Let the STORIES be told

Growing up in Zimbabwe and moving to Canada at a young age the world was super confusing.  It was a battle between keeping my culture but fitting in into the new world. I could tell no matter which way I decided to go I was an outcast. I had the perception that white people were always superior and now being surrounded by more of them than I had seen my whole life made me feel small. Like Ngozi Adichie, my knowledge of the western world was that it was all about rich white people who had everything.  Like Adichie, the best way to unlearn is through literature. This is a great way to show different perceptive of culture.

My Canadian schooling presented some super negative view on Africa in general. Unlike my perception when I was in Zimbabwe of the great things the western world had to offer, Africa was seen as poor place where flies where everywhere and people had no food. Im not sure what Africa that was as I lived there and never experienced these things. Students would ask me if I knew what a television was as if I was a cave man. My truth didn’t matter because they had grown up with this perception of Africa already. Plus Africa was a country to them rather than a continent, so me saying I was from Zimbabwe was as good was me saying I flew in from out of space. These stories were hard to change because of my position as the newcomer. I now understand that my voice matters. I can speak up and let people know we have television in AFRICA and yes there is some great food.

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Citizenship is not just a certificate

Its funny when I hear the word citizenship I really do think of the card I got to declare I am Canadian back in 2005. That being said I understood that being Canadian meant abiding by the Canadian law but lets be real it also meant I couldn’t get deported. In reality citizenship is more than just a label of belonging it is about playing your part to make that belonging better for not just you but others.

From k-12 I can honestly say the teachings on citizenship were more like a by pass. You knew it was good to recycle but it wasn’t enforced. You knew were the recycling bun was and that was it. The following topics: picking up litter, giving blood, recycling, obeying laws, and staying out of debt (Westheimer.2004) were topics we heard about but not necessarily learned about. Heck, I’m in debt but I could not tell you what that even means or how I could not have ended up here because I wasn’t taught. It was simple go to school and stay out of trouble. My teachers lived by the same rules, if you stay out of trouble you will be fine but never taught us how to be a positive roll in society aside from that.

As for being a participatory citizen, it always came with a. reward. Never did I volunteer at an event without getting something in return. I guess if you get paid it isn’t volunteering and if it meant I got to skip a class I didn’t like then sign me up for selling those muffins :). Then he Justice citizen is all about pursuing social justice. That definitely did not happen. We sat back and were told what to do. How do you pursue social justice when the first thing you are told is to do what you are told. 

Personally I think this approach to curriculum is raising some unaware adults. In other words we are not thinking for ourselves but even so we can’t see that because it takes time to unlearn it. Being more aware of what role I am to play and physically doing it would translate into a good citizen. But I have to say I am still happy I got that citizenship card because I will not be getting deported even if I didn’t do the good citizen duty. I AM CANADIAN 🙂 but now I understand I must contribute my part.

 

Maybe your Math was Right all along

I grew up in a culture that was very strict on learning math from a young age. To their defense it seemed like math was the one subject we can all agree on right!! Well WRONG!! The problem with mathematics isn’t the numbers itself but the way the numbers are conveyed. Whether Johnny dropped a few cupcakes or ran a couple of blocks we know that Johnny still has at least one cupcake and that Johnny got some exercise. I like the way Inuit math is conveyed. It is the principal of the matter. If I bought some apples and my mom came and gave me more apples wouldn’t I just have a lot of apples. Thats real math to me.

But in reality lets really break down this Eurocentric western math. First thing is we ourselves can not even agree on the unit of measures we use. is it CM or is it INCHES. And is it a MILE or is it a KM.  Even how we count with our hands is not aligned. Do I start with index as one or can I start with my thumb as one. SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTION AS TO WHY THAT ONE WAY IS RIGHT. I still have one finger up NO??? I love when parents teach young children the different ways of counting. I saw one little boy starting with his thumb and I was super impressed. That is not to say he didn’t know what one is because he did. We just judge too much so get over your ways and realize ONE is ONE regardless on how it is presented.

 

a) Inuit math is presented through language. It is not written.  We do understand more on what is said than what we read. So if a student can understand the problem orally that means they understand it. Why is the written way supposedly better?

b)Practicality. When you hear that word everything makes sense right. But because we want to assimilate everyone the Eurocentric math is now saying practicality doesn’t make sense. Lets pick our battles here. Maybe it is YOU WHO IS NOT PRACTICAL.

c).I don’t know about you but I used my toes to count too. I couldn’t count past 10 without thinking about my feet. So use 20 actually makes sense to me. But regardless we do come out with the same answer.

So moving forward how are we as educators going to present math differently within a class. Maybe we need to retake our math courses and truly understand what it means to add, subtract, multiply and divide. 

we are ALL treaty people

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND IS WRONG!!!!! Schools who do not teach Treaty Ed because of the  lack of visible First Nations are not doing a service to their students. We are ALL treaty people includes you and I regardless of race, gender, or even sexuality. As long as you are on this (CANADIAN) land you are on treaty land. So tell me again how this is out of sight when you are standing on the land you refuse to learn about? Its like walking into someones house and saying their property does not matter because no one is there to protect it. But even that is a bad reference because the treaties were made to share and care together for this land. First Nations were kind enough to even allow the concept of sharing the land even though we seem to not represent their views. Lets be honest  we are all treaty people benefits us because we are able to live on this land due to the kindness of First Nations. We have to acknowledge the land we are on regardless if the founding demographic is not represented.  We keep teaching these European history year after year but in all of that where is the history about those who were already here and helped those European settlers become what they are. Where is the history of the current situation and why we now refer to the treaties as a way to correct a wrong?

As an educator I understand the treaties as an understanding the land. It is about knowing how this land came to be and how it is now. It is a way to appreciate the land we are on and to treat it as so. The signing of the treaties was done also for my behalf, therefore teaching it is the least I can do to acknowledge the signing.

Treaty Ed Camp was a great experience. My favourite section was the 2/3 teachings. She showed her classroom singing jingle bells in Cree. That really caught my attention because music is a really captivating way to learn a language. Jingle bells is such a common song that teaching or learning it in Cree I have to say is pretty cool. Her lesson were not set up to be like ‘ok now we are going to learn about First Nations”, or “its time for cree”. It was more fluid and flowed with her everyday teachings. Something I picked and will be using in my intern is saying “Tansi” which means hello.  Even during attendance it is something so simple to incorporate into the classroom. Also knowing that the schools hold a buffalo kit where lessons are made for you and teaching are laid out is fantastic. I have now acquired one of the kits and will be teaching a lesson based on it. Had I not gone to Treaty Ed Camp my resources for incorporating First Nations teachings into my classroom would be left in the hands of google.

 

 

Learning from Place

  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?

Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional

Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing

Throughout the narrative it is evident that reinhabitation and decolonization is happening through the collaboration of the community. From the elders to the young, knowledge is being passed about the land. The trip down the river is a way to hands on way to explore more of the culture and understand some of the meanings;  ‘this connection to nature and land was all the more significant for its contributions to an additional dimension of development: the cultural identity of the people” (Restoule et al.). . The amazing part of the narrative is that the people involved were people who really cared to learn More often than so we hear culture is not passed on to children  because they do not want to learn. It is clear that when a community comes together to achieve something, all members benefit and contribute greatly to the growth and development of the culture.

Considering place I think it is always important to know the history of the land you are on. The good with the bad, history should be presented in an authentic way. By authentic I mean the person presenting the history should not only focus on what they want or think is right but engage all students. There is always a way to include every student. Also being able to see some of the places within this history helps connect with the information. It seems as if history books were written about something so far away when in reality it is about our own backyard. Understanding this will help students reflect their enriched learning through their lifestyle.

Education has Politics?

Before researching honestly I thought curriculum was made by a bunch of rich people who just want to decide how the world should function. With. their money I see them as people who are only wiling to help the cause of education if it reflects their views. Alongside the rich people there are also people who understand education and also those who can actually make it happen. As for the written part I feel like it is written in a way where underlying views are there but not upfront (hidden within the curriculum).

I am not surprised that the curriculum is made by the government. Honestly it comes down to the same concept where they do run a lot of what we do. Although we can say we elect those in government, it is always evident there are ideology that even our elected people do not cover. Politics is everywhere. As much as we want to say we need to stay away from politics, it is hard when everyone has different views.  As said Ben Levin, ‘politics is about power. So what easy way than to ‘brainwash students to meet the ideology of those in power. Yes we can agree that the overall goal of politics is to make society better, but how when it is made of people with the same view.

I am not surprised by all the power the government has and who we listen to. It is easy to take opinions for people in the field. My question still lies in how can those been currently influenced also have a say (i.e teacher, students, employers)? Why do we have to wait for a strike to be heard while students suffer, rather than involving those who are actually field. Im over the whole  oh we don’t have a say as students because we do not know better and that because someone is old they have loved enough to make decisions for those growing up. Reality check: times have changed.

 

 

 

My sister was NOT a ‘good’ student

I was a ‘good’ student according to the common sense. Kumashiro (2010) describes a ‘good’ student as attentive, participates, gets good grades and all the icing on top. Yes, I was that student. On the other hand my sister was NOT. She was not privileged to learn in a traditional classroom because she got bored easily which in turn caused her to be disruptive. I grew up listening to my teacher and parents and doing as I was told, while my sister questioned everything and needed a reason to be attentive. She understood what was being taught but didn’t care much for it. Funny enough in her second year of high school a teacher realized she was gifted. She retained information quickly and was disruptive because she was bored. She was then challenged by being put in the RUSH program. This was the advanced program at her high school. My sister is now a striving successful woman but her grade 5 teacher would have told you otherwise.

With the commonsense idea it is impossible to see students with different attributes in one classroom. The common sense idea is very uniform to a certain group of students. It puts a blanket on the ability of those who may strive in a different setting or simply students who don’t fit idea common sense. I will be honest by saying I was jealous of my sister because I worked so hard to please others while she strives to please herself through challenges. She is able to fail and try again but it’s all in the art of wanting to learn. Commonsense ‘good’ student mentality is very limiting.

 

We all Have Different Potentials

“Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world”

-Maria Montessori

The above quote resonates with me. ‘Free the child’s potential’  seems like.a simple statement. Alone as it stands, the line seems easy to understand the concept of potential.  Every child has potential that must unleashed. Unfortunately not all potential is freed because educators view on potential is based on their own bias. What I mean is if a child has the potential to be the next great artist, educators are more likely to suppress that potential. In contrast the child who excels in math and science is given more opportunities to explore that potential. The potential we foster is based on our definition of success. The second part of the quote ‘you will transform him into the world’ highlights how what we do as educators will reflect the adults we send of into the world. A great teacher will transform a child into the world whereas others will let the world transform the child.

Together the quotes emphasizes how each child has the ability to be strive as an individual in the world. We do not want to teach children to fit into the world we live in but to strive for the world we want to live in. This starts with understanding their potential and every potential and ability is just as important.

The video below shows how one teacher can change a student when they take the time to understand their needs.

 

 

 

Social Efficiency Ideology

The idea of the most efficient education is and has been argued. It is the idea that there is a right way to educate and the purpose of school differs among philosophers and educators themselves. The Tyler Rationale is a concept in which students go to school to be molded into what is seen as productive adults with equipped knowledge for the world. The rationales are as follows:

1)1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2) How can learning experiences be selected which are likely to be useful in attaining these objectives?
3)How can learning experiences be organized for effective instruction?
4) How can the effectiveness of learning experiences be evaluated?

The Tyler Rationale is very reflective of my learning. In my school teachers laid out the rules in every class pertaining what we were to get out of the class. We got a textbook and went from cover to cover with tests in-between. The lesson plans were based on the textbook and very rarely did they step out of the direct style of teaching (I teach you learn).

Unfortunately the Tyler Rationale limits creativity and other intelligences. We know students learn differently and there are many ways of getting the same product. It is as if students come to school without any knowledge but as we know many students are educated in different areas. Collaboratively working together with students and educators can benefit all and produce higher learners. The multiple intelligences are not reflected in this rationale, therefore a lot of students are not being served. There is little concern for the child and helping them learn but an emphasis on ability to be part of the current societal work life.

Despite the strictness of the rationale it does serve an important objective. “Curriculum workers have two tasks: they must determine what the consumer market wants in terms of finished product and must determine the most efficient way of producing the product (Schiro, 2013). The purpose is to make students who will strive as adults.

 

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