Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics -- were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
My experience with math throughout my schooling was not great, due to the fact that I did not enjoy math. Because I had this pre-conceived notion that I was not particularly great at math I did not really push myself to improve. But besides this sort of self restriction that I imposed on myself I did not experience any other things that would hinder my ability to learn math. I did not experience any discrimination or oppressive actions. I also did not observe anything happening to other students in my schools that would be considered oppressive or discriminating.
After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.
I like the Inuit way of learning math. I learned some of the base 20 math in my math 101 class. One way that it challenges our Eurocentric ideas is that the math the Inuit people learn is base 20 like I said earlier. The Inuit way of learning is a lot more natural. Focuses way less on the south way of education. That is the traditional sitting in the desk, taking notes, and doing assignments. I think because the students are more exposed to the environment that is why their spatial skills are a lot better than students with a more formal education. The Inuit way of using the calendar is also different than ours. As their calendar is based on common occurring events that take place throughout the year as opposed to our view that is based off of the sun’s position.
During my earlier schooling there were many single stories. The stories could have taken place over seas or take place here in Canada. What is problematic with the use of these stories is the bias they create by providing only one perspective or lens. By doing this we are really limiting the students' exposure to new things and ideas. "Whose truth mattered?" - It seems like by allowing all these single stories we are putting an emphasis on the dominant white privileged society. As these stories are generally shared through their lenses.
Growing up I always attended schools in good areas and never had to worry about such things as my safety or whatever it may be. I had a privileged life growing up in a stableish family setting. So my perspective was fairly limited. It wasn't until my parents got a divorce and my mom who moved out to a low income housing area that it provided me with a new perspective. It wasn't until this happened that I tried to consider more perspectives. This event, even though it may have been short lived because my mom moved to a "better" area in a couple months. Really had a positive impact on me and changed my lenses.
Depending on how you were raised is going to have an impact on your lens. It is important that you recognize your lens and biases when you go into a classroom so you don't pass on those biases to your students.
"How might we unlearn / work against these biases?" Just recognizing your biases is key to work against them. If you fail to admit that you may have biases there is no hope in over coming them. Then you should try to increase your knowledge by trying to read up on others perspectives maybe. Even though it may be weird at first. Trying to see the world through different lenses/perspectives does help a lot.
During my time as a student from K-12 I remember some instances of citizenship being present. Throughout my schooling it was never the Justice-oriented citizen type of citizenship. But the other two options were present. The first one that we talked about which is the personally-responsible citizen. This option was present all throughout my schooling. The idea of that is you need to be punctual, by coming to class on time, or handing your assignments in on time or there will be consequences. Really cements the idea of being a good citizen in the most basic form. You do things on time; you do not overstep any boundaries. Don’t ask questions. Just do what is asked of you so you can participate in this society. Participatory citizen was also present in my schooling. However, it was much rarer. There were instances in which you could volunteer for certain clubs, or just help out around the school. This type of citizenship was evident in a school group that was the student leadership council. People in this group did various activities such as planning big events for the school and trying to do things that had the students’ interests at heart. These examples made being able to function in society plausible. School prepares you for life outside of itself so that you can contribute to society. It made trying to achieve the third stage of citizenship way harder, because we never really had the opportunity to ask difficult questions or really ponder the ideas of like economic structures or social injustices and what we can do to help.
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?
I believe it is important to provide this knowledge to everyone whether or not they are of First Nations descent. Providing this knowledge is so important to Canadians and North America in general because First Nations' people have a rich history with the land. So giving people those new connections and perspectives to think about might make them more respectful for the place that they come from. It may also make them more appreciative. Given all the hardship and loss that the First Nations had to endure over time.
What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that "We are all treaty people"?
I think this means that since we all operate on this land and share it with one another that we should be more appreciative of it and the knowledge that we receive. Treaty Ed should be important to every student not just First Nations people. Being able to incorporate this important information in the curriculum is necessary for the development and appreciation for these things.
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
There are many examples of this early on in the document. I think by creating the audio documentary and passing on some of the traditional information covered to that wide range of people really helps with the decolonization. Keeping people informed and why they should respect certain things and becoming aware of why things are important helps a great deal. Going on the excursion with the youth and elders is awesome too. Actually learning about why the land is so important to them and then teaching them the ways of the land is a great step towards reinhabitation. Also sharing some of that linguistic knowledge and other information that would be less enticing if you were in a school, sitting down in a desk. Plus it's very unlikely that schools would even offer the information that was gained from this trip. Which makes projects like this even more important!
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
Going outdoors is a great way to start. By being in the environment it is significantly easier to convey the importance of the land to your students. So, that is where I would begin. Then teaching them the history of Regina or where ever I may be teaching at the time, the overall importance of the land. Also if the option is available maybe getting an elder in to speak with my students. So s/he could teach them some valuable information about the land would be a cool idea.
Before I started my career as a university student I was not aware of what or who mandated the curriculum. As I thought it did not really affect – which is odd because I have been a student for the majority of my life. It was not until I started to actually pursue being a teacher that I gave more attention to all aspects of teaching: one of those aspects being the curriculum because it is what my future profession is going to be centered around. In Canada the curriculum is implemented by each province. That is why we have different curriculums all across Canada and not just one unified curriculum. I found the part of the reading interesting when it was talking about the two debates for the curriculum. One being that of the overall shape of the school – which subjects will be included etc. And the second debate over what content of the subjects should be included. I was intrigued to find out that sure there are many people that are involved when making the curriculum. However, the government has the final say. This concerns me, because I believe that teachers should have more say in what they actually get to teach, and not politicians who would have different ideas about what needs to be done.
During this week reading we were asked what makes a good student based on common sense. A good student regarding this reading would be someone who just sits in class and listens. Then once they are told to do their assignments to sit quietly and complete what they were asked to complete. Students who don't question the content or ask why they have to do certain things would benefit from this definition. By not questioning the practice wheher or not it is correct will make their lives easier.
This week we were assigned the task of picking a quote that relates to education and explain why it does. This is the quote that I chose:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
I really like this quote because it sends the message of how important education can be. Without furthering our education or increasing our knowledge it really limits what we can do in the world. If we are given the chance to acquire more knowledge and become more informed about current issues it gives us a superb chance of dealing with said issues if we decided to pursue them. This quote also relates to the teacher and the student because it is the teachers job to deliver this important information and make the student want to acquire more knowledge and to become an active learner for life. It's hard to change the world without the necessary tools for the job. The tool in this case being education.
This week our major focus was on curriculum and the Tyler rationale. Our class was asked to reflect on these questions after reading the weekly text:
Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible? (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible?
A) First and foremost, Tyler used four basic questions when developing his model for the curriculum and they are:
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these experiences are being attained?
These questions/steps did apply to my schooling as I am sure they applied to practically everyone who attended school. The main goal of the Tyler approach is to quickly and efficiently convey the required information to the students so that they can learn the information and to succeed on the tests.
B) The major limitations to the Tyler rationale is that it does not take into consideration every need of the student. It looks at getting from point A to point B in one way. This is why it is not going to be effective for every student. Especially the students that learn in different ways. This rationale won't benefit them nearly as much. Because it primarily relies on tests. For the students that do not do that well on tests this method will hinder their performance.
C) Perhaps the major benefit in this approach is that it primarily focuses on being efficent. If you can help your class meet the required objectives quickly and efficiently that would be a good thing.