Week 6 Lenses and How They Impact Education

  • Part 1 (Numeracy): Using Gale’s lecture, Poirier’s article, and Bear’s article, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it.
  • Part 2 (Literacy): Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered? What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases? 

            Dr. Gale Russell believes that all beings are mathematical by nature. This means before race, before gender, worldviews, there is math. This is important to realize because Poirier and Leroy Little Bear emphasize that all cultures have their ways of doing math and approaching education. Before colonization Inuit people, along with other tribes, bands and family members had their ways of doing math that was unique and different from colonizers.

            Dr. Russell believes that as future teachers we can help students realize that there is more than one way to teach math. She changes the wording of Leroy Little Bears article, saying “mathematics education has tried to maintain a singular order and singular way of doing things”. Due to colonization math education often comes across only being taught as Europeans taught it and ignores how other cultures teach it, one example being the Inuits.

            Leroy Little Bear brings the Jagged Worldview approach as he argues that due to different cultures in society and in the classroom intended or not, can destroy aboriginal culture. This fragments indigenous students and causes a “jigsaw puzzle” that causes the students to make “guesses or choices about everything. Aboriginal consciousness became a site of overlapping, contentious, fragmented, competing desires and values” ( Little Bear, p. 85)

            Inuit teachings include measuring, sense of space and counting. These are similar mathematical goals that Eurocentric’s teachings also value. These values crossover, but they are reached in different ways. Indigenous Worldview’s pertaining to mathematics is based around relationships. Uncles teaching nephews, aunties teaching nieces. There is a difference between the way in which it is being taught. Indigenous peoples rely on oral teaching verses formal training, personal experience over scientific methods, and knowledge for the good of all, instead of knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

            Becoming a future educator is very important and exciting to me. It comes with a great responsibility. Dr. Russell reminded me that we need to avoid singular teaching, and take into account other cultures and worldviews and how they would teach a subject like math. We can make changes, only if we change the way we think. Kumashiro in his book “Against Common Sense”, spoke about lens, and how we view information and teaching through it.

            Often my lens is Eurocentric because that is how I was raised and how the culture around me raised me. This is not the case for everyone. Other people are raised in different cultures and view things through their lenses. As a future educator I have to be able to teach from more than one lens. I also have to ask questions like Kumashiro, like, why teach this lesson? What social and cultural differences were being ignored in this lesson?. The lenses we use impact our students.

            Growing up in Dalmeny Sk, and being a white settler, raised and taught in a Eurocentric school system has impacted me whether I like it or not. I have to aware of these biases when I enter the classroom. The best way to fight against these biases and lenses is by realizing and asking questions that challenge me to think about other cultures, and the way in which they may view topics through their lenses.

 The Danger of a Single Story

Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community

Watch this lecture by Gale Russell on Curriculum as Numeracy 

Jagged Worldviews colliding.

Week 5- Citizen Education

17 years ago, I graduated high school in 2003(craziness). Going through my classes there was never really a focus on citizenship education. Most of my training instead came from my family, and the small-town community-vibe I was raised in.  If I had to pick from the three types of citizenship education groupings that Joel Westheimer talks about link here (Personally responsible citizenship, Participatory citizenship, and Justice Orientated Citizenship) I think it was more towards personally responsible citizenship.

The focus from my teachers, community, and parents was the need to be polite, pay taxes, follow rules and making sure to vote. These were very much ingrained in me at a young age, and even now from older generations. The issues that Joel Westheimer proposes, is that by continuing to teach citizen education the way it used to be, will continue to create personally responsible citizens that handicap our countries growth.

Dr. Mike Cappello contests the thought of doing the same. He asks what citizen education will look like in the next 15 years? He believes, and I think rightfully so, that we need to be teaching students how to be Justice Oriented Citizens.  Types of students that care about social justice, that think critically, and are educated in anti-racism, anti-oppressive justice. He challenges that if we keep doing the same, “settler colonialism is produced with personally responsible citizens. It won’t be pushed enough to make the change”.

By being raised in a schooling system and country that favours personally responsible citizens it makes it impossible for us to fully appreciate and care for injustice. Dr. Cappollo believes for Canada to truly grow, means to truly reconcile to the First Peoples. This means the need of land acknowledgement, students thinking like treaty citizens, Indigenous Sovereignty, land rights returned etc. The only way to get out of our political correctness is by becoming Justice Oriented citizens. This may take 7 generations to get to this point, which is why it is important that this type of citizen education is taught in schools and throughout communities.

Our approach to citizenship education will tell us a lot about the place we are from and what is valued. If we are not teaching critical thinking, and instead focused on standardized testing that means all the same material is being taught to everyone all the time, which will be creating personally responsible students, that care more about political correctness and paying taxes then social issues. Standard means the same by definition

Westheimer argues that curriculum that does not encourage critical thinking, or talking about injustices that challenge students to think about different perspectives started post 9/11. He think there was a scale back of critical thinking in schools and a scale up to people needing to learn the same things. This is were standardized testing grew in popularity.  Westheimer says in his YouTube lecture pertaining to standardized testing that, “this is the enemy of imagination and creativity”.

Curriculum that remains the same will continue to create personally responsible citizens that are losing imagination and creativity, and that are not being taught differing perspectives. This will greatly limit the growth and health of Canada as a country. In a time when social injustices are all over media (twitter, news, Instagram etc.) seems like the perfect time to be teaching students how to see multiple perspectives and how to care for all people in away that creates less division and pushes towards a more harmonious relationship.

The approach of schools, communities and governments show a lot about the type of citizen Canada wants. Right now we are still creating personally responsible citizen, but I believe this is slowly changing with impactful movements like “black lives matter”. It is harder to turn a blind eye, injustices are in our face, and this means students will be asking tough questions and pushing up against past beliefs. This is great, and I hope we are able to teach more and more the need for justice, but not the same justice that created colonialism and personally responsible citizens, but a justice that seeks reconciliation to Indigenous peoples as a start.

References:

Dr. Mike Cappello relates Treaty Education to citizenship podcast podcast

Joel Westheimer speaking about citizenship video

Westheimer, Joel (2004). What Kind of Citizens? The Politics of Educating for Democracy.  American Educational Research Journal (Summer 2004)

Week 4- The need for Treaty Education

We Are All Treaty People

            In “We are All Treaty People”, Chambers concluded her paper saying “…as treaty people, I believe, this is our common countenance…for the common good; it is work best done together (p. 35)”. In her experience she felt almost as if she was without a home due to so many moves. She related with Indigenous People this way. She also acknowledged and felt that when settlers came to Canada, they came with the beliefs of their former home. That meant they would take land over, and build and become civilized. It also meant that those deemed uncivilized (indigenous peoples) go the shortened of the stick.

This experience relates in education. When most classrooms have few students that are indigenous, it is easy to ignore that part of Canadian History, and present society. Often that means teaching treaties in classrooms is ignored. It is easier to go with the majority, and ignore the minority. Chambers though realizes the need to be united. The best way to do so is too acknowledge that we are “All Treaty People”, if we do this than we are obligated to share all history to all people.

Dwayne Donald in his seminar “On what Terms we Speak” wants these viewpoints to bring a unified approach to curriculum that is inclusive to all citizens. He wants education curriculum to push away from just time line teaching, just sharing that facts, and instead teach on relationships and how they are impacted. When teaching treaty education, Donald believes the best way to approach building curriculum is to go back to the past, “to think about the future, you have to work backwards”. He challenges the thought of Canadian culture. He believes culture negatively impacts indigenous students, and when building and thinking about social studies, or education in general, we need to be asking if Canadian Culture is a problem, and how these cultural differences impact Indigenous students.

Donald, and Chamberlain are asking educators to avoid ignoring Indigenous history, and treaty education just because the classroom we teach in has little or no indigenous presence. Clair a teacher in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, believes that instead, “[just] because there are so few indigenous students we need to put more effort into our teachings”. This means that instead of ignoring we need to be pushing to teach more about the indigenous culture, history, and treaties so that we are all more educated in this matter.

The purpose of Treaty education is to teach it to all students and all classrooms, not just the ones with Indigenous students. The best way to do this is to acknowledge that “We are all Treaty People”. When we are aligned it is when we have the best chance to approach progress. This aligns with Chamberlains thought,”…it works best, done together”. The best way to teach treaty education is by acknowledging that we are all treaty people. This gives us a sense of responsibility and pride, to make sure that it is being taught in all classrooms.

Chambers, Cynthia “We are all Treaty People” https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RpFQAVShNlNLA9u6aXv7udGnzTGk5LNN/view

Claire Intro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWY_X-ikmaw&feature=youtu.be

Donald, Dwayne- “On What Terms Can We Speak?” https://vimeo.com/15264558

 

Week 3 ECS 210-Progress is a Political Process

Reading through the Levin article I find myself going between my realistic mindset and my idealistic mindset and it makes me feel so defeated. The amount of moving pieces that have their biases, agendas and political views vs another group of people makes it so hard for me to see real change take place. Yet thankfully change does happen, even though it is slow moving and driven by policies and politics. Obviously this is not the ideal formula for quick change, but it is what we are stuck with.

When forming curriculum it starts with understanding public policy and politics. Levin says that “the role of politics in policy is troubling and misunderstood by many educators, who feel that education is a matter of expertise and should be beyond politics (p. 8)”. Politics can be good and bad and both impact the formation of implemented polices.

The United States is a great example of how curriculum and education can be impacted by political parties and leaders. President Donald Trump gave a very important job to Betty Devos as the Secretary of Education for the United States. Even though she was never an educator, or has a degree in education, but since her and her family have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trumps political campaign, she was rewarded with the job. This is the very sad reality of politics and how it impacts education and curriculum. Ideally you would not want someone making decisions in a sector with little experience in it.

You can not have a government, a Prime Minister, or President without voters. Governments are always thinking of re-election which means doing what voters want (p. 9). The aspect of doing what the majority wants impacts policies which can impact curriculum. Agendas impact decisions in policies. Particular agendas by individuals and businesses can impact the direction of policies.

School curriculum is developed through politics and policies. You cannot have one without the other. Levin says that politics of curriculum has two major debates. The first is what the overall shape of curriculum should be, and the second is what subject matters should be taught. With changing governments, and changing mindsets of voters creates an unstable foundation that impacts the creation of any policy in the creation of curriculum.

I feel though at 35 nothing new about this article jumped out at me. We are in a time where political agendas are scene all over social media. We have politically driven television networks that either fill people with fear or guilt to get their messages across. Both work and both create division, which usually creates slow moving progress. The same can happen in the development in curriculum. With agendas, groups that disagree on subject matters, or the overall outlook of curriculum also causes slow progress which is defeating and honestly often makes me feel like, “what is the point, why should I care?”

As a future educator I need to care though, and I need to remain hopeful that progress is happening, social justice, gender equality and other subject matters are being implemented in the education curriculum that were not mentioned when I was in high school, so there is progress and there is hope.

There will be years that it feels like we move two steps backwards in our society and in the education system, and then there will be years where we feel like we have moved two steps forward.  It is easy to get wrapped up in concern, trusting others to do the right thing is always hard, and yet we have to trust the system, but it is okay to challenge it, and find our voices within in the process to make sure those in charge are asking the right questions and not making choices just on politics alone.

When reading the “Treaty Outcome and Indicators” document you can see that progress has been made. Even though it took till 2007 for Canada to realize the importance of teaching Treaty Education, at least we got to it, you cannot say that about the United States who still does not teach about issues that are impacting the states currently.

It is sad though to see how a minority group has to do so much to be heard. When politics drive progress and policies there has to be a loud voice, that reaches the ears of those making decisions. The Indigenous People were loud for a very long time, and still are, rightfully so.

In the document it acknowledge that all of this is under the Indian Act (p. 3). This Act is exactly the problem, yes there has been progress, but there is not equality, the fact a group of people are being controlled under an act, while others are not is stopping progress. The tension between what one group deems important, when a larger group thinks other issues are more important impacts policies. In this case often the Indigenous voices were heard at some level, but were not deemed important because of influence of politics

So it is sad for something that seems obvious now, take so long to get to the school systems. The subjects of Treaty Education that are required to be taught in all aspects all grade levels is a great start to reconciliation. I cannot help realizing how hard it was to even get to this point knowing how politically driven the decisions process is. It can take a long time for voices to be heard. Due to this there is still so much tension and hurt still within Canada. Politics are laced in every aspect of society, and it is good to be aware of them, and realize the need for unity, and also voices that test polices. We can be that voice if we want, but we can all work towards unity, which means the need to listen and watch out for hidden curriculum, and hidden agendas.

Work Cited

Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.

Saskatchewan Treaty Education document: Saskatchewan Treaty Education document

Week 2 ECS 210

 

In chapter 2, “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson”, the author states that “mainstream society often places value on certain kinds of behaviours, knowledge, and skills, and schools would disadvantage students by not teaching what often matters in schools and society (Kumashiro, p. 22)”. Common-sense teaching would lead us to believe that by just doing what society’s views as important means teaching students about essays, standardized tests, and other outcomes that Kushmaniro experienced as a high school teacher. The curriculum was already decided, and every student was too preform each outcome like it was a checklist. This would in their opinion prepare students for success outside of school.

The major issue with this style of curriculum is that it gives advantages to students who are being taught these same lessons from their parents and other platforms outside of the classrooms. These students adapt quicker to the hidden curriculum because they already understand it. Write well, be on time, sit quietly, speak when spoken to, are all hidden components that students may already know going into the classroom, which serves as an advantage, that maybe students from different countries, cultures, or less off financially get to have.

Historically a good student has been shaped by the dominant population group, this would be the European settlers who came to Canada. They brought their own idea of what it meant to be educated. Schools were built that copied the “European way”. The settlers and new Canadian government that proceeded them, built curriculum, and schools the way it was understood in Europe.

The students who did not meet the criteria “bad students”, would be failed. There was not room for different methods of teaching. It was one way, and one way only. An example of how this style of teaching can go wrong quickly is the example of residential schools. Two cultures were placed in a learning environment, and one culture impressed upon the Indigenous culture the “proper way to do things, and learn things”. These beliefs were constricting and did not translate to the Indigenous belief system. This caused major issues, deeply, and painfully scaring the Indigenous community.

One reason was because educators were strict on the historical approach of schooling, and did not look for other ways to teach. The children coming to those schools were not bad students, they were just not coming in the with hidden curriculum or understanding that many white students had coming into school. Now, this is just a piece of the problems with how residential schools existed, not the entire problem, lack of human decency was the biggest issue, along with racism etc.

As modern teachers we have to avoid the “good student” belief, and work with all students, willing to adapt, and allow students freedom to learn if they need it. Building relationships with our students and having the willingness to adapt will help us raise students up that all can be successful when they reach adult life.

 

Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI

Week 1

Reading through the article called “The problem of Common-Sense”, talks about Kumashiro who was a “change-the-world” type teacher. He wanted to make a great impact on the classroom he was going to teach in. He joined the Peace Corps and went to Nepali to teach in a village. He realized living there that the community and classrooms all ran in a common sensical way. What he meant is that many aspects of schooling and living in Nepali had become routine and common practice. These practices went unquestioned and it frustrated Kumashiro. He wanted to apply new practice and new methods. He felt that this type of common sense also applied to the schooling system in the United States. Old routine methods of teaching were going unquestioned. The major point Kumashiro was making is that questioning is good, and we do not want to get stuck in a common sense practice, in friendships, marriages, parenting, and schooling. We need to be watchful so that we do not just fall into routine.

 Kumashiro encounter and experienced the lecture practice, exam approach, memorization, textbooks and tests as common method practices.

Kusmashiro is challenging the classic way school is being approached in Canada and the United States. Grades are broken down by age, within a four wall classroom, learning four major “core disciplines”, social studies, English Language and literature, mathematics, and science. Unlike what Kumashiro experienced in Napal with a closed minded, unquestioned practices. Canada and the United States have designed alternative ways to schedule classes, organize the curriculum, and group students as well as alternate activities, evaluations and goals. 

With moral and social issues constantly arising the way of just focusing on the “three Rs” has been challenged and questioned. Pushing towards an anti-oppression education and avoiding common-sense practices takes time. There are four phases that Kusmashiro explains

  1. Improving the experiences of students who have been traditionally treated in harmful ways.
  2. Getting away from labeling students different
  3. Challenging the broader and invisible dynamics in society that privilege or favour certain groups and marginalize or disadvantage others.
  4. Addresses reasons why anti-oppression education is often difficult to practice.

There are new formats like Montessori school, homeschool, private schools and many more examples that challenge what normal school should look like. The benefits of having a more social justice approach in school is that we are raising more aware students of what is happening in the world. This should create greater human beings. The down side to this is it is hard to evaluate and assess, and it is hard to transfer into secondary schooling that is full of learning and common sense methods of teaching. 

The article has challenged the way i view school, and the importance of evaluating and making sure that what I teach is suitable and not out of date. I also want to make sure that social justice is a topic that is laced throughout my curriculum. 

Final Learning Project #9

It is hard to believe that this Winter semester is already over. Of course we have been faced with a unique circumstance facing off against the Corona Virus. That has not stopped us from learning together as a group. Time flies by when you are having fun. I had a lot of fun learning the guitar. The progress was slow and it has given me even a greater respect for those who play guitar in front of people. I will appreciate their ability to change chords so effortlessly, without muting the strings.

I have never looked at anyone who played guitar with much awe. Now after trying to learn only a few chords, I will always appreciate the person playing at the campfires, or at coffee houses. So much respect will be given. This project was fun, but also testing. At the age of 35 I know what I know, and I do not try much else. So being bad at something again was difficult to work through. With the help of my family I made this adventure into a fun experience for all to enjoy.

This video was my goal. When I watched it, I truly thought that I could learn to play “You are My Sunshine” in ten weeks. At the bottom of this post you will get to experience my final attempt at this song.

Below is a recap of my ups and downs in learning how to play “You Are My Sunshine” on the guitar. Feel free to click the hyperlink of each week if you want to see the whole post.

E-Minor Week 1

  • I introduced my first post with a little bit about myself.
  • I then learned the techniques and fundamentals of how to hold and play the guitar from GuitarJamz
  • It is important to use your finger tips when pushing on the guitar strings.
  • I learned what frets were, and how to play the E-Minor

Feedback from my peers:

Jaelyn is correct in the fact that I learned a lot about the “how to’s” when it comes to learning guitar.

Week 2 of my Guitar Journey

  • In the video above I am practicing the E Minor Chord.
  • I learned about the G Chord, how to hold my fingers between specific frets and strings to make the G sound.

Feedback from Peers Week 2:

  • I agree with Brittnee that my daughter is adorable.

Week 3 D Chord

  • Above is a video of me practicing the G-Chord.
  • The rest of my blog post for week 3 is about learning the D-Chord.
  • I used Justin Guitar on Youtube to learn from.
  • Placement of the fingers is very important. Where they should go, and how they should sit on the strings in such away to be able to make the G sound.

Feedback from Peers:

  • Derek was very helpful and encouraging
  • Regan was also very encouraging which definitely helped me progress with a positive attitude towards week 4

Week 4 C Chord

  • Above is a video of me practicing the D- Chord
  • The rest of my blog post is about learning the C-Chord which will be used in strumming “You are My Sunshine”.
  • It was suggested by Justin Guitar to do the Cadd9 version of the C-Chord because it would be easier to transition into my next chord for the song.

Feedback from Peers:

Joint Blog Learning Project

  • In this blog posted I combined both my learning project blog, and my EDTC300 blog.
  • The point of the post was to teach someone how to use iMovie from a phone
  • The video above is me practicing transitioning from the G-Chord to the Cadd9. I also practiced strumming up/down/ , down, up, down (2 times).
  • I also shared how to add music, and how to do a time lapse in this blog post.

Feedback from Peers:

  • Thanks to my peers they reminded me that my video was set to private. So after reading their posts, I quickly switched it to unlisted.

Practicing G and Cadd9 Week 6

  • The above video is me practicing my G and Cadd.
  • During this week in my blog my family got a puppy. And his name is Laker
  • The video was recorded by Ryal.
  • I struggled with the positions of my fingers in this video.
  • I also struggled with the strumming pattern.
  • During this week my motivation was very low. My progression had halted.
  • I am trying to get these chords and strumming down, because I am adding vocals next week

Feedback from Peers:

  • She was very kind, and put a smile on my face for sure.

Slow and Steady Week 7

  • Above is me practicing “You Are My Sunshine”, attempting to strum, change hand placements, and sing (I cannot sing).
  • It was very difficult. All the moving parts just added to an equation I was not able to solve without more practice.
  • I mentioned in my post that maybe I should have learned how to do my daughters hair in different styles because I was so frustrated.

Feedback from Peers:

  • As expected my peers were very encouraging when I needed it.

Week 8 The Finale

Before watching the final video, I have a few thoughts. First I think if i was more consistant in practicing the guitar, and allowing myself more time to attempt all the chords, I think I would have been able to figure out the strum patterns, and hand placements in a more smooth fashion. My singing would still be hideous no matter how much I practice haha.

Below is my finale video. I did not want to attempt it because before recording it, I did not do well singing or playing the guitar. Thankfully my lovely wife can play, and sing, so she stepped in so I could achieve my goal. Which was to sing “You Are My Sunshine”, with my daughter.

Thanks to all the nice people who read my posts. Have a great year and see you around!

Final Learning Post

It is crazy to think that this is my last blog post for my EDTC 300 class. I am not going to lie It has been hard to write this due to homeschooling Ryla and lack of focus. I also have to admit that this is my most enjoyable post because I really believe in the gift of encouragement. Encouragement has been apart of my ethos for many, many years. I am very intentional in encouraging those around me as much as possible, whether at home, at work or even at the store.

Encouragement means to give someone support, or say something that allows the other person to feel confident or hopeful. When I was pastoring one of my favourite verses said in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”. I hope I was able to do this for my professor and classmates this year during the course. Below is just some examples of me encouraging my classmates.

Twitter

Twitter is an amazing platform that often is used more to discourage (trolls), then it is to build one another up. I was able to use Twitter as a source of building into the lives of my classmates with a few encouraging words. Just scroll across the slides to see my progress.

Texting

Working with Byron was a great pleasure. He as become a friend over the years and it has been great being able to text him and encourage him. He does the same for me. In this text I was encouraging Byron to keep sharing his thoughts during our class zoom meetings. I even went as far as calling his voice “angelic”.

Blog Commnets

During many of my classes when there was a lull I would check in on my EDTC300 peers and read their blog post. Below is some of my comments I made encouraging them in their work. Make sure to click on the first picture and a bigger version of it will pop up, then proceed moving through the photos and noticing my comments.

Slack

I also want to spend time appreciating Katia and all her work with use this year. I was unable to make a class due to other commitments, but was able to watch it the next day because she went above and beyond and recorded the class and posted it on our EDTC slack. My comment basically says that, “I really enjoyed this lesson”, and thankful I could be busy the night before, but was still able to be caught up.

All in all this was a great class, and a great group of classmates to work with. I am thankful that I was able to take it. Make sure that you try your best to encourage and build up others around you. Make a goal to verbally encourage three people today, and try to do that or the next week. Building this habit is essential when it comes to becoming a teacher.

Week 9 Coding with Scratch

Below is a video of my experience with Scratch.

I really had a lot of fun making different recorded sounds. The basketball backdrop was also very appealing to me. I think coding with Scratch is a fun introduction to an in depth subject. I think it would be a lot of fun for the science class, or art class to practice with it. Being able to create something to show others, seems like an outcome teachers are trying to get their students to reach.

I also think in an era were video games are very much apart of our students lives, that this type of tool could be very impactful and engaging. I really had fun with this experience, even if I was avoiding doing other homework, or homeschooling my daughter.