Curriculum and Treaty Education

Writing Prompt: 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”?

In the past three years at university, I have learned more about indigenous perspectives than I have in the 13 years of being in a catholic school. I went to school in North Battleford, and half of the students in the school were First Nations students, yet we still didn’t have any Treaty Education. In social studies and in English we would discuss it when need be, but we never went into detail about it. The only class at my school that incorporated indigenous perspectives was Native Studies, which if you were in the French Immersion program (like me) you weren’t allowed to take. I believe my lack of education in regards to FNMI and Treaty Ed, has make me hesitant to learn about it. Fortunately I came from a school with diverse cultures and I was able to develop relationships and become friends with students of all cultures.

As we have noticed, students who are in a predominantly white school have little to no education on indigenous perspectives and Treaty Ed. When students don’t have the knowledge and understanding of FNMI people, they begin to believe that the stereotypes around them are true, and they begin to think of them as different, as opposed to equal. This causes them to have biases towards FNMI people which will be a barrier when wanting to build relationships with them. If students are only taught through one perspective, and not multiple perspectives, they won’t have an understanding of how others live their lives. It is important to teach Treaty Education in predominantly white schools because when students leave the school and move on in the real world, where there are many people of diverse cultures, they will be able to build relationships with those around them. If they are stuck only viewing life through one perspective, they will lack the ability to build relationships with others who are of a different culture. Every semester I continue to learn about the same topic, residential schools, but this semester I am starting to understand why it is important to teach Treaty Ed and to teach through indigenous perspectives.

When I hear the term “We are all treaty people” I think of everyone as being equal. We are all Canadians who live on Canadian land and support Canadian values, as well support and respect the values of others. We all live on this land together, and together we need to be able to live respectfully and joyfully. Indigenous people have lived on this land way longer than we have and now we live on this land together. I am a treaty person, who lives on Treaty 4 land, and we are all treaty people.

Curriculum as Place

Writing Prompt: 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.
  2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

The following are quotes from the article of some of the ways in which I see reinhabitation and decolonization happening. 

  • Reinhabitation
    • “In the early research design stages, 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.” (p. 73)
    • “For the Mushkegowuk, the river is a way of life: one that has existed for thousands of years. As such, the river has many significant uses and meanings, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” (p. 80)
    • “It was the river that bound people and communities together.” (p.81)
    • “Learning from land and place beyond institutional walls is a return to traditional Mushkegowuk modes of teaching and learning.” (p.82)
  • Decolonization
    • “This territory has been regulated, divided, and parceled by non-Inninowuk into Crown land, treaty, and reserve spaces, which has resulted in fractures and alterations to that relationship.” (p. 77)
    • “Residential schooling and its impact on indigenous language use drastically reduced the number of fluent speakers in the community according to some interviewed.” (p. 78)
    • “Large-scale extractive capitalism, in particular, has presented new problems and perceived threats to the environment.” (p. 79)

It is important to consider place when teaching mathematics. There are tons of ways to make mathematics a more hands-on learning process including problem solving, open tasks, and being outdoors. Some might find being outdoors for mathematics difficult, but I think with the proper task it could be beneficial. I have been working on an open task where students are to determine the height of one of the trees in the schoolyard. They are to use shadows, mirrors, protractors, or anything else they can think of to solve for the height. I believe being active in learning and being able to learn through hands-on experience is very beneficial. Treaty Ed can also be taught through place in the mathematics classroom through hands-on activities and games that can be played outdoors, such as “Hubbub” or the “stick game”.

Curriculum as Literacy

Writing Prompt: You have been asked to examine the curriculum of the subject area you expect to teach once you graduate. Re-read that curriculum with the frames of literacy presented this week: autonomous and ideological? In what ways are these two frames present in the curriculum that you examined? Which one is more prominent? Following Lihsa Almashy’s example, what changes can you do to connect the mandated curriculum to the students lives.

I aspire to be a mathematics teacher who focuses on teaching in a high school (grade 9 to grade 12). After taking mathematics 9, there are three different pathways that students can choose to follow. The pathways are: Workplace and Apprenticeship, Foundations Mathematics, and Pre-Calculus. Students who follow the  Workplace and Apprenticeship pathway focus more on the trades, whereas students who follow the pre-calculus pathway focus on university. Since there are 10, 20, and 30 level classes for each pathway, I have decided to solely look at the Mathematics 9 curriculum, however from what I have seen in the curriculums for all mathematics courses, they all seem to fall in the same frame.

The Mathematics 9 curriculum is a mixture between autonomous and ideological because it focuses on developing higher cognitive skills while still allowing students to interpret the material in their own way. The aims and goals of the curriculum focuses on a more autonomous approach for it leads to: (1) logical thinking, (2) number sense, (3) spatial sense, (4) mathematics as a Human Endeavor, whereas the mathematical processes of the curriculum (communication, connections, mental mathematics as estimation, problem solving, reasoning, visualization, and technology) focuses on an ideological approach for it allow students to interact with the material and find multiple ways to become knowledgeable with the concept (SK Ministry of Education, 2009). This curriculum is both autonomous and ideological because it allows students to explore and express their ideas in their own ways, while still focusing on developing higher cognitive skills.

I think this curriculum does a pretty good job at making connections to the students lives. Many indicators ask students to “describe situations relevant to self, family, or community … ”, which allows them to make connections between the mathematical content and their lives. There are also many opportunities in this curriculum for the teacher to create open tasks in which the students can physically solve the problem. In my Emth 300 class, we are learning to create open tasks where students are to solve problems and create understandings without much guidance or teaching at the beginning of class. When students are working to solve open tasks, they are making connections between their lives and what the task is asking. This allows students to explore different ideas and think of ways to solve the task without being given, for example, a formula or a procedure to follow. When there are open tasks being implemented into the classroom, the curriculum begins to follow the ideological frame for it allows students to make connections to their lives.

Developing Curricula

Writing Prompt: For this week, the writing prompt is organized as a before and after doing the reading. 

  • Before: How do you think that school curricula are developed?
  • After: How are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

 

Before:

 I think school curriculum is developed in two ways. One, being a focus on the subject and what needs to be taught, and two, being a focus on the student and how they would learn. I think there has to be a focus on the subject, because that is what is being taught and what students need to know to ‘move on’ to the next course. In all subjects, there are specific topics that need to be taught in order for the students to complete the class. The curriculum has to include these topics, however it also has to include how the students will learn and understand these topics. Students learn in many ways, so I believe the curriculum should include multiple ways in which the student could go about learning and understanding the topic. For example, if the student is supposed to be learning the topic through research, through solving questions, through making connections to self and others, or even through creating their own ideas.

After: 

This reading provides me with a different view on curriculum. I was surprised to see that curriculum is developed by public policy and politics. The article discusses the politics involving the overall shape of the curricula and the content in particular subjects of the curricula. It also talks about other curricula that are new and are to be implemented into the schools, such as financial literacy and drug education.

I learned that when developing curriculum there are many people involved, ranging from government officials to teachers; however it is hard to please each individual since they all have different thoughts and insights in regards to curricula. I think it is important to have diverse ideas in regards to developing curricula, however I believe that teachers and educators should have a greater say in how the curriculum is developed since they are the ones who will be teaching it. In the end, it is the school and the teachers who are to implement the curriculum, and they are to implement it the best way that they see fit for their students.  

Citizenship Education

Writing Prompt: How is citizenship education a curricular problem?

When I think of citizenship or being a “good” citizen, I think of someone who is responsible, who follows the rules, and who is caring. The “good” citizen that I just defined is labeled as the personally-responsible citizen, however from the readings, we see that citizenship can be categorized in three different ways; the personally-responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice-oriented citizen. Citizenship education is a curricular problem, because instead of teaching citizenship from the curriculum, we tend to teach it based on where the school is located. This means that students in lower socio-economic schools are only being taught how to be the personally-responsible citizen, whereas students in high socio-economic schools are being taught how to be a justice-oriented citizen.

When citizenship education is being taught like this, it was can affect students in many different ways. Students who are only being taught how to be personally-responsible citizens will think that all they can achieve is a working class job, because either they don’t have the help to achieve a high class job, or they are so ‘hypnotized’ into thinking that they can’t achieve a high class job so they don’t even want to try. Whereas, students who are being taught how to be justice-oriented citizens are determined to get the best education they can, and to have the job of their dreams. These students focus on jobs where you need to go to university, whereas the personally-responsible students focus on jobs in the lower trades.

If citizenship education can be taught through the curriculum, and not based on where the school is located, then I believe we can create students who have all the citizenship traits. If we teach citizenship education differently, our students will not only be personally-responsible citizens, but they will be participatory citizens, and justice-oriented citizens as well.

 

Is there such a thing as the “good” student?

Writing Prompt: What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

According to the commonsense, to be a “good” student is to follow the rules, behave appropriately, listen quietly and attentively, and not cause any problems. A “good” student is one who is able to learn in a traditional classroom setting, who completes all assignments without complaining, and who doesn’t question why they are learning what is being taught.

The students who would be portrayed as privileged or as the “good” students, are students who are not a minority. They are students who feel comfortable in the traditional classroom setting. Based on the commonsense definition of a “good” student, these students would most likely be white individuals who come from a middle/upper class family.

Because of these commonsense ideas, it is portrayed that all students are white individuals who come from a middle/upper class family, where they all learn the same way; however this is not the case. There are many students from different countries/backgrounds coming into our schools who learn differently than the typical “good” student. These students can’t be flagged as “bad” students just because they don’t follow/have the same characteristics as the “good” student. Teachers have to take into account the learning styles of each student, and has to be able to change their teaching styles to fit those students’ needs. Students from different backgrounds learn differently; some learn through hands on learning, while others learn through stories. As teachers, we need to change the way we are teaching to fit our students needs, as opposed to trying to change the way the student learns to fit our needs. As teachers, we need to challenge this idea of the “good” student.

Educational Quote

Writing PromptFind a quote about education (probably from a theorist) that connects with your philosophy. In a post, unpack that quote. Think about what it makes possible/impossible in education. What does the quote say about the teacher, about the student? How is it related to your own philosophical understanding of curriculum and of school?

As future educators, it is important to realize that we are the face of education. The traditional teaching approach, is an approach still being used to this day, but recently it has been challenged by many educators. These educators want to see the passion, and engagement in their students while learning. These educators want to see their students critically thinking and gaining a deeper understanding of the concept. These educators are putting the student first and the content second. These educators are teaching through approaches that have rarely been implemented before. These educators are whom I admire.

“We as educators need to reconsider our roles in students’ lives, to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second.” – Will Richardson

If we, as future educators, start changing the way we teach and the way we think of education, we could make a big difference in our students’ lives. When we teach through inquiry or problem-solving, we are putting our students first. We are letting them build their own ideas around the concept and making connections in ways that they will understand. As a future educator, I am leading my students in the right direction, and I am taking on the role of a facilitator as opposed to a manager.

As a future educator, I see myself as an ongoing learner, as opposed to a ‘content expert’. I will be learning from my students when they bring forth ideas and concepts that I haven’t seen before. I will be learning from my students when they share their thought processes with me. I will be learning from my students when they solve mathematical questions differently than the way I do. I will be constantly learning from my students, and I think that is something that all educators should be doing.

Tyler’s Rationale

Writing Prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale? (c) What are some potential benefits?

Tyler’s rationale was present throughout my schooling, but it wasn’t always evident. On occasion we were given the option of choosing how we wanted to explain/present a certain topic either through video, oral presentation, activities, etc., but for the most part we followed three simple steps: 1. Lecture 2. Practice. 3. Assessment. We see that Tyler’s rationale is mostly teacher-centered as opposed to being student-centered, and there were many times throughout my schooling where that was evident. There were times when a teacher would write on the board what we were going to learn that day then we would be taught it, and then we would move on to the next topic. We were supposed to understand the topic completely so if we didn’t we were hardly given extra help. After learning about Tyler’s rationale, I believe the reason that we weren’t taught through the inquiry approach was because my teachers were following a model that wasn’t student-centered.

Tyler’s rationale is based on four fundamental questions:

      1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
      2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
      3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
      4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

Based on these four fundamental questions we can see that there are some major limitations and that there is important stuff missing in this model. As I have stated earlier, Tyler’s rationale is teacher based as opposed to being student-centered which makes it hard for the teachers to be responsive to the students learning styles. Since the model is so structured and has a specific vision of the students, it doesn’t allow room for the students to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. This model also doesn’t take into account the community surrounding the school because the way you would teach in a rural setting would be completely different than the way you would teach in an urban setting, which implies that we can’t follow one specific model.

However, there are some potential benefits to Tyler’s rationale. For new teachers, this model would be beneficial because it gives them a strict set of guidelines to follow and it provides direction which could help them relieve some stress. It also allows the teacher to be in charge which would make them more comfortable in the classroom setting. The students could be performing a task or working on an activity, but it’s always the teacher’s directions that are being followed, which I believe helps the teacher gain confidence in the classroom setting because they know it is their rules being implemented. As we all know, curriculum is very complex and is hard to understand, but Tyler’s rationale simplifies it into four simple steps which I think is very helpful. Of course there is a lot missing, but he summarizes some main ideas which helps me gain a better understanding of the curriculum.  

When Life Gives You Yarn, Knit Something!

Well friends, the end is here! I have come to an end on my knitting project, and I must say, this journey had a lot of ups and downs. Throughout this semester, I have attempted knitting three different things; a blanket, a toque, and a scarf. Unfortunately, none of them turned out how I planned! In this post I’ll give you a rundown of the areas of strength and areas of weakness in each knitting project.

Knitting Project 1 – Blanket

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This ‘Barbie Blanket’ was the first knitting project I attempted. Originally I had planned to make a bigger blanket than this, one that would cover a toddler, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. As I have stated in a previous post, this project took me about a month to finish. At the beginning it was taking me a long time to finish a single row because I wasn’t accustomed to knitting. In this project, each row took roughly around 15-30 minutes, depending on how messed up the previous row was. There were times where I would knit for an hour to two hours straight and I wouldn’t see any results, which lead me to become frustrated, but there were also times where I would look at it and feel proud of how much I have knitted. Even though are some flaws in this ‘blanket’, I would like to say that this ‘Barbie Blanket’ is the project I like the most!

Knitting Project 2 – Toque

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Knitting this ‘toque’ has made me want to quit knitting. As you can see, I quit. To make this toque, you had to be able to knit and to purl, and sadly I only knew how to knit. I practiced how to purl for a couple hours before trying this toque again, and at the beginning I was on a roll. I started off going very slow because I was paying attention to each stitch I had to do. It was a constant struggle of trying to remember if I just finished doing a purl, or doing a knit, and most of the time I could not remember. As I said in a previous post, I started off with 70 stitches, but then I somehow ended up with a lot more than 70. From the way I was counting, I counted a number that was close to 120, but maybe I was counting it wrong. Anyways, to finish one row on this toque, it took me around an hour to an hour and a half, which was crazy! After knitting for two hours and not seeing results was frustrating! In the picture above, you can see how there is hardly anything on there, but doing all of that took be roughly 6 hours! Even though I gave up on this toque, I am still going to finish it eventually, but not any time soon!

Knitting Project 3 – Infinity Scarf

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As you can see in the photo above, this is not a scarf! Once I was finished with the arm knitting portion of the scarf it looked somewhat good, but then I had to tie the two ends together by weaving the tail end of my yarn through it. During that step I must have messed up or something because now there isn’t a hole for your head to go through. We all know what an infinity scarf looks like, well this isn’t it. Fortunately, I learned how to create a wedding veil, so if anybody needs a veil that looks like this, email me! Hahaha just kidding! The steps for arm knitting were really simple to follow and I loved how nice the scarf on the video turned out. I thought my scarf would look the same, but I guess I didn’t make my stitches tight enough, which caused the huge holes in my scarf. Below is a screenshot of what the scarves in the video look like, and beside it is what mine looks like.

Below is a video I created that basically summarizes my knitting journey. Enjoy!

I have realized that learning how to knit, solely based on technology is sometimes difficult. Of course technology makes it convenient for you to learn wherever you are, but sometimes the video you are watching can’t help you when you are stuck or when you have made a mistake. When I implement technology into my classroom, I have to remember that I am the teacher and that I can’t rely on technology to teach my students. Of course technology will benefit my students and will keep them engaged, but it won’t necessarily help them when they are stuck. For example, when I was arm knitting, I was stuck when it came to creating the seam, and if there was someone who could have demonstrated it to me in person, or someone who could physically manipulate my hands to create the seam, I probably would have ended up with a scarf instead of a ‘veil’. Technology is very important in the classroom, but we have to remember that it isn’t made to replace the teacher.