MATH EXPERIENCES

My overall experiences with math in grade school were very positive. I found that I was overall very good at the content and I put in a lot effort to ensure I understood the material. In terms of the class being oppressive I find that the subject matter is built around right and wrong answers for the most part. In my opinion math is a class that a teacher can limit themselves to explaining the material in one way and that is that. Great math teachers find multiple different ways to explain concepts so their students will remember the material. I understand that one might say that math can simple be too hard because of the tests where you need a desired outcome and this can be oppressive. However this can lead to helping students realize that in life sometimes there are right answers, as surely many university students would agree. An example of this would be when engineers are creating bridges or buildings there is not more than one answer to their calculations. This is why I find that Math can lead to improving one’s work ethic because I studied more for it than I did for my other classes. I would learn tricks and easier ways to remember how to do difficult questions. Also, for the students that do still struggle they are usually reviews and other assignments that you could work hard to get a good mark on to improve your overall grade if you struggled with tests. My teacher would always be there to help and answer any questions that we had. The math program is built around hard work especially if you struggle with the content and I’m not sure how it would work without having students test out the formulas that are taught.

After finishing Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, three ways that Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ways of math include counting, localization, and measuring. Counting which is when systematic using of methods compare and arrange sets of different objects. Localization is based around using models, diagrams, drawings, and words to explore the environment. Lastly, measuring is built around the idea of using different tools or objects to understand dimensions. These are only three of the ways that Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ways.

EXPERIENCES WITH READING THE WORLD AND SINGLE STORIES

I grew up in a small town called Montmartre which is roughly an hour south-east of Regina. The school in Montmartre is a kindergarten to grade twelve and it is where I completed all of my schooling. My childhood led me to realize the importance of my education and I had fairly good outlook when at my school especially with the positive environment I felt when I was there. Since I have these positive associations with my upbringing and schooling it has an impact on how exactly I read the world. The truth of the matter is not everyone will have had the same experiences that I have. It is important for myself to remember this biases or lease that I have on the world especially when for I am in a classroom teaching. For example, a student could be misbehaving but that could possibly be because they do not have positive interactions with their home-life or just the school in general. In regard to how people in general attempt to unlearn biases that are brought to the classroom it comes down to multiple things. I think a huge part of doing this revolves around what Kumashiro states in chapter seven his book Against Common Sense, “We would discuss the dangers of presuming that we as teachers ever know ‘enough’ about our students and do not have more homework to do, such as when we design a lesson for students whom we expect to be interested in certain things”. I feel that this means that as a teacher you need to put your lenses on people aside so you can try your best to learn specifically about each student which is very crucial.

After watching the TED Talk from Chimamanda Adichie I begun to think more about what exactly is a single story and my experiences with them. I think it becomes clear from what Adichie explains in her TED Talk from her childhood experiences that children are very impressionable. If they are to only hear single stories that will be what they generally gravitate towards. If a student does not hear about other cultures how do expect them to know anything about them. Also, when looking back on my experiences of the concept of single stories I feel it was fairly similar to what Adichie explained when she said most stories revolved around white characters. I feel that only when I started getting into higher grade levels did different stories that were not single sided started becoming incorporated into my classroom. I’m glad that I am learning more about this subject matter so that I can always remember that I need to use diverse content and not provide only single stories in my future classroom.

CURRICULUM AND IMPLEMENTING TREATY EDUCATION

After reading the article “Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools” by Ben Levin, I gained more knowledge regarding how school curricula are developed and implemented.  Levin gives inside into the topics as he explains how the curriculum is “defined as an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to”. Many break it down to this simple statement but much more thinking goes into how exactly the curriculum is forged. A factor of this would be the politics side of it which includes who exactly has control over the curriculum. Levin explains how “Education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation; and in federal systems, education governance will have a fourth (and often primary) level at the state or province”. They are different levels that impact how the curriculum is developed, it is not as simple as one might think. When these different levels get together to discuss the curriculum, Levin explains they will go over ways to continue to implement new changes to the curriculum. It is easy to assume that they do not always agree on matters, but I think that the fact all of the levels get together is very important. It allows many voices to be heard and give different perspective on these topics. Also, Levin explains how there are different factors besides these levels that impact the curriculum that include “ideology, personal values, issues in the public domain, and interests”. It shows how you can not pinpoint how exactly the curriculum developed, but it is important to realize many of the factors that come into play.

In regards to the connection that Levin’s article has with “Treaty Education Outcomes and Indicators“, I feel that it comes down to how many different perspectives are involved. Since this document also has many different perspectives involved it allows them to operate correctly and fairly in terms of implementing Treaty Education. However, when looking at how the curriculum for Treaty Education has been developed it is clear to see that it has had tension-filled situations. A very common one would include how some parties might not feel that it is an important topic to cover so if these people are close minded as well it may be difficult to explain the importance to them. However, society is beginning to realize the importance of developing the Treaty Education curriculum and getting over hurdles like these.

TREATY EDUCATION

In schools, it is important that teachers are educating students on Treaty Ed and other First Nation content and perspectives. This should not be effected by how many First Nation students are in the classroom, as the subject matter is critical for any class not just those with more students who are of that culture. It can be seen as divisive as society and educators can have different opinions on if it is necessary to be in the classroom or not. However, by making more people aware of Treaty Ed and such topics we should hopefully build towards a society that sees the importance. That is why it is important to be introducing these topics to our youth in the classroom.

My personal understanding of “we are all treaty people” continues to grow as I get a better understanding of topics like it through my schooling. While growing up in my town, I feel that the school may not have put in a great amount of effort into Treaty Ed. When we would talk about these topics it came down to the saying “we are all treaty people” but one time I remember they brought in some guests and they made tipis with us and talked about their importance and that really stuck with me. Educators should be trying to find engaging ways to teach this topics whether that means bringing elders in or hands on activities. I feel now I am beginning to have a much better understanding and continue to learn more on these topics. For an example just this week in a video our class was to watch was a lecture by Dwayne Donald and a point that he makes is how everyone has been colonized regardless of where they are from or the color of your skin. I feel this is a very good response to the many people that ask “why is it important to learn about this stuff” because it has impacted everyone. It is important for society to think this knowledge is important so that we can fix many relationships in our country and understand the past of the First Nations people and trauma that have had to deal with. It should not matter whether your skin is white and you are not Indigenous. This leads into how Cynthia Champers explains how Treaty Ed is done best when we all work together. It relates to how if everyone realizes that Treaty Ed is important then that is when the concept will flourish because people want to understand its importance. These articles have further grown my understanding of Treaty Ed and I want that to continue to happen as I advance in my future.

LEARNING FROM PLACE

From reading Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin’s article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” I was able to get a better understanding of reinhabitation and decolonization. It explains how the Mushkegowuk people were affected drastically from the colonization that took place in their community. However, as time as gone on through the methods of reinhabitation and decolonization they have started to overcome the dramatic events that happened to them. Through the ways of knowing the youth are being able to learn many aspects from their culture that seemed would be lost.

Reinhabitation is essentially about the process of people having a better understanding of how to live appropriately with our environment. Throughout the article a way it shows how reinhabitation can be used is in the skill building workshops that the youth often partake in. These often involved going outside, being with the land and working alongside the elders which was ultimately what made this so effective.

Decolonization means that we need to make changes in the ways that our society  continues to think in regard to harming the environment and people. For this method an example would simply be the river trip. It is not only about the people that partake in it but other people that just hear about what they are doing can have their way of thinking changed. Another example would be when they were using the radio because they were reaching out beyond their community.  I also found the aspect of renaming and reclaiming of locations something that is really important.

As future educators it is important that we focus on topics in this area, specifically related to indigenous culture and the environment.  When I am an educator I hope that when I go over these types of topics that I can get the students to care about the information and think about it even when they are outside of the classroom. When covering these types of topics I would want to include a more hands on approach to learning and not just explain to the students for a whole hour why the should care. At this point I’m not sure how exactly I will go about it, but this article has given me a better understanding of how I might be able to.

BEING A “GOOD” STUDENT IS COMMON-SENSE

In regards to education many schools and teachers usually want their students to act in a particular fashion or else they are not considered “good” students. Kevin Kumashiro talks about this in his article “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson” and the broad statement that is to categorize what exactly makes a “good” student. However, there are multiple expectations that are placed on students that are considered to be common-sense. Society has expectations from what schooling is to produce in a student. This is something that teachers should be trying to break away from simply because of the fact that each child is not the same. This is a lot easier said than done because society has implanted into our heads what exactly makes a “good” student. In regards to what makes up a “good” student it tends to involve being very well behaved and immediately doing the exact work asked by the teacher. From this logic we tend to want the students to act appropriate and accumulate the same answers. This is not how teaching should work and why we should not follow the typical format of how all students should be.

The students that can do exactly what they are told benefit from the idea of what exactly makes up a “good” student. If you have the focus and ability to listen to the teacher for however long and give the answers they want then you will be seen as a “good” student. There is nothing wrong with this as it is a fact that all people learn differently. It is just common sense in society to teach this way so you will most likely benifit if you are able to learn from this way easily. This is how some students are privileged when this is the way students are categorized as “good”.

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Since society is making it common-sense to who is and is not a “good” student it makes it more difficult for teachers to realize things. Teachers could fail to provide the right approach to teach some students just because they feel they are “bad”. It is clear that you have to be able to ignore much of what it is considered common sense because or else you may not give a student the education they deserve. When a child does not learn a certain way, you have to try another method then be blinded from society’s thinking and assume it is because they are “bad”.

HIDDEN CURRICULUM

In our first ECS 210 class we went over some different types of curriculum and one that peaked my interest was the hidden curriculum. The reason for this was because it is essential things that you learn in school that are not apart of the formal curriculum. This is the topic I’m going to look at for my critical summary assignment and an article I found very informative on the topic is called “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work” by Jean Anyon.

It begins by explains about five different schools and the social status of each school from working class level to families that have an annual income of over one-hundred thousand. In these working class schools it becomes very clear that the way these students are being taught is in the way of the curriculum used to transmit a syllabus. The kids are not given much explanation over anything and when they do not understand something it is because they need more practice. However, as you look to the schools in the middle class you can see vastly different approach to the teaching. The teachers are wanting the students to explain their answers and this can go a long way to proving they comprehend what they’re learning. As you move to the last level of schooling which is Affluent it is shown how students are supposed to express individually thought ideas and are to expand on them. These students work should be unlike the other students to show how personal the learning is for each of them.

The way that the students are taught depending on their social class is a big part of the hidden curriculum. Regardless of if the actual curriculum says the same thing for both schools, they have different standards on how they are teaching. This leads into a hidden curriculum because the students are learning much more than what is written in the formal curriculum. In the middle class they are wanting them to know how to explain their thinking and this is a valuable skill that the working class schools are not putting importance into.  This is just one example of how the social classes intersect into the hidden curriculum but there are many other factors and ways to look at it.

As for where I will go next in regards to this topic and the assignment, I think I will focus on how some other theorists approach the hidden curriculum. I’m not keeping my search focused on the social level of school effecting it because I feel that it is not the whole idea with hidden curriculum. As long it is not apart of the formal curriculum but from reading this article I do see that it has a big impact even on how students learn the mandatory subjects.