” in the factory industry. Painting (1886) describes the ideal qualities to be “industrious”, “economical”, “polite”, “kind”, “honor their parents”, “respect those in authority”, and “patience”. People were not educated to become who they want to be, instead they were brainwashed to fit into society. I do believe respecting authority is important, but only if and when authority can be trusted and has earned the respect they demand. 

Week One: What is Curriculum?

  1. How does Kumashiro define common sense?

In Kumashiro’s article, The Problem of Common Sense, Kumashiro defines common sense as, “what everyone should know.” It is how people in society live. Common sense is what someone assumes is the “right thing” to do based on what is normal around them. In Kumashiro’s teaching experience in Nepal, he began to understand how common sense varied from place to place because of the differences he saw between his culture and the culture of Nepal when he was part of the Peace Corps. For example, Kumashiro shared an experience he had when he cooked meals. He enjoyed cooking “American” meals and often got made fun of for “not knowing how to cook,” since the people from Nepal never strayed from rice, lentils, and vegetables. He also learned that it is not “normal” to eat three meals a day, but instead to eat once in the morning, once in the evening, and to have tea midday. Common sense is what is considered the normal way to live in one’s own community. 

2. Why is it so important to pay attention to common sense?

It is important to pay close attention to common sense because it is not necessarily the “right thing,” even if it has been done that way for years. Actions and beliefs sometimes need to be questioned and altered appropriately. Not every situation deserves the same answer and every person learns differently. Therefore, teachers that spend time with children need to recognize that children are all at a different point in their lives and respond to things differently. In addition, with the many different cultures in our world, there is a vast variety of “common sense” adhering to one’s culture. When we blend and accept each other’s culture, we need to respect their “common” knowledge. If a teacher had an attitude that something is common sense and should not be questioned or should be obvious, it might prevent them from helping a student who is having trouble with it or keep the student from asking questions. Teachers need to remember that there are no stupid questions and that “common sense” is not always as obvious as it seems. On a side note, if something that is “common sense” no longer benefits the changing world, it needs to be reconsidered whether or not people should accept it. 

3. What type(s) of curriculum model did Kumashiro encounter in Nepal?

In Nepal, Kumashiro encountered formal education in the mode of ‘product’. Until last week’s ECS 210 lecture, I identified curriculum as a standard guide that dictates the learning that must take place in a timely manner. Now I understand that it can have more than one definition. The curriculum model “product” is a theory adhered to by Franklin Bobbitt and Ralph W. Tyler (Smith 2000). I understand Bobbitt and Tyler’s theory to represent a method of teaching which focuses on the official outcome and goals for the student’s learning. The end result aims to have the students equipped for life. It tries to shove information into students’ brains so that they can take an exam that determines one’s ‘smartness’; whether or not they understand the material and can apply it later in life is not particularly relevant. The students in Nepal were accustomed to the “lecture-practice-exam approach” (Kumashiro, 2009). They were worried that how Kumashiro was teaching them, they would not be properly prepared for their standardized exams. They did not want to waste time in the classroom on anything that was not in the textbook. It was all predetermined and did not encourage discussion or individual thought. Smith’s (2000) article explains that curriculum as a product attempts to prepare their students for the future. They want to give them everything they need to succeed. Although this is a nice notion, it may be lacking some beneficial qualities and overlook some important skills. 

4. What type(s) of curriculum model is the “commonsense” model in our Canadian school system? What might be the benefits and drawbacks to this model?

The method of implementation of the curriculum model in our Canadian school system varies from class to class, school to school, teacher to teacher, as well as urban environments to rural environments. Considering I am no longer in an elementary or high school, I can only comment on my own experience and I cannot speak about the current curriculum. Similarly to the education in Nepal, many classes in my Canadian school experience used the common sense model of “Product”. At the time, although I never enjoyed the curriculum, I accepted that it was simply the way school was and that there were no other alternatives. Smith (2000) shares that the Product model was to “prepare students for life”. Although this sounds ideal, what the curriculum has in mind to prepare students with does not suit everyone. There are now vast options for what one can do with their life. For example, a background in math and science is good for someone that wants to be an engineer but does not prepare a person for a career as a Mental Health Advocate or an artist. Another drawback to the Product model is that not every student learns the same way. The learning process and exams may not be inclusive of everyone’s learning style. For example, as a visual and kinesthetic learner, I found that throughout my school experience, I would have to go home every day and re-teach myself to further understand and find ways to relate to what had been taught at school. In my experience, a benefit to the Product model was the organization of the material and the set deadlines. I found it reassuring to know that I was on the right track to complete the required tasks on time. It also helped me finish projects that otherwise I would not be interested in learning about. Although I was not interested, I still learned how to accomplish work that I did not want to do as well as come across knowledge that I never would have learned otherwise. These extra assets are actually part of the Canadian school system’s “Hidden Curriculum”. 

The Hidden Curriculum, in my Canadian school experience, had a big impact on who I am as a person today, negatively and positively. Learning how to do things I did not want to do and excelling at them are some positives. A friend at school once inspired me to do everything I do with passion and pride, even if it is not enjoyable.  Smith (2000) shared a positive example of the Hidden Curriculum which I found extremely beneficial – bells. Having bells (or “alarms”) taught me effective time management. It helped me learn how to portion my day and to include “brain breaks”. However, that positive example can also be seen as a negative example. Sometimes, it would be nice to do what works best for one’s learning style and have longer (or shorter) class times. A negative impact that Hidden Curriculum had on me was the amount of competition in the classroom. We were constantly getting compared and graded. I felt too much pressure to achieve the top marks and developed low self-esteem, which decreased the quality of my work and my confidence in myself. Regardless, as a result of my education experience, I have ended up pursuing the life path as an ‘educator’ and I am looking forward to all that I will learn!

References

Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI

Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000) ‘Curriculum theory and practice’ the encyclopaedia of informal education, www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm.