Category Archives: ECS 210 Blogs

Final thoughts..

Throughout this class we have been challenged to dig deep and challenge our common sense knowledge of what curriculum really means. I’ve created this video to showcase how my knowledge of Curriculum has evolved throughout these past four months.

Math Trauma

The thought of going to university always scared me. I knew whatever I ended up taking I would inevitably have to take a math class maybe even more than one. I have Math Trauma, anxiety that  I didn’t know was a real thing until I took my first university math class. From the very first day of that math class, I automatically would get frustrated and shut down trying to relearn even the basics. I shed a few tears at home and would express my inability to learn math to my partner. He would sit down and try to explain things to me from a different perspective and I would always just shut down. It took alot of patients and deep breaths for me to be able to sit down and actually learn the math that is required of me to become a teacher but once I got over the anxiety it became easier. Growing up math was never my strong suit, adding and subtracting sure, but X+Y=C mumbo jumbo and multiplication was always something I HATED. Being told to recite the times tables quickly from memory as a young child was very oppressive to me, and something I still can’t do at the drop of a hat. I sat at the dinner table many nights growing up crying over my math homework because I didn’t understand what was being asked of me. My parents tried to help but it was always something  I struggled with the concept of different aspects, it didn’t always make sense in my mind. There was always only one correct way of doing things, and no other way was acceptable even if there happened to be other ways to get to the same answer. 

I think what  Gale talks about in her lecture about making math relatable is a great way to help students of all ages learn math in ways that make sense to the individual instead of math as something academic cold and inflexible. We use fractions and division in our lives daily and it’s a great way to incorporate math into the curriculum without forcing mandatory worksheets and tests as the only way to learn math. One of the biggest Eurocentric ideas about math is that math needs to be written down in the tradition number sense that 12345… ect are universal and mean the same thing to everyone no matter where you live and this just is not true. Especially when we think about the Inuit people and their meanings of words and numbers and how different numbers also have different meanings.. Sometimes there isn’t even a  Inuit translation that would equate to the Eurocentric mathematical definition. Some numbers have means that serve a purpose that pertains to the lives of the Inuit. Which does not mean that the Inuit people are any less of a mathematician than the rest of the world they just have their own ways of doing it that is just as correct as the way other people do it.

Looking beyond the lense

Within my schooling I was taught to view the world with a view that was very eurocentric. We never talked about other cultures, and I don’t remember there being any representation within any of the books we talked about. I think one of the best things we can do to unlearn these biases is to acknowledge that we have them and educate ourselves in areas that we might not know about. Acknowledging that we don’t have to know all the answers and that there is more than one correct answer sometimes is a great start to undoing our common sense. 

Growing up I can’t really remember any single stories from my childhood that really affected me the way that Chimananda talked about it. But then again this is due to the white privilege I behold. Even though I am part Cree my skin is white and my eyes are blue. I grew up in a white community and mostly white school. My mom taught me about my Indigenous culture but mostly I grew up feeling white. I once thought that my ability to braid was because I was part Cree, and Indigenous people wore their hair in braids a lot. I wonder if I thought this because it was one of those single stories I learned about as a child. The only Indigenous representation I had as a child was Pocahontas and she wore her hair in a braid. There were no books read to me or supplied to me to read about being part Cree and part white, that part of my identity was never embraced. As educators it’s our job to make sure students are feeling represented.

Personally Responsible Citizen

I finished high school 12 plus years ago, and I can relate to the teachings of the “ Personally Responsible Citizen” in high school every year had a mandatory amount of volunteer hours to help us become a responsible member of the community, i still to this day donate blood when I can and give to my food bank. We learned to honor our country by standing and singing O Canada every day followed by the Lord’s Prayer. One time in Elementary school our teacher didn’t think we respected the anthem enough because we never stood at attention well enough and didn’t sing loudly enough so we recited it again and again continually standing for what felt like an eternity until the teacher thought we learned enough respect for what it stood for and why we were supposed to sing it with pride each day. Also in Elementary school we participated in multiple fundraising activities and learned how to be a good Catholic. It taught us to be good responsible citizens, but it never taught us to question things or wonder why we were only fundraising for things and didn’t actually try to change anything. As Joel says in this Video “ Everyone Wants kids to know the basics but also how it links to the real meaning in community and society” This is how we need to be thinking when we are teaching students to be Citizens. I do however think it’s naive to ever think that it’s possible not to teach about being a good citizen within the classroom. When we teach we teach students from a very young age to take turns, share and be nice to your other classmates, when they get older we start expecting them to follow classroom rules, respect the teacher and get their work done. These are all aspects of creating The personally Responsible Citizen. The Grade 1 Social Studies Curriculum, states it right in the curriculum, “ Social studies provides students with opportunities to make connections between their own and others’ lives, communities, cultures, and environments, and to take action in relevant and meaningful ways that give students a sense of accomplishment and a belief that they can make a difference.” we are supposed to be teaching our students how to make a difference and become more than just a personally responsible citizen.

Treaty Education

For me I find this a tough subject to write about but one I can’t wait to learn more about so I can teach students and adults about the importance of Treaty Ed. I am part cree, I am from Pasqua First Nations, but I am also a Ukranian White settler as well. I grew up going to school before Treaty Ed was incorporated into the curriculum. As a Cree person I decided to do a presentation on First Nations people in elementary school. It was for a Heritage Fair and I wanted to do a presentation on my heritage. So myself and a couple of friends got together and researched First Nations people from books available in the school. We asked my mom to make bannock and we created a diorama on how first nations people used to live. Most of our information was from european history, and nothing from an indiginous perspective. Other than maybe whatever my mom helped us with. I knew about treaties growing up,  but I didn’t know what they meant or that Treaty 4 was bigger than just FortQuapple. Most of my moms side of my family lives in Fortquapple and I grew up going to the powwow and participating in Treaty 4 activities. I got my $5 a couple of times but I never knew the significance of any of this until I started my University Education at the age of 30. Which is almost embarrassing to say, but I think it shows the importance of why teaching Treaty Ed is so important. 

In my elementary school growing up there was one other girl for a couple of years and then myself for the only indiginous representation within the school. I was the “brownest person” in my class and I’m not even that brown, I have blue eyes and look like I just got back from a beach vacation all year but all my classmates knew that I was Cree. So growing up in a predominately White school I can see how Treaty Ed is important, I grew up not knowing anything about Indiginous culture other than what my Family had taught me.  Fellow classmates, only learned about perpetuated stereotypes/ racism from family members and media and what we did learn in school was European History. So many times in my life I heard about how Indiginous people need to “ just need to get over it. It was along time ago, It shouldn’t matter anymore” when it came to indiginous people getting “handouts” from the government and that it’s not fair. This is why Learning about Treaty Education and realizing that the land wasn’t given away it was meant to be shared, and how we all need to honour the treaties. And in order to Teach about Treaty Ed and Indiginous Education  “We must work backwards to see how we can proceed forwards.” in order to create a more empathetic population of people who will know that we can’t just “get over things” we have to be able to teach the history of Indiginous people and the treaties and residential schools.

Being able to incorporate Treaty Ed also helps give students like me an identity, and a deeper understanding of the history behind the treaties and what they stand for, and that they go beyond just one town within Saskatchewan. 

We are all treaty people

According to the Levin article we can see that curriculum is influenced by many people. Sometimes its influenced by a certain person in politics since they have the power to persuade other people to agree with them in order to get what they believe is a necessary part of the curriculum. Other times politicians have to make choices and policy based on what people belive is true rather than what is true, as to not upset the public. To me its surprising that the minister of education can be given so much power to make decisions on what is the most important issues are when it comes to everyone’s education. When they wrote about how the  minister of education went to government with two issues they said “you can have one of your issues fixed but not both and you can choose which one” it makes it seem like the government doesn’t really care, that they have more pressing issues. When in fact education is one of the most important issues.

After Reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, I got the impression that incorporating Treaty education was something that the government decided we needed in order to make a mends so to speak.The document to me sounds fairly generic, with a very basic view

 I think it wasn’t something that was organically introduced,it seems like more of one of those pressing issues that gets okay-ed to keep the voters happy.  While I do think that teaching about Treaties and Indigenous people is very important, I think with Treaties and Indigenous education it needs to be something were knowledgeable and passionate about to teach it in a meaningful way instead of in a forced manner, where all were doing is checking the boxes. To teach about what it means to be treaty people we need to understand what it actually means to be a treaty person.

Learning from Place.

 The culture of the Albany First Nations people along with other nations have lost so much of their traditions because of colonization the fear of losing everything was definitely felt by the Elders of the Nation.  After reading the article we can see how the First Nations people are able to share the information they thought would be lost for ever with their youth. Through this program, the youth were encouraged to seek information, and work collaboratively with the people of the community. By doing this we can see how the Albany nation are able to reinhabit the river and bring back all of its names the river once had. By creating these experiences and sharing this information with the youth, the culture and information they once thought would be lost can be learned again and continued to be shared for more generations. 

One way to adapt these teachings into my own teaching would be to reach out to Elders in the area and ask questions about the history of the land and any cultural significance it could have. I would then ask the Elders to join us in the classroom and outside to teach my students about their way of life. I think another important thing would be to bring the Cree language into the classroom even if it’s just small phrases or words. I would also make sure to acknowledge that we are learning on treaty for territory. I think teaching about and honoring the First Nations culture in a respectful way is a great starting place.

Week 4- The “Good” Student

To be a good student means that the student learns in the particular way the teacher teaches the information the teacher needs to get across. The student also does not question what the teacher says but instead absorbs the information willingly. Or as They state in chapter 2

“ A good student is one that learns the required material and does what is required to show that they have learned it efficiently.”

 The only one who really benefits from this common sense style of teaching are the students who have proficiently been able to adapt to these methods of teaching are the ones who will be privileged by this common sense way of teaching students. This usually includes students who have already been taught by this method. The students who question what they are learning or have difficulty learning in this structured manner, tend to dislike school and become seen as the problem students. When teachers fall into this Common sense way of teaching it makes it impossible for the teacher to understand why the student is failing or misbehaving.

Week 3- Writing about Sexuality in the classroom

For Assignment one, I’ve decided to write about Jen Gilbert and their theory on sexuality in the classroom. Jen has actually written an entire book about her experiences and thoughts on the subject, the book is called Sexuality in School:The limits of education

For my essay I base most of my information from Chaper 5 which really dives deep into the discussion about where sexuality belongs in the classroom, outside of just sex-ed. I find it interesting how Jen ties in her own life experiences into her writing. One of the quotes from her that I found thought provoking was this “In opening the doors of education to what is foreign, we are also making space for what is foreign or strange in the self” talking about LGBTQ  and sexuality in the classroom is something that is not always a comfortable subject and not something I myself don’t know much about as I am a cisgender heterosexual. But that does not mean that I shouldn’t be educating myself by having deeper discussions to become less ignorant about sexuality different than my own. By talking about more than just the hereto normative we can help students identify  with themselves instead of trying to make all students identify with the normative narrative that usually surrounds us. 

While the Saskatchewan  government is making strides by providing  materials for educators such as Deepening the Discussion: Gender and Sexual Diversity. It’s only a start,we need to talk about sexuality  and the fluidity around it and embrace it instead of shying away and changing the subject when children ask questions. If we are not able to provide information and feel comfortable  talking about sexuality, our students are going to learn about it in other forms that might not be more harmful. 

For my next steps towards writing my essay I plan on researching the Saskatchewan Health curriculum for a couple of grades to see what is talked about in health class. I will also look for other scholars who agree or disagree with what Jen Gilbert Has to say, I think Lee Airton might have a slightly different view and it might be neat to compare what they both have to say.

Week 2 Tyler Rational

One of the first questions in the Tyler Rational is “What educational purposes should the school seek to obtain?”  I can relate this very much to my highschool experience, going to Catholic highschool one of the main purposes were to instill the Catholic faith into each and every student. First off they did this by requiring the lord’s prayer at the beginning of each day. Also they made it mandatory that each student who wanted to graduate from their institution be forced to take Christian Ethics, a class on the Catholic religion that was required for all four years. While making us take these classes we were assigned homework and then given tests on it to make sure we were in fact learning about it. 

The Tyler Rationale has limits because it does not give the students a choice in what they want to learn or how they go about learning it or as the article states “ The learners end up with little to no voice”. It becomes a cookie cutter way of learning, that ends up not working for most students. As for the Christian Ethics class forced upon us in highschool it was very much text book based and any one questioning what it said was shut down and not allowed to express their opinions. 

While the Tyler rationale has it flaws it’s also beneficial in helping provide teachers with a guideline on what should be taught. As the article states “providing a clear notion of outcome so that content and method can be organized and the results evaluated.” By having what is supposed to be taught in a well organized manner and being able to see the results of what we are teaching, helps us as teachers rethink the way we are teaching and provide new methods in order to get the information across in a more efficient manner.