ECS 210

ECS 210 Digital Story

Video link

Sarah Wright and Allicia Hood

We can imagine our future students walking up to us one day

“Teacher, what’s the point of everything we learn?” They’ll say

We will reply, “It’s in the curriculum, 

we as teachers have to obey the system. 

Most of it was created by a lot of old white guys

teachers and students are just forced to comply.

There are different types such as formal, Null, and hidden.

Some of these curriculums aren’t even written.

To you, the curriculum seems like everything we teach,

but really there’s more than that in each. 

We cater to the Christian, able-bodied, white male

any other culture/person we deem as stale.

That’s why the curriculum doesn’t benefit them.

For example, have you gone to the Ministry’s website to look for the Treaty Ed. section?

It’s at the bottom, it’s very hard to see.”

“Why teach that if it doesn’t look like it matters to me?”

“But it does because it’s part of Canada’s history.

That’s just what they want you to feel:

like anything other than the European commonsense doesn’t appeal.

However, ignoring our problems won’t make them go away.

Without a doubt, Treaty Education is here to stay.

Furthermore, we are all treaty people,

but I guess it is hard to treat everyone equal.

We can’t explain First Nation’s culture as teachers.

What we can do is highlight the history features.

Reinhabitation is not needed for decolonization.

We need to unite as a nation.       

Oh! Did we mention not to cause any trouble?

If so, you could make your prison sentence double.

You need to show up, do your work, and pay attention.

It’s less about your comprehension.

In school, we turn you into a good citizen.

Show us that you have discipline.

If you do more, well, that’s great!

But all we want to do is give you a grade.

Schools try to do the bare minimum.

If you’re a personally responsible citizen, that’s good enough for them.

They’ll say: ‘There’s not enough time to dive into deeper issues, everyone.

There are more important things that need to get done.’” 

“Hey teacher, what about our voice?”

“We can’t change the curriculum document, we don’t have a choice

Sorry, the assignments don’t change,

Since there’s no room to rearrange.

They are made for the ‘good student’

However, we as teachers need to be more prudent

John Dewey had an idea brewing

Unlike the traditional perspectives/theorists, he said ‘learning is doing’

We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does

It’s a natural process that happens just because”

“So, we don’t get to have our voices heard?”

“No, after the government, and teachers you come in third”

Through it seems we have moved past curriculum as product 

It is still something that we still instruct 

Within every classroom, there is a process 

That students and teachers have to address

You can learn from everything we do

You just have to apply it too

Using concepts such as life-long learning, becoming engaging citizens and building a sense of self and community

However, there are other ways to learn these things, we guarantee

You can learn in or out of school 

There is no golden rule

This is why it’s important for reflections to be done

We make connections to students, it’s not all just fun”

“What happens to the students who don’t fit the perfect model?”

“They’re on their own because we don’t have time to coddle.

For instance, Math is used all over the planet

It is seen as a ‘universal language’ but there is more to it.

We assume that everyone understands our thinking,

but our methods are not cross-linking.

Some cultures do not use base ten

Or solve math problems with a paper and pen.

If people use their fingers and toes,

they can count to numbers just like those. (Point to a number line). 

The books we read impact the thoughts we think.

Consequently, it makes our worldviews shrink.

Students need to be exposed to more than a single story.

So that we don’t put different cultures in a category.

A lot of what is written in the curriculum is not necessarily correct,” we say,

“We need to use more than one teaching strategy each day.

That way we will not oppress.

Instead, we will ensure our students’ success.”

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Stories That Are Told

  1. How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

As mentioned in previous blog posts, I come from a small city without a lot of diversity. My biases come from both what I was exposed to and what I was not shown as a child.  I am not knowledgeable about many neurological or behavioural disorders because there wasn’t a large representation in my schools so I may have bias when a student who is already flagged comes into my classroom. I understand and hope that I am able to look directly at the student rather than their differences but it can have an impact on my original view of the student. I have very little exposure to Indigenous culture so I do not read the word using any Indigenous techniques.

I was raised as a white Christian woman in a primarily white church. It was not until I was a teenager that I realized how modern and accepting my church was. I never thought that Christianity was against the LGBTQ+ community until I read about it online, and I never had a bias or view against the church or the LGBTQ+ community. I have a bias towards those who do not believe in equality, which could impact my teaching if my students do not believe that I have should have the same rights as a man. As society grows closer towards equality I hope to educate my students that all people deserve to be treated as equals no matter race, gender or class. 

Throughout this course I have realised that I live parts of my life through bias and I see the world differently than others. For example, if I was pulled over by the police I would not be afraid that I was in trouble for something that I cannot control, such as my skin colour. Though I may not be able to instantly change all of these biases I at least need to recognize them and understand how I can change my thinking. 

2.Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

My books within between kindergarten and grade 3 all books had cartoon characters, with primarily male leads.  In grade four, we started to have novel studies but many of the books were outdated with only white characters. It was not until the end of grade 6 when we read Underground to Canadathat the school presented a book with a women of colour as the lead. Last year I was looking back on the chapter book series that I grew up with: including Junie B. Jones, Judy Blume, Captain Underpants, The Magic School Bus, Magic Tree House and Judy Moody; there is a lack of diversity within these books. Though these books do send strong positive messages, such as women in science and healthy relationships, they all have white characters as the main person in the story. These were the books that were suggested to me as a child, but I now question why there wasn’t more diversity.  Though diversity in children’s picture books has increased, the number of chapter book series with people of colour is still lacking, at least in the community and schools where I grew up.

The concept of someone being viewed as smart can be viewed as a single story, such as the student that excels in math, English and science. Students who do not excel in these areas are considered by some as less than capable. The ability to memorize was demonstrated as superior to being able to understand the information being taught. Canadian history was only taught through the view of the settlers rather than both parties or a third party, as it was a way to make the European look less like thieves that stole the land. 

It wasn’t until I started working at a public library that I saw how children pick out books to read. Children who were born in Estevan, mainly white, were more likely to read books with characters that looked like them but students who were from outside of Canada and North America were more likely to read books with cartoon characters since they did not connect to the character in the other books. Students who do not fit the societal norm can feel out of place, like an alien since they may look different, so they can connect to the cartoon characters that look different. 

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Culture within math

1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?

In many of the classes it was easy to see that there was a clear line between the students excelling in math and those who were not. There were many times throughout elementary and high school that I was being taught math to pass the test rather than have a strong understanding. My classes were focused on testing as assessment, and the goal was to have enough information to pass the test. There were very few accommodations for students who struggled taking tests, but the classes were made with the ‘good student’ in mind. Math, especially in elementary school, was not integrated into any other class. This could be because we had EA in the classroom during math or it could be that the teachers did not think we were capable of understanding math without doing it the traditional way.  Math is everywhere but we did not apply it outside of math class. 

Within grade 9, all students across the city are forced to take grade 9 mathematics in English, which for many is fine but there were a few French Immersion students that have never had an English math class. Many of these students were confused by terminology because it was different than they were used to. We had a large immigrate population, mainly from the Philippians. Many of the students were placed into workplace math because it was perceived as easier even though it was based on word problems. 

I can remember my grade 7 math teacher saying that “math is universal” and it will look the same where every you go but that is not true. He was trying to get the idea that BEDMAS is a technique that is used all over the world but it is not the same in every place. 

  1. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

1. Eurocentric math uses base 10 reference while Inuit mathematics uses base 20. “The Inuit have a base-20 numeral system” (Poirier, L. pg.57). It was not until I was in university that I learned about cultures having different base systems, within my math course I able to learn about a few but I had no idea. The only other base I had ever heard of was binary for coding computers. 

2. Measurements are based on body parts of a particular person within Inuit culture. This reminded me of how the measurement of a foot was the actual measurement of the king’s foot, so it would change when there was a new king. Though this style of measurement is easier for a student to understand, it is not consistent. 

3. Their teaching methods work toward the students rather than working toward the test or government curriculum. It is cool to see that Inuit people have started to lean toward our European ways of teaching math, as some teachers in Canada are wanting to become problem solving teachers, which allow students to discover and watch rather than giving them explanations.  

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XgvnbwyV2EoU7Uj9I7U7nrIwBPHyrHwy/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sIDgjwf9qCdqjhNNhV_GOmlxal1d_ZJM/view

Mathematics is the sense you never knew you had | Eddie Woo

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Citizens of tomorrow

I do not think you can be one kind of citizen but rather the style of citizenship changes throughout your life or you have certain traits of each style. For example, planning one food drive does not make you a participatory citizen forever but in that certain time you are a participatory citizen. The cookie cutter citizen, the personally responsible, just like the ‘good student’ will only go so far, and at different points everyone either wants to do more with their life, which could have negative or positive effects.  This can lead to the loss of areas of their citizenship, such as the right to vote, but this could mean becoming more involved within the community to make a difference. 

            I was taught to be a personally responsible citizen, but it was always paired with recognition. For example, every time we fundraised for a charitable cause in elementary school, we were publically recognized in some way, including newspaper articles and shot outs on the division website. It is like giving to charity and receiving a gift in return, as you question whether you are donating for the gift or out of the kindness of your heart or for the recognition. Even within my high school clubs there were different types of citizenship. The basketball teams and band programs were personally responsible citizens, even though they fundraised and played events many were to benefit themselves or others around them. Our SRC was focused on both the school and the community, wanting to make a connection between the two, making them participatory citizens. Finally, the more justice oriented clubs were social justice, SHOUTS (an inclusion group) and SADD; these groups were involved in different events but were also trying to find answers to the problems within our school and society. When looking at my division website, the only time citizenship is explained is involving either digital citizenship or Canadian citizenship. This might indicate that the division has no plan or goal that is focused on the students’ future in this society. Within elementary school my school placed an emphasis on peace and anti-bulling but I found that it was individual clubs and classes that made the emphasis on giving back and volunteering.

Outside organizations, such as MADD, were brought into our school for presentations by different groups, which would be participatory citizens but only the students who were impacted by the presentation would be viewed as personally responsible. Since many of the lessons of citizenship are subliminal, there is no way to know if students are actually receiving the information or if they are being taught something different at home. Even though these groups were brought in and these students learned the dangers of things like drunk driving or texting and driving some still choose to do so. 

 So much of citizenship is taught through invisible curriculum, but there are times in which this is not enough and the lessons being taught need to be shown directly to the students. In an extreme case, my sister’s grade 4 class was forced to take a class called empathy, in which the entire class would meet with their homeroom teacher and the school counselor to learn about healthy social interactions. We also had girl circles, that were teaching young girls healthy communication but also it helped with them build confidence especially in new situations. 

            Even if school is viewed as future job training, politics come into play within the work force and unless students are exposed to the information prior they may not know how to act in some circumstances. I know that I am not confident in my political knowledge because it was never emphasized as important in school. Even in the last federal election, Canadian governmental politics were not talked about, not even with a social studies class. On the flip side, I learned more than I had ever known about the different areas of the United States Election.  

Even though students are taught to be personally responsible people, it can actually turn people into cookie cutter citizens that do good things only if it somehow helps them. 

http://www.civicsurvey.org/sites/default/files/publications/what_kind_of_citizen.pdf

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We are all Treaty People

This is a real issue in schools. As you listen to Dwayne’s invitation/challenge, as you listen to Claire’s lecture and as you read Cynthia’s narrative – use these resources and your blog to craft a response to this student’s email. Consider the following questions:

1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

1. Coming from a community that had very little Indigenous representation, I struggled to understand why Treaty Education was involved within the schools. Like Dwayne Donald, I came into university with very small understanding of Indigenous culture and history. Many times teachers are not taught a lot about Aboriginal perspectives, especially when they were growing up, so the lack of knowledge is spread to the students which creates an ongoing cycle. Learning about Native studies can be very isolating to Indigenous students, many of them already know this information or have lived in the areas where injustice has happened. Non-Indigenous students are less likely to be exposed to Indigenous culture by their families and communities, so it is the schools’ responsibility to teach those students the history and culture that their Indigenous peers are already aware of. As Claire explains, students teach their parents, for example when society wanted people to wear seatbelts it was first introduced into schools so those students would go home and tell their parents. Just like seatbelts, students will go home with new found knowledge, vocabulary and identity about Canadian history and Treaty Education that can impact their families. By not properly teaching treaty education, we as teachers are continuing the racism and segregation around Indigenous people. If students are taught with racist terms, then they will continue using them until they are taught otherwise. I think the most important part of teaching Native studies or Treaty education is the connection that the students can make. It is not as important for a student to know when the last residential school close but rather understand why residential schools happened and how those effects are still a part of society today. 

2. The idea that “we are all treaty people” is true but it is complex and confusing to understand at times. It was not only the First Nations people who signed the treaties, as the treaties were agreements between European settlers and the First Nations people. Two groups of people signed the legal agreements, so both parties must honor those agreements. It is important not to blindly say we are all treaty people without having the knowledge and understanding to back that statement. I was nervous when watching the class video title “We are All Treaty People” because students could blindly be saying the statement without understand how or why but their explanations for ‘why’ were amazing because it was at a level that anyone, with or without treaty education, could understand. As explained in Mike and Claire’s video, treaties are complex and never truly understood, but the idea that the treaties are not over but rather are negatively impacting people every day is something students should discuss. It is one thing to say that we, as people of the U of R, are on Treaty 4 and 6 territories but understanding what that means and what has happened to have the university on this land is another. The approach that is taken to show the unity of treaty people can impact how students receive the information. To me, the statement that “we are all treaty people” means that both European settlers and First Nations signed an agreement to share the land, we should be equal in society and should have equal chance for resources. All land under the treaties should have the resources for clean running water and basic needs. Canada is a land for Canadians, meaning everyone who associate themselves as Canadian, including First Nations people and European settlers. 

In response to the email…

The students this intern is teaching are the students that treaty education can have the biggest effect on, as they represent the students that do not understand that Canadian history continues to affect society today. Like Claire explained within the video, taking those students back to the beginning basic information and building upon it because those students have to make connections and understandings of treaties or Indigenous people so there is no way for them to comprehend the impacts colonization had on Indigenous people. For my social studies 30 course, my teacher relied heavily on the Canadian history series titled Canada: A Peoples History, here is a link to the first episode (https://vimeo.com/204048014). Through this, she was able to show the class the history aspect of Canada while showing how events and problems are still happening within Canada today. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RpFQAVShNlNLA9u6aXv7udGnzTGk5LNN/view

Claire’s Blog

http://clairekreuger.ca

http://clairekreuger.ca/class-videos/

Claire and Mike’s Presentation and Conversation

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Curriculum as Place

The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:

(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)

1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

For many students on this trip, they do not have a connection to their culture so allowing students to see the land and the community to make connections, including emotional, spiritual and social connections. Students being able to have skill building workshops can help them learn about different cultures as well as learn life skills that they can use. Some life skills will be common within a European culture, such as how to build a fire, 

I loved the idea of making audio documentaries were both the youth and elders get to seek. Students can develop a pride for their own culture through the interviews and will take pride in the final project especially because it will be shared with so many people. This idea also helps keep the tradition oral teaching alive by the elders passing their information and stories to a new generation. 

From my Indigenous studies course, I have found that younger generations of indigenous people are not connected to their culture show giving them a chance to talk to educated people could tell them more about their culture. An example of this would be “the significance of the river and knowledge of the social, cultural, economic, and spiritual meanings of the river among community members” (Restoule, Grunder, Metatawabin, p.75). Students are then able to learn though the environment and understand that Indigenous people have contracts with the animals and mother nature.  

2. How might you adapt these ideas towards considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

From my own experience learning information from someone who lived through an event or is a part of a culture is more impactful then learning from a textbook. Though it may not be practical to take a ten-day river trip, maybe having a culture day or having a new person come in to give an introduction to a unit would help students understand that people were and still are impacted by what they are learning. This can also teach students to treat everyone with respect, especially those who come to the classroom to teach. 

When doing projects of their own identity or cultures students may take more responsibility and pride in the end result. In grade 12, I did an assignment called ‘My Canadian Identity’, which involved students researching and interviewing people to find out how their family came to Canada. From this assignment I was able to learn how my family impacted Saskatchewan, such as naming the town of Marsden. From this assignment I was proud to share my story and learn about others’ histories.

I would also like to ask my students to have some choice in what they want to learn from whatever experience is available.  Students may not be in a place where they are comfortable learning about residential schools, but they may prefer learning a different language, such as Cree, or learn to make bannock. Students may not be fulfilling a social or history outcome but they may be successful in a language, science or PAA outcome. Allowing students to make real world connection can help them become interested in the information being taught in the classroom. Another option could be that each student researches or is taught about on area of Indigenous culture and history, then teaches that area to the class. This allows students to become educated and comfortable in one area but still learn about other areas. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dI7wj8JcsOuMVHjWx1aKJy3XzCSoyYuc/view

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Curriculum involvement with students

Before Reading

1. Curricula is made by the provincial government because education is education falls under the provincial jurisdiction not the federal. 

2. I know from personal experience that the government asks for student, parent and teacher feedback regarding the curricula. I have had the privilege of reflecting on the curricula before and after certain curriculum is released. I was involved in a response to the “new math curriculum” where students were able to record themselves solving series of problems and discussing the positive and negative aspects. I have also participated in focus groups in a division and federal level to reflect on the important areas of learning. 

3. Many parts of curricula may be created by teachers and educators themselves. Teachers within my high school have sat on committees to create curriculum as well as write the textbooks that correlate with it. 

4. Works towards making the dominant area of society happy, using the dominant narrative; within Saskatchewan many curricula are written from the white male perspective. 

After Reading

As we talk about reflective teaching, it would not be too far to believe that there are biases within educational policies. If the policies are coming from a place of power, the government, it means that the policies will reflect the interests of that party, which do not always a line with students views or best interests. 

I found that the quote “most policy decisions in education, including curriculum decisions, are made with little or no public attention” (pg.8), is something I grew up learning from my teachers.  I can vividly remember with the new math curriculum came out and for many years my teachers struggled to understand the concepts they were teaching.  

Minorities can often be forgotten about because of the sure mass of the majority. Within an idea each student could be ask about their education, the majority answer would then be passed to make a school majority answer, leading to a division answer and finally the provincial majority answer. It is easy to see from this that students that do not fit the curriculum mold will be forgotten. 

The two kinds of discussions when creating curriculum: what subjects are included and what content should be taught? I think that subjects should have more cross over, many times smaller centers are more likely to only offer core classes so integrating other topics into those subjects could be helpful. If cross curriculum is used more often it can open more time within a school day allowing for other classes including art. For example, if a student is able to do an assignment that applies to both social and English the extra time can be used for subjects that are often over looked.

https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf