Below is the link for my digital story, Madison and I decided to do this project together and wanted to make it humorous and entertaining. Enjoy 🙂
I’m not going to lie, math and I and do not get along. For as long as I can remember, I have always struggled with math. I think the reason I struggled so much is because math is a class where your work and answer is either right or wrong, you know it, or you do not and that really intimidated me. Everything we learned was based around the textbook that was being used (Math Makes Sense was the most common) and if you did not understand the textbook and teacher, you often did not succeed. As I got older, there were some units in math where the teacher would show us various ways to solve the problem and that is where I did best because I got to pick what worked best for me. Unfortunately, I did not get that option often and some students in other schools did not get that at all. Every student learns differently, and I know that math is one of those subjects where it is difficult to use various teaching strategies but encouraging hard work and being open to the idea that students learn differently is a great start.
The article “Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community” by Louise Poirier suggest various ways that Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric mathematics. Three that stuck out to me include
- Learning math in their mother tongue
- Inuit children go through the first three years of school learning math in their language. Poirier states that “Furthermore, Inuit mathematics is quite different. For example, theirs is a base-20 numeral system.” (pg. 54)
- Measuring techniques
- The first tools used to measure were body parts (fingers, foot, etc.). Today, there are still Inuit people that use body parts as a form of measurement.
- Different teaching methods
- Traditional Inuit teaching involves bringing in and elder and having students observe and listen. Questions are not often asked when using traditional teaching methods unless they know for sure that the students will have the answer.
I grew up in a small town called Tisdale which is about three hours north east from Regina. There are two schools in the town, an elementary school from K-6 and a middle/secondary school from 6-12. My graduating class was together from the very start and we always had each other’s backs making for a very positive schooling experience. I also was lucky enough to have strong relationships with my teachers and I am fortunate enough to still have those strong relationships today. Since I went through school with such a close-knit group, I had a very positive experience. I would not call our town “perfect” but when I was younger, I definitely had that mind set. I think I had this mind set because I never really faced any major problems or hardships; I had two happily married parents, 3 younger sisters, a roof over my head, food on the table, etc. I have been away from home for three years and in those three years I have realized that the type of life I had growing up is far from typical. I have met so many people that have really opened my eyes to how different we all are. Since being here and taking various education classes, I have learned that I will have students that come from very different walks of life and I have to put my own experiences aside in order to provide the best education possible for all of my students.
In the TED Talk, Chimamanda Adichie mentions how impressionable children are, and the more that I think about it, the more I realized that I was that impressionable child thinking that everyone lived the same life as me. I had the impression that everyone went to a school like mine where there were around 20 students in each class, and you knew everyone, and everyone knew you. Like most small towns, Tisdale was a very white community. This effected our schooling as we only learned about Europeans and their ways of life. It was very odd if we did learn about other cultures. Although, in grade 9, students from the Kinistin Saulteaux Nation (located south of Tisdale) join our high school. I remember being in grade 9 and being introduced to these students and hearing how different their schooling up to grade 9 was compared to ours. Although treaty ed became more prominent after these students arrived, it was still brushed under the rug and European ways were still superior because that was the schools “single story”. This TED Talk really made me realize how impressionable children are and how there are various different ways to look at life and teachers really need to take that into consideration.
“Curriculum is defined as an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do” (Levin, pg. 8), but who exactly develops the curriculum? In the article “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in School” by Ben Levin, it is made aware that politics plays a huge part in the development of a curriculum. Politics affect pretty much everything in our society, especially education. Every educational decision can be viewed as a political decision and this includes curriculum development: Politian’s bring up various things that they believe should be taught, then there is a discussion, then the curriculum starts becoming developed with very little say from the public. This concerns me because creating a curriculum is a huge job and the government should be taking suggestions from more than just Politian’s.
After reading the Treaty Education document, I realized that again, there is not much public input. The first few pages of the document list everyone that helped to create it, all the people listed are professionals in the education field or are involved in politics. While there is nothing wrong with this, there is still no suggestions are input from the public. I feel that creating this document must have very difficult because Treaty Education is such a huge and important topic and separating everything into various outcomes and indicators would be very stressful. This document is a great starting point for teaching Treaty Education but I also feel that it could go much deeper.
What does the phrase “We are all treaty people” mean to you? To me it means constantly educating ourselves and others about indigenous culture and respecting the land that we are living on. A large population of Canadians live on treaty land (mainly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) therefore we are all technically treaty people as we occupy the treaty land. Since we occupy the land, we must also respect it and prove that we are in fact “all treaty people”. Reflecting and sharing stories about the past helps to give us a greater understanding about the history of our country and gives us a deeper connection to it, school is a great place to pass on knowledge about treaties and indigenous history.
As teachers we have the responsibility of passing along this idea to every single one of our students regardless of whether they are indigenous or not, unfortunately there are some teachers out there that do not share this belief. Not only is Treaty Ed focused on educating students about First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures but also about reconnecting with the land. An awesome resource for learning about the importance of Treaty Ed. and how to incorporate it into the everyday classroom is Claire Kreuger’s blog. The blog showcases just how easy it is to use Treaty Ed in everyday classrooms, and the importance of it.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where people are very bull-headed and are often not open to change. Because of this, Treaty Ed is seen as less important and is often left out. There is evidence out there supporting the importance of Treaty Ed, we just need to utilize it. As time goes on, Treaty Ed is become more prominent in classrooms and students/teachers are becoming aware of the fact that we are all treaty people and are starting to understand the importance of that statement.
- Reinhabitation involves forming a connection to the land and appropriately using its resources. This idea has been passed down from generation to generation for years and in the article, the importance of the elders passing down knowledge to the youth is very clear. Forming a solid relationship with the land gives people a chance to appreciate everything the land has done for them and unfortunately as time goes on, youth are losing the connection and not appreciating the land as much as they should be. This is why reinhabitation is so important, it creates bonds with the land and with other people.
- By sharing stories and knowledge, the youth learn new things and the elders get to teach and relive things that they may have forgotten. Doing this forms a relationship between the youth and elders but also gets knowledge flowing between everyone giving the youth an opportunity to take what they learned from the elders and share that information with others. It gives the youth a chance to really appreciate the land and the stories that are involved.
How might you adapt these ideas/consider place in your own subject areas and teaching?
- I am a firm believer of place-based education and using the environment/community to help teach. As a phys. ed major, it will be fairly easy for me to incorporate the environment into my lessons, going on nature walks and just taking the class outside to do lessons give both the students and teacher a chance to experience and connect with the land. I can also incorporate indigenous games and dance into my lessons, I just recently learned the basics of Hoop Dancing and will definitely take what I learned into my future classrooms. Also, as a health minor, I can bring in a guest speaker to teach my students about traditional/herbal medicines. I can also incorporate the medicine wheel into my health classes. There are so many ways to incorporate indigenous teachings into any class, and sometimes we do it without even knowing it.
What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the common-sense?
- Every teacher dreams of having “good” students. These “good” students are the students that are on time and follow the rules. They follow instructions and do not question anything said by the teacher. They are quiet and good listeners that never speak out of turn, therefore they participate when they need to. These students also test very well and get high grades in whatever it is they are doing. Personally, I think you could call these “good” students “cookie cutter” students as they are all perfect and all the same.
Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
- The students that are privileged by this definition are the students who learn best by seeing and listening. They are the students that can sit in a desk for hours and listening to the teacher’s voice and can take in everything that they are saying. These students typically come from a good/sturdy home where all their needs are being met. They have structure at home so structure at school is normal to them.
What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common-sense ideas?
- There are numerous students that do not fit into the “good” student category. Unfortunately, these students are often looked passed and therefore struggle with school. Because of common-sense, teachers feel they can only teach one certain way which is not only frustrating for students but also for the teacher because they feel like they are doing something wrong and then have to re-evaluate their teaching. Common-sense has influenced every single one of us, whether it has been influencing the way we learn or the way we teach. The secret is not to be a ‘good’ student and not to teach “good” students, but to realize that every student is different and to be open to change.
I decided to focus on place-based education for this assignment. For starters, place-based education is taking a class out into the community to expand learning opportunities. Personally, I prefer place-based education as I am a kinesthetic learner and I learn best by doing, not just sitting and listening. For students like me, sitting all day everyday can be difficult, this is where place-based education comes into play.
Many may think that place-based education is just for classes like phys. ed or outdoor ed classes, when in reality you could use a place-based curriculum approach in any class. For example, for social/history classes, teachers could take students out into the community and have them discover interesting/important facts about the community that they are in. Taking classes into the community or an outdoor space exposes them to new things and new ways of learning/thinking.
I am going to continue my research by studying various articles, one of them being “Mindful Place-Based Education: Mapping the Literature” By Anthony Deringer. By using this article and many more, I am going to discover more ways to incorporate place-based education into all classes and why it is so important to have students participating in it.
The four models include,
- Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted
- Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – Product
- Curriculum as process
- Curriculum as praxis
Each of these models have positives, but where there are positives, there are also negatives. For example, the curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted model is very structured and organized but, some students do not like structure and may struggle to learn the material at the required pace. This could also be relevant to the curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students model because teachers are working to create the perfect student without really taking into consideration that all students learn differently. The curriculum as a process model is aimed more towards the students that learn by doing and is used in classes that are interactive like physical education. In this model there is more interaction between students and teachers but this model could also be seen as “slack” and students may not be getting the required work done. The same goes for the curriculum as praxis model, this model is a development of the process model and it gives students the chance to focus on themselves and to think critically.
In my own schooling, all of these models were present it just depended on the teacher and the class. Classes like math and science followed more of a Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted approach. This is because we were given a syllabus and we followed it front to back, The only thing that mattered was that we were doing the work and getting it done. In these classes, I guess you could say that the product method was also present, everything had to be done a certain way and if you like routine, that is fine, but more people like me that cannot learn by just sitting and listening, it is kind of difficult. In other classes like English, history, and phys. ed, my teachers were very interactive; they listened to the students opinions and we did more than just sit and follow a syllabus. So the praxis method was present in those classes.