Learning From a Place

This week we were given an article by Jean-Paul Restoule, called “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing,” is about showing the ways that cree students connect to the land and there culture. This child are going on a 10 day river trip with adults and elders, and as they travel up the river they will learn about there people connection to the land and how important it is to them. This story show us examples of decolonization and reinhabitation, and it is allowing them to have a chance to reconnect with the lands. This trip helps to bring back things that were lost in the process of colonization, like the connection with land, the value of their knowledge, and the connection between generations. Both the children and the elders learned from each the different perspectives they have, and how they can be a lined. “The river trip helped members of the community share linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographical knowledge” (page 81).

In the future I hope to be bring these ideas of decolonization and reinhabitation in to the classroom by have an educational environment, these subjects are really important to be taught in schools, but it is often taught in the same ways with no real change to the system. New ways of teaching such as recognizing treaty lands and that we are all treaty people, having speakers come into classrooms so students can see the real effects. It all depends on the community you are teaching in, on how you bring these new ways of learning, and how you can have students understand the actions, and how they can change it, decolonization is not something that will happen overnight, it is going to take many more years, and we have a long road ahead of us.

Being a Good Student

Being a ‘good’ student means to be able to learn the information that your teacher has laid for you, it means you can listen, sit quietly in class, ask meaningful questions, participate in conversation, and being able to take tests. A good student would be getting good grades, understanding what is laid out in front of them, and they should be moving through and understanding the material at the same speed of other students. This is all  what we assume to be ‘common sense’ from your culture, society and schooling background. Students that act out in class or do not learn at the same speed as other no longer fit this description, they are not considered to be a good student. 

This definition of a ‘good student’ is most for middle or upper class, white students, the ones that have been raised with these values. Common sense is determined by the leading cultural group, which means if you are not from that group you most likely are to face more challenges when it comes to schooling. This also disadvantages students with learning or physical disabilities, because it is made for the majority, and those not included in it do not always receive the same quality of education. It is impossible to see the negative effects of this because common sense is set up by the majority, and it works out for the majority, but there are always those left out.

Assignment 1

For Assignment one I have chosen the topic of Hidden Curriculum, I picked this topic because it is one that I am really interested in because children can pick up so much without adults even realizing. The hidden curriculum is something that can change so often, I think it has a very powerful influence on students. I have one article that I have chosen to use as a source in my essay. The article is called “Tracing and countering the hidden” talks about the hidden expectations within a classroom, the things that are not written on a piece of paper but children are still required to do it. 

This article also goes on to say that is society that also sets the hidden curriculum, with the values of people and what is acceptable. This article stated that there are four, important layers of curriculum, and they are different for countries and locations, with society’s values changing from place to place. This article also shows how important it is to look beyond the obvious and do a deep analysis of the many hidden layers that shape our curriculum, and that it is more than meets the eye. It also says we need to dig deeper so that we can better educate students.

I have not decided whether or not to continue with this idea, because there are so many different possibilities to choose from and I have struggled to find another article to go along with the one that I have already picked out. If I do continue with this idea I would dig deeper into the meaning of what defines the hidden curriculum and what it looks like here in Saskatchewan. I also want to see how it can change from teacher to teacher because everyone sees the hidden curriculum differently.

Reading Response: Curriculum Theory and Practice

  1. Curriculum as a Syllabus to be Transmitted – This is the outline of what students should be learning in the classroom and it is provided by the government. The article states this would usually be transferred to the student teaching right out of a textbook. This is a very structured way of learning, it follows a logical order and it is beneficial to many students as long as they have no missed learning something in the past. This also means this may be easier for a teacher to teach this way with everything just coming straight out of a book. This curriculum does not work for all students, some need extras, and not all students function at the same rate, and understand things at their own pace.
  2. Curriculum as a Product – The article states that this is the way of learning “Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes” (Outcome = Projects) this has both benefits and drawbacks. There is not a lot of room for movement within the classroom and the learning experience, especially for children in the classroom that may struggle with concepts or who cannot keep up with other students within the classroom. This is not the most flexible way of teaching in the classroom, and even though there are many benefits to teaching this way, it seems to be something that teachers are starting to move away from. 
  3. Curriculum as Process – In this model the attention moves from teaching to learning, this is very helpful to children as are learning new things. “Curriculum is not just a physical thing, but rather the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge.” this shows use that curriculum can be more than just laid out objectives it is also the actual learning that happens in the classroom along with how to prepare and evaluate. This Model shows it an active process where teachers and students can improve together. This model is beneficial to both teachers and students, and students will get a more round education. A drawback of teaching this way would be that there might not be a lot of structure for some students who may need it, and it would be hard for teachers to adapt and change every singe lesson they teach in school.
  4. . Curriculum as Praxis – This shows the constant evolution of teaching, it is develops through interaction and reflection, and it is a more informed way of teaching. this way of teaching allows for there to be change to help both teachers and students, follow and work in unison to from a better way of educating students. The drawbacks would be that this is extremely hard if you did not have students ready to engage in the subject matter, and to participate with in school.

In the small town where I grew up most of my teachers taught with the first two methods with all classes being structured and already laid out when the students came in the room. We knew what we were going to learn and their was only the teachers way of seeing and doing the questions, there was also very limited thinking outside the box.

Reading Response: Common Sense

This article is very interesting, it provided a different way of looking at common sense. Common sense is that knowledge that everyone seems to have, it is the things that you do not have to even think about before you do because they just make sense. The article explains that common sense means something different depending on your environment, and culture. This teacher’s experience in a country that was foreign to them, and the difference between the education system they grew up in and the system they was now a part of. In the article Kumashiro states “Common Sense limits what is considered to be consistent with the purposes of schooling” they interfere with what is sometimes best for students.

It is challenging to recognize the commonsensical because teacher is told what to teach and what not to teach in a curriculum. (we are told that is what students should be learning the important information. It is hard to refuse these ideas of common sense because it is what our whole world is based around. Anti-oppressive education is very important to help students and not have different thing interfere with in the education. It is very important to see common sense so that we can rise above it, not try to let it change the way teach. Teaching is not just about meeting the outcomes set by the government, it is about helping a student reach their full potential.

Self Analysis: Looking for Normatives Narratives

Part 1

In our lives there are hidden everyday, they are embedded in the way we live, my chosen story was number three socioeconomic status. This is about a persons wealth or what they have, or what class they fall into, I am feel like a sterotypical white person, my family is no rich, but we also don’t go without things we need. In my story I was in downtown Toronto where you can really see the differences in class just walking down the street, it shows the true stereotype on the poor homeless and the rich people walking by and ignoring them. This is a quote from my story “This city made me realize how different and far apart the classes really are, I saw the high class and the very low class, and I realized I am somewhere in the middle, and very lucky to be where I am.” I also was a stereotypical person who didn’t stop to help I just kept walking scared of the homeless people living under the bridge.

This is a quote for a classmates story ” I may never have enough money to shop at fancy stores, but in no way do I feel bad for myself. I am already very lucky and grateful that I had enough money to travel across the word with my class and friends.” This is a very typical, they have way more than most, the ability to travel overseas but they still feel out of place they just want a little bit more. They feel that they should have more and the not having it makes them realize their place, not to high and not the low.

This last story is form another classmate “I would consider myself a middle class citizen, and I never realized how lucky I am to be living in the middle class until I saw how excited people got over things I and most other middle and upper class people take for granted.” She was on a trip to Costa Rica to deliver supples to an orphanage, to help these people get everyday items that we ahem here in Canada.

In all of these stories we are all privileged enough to be able to travel, we are all middle class people with in society. We lucky and the stereotypical “white” kids, we have more than we need and we are lucky to be where we are in the economic later.

Part 2 

“I lived part time and did not understand why living in different area of Regina meant I was seen different to my friends.” This is a quote taken from another student in the class, they lived a life then I did. They had to go through things like this that I did not experience, I understand bullying but I never received because of my family’s class or where I lived. Seeing the different status between kids is something we will all do, we look for differences between people. She defies the normative narrative by not having a lot, for changing the way the class defines us, she was said about living in the “hood” and not understanding.

The differences in who has money and who does not is something that people see, and we may jump to judgements on those people. They other student’s parents in this classmates stories thought becasue of where her dad lived that they would be unsafe at a birthday party.

Reading Response 2: Race and Whiteness

“White” is a word that makes people uncomfortable, mostly white people, as a white person I can understand that word making people uncomfortable, and in the past year it no longer makes me uncomfortable. The quote itself portraits the idea that if you are “white” you are a racist, which is not fair to people, I am kind person and I try not to harm someone or make them feel bad, but maybe I am not a racist but I am part of a system that was built on racism. I believe and the idea of “white” needs to be separated from racism.

Out of habit most white people feel the need to defend their whiteness, it is nothing that we did it is what our ancestors did and we can’t change it and we shouldn’t justify their horrible actions, white is a colour but it leaves so many people ahead. When we first started discussing white privilege in class I honestly was made me feel uncomfortable to think that maybe I got something in my live because of my colour not because I earned, I felt the need to defend, and I assume other have the same urge. Disrupting this white privilege is a need of our newly developing society, we are in a time of change but everyone has to be open to it and welcome it, and this privilege will be hard for white people to ever let go.

This article helped me understand white fragility, and it does exist in everyday life, I seem to even have these feelings, but it is important for me and others to be able to move past it. The quote is that white fragility is “the inability to cope with conversations about race that don’t protect individual white people’s sense of innocence.” I feel that race makes white people feel guilty when conversations happen and nobody wants to feel guilty, and we try to protect are innocents by neglecting the issues of race. The word white brings up those feeling of guilt and that is why people shy away from the word itself one quote from the article that seems to be the most important is, “The solution to white fragility, she says, is to build up stamina; just as with exercise, that involves doing the painful task over and over again until you get better.”

Sorry in advance I have an edusites blog so your comments might not show up right away, Audrey knows about the issue, sorry for the inconvenience.

Story 4: Gender

Grad day, we look forward to it all year everyone dresses up and goes on stage, it is suppose to be about looking back on all the memories we made but it turns into a who looks best. All the girls are excepted to go out months in advance and buy fancy dresses, some girls send hundreds of dollars on these dress. Personally I am not a dress person, I only wear them about three times a year. It is what is expected of girls, and boys have to dress up in suits but they are not excepted to send money like girls are. There were lots of girls who send loads of money on a dress to wear it for a couple of hours to walk in a circle around a gym. It is supposed to be a beautiful.

As we where all arriving about an hour before the ceremony started so we could hang out on this important. I realized that one girl wasn’t in a dress, she was wearing a suit, everyone else looked like a princess, and she decided to be herself. In that moment I looked back and realized I had never seen her in a dress since she moved here in grade ten. I always new she was more of a tomboy but it surprised me because she not wearing a dress on grad day, the one day that a it is truly excepted of a girl to wear a dress. It made me feel happy for her, to be comfortable in her own skin, and proud of who she is, and the regular steorotypes of a girl didn’t apply to her, but that didnt make her any less of a women.

She dressed like a man according to some people that day, but why do we have put gender to it, why can’t she just dress like herself. She thought it was more important for her to be comfortable that day than it was to look like what was expected of her. She will forever be one of the bravest women I know.

Story 3: Socioeconomic Status

It was the summer time about two years ago, I was in Toronto with my family, we where staying in downtown for a couple days. It was our second day and I had been to Toronto many times before to visit. I had visited most of the attractions in the in the city, and it is one of my favourite places to visit. We where staying in this really fancy hotel, and it made my feel out of place it was too fancy for me, I was not in a high enough class to be there.

It was such a beautiful and instead of driving through the city we decided to walk the couple of blocks to the restaurant we where going to eat at and the harbour front market. Our walk took about 15 minutes, along the way we had to cross under a bridge, and under there where loads of homeless people living with nothing. This was the first time a had really seen a homeless person and were they stayed. I had only really seen hitchhikers in my small town, I had been to many big cities before but I had never seen them like this, we normally stay in the tourist parts of the city. It opened my eyes to how bad things really can for some people and the thing they go through.

In that moment walking under the bridge I realize how lucky I truly am for what I have I was on a vacation and this people had nothing. I had never had to go to bed hungry or missed on things on basic things becasue my family had no money. My heart broke for this people who had nothing in their life.

This city made me realize how different and far apart the classes really are, I saw the high class and the very low class, and I realized I am somewhere in the middle, and very lucky to be where I am.