For my schooling I was blessed to have grown up in an upperclass area of Regina with resources and doors open all around me. I read the world with somewhat rose coloured glasses. I feel that I have not been open to changing that view because my experiences have made me comfortable by the undeserved privilege I have been given. Since starting at the university I feel those glasses have become sharper and have shown me there is a lot I have been oblivious to. I am a fair skinned, blonde hair women who has been given the key to many doors in my life; but I need to try to provide those keys to all of my students, so they can unlock their own doors to the future. The way I have unraveled my biases is through education, I haven’t seen the other lenses before so it has been very difficult to read and learn the other realities. I feel guilty for not knowing certain things that I should have been taught but I have been told that it’s okay, when really that’s just an excuse for more atrocities to occur. I find it hard to have conversations with people who have had different experiences since I have had such a privileged life, but I continually pursue these other truths so that I’m not blinded by what others experiences are like. In my schooling I received a lot of pale, male, and stale stories which I am continually conscious of when I am forming opinions. I constantly wonder weather my ideas may have been planted in the past by one of the stories I have been presented. But I recall one of my first classes at u of r talked about how everything we learn is written from one perspective and there is always another side. As an educator I would like to make both stories matter but textbooks and other documents are commonly written by those in power. I need to remove my lenses and see the world from ever perspective with that being said I am still on my journey so I need to admit to myself I don’t know everything but I can commit to searching for the other lenses to give my students more than a single story.
In my education I experienced many times were we practiced citizenship on the base level. We practiced mastering the personably responsible citizen level through food drives, outdoor clean ups and other entry level projects throughout elementary school. At the time I thought we were spewing so much to help but it’s clear we were just doing our civic duty, they groomed us to vote in all elections, help out when is needed, and donate to any and every charity that crosses our path. In high-school I was able to take part in a fundraiser for clean drinking water in rural China and a school built in India but it was a simple student fundraiser with the typical pep rally’s and bake sales which barely scratched the surface. One of our best fundraisers and the student who organized the entire project was invited to help dig the well in China and attend the opening in India. Through this project we got a deeper connection to the actual issue but it was never spread into the justice oriented level. I feel the reasons behind this may be partly owed to the null curriculum. It isn’t always encouraged that students and future citizens dig into global or community issues as it results in the government receiving riots and other types of push against our government to spark change. When we look back a few weeks ago to the development of curriculum there are many people who would choose to avoid such radical pushes to solve issues rather it’s easier to encourage students to become personably responsible or participatory citizen. This theory I have may limit a persons knowledge to be able to peruse the justice oriented level of citizenship.
The idea of place in education is critical. The place in which we connect with yet hardly recognize is the land in which we live on. In education our job as teachers is to consciously identify these unspoken areas of space that our students may connect with and bring light to them in a classroom setting. Throughout this semester I have taken part in an outdoor education class, where I have had the honour and privilege to experience the land while my professor has encouraged me to dig into the roots of this place. We call Canada home, but there is rich history which has made it more than that. Identifying that we were not the first to settle and call this space our home is only the first step. Students and educators should acknowledge that majority of us don’t have the original inhabitants blood running through our veins, but we are still here. Horrible histories have happened here from our settler ancestors to use this space the way they deemed “right” resulting in the genocide of First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture. Today education is attempting to bring back some voice to the land with the integration of treaty education cross the curriculum. It is a small step to breaking down colonization; but the space in which we teach has been immensely linked into our dark history; such as residential schools which attempted to snuff out the culture language and traditional ceremonies of our indigenous people. Taking students into the land has proven beneficial in my environmental education class to strengthen our students appreciation for the land, and the people who nurtured and cared for the land long before our boats reached these shores. When I have my own classroom I plan to do a lot of outdoor educational experiences, I want to enrich my students appreciation for the land through experience. I will tie treaty education into all of my subject areas and work diligently to ensure my students are connecting to my teaching, while also being respectful as a responsible treaty person by bringing in knowledge keepers and elders to strengthen there bonds to the place we call home.
This link opens to my YouTube video for the final summary of learning.
Throughout my experience in ECS 210 my perspective on the various topics looked at throughout the course has changed immensely. As I look through my blog posts it is clear to me that the curriculum we teach in schools is more complex than I ever imagined. As I review the main topics in the video I am increasingly aware that my previous knowledge of these topics were alarmingly slim. During the filming process of this video I look over my newly formed understanding of curriculum and what shapes the classroom teachings. Throughout these learnings I have found my blog posts have deepened throughout the semester which provided me with the foundation to critically evaluate the educational documents.
According to common sense a “good student” would be a child who is calm and focused this is to avoid distraction and disruptive behaviour in class. Another attribute that is related to a “good student” that the follow instructions, do not question what they are taught. This mindset favours, able bodied, well behaved, wealthy children. Making it increasingly difficult for children with differences in learning such as individuals with adhd where they are perfectly capable to learn but will require little more assistance to maintain their attention. I myself have struggled with anxiety and because of this I sometimes get shut out of this idea of the “good student” due to the fact I will rarely speak aloud in class and get flustered when I do. These common sense ideas make hearing our students needs nearly impossible since we place them in a small box. I myself as a person who has found myself in this negative space have suffered from the systems cookie cutter industry set up to conform children of what those in power believe is ideal. This system has been shaped to allow people in power to generate an assembly line to shape not only students but the future of society. When those who are in charge are only looking at the end result we are missing key details that could make a student who are viewed as a “good student” to break the mould and become revolutionary with a uniquely traitor education that empowers them. From my research stress on students has increased along with academic standard that focus on select knowledge but we may miss skills that aren’t always nurtured in school and unfortunately limit their future potential. This could also propel stereotypes and cause low self esteem if students in the metiforical box aren’t excelling at core learnings like mathematics or literature. As a future educator I hope to move beyond the common sense “good student” to move towards encouraging students to be divergent thinkers that can hone in to their interests and address their needs effectively.
“Common sense” as defined by Kumashiro is the knowledge that education carries harmful messages that perpetuate stereotypes. Kumashiro looks at how supporting dominant hegemony can negatively shape the covert messages being sent to our students. It’s bad enough that education is laced up by the “common sense” Kumashiro is speaking about but it’s critical that we recognize this to hopefully stop following the outdated norms of our society.
The importance of crushing the common sense Kumashiro is talking about is to have a revelation that our students are smart and will decode the information they are being given. We must move past the idea that students aren’t catching onto the unstated messages because they are capable of learnings beyond what is understood. Weather or not it is meant to be harmful the job as a teacher is to critically look at the knowledge our students are learning to hopefully increase their understanding and develop a critically awareness bout what they are being told to become lifelong learners. I don’t want students that are stationary puppets being told half truths and taking them as facts. These radical thoughts are not revolutionary but it could mean the difference between our student going along with the status quo or challenging authority to shape the future effectively. I hope to spark my students to dig deeper into the information thrusted towards them and form their own individualized thoughts. Who knows one day I may have the next great leader walking into my classroom with their tiny lunch box and running shoes.
To simply put it my experiences with mathematics was down right awful. By grade 4 I was told that I was “struggling to keep up with the class”. My teacher who is still employed with Regina public so she will remain anonymous, had placed me into a box at the start of the school year and basically abandoned all hope for me. My grade 4 teacher told my parents in numerous emails that I just wasn’t cut out for such abstract ideas such as equations and numbers… but that wasn’t enough for my parents they spent hours upon hours coaching me through basic equations hopefully that it would yield some sort of “ah ha”, that moment never came. I was slowly slipping through the cracks and my parents signed me up for tutoring; at a well established learning company. As my breaking point was near. With my self esteem lower than ever before and being hauled in tears every night of the week for over a year. At the tutoring they would run me through silly little addition and subtraction games with me, which were too simple and didn’t fill in the gaps in the grade FOUR math curriculum I was actually struggling in. As my grades continued to drop I decided to reject going for extra help as I began to internalized the messages that I was a lost cause. I feel this may have been a result of being a girl that I was thought to be unable to understand such abstract ideas. I found Inuit mathematics challenge the way we look at math when relating it to base 10 in European ideas because we have ten fingers to count on, while they look at base 20 because of their toes. Secondly I see that they view math as a leisurely and a fun activity while the overwhelming Euro-western reaction to math is negative. Finally I feel like it challenges the views on euro ideas of what the right or correct way of doing equations are. Throughout my experience with math is that I am capable of doing complex equations if I am provided more options to explore the equations than the traditional ways schools teach the course