When reading and listening to different texts regarding Which Inuit mathemarics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it was interesting and refreshing. When watching Dr Gale Russel YouTube video on Curriculum as Numeracy she brought ups some important points and the one that I resonated with was how Inuit children are taught using their personal experiences therefore discussions that probe questions surrounding “what is going on mathematically here”? This gives students a sense of the world around them and making connections to real life situations mathematically. Loise Poirier article on teaching mathematics and the Inuit community had remarkably similar points to ponder. Poirier expresses that, “paper to pencil exercises are not based on the ‘natural’ ways of learning of Inuit children”. Instead it is based on observation of elders or listening to enigmas. One thing I found interesting was that they do not ask questions to the students they do not know the answer to. I cannot help but wonder what the reasoning for this is? Leroy Little Bear in his article Jagged Worldviews colliding had objectivity in place by physical observations and measurement. He goes on to say that “In plains Indian philosophy, certain events, patterns, cycles and happenings take place in certain places.” I cannot help but think of my own schooling and the struggles I faced in Mathematics. My strengths in school are observation and practical work. I thrive on observing and doing, I however am a product of the 80s and was taught to sit and do work in a txt book. None I can say that with full truth, none of my schooling (math) had any practical/observations methods. I taught grade 2 last year on a First Nations Reserve and realized the importance of reaching students in all different ways, tactile, observation, production, kinesthetic, we need to offer the students a variety of ways to learn. I know my math experience would have been a lot more positive if I would have had a differentiation in my learning.
Upon graduating grade 12 in 1999 I feel as though so much of my education to that point was more focused on being a personally responsible citizen. I can say that because I recall doing things like; picking up garbage around the school, being mindful of the environment – shutting lights off, not littering. We carried out food drives and donated food to the school especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. We were taught about obeying the law and rules within the school. As for Participatory Citizen and Justice oriented Citizen- I can tell you I knew who the Prime Minister was but beyond that I knew nothing about government and the effects it had on me. I knew about starving children in Africa they were shown on a commercial on TV and I always felt so bad thinking of them, however I did not know about the starving kids in my own community nor the organizations that needed volunteers for support. My take away is that yes I learnt how to be a good citizen however I knew nothing of being proactive or seek knowledge and ask questions of why, how, where, what can we……There is a difference now in the curriculum especially on social justice topics that our young people are yearning to learn more and make stands on issues that are important to them. Times have changed, children and kids have changed, social media is now a big player of awareness which can sometimes be skewed. When I think of the curriculum now and the work I have done with it as a fourth year middle years student I stew with the idea that we want to teach our students to be more critical learners and as a future teacher this becomes more of a facilitator role than a dictatorship role. The idea that curriculum wants to create more engaged citizens but combined with becoming justice orientated. I see this because during most of my classes that I have taken over the past year have had a ton of precedence on social justice topics. Every school and every city may have different view of what social justice topics are to be taught in their school, therefore curriculum as a sense of place has an essential role on what and how we are teaching our students.
In the Saskatchewan Curriculum under constructing understanding through inquiry learning it they suggest that they want to “provide students with opportunities to build knowledge, abilities and inquiry habits of mind that lead to deeper understanding of their world and human experience.” They go on to suggest that this can be achieved by using compelling questions formulated by “teachers and students, to motivate and guide inquiries into topics and issues related to curriculum content and outcomes.” I question this in some ways as this could be based on a bias?
In conclusion towards what type of citizens curriculum wants to produce is based on the sense of place, to be inquiry thinkers and to engage in social justice conversation, again loosing sight on what being a participatory citizen looks like. I am left feeling confused on why all three variations of curriculum could not be taught in all types and levels of curriculum?
Upon reading the article by Cynthia Chamber’s We are all Treaty People. I found her perspective regarding how she perceives her culture identity as something she could not connect with since she was born of Irish and Scottish descents but on Canadian soil. I appreciate this perspective as I find my own self challenging how I feel about my European descents and how my culture has faded over the generations. I cannot help but think that the first peoples of Canada (Indigenous people) must also feel this way and this is their place of origin. The purpose of teaching Treaty Ed is invaluable for all of us to understand.
Dwayne Donald also interpreted his own disconnect to his home reserve where in 1888 that land was expropriated by the Canadian Government as they did not want the reserve to get in the way of the growth of Edmonton. His father’s family being from that reserve met his mother who was a European Settler from Norweigh who grew up on that reserve land. Dwayne speaks about the two separate lives that were affected by colonization one being positive (mothers’ side) and the other more negative (fathers family losing their original reserve land). He describes it as a Conflictual story and asks how does one interpret each story? He begins to speak about curriculum and how teaching Treaty Ed has become more of an Information problem…. a Timeline of info. He believes that curriculum and pedagogy have impairments- he expresses that you will teach and interpret how you think about the relationship.
Claire Kreuger expresses the concern that is associated with the “settler ed” vs Treaty Ed she expresses that Treaty Ed is primarily education that is for the settlers of Canada and that First Nations want to feel accepted and ‘fit in’. She expresses the that the underlying curriculum of racism and colonialism and its negative affect in our classrooms and how our future Maclean’s magazine writers are our past students.
When I think of my own understanding of curriculum “we are all treaty people” is that I am on borrowed land being of white settler descent but this is still my home. I want to educate to all students in the class on the truth of our dark Canadian history. The history I learnt was from the views of European settlers with a biased view, which I feel so blinded by. “We are all treaty people” and that can mean different things to different people, and to me it is recognizing my ancestral roots and the affects of what colonialism had and still has on our classrooms today. These articles have stirred up my own connection to ancestry and my views on how I can bring in Treaty Ed properly into my classroom?
How much do we really know about policy and curriculum? Who has the ultimate say on what content goes into the curriculum? Upon reading the article Ben Levin (2008)wrote on CURRICULUM POLICY AND THE POLITICS OF WHAT SHOULD BE LEARNED IN SCHOOLS Levin (2008) defines curriculum as the official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do. As we get into the meat and potatoes of curriculum, we find that it is full of governed policies. Levine talks about any changes how small they are seeming to come down to a political decision. Levine
“Policies govern just about every aspect of education—what schooling is provided, how, to whom, in what form, by whom, with what resources, and so on.” How about the hidden curriculum? Is that something that the government thinks about in the schools and classrooms? Levine (2008) expresses that, “understanding the politics of curriculum requires an understanding of the factors that affect elected governments and especially the powerful constraints that limit both understanding of what to do and capacity to act” (p.9). Therefore, different governments will implement different policies depending what type of government they are following ex) Canadian politics will looks a whole lot different than American Politics. Levine expresses in the article that withing these politics are voting pressures and expectations which is all associated with voting and political timing. Politician also want to be voted for and re-reinstated therefore will make false promises of what they think people want to gain the votes. Voters can also be ignorant to the fact of what they are voting for which concerns me as many voters may not care about education and more on economy therefore there is a disconnect on what politicians are being voted for and what their main focus is.
After reading the Treaty Education document the connections I make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan are that Treaty Education is governed by the Federal Government. “The Ministry of Education respects the federal government’s legal, constitutional, and fiscal obligations to First Nations peoples and its primary responsibility for Métis people. As well, the Ministry of Education is committed to providing the appropriate supports and programs that reflect and affirm the unique status of First Nations and Métis peoples” (p.3). The tensions I can see arising during the making of this document is how to teach and recognizing the actual horrific truths of our true Canadian history. Going to school in the 80s I can tell you that my Canadian History is not the truths, I feel cheated and lied too. However, the importance of acknowledging Canada’s true history in Treaty Education is incredibly important to teach our students and understanding the process of what Truth and Reconciliation means.
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: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.
(2020). Retrieved 22 July 2020, from https://www.edonline.sk.ca/bbcswebdav/library/materials/english/docs/Treaty%20Education%20Outcomes%20%26%20Indicators%20-%20Feb%2021%202013.pdf
Reading Ch.2 of Kumashiro’s article titled “Preparing Teachers for Crisis” was a good example of how most teachers feel as they navigate their first years of teaching. University does not prepare us for the behavior or different learning demographics our students bring into the classroom. Kumashiro expresses in the Case study of M a student who was had challenging behavior, student M just wasn’t fit for a traditional classroom setting. M seemed to be at their best when given the option to do what interested them. There was a time when M would ask the teacher if ” they were bad today”, that hurts my heart to hear that students feel that way in the classroom on a daily basis. Society has put the students in a box determined on how they should look, act, behave in a classroom. If a student is outside of that box they are labeled and judged. The privileged students are the ones who fit in that box and Kumashiro (2019) suggests that “mainstream society often places value on certain kinds of behaviors, knowledge and skills and schools would disadvantage students by not teaching what often matters in schools and society.” Kumashiro (2019) goes onto suggest that, “there is something about the very ways we think about learning that can be oppressive.” In other words can schools and classroom look different from how it did 40 years ago? Can we learn to adpat and change with our students who are not the same kids that they were 40 years ago? Kumashiro makes a valid point, “was this not the view of learning upon which “learning standard” were based mainly that we identify what knowledge and skills we want students to learn and afterwards we asses whether or not students can demonstrate that they indeed learning such things.” This is what we call “end game” . Giving students the autonomy over their learning and demonstrating what they have learnt, keeping them engaged and interested?
Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI
The problem with Common Sense – (From Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI).
My interpretation to Kumashiro ‘commonsense’ definition is, if we get stuck in our ways and do not leave room for change and growth commonsense goes out the window. It is important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’ because our learning and teaching can become too predictable, which can take the purpose and effectiveness away from our teaching and learning. The different types of curriculum model Kumashiro ecountered in Nepal was lecture-practice-exam vs American teaching more lecture and memorization.
The students in Nepal focus their learning on the main four disciplines of educations, social studies, English language/literature, Mathematic and natural science. They structure their classrooms according to levels of intelligence, they share resources and and have a very structured disciplined manor of teaching. They tend to focus more on the 3 r’s reading, writing and arithmetics, their view is that any other forms of teachings are a distraction to what should be taught. This takes away from students being able to think for themselves and makes the students views similar which conforms their thinking.
The Canadian curriculum has similarities to those of Nepal (the 3 r’s), the differences are we focus on 4 different strands of learning in our curriculum- 1) Develop Thinking 2) Develop Identity and Interdependence 3) Develop Literacies 4) Develop Social Responsibility. The drawbacks to our commonsense model is perhaps we do loose a bit of the essential learning day to day in the classroom. However teaching our students in my opinion to be critical thinkers and decision makers is a huge part of learning in todays society.
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