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My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Critical pedagogy of place

Some of the ways that I saw reinhabitation and decolonization take place in this article is by the intergenerational learning.  The article talked about introducing and the importance of traditional ways of being and learning. Such as oral stories and listening to elders wisdom. For example, they learned what it means to be a relative of the land and water. The text focused on how and what people learned while going on a ten-day trip down the Kistachowan River to reclaim knowledge such as the meaning of paquataskamik. Paquataskamik is the Cree word for traditional territory. It is a beautiful word that holds within its meaning not only traditional territory but also all of nature and everything that nature contains. By reclaiming the meaning of the word paquataskamik not only did they reconnect to their traditional lands, but they also are passing down their language and ways of knowing and being to the next generation. From my previous knowledge on first nations people I know that the earth and environment are very important to them. Elders saw that a connection to nature is very important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development. A trip was organized to teach children the importance of nature, and how they can use it for everyday things in their lives. The elders knew it was important to reconnect the youth with a connection to the land. The community marked original names and Cree concepts on maps to try and bring them back into usage.

The definition of Decolonization is the act of injuring and/or exploiting other people and places. The first piece of decolonization the articles discusses is the issue of printed maps. The maps used regarding the river had few words written in English. The Indigenous people believed that every curve in the river had its own name. The article also discusses land and how the land around the river had been divided into Crown, reserve, and treaty land. The act of ownership regarding the land affected relationships between all the people involved. When the lands history is changed or ignored, youth will forget about it and lose the relationship and connection.An example is residential schools, because they drastically reduced the communities fluent language speakers.

In my future classroom, I believe that teaching about residential schools and the impact they left behind is important, because if we just try to “forget” about it, history could be repeated or we won’t be sensitive about it. From my previous education on First Nations peoples I wasn’t fully aware of what happened and this contributed to me making biases from myine unknown knowledge. As a future educator I hope to fill the knowledge gaps of my students. 

While reading this text I got inspired, it lead me to think of all the ways I could incorporate these lessons from the text into my own classroom. For example, I could invite families; grandparents, aunts, and uncles to come in and share knowledge with the class. I believe this would be very beneficial to have the students learning in this way because it would help students learn how to reconnect to the land, their community and the world community. When people feel a connection to people and places they want to help those people and places thrive. I believe it’s time to rebuild our connections and knowledge of the land.

How We Read the World

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

1.My upbring/schooling has shaped how I “read the world” by only knowing small amounts of information on other people/culture that I don’t identify with. (This includes race, sexual orientaton, abilities, etc). The one sided education I received contributed to my thoughts and biases against certain things and topics. My schooling was very European/ white based and raely went off those topics. I also attended a catholic school system so my education was very catholic based. Sometimes it’s odd to hear people discuss other religions because I am so accustomed to the Christian beliefs. I was never really introduced to racism in schools and the affects of real poverty. One text we were assigned to read in school that impacted how I read the world is the novel In Search Of April Raintree. This novel gave me new insights on real life events and struggles of people in Canada and close communities battle with. It was nice and eye opening to finally read something other middle class people that I could relate to. Having a mix of topics and readings in a classroom can work against the biases that have been built up. Introducing many different stories can influence students to create a better understanding of the people and their differences in the world. 

2.“Single stories” that were present in my schooling is basic american and english stories like Chimamanda Adichie had, those were mainly the only perspectives shown in the texts we were given. I personally related well with the stories being presented but It would have been more beneficial to read stories that would challenge my thinking more. The truth that mattered the most was the white, straight, and somewhat wealthy people, the ones that fit the social “norms”. The people who have struggles were the ones ashamed and singled out. As a teacher it is important to analyze the texts we are presenting to the classroom and to present a variety of them in hopes students don’t create biases.

Treaty Education

Purposes of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) where there are few or no First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples include:

  • First Nations peoples were the original inhabitants of Canadian land creating history and understanding of where our country began.
  • Understanding the importance of land to the first nations peoples. We are all living on Treaty land
  • First Nations settlers are a huge part of Canadian history, as a Canadian it is vital we understand how our country has been shaped and came to be over years of choices and decisions. They introduced many inventions and medicine to the European settlers and they deserve recognition for that.
  • Also the awraeness of what Residential schools were, and the actions that took place within them. This knowledge will help shape students’ understanding on the history of our Country
  • It’s also important to know the rights of the peoples within the treaties

The importance of Treaty Ed is not just about treaty education itself, but also about the significance of relationships, different world viewings, figuring out ways to live peacefully together, and enduring ways to help each other in the future. Reconciliation is a big part to incorporate in Tready Education. Claire Kreuger provided an outline to strive for within a classroom setting beyond the curriculum provided by the government, she also adds that no one will be a perfect treaty education teacher. Both Claire and Dwayne Donald mention that this is not just something that will happen overnight it is going to take time. Dwayne mentioned in his video that is is important to bring together the past, present and future to educate and fully understand, we have to look back to understand where we are heading. They also must learn about the relationships, and for each student to learn about their identity with in those relationships. A renewal relationship was also mentioned and this needs to take place during reconcilation. We all are connected and are in a sense “treaty people” together.

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to common sense?

Society says that students who adapt well in a traditional classroom setting are an example of a good student. Kids that don’t get off task and listen to what they are told to do are considered good students. Behaving and thinking in certain ways and not questioning why they are learning what they are, are good students. It’s common sense that good students do well on standardized testing. But, this is not the case for all real students. Let the students behave or analyze literature or produce writing in the way they please. Addressing the different learning styles and needs is important in a classroom. Teachers have to allow students to be their own individual learners and support them along the way.

Students that are “easy to mold” are the definition of good students but that doesn’t exist in every classroom. Students that follow the “learning standards” are good students. As teachers we need to know and Learn that it is not effective for every student to fit the key learning standards. “Meeting standards” is common sense in success. In a sense the information that is being taught in schools is biased to the people who created the curriculums and rules of schooling. Understanding that students are all on different learning paths is essential. Some know more information than others, some have previous feelings and connections to subject matter prior to schooling while others don’t. Learning through crisis can cause children discomfort when learning something new and gives discomfort in making them change.

Instead we shouldn’t be changing the way students think and feel towards certain topics. We should have the realization that every student is different and they all can be “good” students when they are given freedom and are comfortable in their learning enviroment.


Critical Summary Research- Gender in the Classroom

For my critical summary paper I chose to research the topic of gender and the curriculum. A article that piques my interest is called ‘I love Barbies … I am a Boy’: gender happiness for social justice education. Right away this title got my attention and I knew I wanted to read more.

In this article it talks about the findings after a two year study of gender and gender transgression among school children and youth conducted while running equity workshops for students ages 8-18 years in rural Ontario. The students had to document what gender looked and felt like to them. The athour focused on the emotions she found in the findings of the study. She states that happiness is the importance and what children in schools need. Gender discourse in the classroom is then diccussed. Another text that is of relevance to the study is of Davies, Bronwyn. 2003. Shards of Glass: Children Reading and Writing Beyond Gendered Identities. Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press.), and her text Shards of Glass: Children Reading and Writing Beyond Gendered Identities. She explores the ways in which gender is both read in childhood literature, as well as written into story by primary school-age children. The author then talks about gender expression and how it is not taught in schools. Also how things such as skills and activities shouldn’t be labeled by gender. Anyone and everyone can and want to do whatever they want and they shouldn’t be judged because of their gender. Her final point is the Curricular considerations of gender independent children’s happiness. Overall gender in the curriculum should be bringing children happiness and information on how to express their selves is the main focus of this article. 

My next steps for this project is to research other scholars thoughts and ideas on gender in the classroom. I can read through articles that agree with this one or ones that provide different ideas to gender in the curriculum and classroom.

Curriculum Theory and Practice

In Mark Smith’s article “Curriculum Theory and Practice” he describes four different models of curriculum. The four models are curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product, curriculum as process and curriculum as praxis. Each model has their own benifits and setbacks.

Body of Knowledge to be transmitted. Benefits: Most effective way, limited planning for teachers. Drawbacks: Traditional way of learning and teaching, exams, follows a textbook, doesn’t let students be creative and try new ways to learn, and also adds stress for educators of sticking to a schedule and staying on track 

Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product. Benefits: planned/organized, applied, measured and goal based. Shows abilties, attitudes, and habits of knowledge. It ensures that knowledge is tested and that the objectives of the course are met by the students. Drawbacks: Unanticipated results because the students are tested the same even if they have problems or are behind.

Curriculum as a process. Benefits: Teachers encourage students, more creative possiblities during the learning processes collaboration and interaction and allows students to be tested more on behaviour and less with traditional tests. Drawbacks: teachers have to do the planning and hard to predict the outcomes

 Curriculum as praxis. Benefits: focus is on understanding not memorizing materials Drawbacks: often can be time consuming and because all students learn at a different pace, modifying the lessons can be difficult and doesn’t focus enough on context of the class

Models that were promident in my schooling career were all of them in a sense. I can recall all models being used throughout my classes in school. The most common model that was used was body of knowledge to be transmitted. Most of my teachers were syllabus focused and they didn’t like going off track during dicussions and only wanted to focus on the key outcomes. I also had teachers that let us students have more of a voice in our assignements and let us choose how we wanted to learn. For example, instead of doing essays or reports a couple teachers encouraged us to choose a creative way to present projects. My friends and I liked to make videos and present our projects in a visual media way. I personally remember those less instructive classes better compared to the straight textbook classes.

How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’

Kumashiro defines commonsense by stating that it refers to something that someone is used to believing, something that they don’t have to question in their life. The focus on commonsense in the article was related to schooling. For instance kumashiro talks about how here in North america no one questions why school starts and ends at a certain time or why children are organized by age. When teaching in a different country Kumashiro’s sense of schooling commonsense was in a viewed different and wrong there. Their customs are a lot different and the people there don’t know anything other than what they have experienced and have been taught throughout their whole lives. Kumashiro’s common sense of normal schooling is completely different than what the citizens of Nepal believe. For example, they belive in pyschically punishing students if they misbehave. While that is seen as completely wrong here in North America. Overall our views and commonsense differ from how we were raised, our location and our cultures. It is important especially as a teacher to be aware of the different forms of commonsense around us and it’s also important to be open to understanding other forms of common sense.

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