Blog Post #9

After reading the assigned chapter, it is evident that I see the world through a certain lens, based on the way I was brought up. As well as my upbringing, many other factors dictate how I see the world such as my race and my gender. The views and experiences that I have from being a white female will undoubtably impact the way I teach. I think having this awareness is beneficial in order to critically examine my pedagogical methods to ensure they are free of bias. I think this is something that I will have to continue working on my entire teaching career. Kumashiro explained that “We would discuss the unpredicted and evolving ways that racism and White-privilege play out in our daily lives, and the implication that, as White teachers, the work of interrupting one’s own privileges is never done” (77). It will definitely take consistent effort to get to know my future students well enough to be able to help them examine the lenses that they are seeing the world through, and encourage them to think critically about what these lenses mean for their beliefs and values. This is a difficult goal to work towards, but I know that for myself, and for my future students, it is worth it.

Kumashiro, Kevin K.. Against Common Sense : Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, Routledge, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/uregina/detail.action?docID=446587.

Blog #8

Thinking back to my K-12 schooling, I believe that the “personally responsible citizen” is the type of citizenship that was most relevant and integrated into my schooling. As the required reading states that “The personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in his/her community by, for example, picking up litter, giving blood, recycling, obeying laws, and staying out of debt. The personally responsible citizen contributes to food or clothing drives when asked and volunteers to help those less fortunate whether in a soup kitchen or a senior center” (3). I can remember both my elementary school and high school doing many food drives where every student was encouraged to bring canned goods to school. I remember participating in Earth Day activities where our entire elementary school was required to walk the school perimeter and pick up garbage and litter, and my high school would pick a global initiative each year such as helping to provide clean drinking water or health care to a community in need, and would plan fundraisers to meet this goal. After thinking critically about my education, I do not remember being introduced to the idea of striving to be a social justice-oriented citizen. We did not spend much time questioning why there were people in need who would benefit from our fundraising efforts, we just knew that they would. I think learning about the different types of citizenships that make up our community is important for preservice teachers as this knowledge helps us work towards integrating all types of citizenship styles into our planning and teaching.

Work Cited

Kahne, Joseph & Westheimer, Joel American Educational Research Journal. Volume 41 No. 2, pg 1-22. Summer 2004 

Blog Post #7

To whom it may concern

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to reach out to me about your concerns about the challenges of incorporating treaty education into your lessons. As a preservice teacher it can be intimidating to voice concerns to your cooperating teacher, but it is also not okay that your class is making jokes and racist comments about the first nation culture when trying to teach your lessons. As we live on treaty 4 land, we are all treaty people whether we belong to an indigenous culture or not and it is important that your students understand this. 

In terms of strategies to help engage your class, I recommend getting in touch with an Elder or knowledge keeper in your area and having a conversation with them. Ask if they would come into your classroom as a guest speaker to talk to your students about the importance of teaching treaty education in schools. Try to plan a field trip that allows student to experience Indigenous culture. When I was in grade 12, my Native Studies 30 class went on a field trip to a nearby reserve to watch a performance. This was an amazing opportunity to build connections with students from this reserve, as well as an eye-opening experience that I will never forget. Although the reactions from your students and coworkers may be off putting, I encourage you to continue working hard to incorporate treaty education and indigenous ways of knowing into your teaching. Teachers like you are creating change for the better!

Some resources you may find helpful…

Best of luck with the rest of your pre-internship!

Stephanie Voss

Blog Post #6

Part 1

According to the Levin article, the development of curriculum is a very political process. There are two main discussions that continuously come up during the development process. The first being a discussion about which subjects are important/necessary enough to be implemented into the curriculum. How long should students spend learning this material? What grade should this be taught? These are just a few of the questions that are brought up when professionals are creating these guidelines. The second major discussion is over the content that is being taught within these subjects. Questions such as: should every student be required to study Shakespeare in high school? Or: should we require students to learn algebra? These are a few questions that might circulate during this discussion. From reading this article, it can be inferred that the process of creating curriculum is lengthy and complicated. Many factors are taken into consideration before the final copy is released. Something that surprised me is how many different groups are interested in having a say in what is included into the curriculum. I have never thought about the fact that this may be because they view school as the main place where student’s mindsets and values are shaped, and they want to be a part of this development. 

Part 2

The fact that treaty education was implemented into the curriculum in 2007 orchestrates the fact that the government is heavily involved in deciding a large portion of the content that is deemed important. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was founded in 2008, I think adding treaty education to the curriculum in 2007 was a big step in reconciliation aimed towards the younger generations who are currently in school. I am guessing that there may have been a lot of pushback from those who are uneducated about the mistreatment and harm that residential school and colonization caused for Indigenous people in Canada. People may wonder why only this culture is so prevalent in the curriculum. 

Blog Post #5

In the article titled: Learning from Place: A Return To Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing written by Jean-Paul Restoule et al, there are many instances that one can see the topics of re-inhabitation and decolonization emphasized. The article explained that re-inhabitation and decolonization rely on each other.  “it was evident that a community priority was bringing together Elders and youth so they could learn from one another about the role and meaning of the land to social well-being.” (73) To achieve this goal, community members from Fort Albany First Nation embarked on a 10-day river trip. The group consisted of youth, adults, and Elders. The goal of the trip was to learn about traditional territory, and to connect with nature and the environment. One of the ways this project aimed to encourage re-inhabitation and decolonization is by connecting elders and youth with one another, to promote youth, Elder, and adult involvement. I think an important part of the trip was when the Elders were teaching the youth about the previous Indigenous names that parts of the river were once called. As loss of language was a large part of colonization, reclaiming this language is a large step in the decolonization process.

 The article states that creating the audio documentary about this journey aided in the decolonization process. I think this is because others who were not on the journey can also experience the learning and bonding that took place throughout these 10 days. Overall, this experience was a wonderful opportunity for the community to bond, share their knowledge, and experiences with one another, while gaining insight about and reclaiming their culture.

Blog Post #4

In the chapter titled Preparing Teachers For Crisis: A Sample Lesson written by Kumashiro, it is evident that there is a certain type of student that teachers deem “good” and all other students who do not conform to these standards get labeled a trouble maker or a problem child. The author explained that at the school they taught at “learning meant completing certain assignments and repeating on exams the correct definition or themes or analyses in a strong essay format, and the closer a student got to saying the right things in the right ways, the higher that students grade would be” (21). What this school did not realize is that there are so many different ways that students can learn besides simply memorizing and reciting information, which is the common sense definition of learning. This privileges the students who may respond well to routine and have an easy time memorizing information, but does a disservice to students such as M, who was described in the article as having a hard time conforming to this concept of what it means to be a “good” student, often felt bad about herself and her abilities because in her teacher’s eyes she was not the ideal type of student. Educators need to realize that learning is not a “one size fits all” equation, and that many students will not be able to thrive unless given the opportunity to thrive in different styles of exploration and learning. By focusing more on the process of education rather than the end product, we teach students the value of really understanding and thinking critically about what is being taught to them rather than simply memorizing content that they will soon forget

Kumashiro (2010). Against Common Sense, Chapter 2 (pp. 19 – 33) – “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student”

Blog Post #3

For my critical summary assignment, I chose to research Jen Gilbert and her theories about sexuality in the classroom. The main article I chose to critique was about a project that she was a part of called the “beyond bullying project”. This project was a great conversation starter about how sexuality is currently being viewed and discussed in classrooms, and steps we can take to reshape the way we thing and talk about sexuality in the classroom.

Jen Gilbert teaches education at York University. She is also very passionate about sexuality education, youth studies, and sexuality in education. (York university). Gilbert was one of the affiliates of The Beyond Bullying Project, which, in an article titled beyond bullying, by Jessica Fields; et alis described as a project that aims to reframe how educational institutes view and support students who identify as LGBTQ. The article states that: “communities and schools…focus – almost exclusively – on preventing anti-LGBTQ bullying. Schools aim to minimize the risk of depression and suicide among LGBTQ youth” (fields, et al. 81). Although the creators of this project believe that this prevention is extremely important, they also “worry that framing conversations about LGBTQ sexuality as a problem of bullying narrowly links LGBTQ sexuality to risk and danger” (fields, et al. 81). To combat this victimizing of LGBTQ students in schools, this group of four: Jessica Fields, Laura Mamo, Jen Gilbert, and Nancy Lesko decided to create the beyond bullying project, in which they set up a booth in schools and encouraged students and faculty to share stories about LGBTQ sexuality. These stories could be “big and important or silly, ordinary or even boring; it could be true, we said, but it did not have to be. Any story about LGBTQ sexuality was welcome, and no one from the school would hear their story or know what story was told” (80). This project’s goal was to normalize the discussion of aspects of LGBTQ sexuality such as breakups, families, and friendships; aspects that go beyond victimization and bullying, which are not often the aspects that are brought up in schools. The goal of this project was to inspire conversations about LGBTQ sexualities that are more positive in nature, and “to provoke new ways of understanding, allowing, and imagining sexualities to flourish in our schools” (83). 

My next step going forward is to find two more articles that discuss how different sexualities are integrated into the classroom and then compare the similarities and differences in these two articles to the perspectives and theories that are in the main article that I chose to critique.

Fields, Jessica, et al. “Beyond Bullying.” Contexts, vol. 13, no. 4, 2014, pp. 80–83.

Blog Post #2

The Tyler approach to education: Response to Smith- Curriculum theory and practice

Ralph W. Tyler has made quite an impression on the structure of curriculum. His theory is based on four fundamental questions. These questions are based on purpose of education, the experiences that can be completed to obtain education, the organization of these experiences, and finding an efficient way to measure if these set purposes are being attained. Throughout my schooling experience, there have definitely been classes where this method seemed to be incorporated. High school language arts is a class that comes to mind that fits well with this criteria for curriculum. Literacy is a mandatory subject area in most schools. It often has a clear purpose of guiding and supporting students to competency in the English language. The class is often organized into sections of reading and writing. There are certain mandatory aspects of the curriculum such as studying a Shakespeare play. There are many ways to test for proficiency in this subject area as well, the main way in high school level English classes being essays, as this is a way to measure writing skills as well as the ability to comprehend, think critically, and to respond to a connecting article/novel/text.

I think a major limitation of Tyler’s theory is that it is very “black and white” and does not allow for any “grey” areas in education. Although I believe it is important to correspond with the set curriculum and ensure that student’s progress is measured, I also believe it is important to keep education creative and fun. I believe that we should not drill memorization for the single reason of testing onto our students. I think we should teach our students that education is more than just a molding process. That the goal of education is to become critical thinkers, which might often mean that they are questioning why they are being taught the set criteria. I think it is important to approach curriculum in a more holistic way as a means to truly engage and educate our students. 

Blog #1

According to the article: The Problem of Common Sense “common sense”, in the terms of education can be defined as what is deemed an acceptable and adequate form of pedagogy and curriculum. Common sense places more emphasis on the word “should” rather than “could”. It means conforming to a level of structure that is recognized as the best and only way that students will thrive. Many aspects of teaching are based on tradition, normalcy, morality, and professionalism (XXXV) Educators try to conform to this idea of being an effective teacher and often do not think twice about how they are representing the previously listed qualities. This can be problematic as this leads them to the assumption that there is only one correct way to teach, and all other methods and strategies are inferior to how they were taught growing up. The article states that by doing this, we continue to privilege only certain perspectives, practices, values, and groups of people, which can be very oppressive to those who do not have these same privileges. I think that being aware of the “common sense” makes it easier to avoid falling prey to it. Asking yourself “why” you structure your classrooms and lessons the way you do, and “who” is directly benefiting from this structure, are important questions to consider when creating your educational philosophy. I think the more aware an educator is, the more likely they are to work against their pre-conceived notions of how learning should look and who it should benefit.