Blog prompt (due by seminar on October 31): (note that Gale plans to call upon students to comment on these questions throughout lecture, so please be sure that you have read the articles prior to Friday’s lecture)
Finally, I want to comment on different disciplines of math. Students in high school had the option to take either regular Math (Foundations), higher branches such as pre calc, calculus or stats, or apprenticeship and workplace math. Obviously, students who took the latter option were considered unable to do math and not going to go anywhere. Even though the course focused on material needed specifically for trade fields and was useful for students wanting to go that direction, any student who took it was looked poorly on. It seems odd to me that while we offer students who are good at different things different paths to succeed, we ostracize them for choosing those options.
2. After reading Poirier’s article, here are three ways Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about math:
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"?
3. Spend at least one paragraph making some connections to TreatyEdCamp - What did you hear/see there that might help you to enact treaty education in your future classroom?
For seminar – use your blog to record and respond to the following prompts:
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?
1) Reinhabilitation and decolonization, while two independent terms, are very interlinked in terms of either being successful, as seen in the narrative written by Restoule, Gruner, and Metatawabin. Place, especially in the process of decolonization, provides a space for history, memory and recovery. In learning to connect with that place and essentially reinhabilitate oneself with it, decolonization is within that process, a hope to be achieved. The article brings up how they used the word paquataskamik, a Inninowuk (Cree) word that roughly translates to the english meaning of one’s natural environment. They go on to say that “when youth lose a sense of what paquataskamik is, they may begin to lose the connections that form the complex set of relations that bind them together in a historically and geographically informed identity,” (Restoule et alt). The process of reinhabilitation and decolonization is complicated when youth start to lose their connections to the natural world and the history that lies behind that place. If there are no opportunities for them to interact with place provided whether in school or outside, the connection is more easily served to a point where it becomes nearly impossible to fix in adult life.
2) The idea of place is something we have been studying in my Outdoor Education class since the beginning of semester. With the increasing problem of nature-deficiency with children, interacting with the natural and historical world has more importance than ever before. Because the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, we are losing our sense of what exists outside the city and technological. However, a variety of subject areas can benefit from using nature as a tool to learn. For example, social studies could be a study on a specific area, perhaps to see how terrain would have affected early settlers and indigenous communities. They could look at how indigenous peoples used their surroundings to survive off the land and how early settlers struggled in trying to bring techniques they used in their prior lands to Canada and how this hindered their development. Which then could lead into a talk about how environment affects life and the need for adaptation to place. From an English aspect, there is perhaps some more difficult connections to be made. Of course, using place as a central location for writing nature related works is the easy route, but I believe it would be important to complicate this and make the interactions with place more meaningful. Perhaps having students continuously return to a place over the course of a semester and log the changes both natural and unnatural, and reflect on how these changes occur and how it affects their view of the place. There are a number of considerations, but using space effectively can lead to all sorts of higher level learning and connections for students.
Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed? This is an entry point to this topic and whatever you write will be fine.
I imagine that the development of school curricula is an extremely lengthy process with lots of arguing and back and forths about what should and shouldn’t be included. At the very start, it is probably a huge long list of suggestions for what the curriculum makers want to be included. The rest of the process is likely mostly focused on narrowing down this list to what is absolutely mandatory for students to learn. The people who decide this should be people from a number of different positions, mostly within education. So, teachers or past teachers, from the subject areas of whichever specific subject curriculum is being developed. There should not only be high school or elementary teachers though, university professors should also be consulted. I would also see members of high position within the community have a small level of involvement. As well, ambassadors from support programs and elders from indigenous communities should have a voice as well.
After doing the reading, please write your blog entry. Reflect upon: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? IMPORTANT - Please write your blog before our lecture as YOUR OPINION will be an integral part of the lecture.
The reading largely focused on how political bodies influence curriculum. While it may sound like the government has control of policy, what they decide is often dictated by the public and popular vote. Especially in a country where democracy rules, political parties are well aware that disregarding what the voters want could be their downfall in elections. Hence, the public eye has a lot of power. In addition, behind the scenes campaign supporters and suppliers may have things they want governments to put into effect if they get into power in exchange for their support.
Being that I’ve had guest speakers in previous and current classes who have been directly involved with curriculum development, creation and implementation, I feel I’ve had a bit of a better idea on the process prior to the reading. Not to say that I fully understand it, but this article gave an interesting look into the political process associated with curriculum creation. I hadn’t previously thought of how party platforms were influenced by the public’s wishes for educational curriculum so this was an interesting new point of interest.
Something that does concern me is the teaching of politics in curriculum. Recently, an issue arose in my hometown where a student spoke out on an assignment they were given to identify between the right and left wing, in which right wingers were identified as things like ‘racist.’ My brother later mentioned, having taken Law 12 from the same teacher, that they were incredibly leftist and liberal with most of their material and teaching. I see this as an issue because it does not allow students to develop their own views and understandings on politics, instead they are forced to be, or at least act, leftist in order to appease the teacher and get a good mark. Not to call out the left side, as I’m sure the opposite has happened in the past as well, but teaching based solely on your own views and biases is a problem.
Link to mentioned news article:
What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?
The commonsense “good” student seems complex, but it really comes down to being impossible. Perfect grades, perfect attendance, volunteer work in and outside school, a good group of friends, outspoken and motivated, valedictorian material, kind and giving, environmentally oriented, and so on. The list is endless and, as I said, impossible. There is no balance and something has to suffer as a result, whether that’s a piece of the students grades, their friendships and social life, or their mental health behind the scenes.
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
I would go so far as to say that no students are really privileged by this definition. There is a certain level of pressure put onto a child that demonstrates they have the potential to be a good student. The pressure to get good grades and perform well as set by parents, teachers, and other role models. While a student may seem fine under these circumstances, I still hold the belief that something suffers as a result and that they cannot perform perfect without sacrificing something.
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
In relation to some of my earlier comments, I believe that the role models who see/understand/believe a student to be the commonsense good student, also cannot see/understand/believe that they are anything but. They cannot fathom anything but perfection and as a result are blind to any sufferings the student may experience.