Reconciliation in Education and Schools

Although, we are coming to a better understanding on how and what reconciliation should look like, we are far from acknowledging our wrong doings of the past. Educators have an immense role in shaping educational change and teachings. In the article Navigating the “ethical space” of truth and reconciliation: Non-Indigenous school principals in Sask written by Pamela Osmand Johnson and Peter Turner. Author A shares that she has “embarked on her own journey of unlearning and relearning both the sorted history of the country she thought she knew and the beauty and diversity of Indigenous cultures” (p. 4). I have to agree with her that I am unlearning and relearning the hidden histories of Canada. Sadly, the only reason I am relearning these histories is that I am attending University. Many who do not pursue post secondary education will still live with taught biases of residential schools, racism, and colonization.

The article highlights that school administrators and teachers not only face being undereducated about Indigenous views and how to incorporate them in their schools, but they also face criticism from other staff members, parents, and students for teaching about reconciliation and post colonial education. Media and people with higher power have played an ignorant roll in the inequalities that Indigenous people face. Sterzuk, in the article talks about how non-Indigenous people view themselves as having hardworking grandparents who settled in Canada to make a living for themselves. When in reality it was an invasion of land, settlement and displacement of Indigenous people (p. 8).  

I will further my connection with reconciliation and the meaning behind it and compare other scholars work to what moving forward and change looks like. I am hoping to focus my attention on Saskatchewan with expansion to view how Canada plans to incorporate TRC Calls to Action in the school system. With many of the educators being non-Indigenous how will this affect properly informing students of the past and how to encourage change and growth moving forward.

Work cited

Osmond-Johnson, Pamela, and Turner, Peter. “Navigating the ‘Ethical Space’ of Truth and Reconciliation: Non-Indigenous School Principals in Saskatchewan.” Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 50, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1–24.

The “Tyler Rationale”

In my educational journey, I was unaware that the teaching that was being taught was following the “Ralph Tyler Model.” Looking back, it does make sense that, that was what my teachers were using. There was a set plan, which was structured and organized. This plan would end with a “product” or result of how well we did over the course of the teaching. The teachers had goals that students needed to achieve to move forward. The mainstream class that I can think of this happening in is mathematics. The teacher would teach the process of doing an equation and it was the student’s job to be able to come up with the correct answer following the teacher’s process. Almost all of my education growing up ended in some sort of evaluation or test on what was learned during the term or year.

While looking at the Tyler rationale I feel some of the limitations put pressure on teachers to do well to please the curriculum and their superiors. Especially, for new teachers who only want to make an impression and make sure their students are doing well (academically). In the article, it states, “this takes much away from learners. They can end up with little or no voice. They are told what they must learn and how they will do it. The success or failure of both the programme and the individual learners is judged on the basis of whether pre-specified changes occur in the behaviour and person of the learner (the meeting of behavioural objectives)” (Smith p 4). If you are only teaching what needs to be taught to succeed as an educator you are missing the connection and interaction piece with your students. Using curriculum as a product leaves little or no room for expanding your student’s knowledge or interests inside the or outside classroom.

Potential benefits of the Tyler rationale would include how he promotes structure. Although, not all students should be evaluated equally, teachers should be following curriculum outcomes. Without following, a guideline of what needs to be taught in each grade would leave students feeling frustrated and underprepared. Especially if they had to switch schools or classrooms. Having set guidelines of the curriculum keep you accountable for what happens in your classroom. There is still room to explore topics that are not set in stone in the curriculum. Listen to what your students are interested in and incorporate as many as you can throughout your teachings. In the article, it states, “The attraction of this way of approaching curriculum theory and practice is that it is systematic and has considerable organizing power” (p 4).  I believe that statement to be true. There are many benefits of being organized. Organization in a classroom helps with transitions, flow, and readiness for our students. The optimal goal in my opinion is to prepare students to be able to problem solve, develop skills and talents, learn and to be able to contribute to society however that may look.

The Problem of Common Sense

I think that Kumashiro defines “common sense” as something we should all know, or a certain group of people will know and that is what makes it common. What was common for Kumashiro was not common for the people of Nepal where he went to be a teacher. When it comes to his ideas of teaching and what is common sense to him as an American is different from his colleagues in Nepal. He believed that it is common sense to incorporate different styles and methods of teaching whereas in Nepal the common sense of teaching is to teach straight out of the textbook, which leads to preparing the students for their yearly exams.  

It is important to pay attention to common sense because it has become a regular or safe routine for people. It is something that we do not notice and we just do it. We should be challenging our ways of thinking and doing and inquiring how to express change.

Some of the common sense understandings of curriculum and pedagogy that I have entering this course are:

Curriculum is what we teach. We are given this from the government and it has to be covered within our school year. (Beginning of September until the end of June). The curriculum sets the guidelines on what we need to prepare for and follow throughout the year.

Pedagogy is how I choose to teach and how I engage with my students. Many students learn in a variety of different ways and it is up to me, as an educator to provide them with different learning opportunities. Each educator is unique and has different skill sets that they can incorporate into their classrooms to make their learning environments follow their beliefs.