Learning Summary

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Gey63Lnr6Y8_4y5DP_J2ryVjUNzVtwzS

For my learning summary I talk about the different forms of curriculum and my shock with the curriculum critique. It is an audio file and not uploaded to Youtube because I was having  a lot of trouble with that, so I ended using a shareable link with my google drive.

Math

I was always one of those students who struggled with math. It just never made sense to me. Teachers always said it was logic, but I failed to see the logic. I don’t know that that would make math class oppressive. I never felt oppressed, just confused. I was good in other subjects like ELA and history, just not math. I don’t think my lack of talent makes math oppressive, especially since teachers were willing to help. Boy did I spend a lot of lunch hours getting help with math. The teachers always offered help, so I fail to see how that could make the math classes I had oppressive. I just don’t have any talent for math.

After reading Poirier’s article one way in which Inuit mathematics challenges the Eurocentric ideas of math is in counting. In Inuktitut they count orally. They don’t have visual ways of expressing quantities, they have verbal. Another way in which Inuit mathematics challenges the Eurocentric math is in spacial awareness. The Inuit have learned to get a sense of space from their surroundings in the natural environment. A third way in which they challenge the Eurocentric version of math is in measuring. Unlike Eurocentric math in which we use established increments the Inuit use body parts to measure length and naturally occuring events to measure time (months).

Single Stories

In my hometown there is real problem with alcoholism and drug use. I’m from Prince Albert. I know statistically P.A. has some of the worst crime rates in the country. It also unfortunately has a high Indigenous population. Growing up there I definitely witnessed some negative stereotypes. I’ve learned not to just assume and that the problems P.A. has don’t exist everywhere, but if you have enough interactions with drunk people on the street it leaves a lasting impression. Again I know that this problem with alcohol and drugs does not exist everywhere and it does not encompass any one entire population.

As for my schooling. There was definitely a lot of literature written by white, settler authors. There wasn’t a lot of books representing other cultures. In fact the best example of books representing other cultures I think of that I read in school was ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ There was some discussion around Indigenous content in social science classes, but most of what I’ve learned about Indigenous people happened in university.

Curriculum Creation

In the Levin article it is talked about how curriculum is written by experts on that specific subject and how that raises concerns in teachers who are not experts. It is also talked about how political influences affect curriculum and how everyone has an opinion on education. What surprises me about this is how curriculum seems to be written so that it can be taught best by those who are experts in that specific subject, but those who aren’t experts won’t be able to teach it to that standard. This concerns me because not everyone is good at every subject, including teachers. I for one suck at math. It seems to me that curriculum should be written with this in mind, so those who are not experts can still teach the subject matter effectively.

 

After reading the first four pages of the Treaty Education curriculum I can see that as mentioned in Levin’s article there was quite a bit of political influence in the making of this curriculum. As evidenced by the quote from the throne speech. The curriculum also references the Indian Act, Metis Act, and the Constitution of Canada. This curriculum seems to have been brought about through efforts in the Indigenous and Metis communities to raise awareness of the treaties and the historical significance as well as to incorporate Indigenous views in education to give greater context to historical and social matters.

Treaty Ed

Teaching Treaty education is important. It doesn’t matter whether there are Indigenous children in your class or not. If you live on treaty land then you are a treaty person and you should understand that history. Students should learn about how treaties work and what the view points are on both sides of that treaty (both Indigenous and settler). These treaties are a part of the history of Canada as well as residential schools, and the Sixties Scoop. These are parts of our country’s history that shouldn’t just be glossed over. Granted there is a lot to unpack in these topics, but the first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. As the saying goes those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.

There are ways to incorporate Treaty Ed in other subjects. For example in ELA. There are books both adult and children that contain Indigenous content and history. Thus there are ways to teach Treaty Ed in various subjects by crossing curriculum’s.

Learning From Place

Throughout the narrative reinhabitation and decolonization are happening. Youth and elders alike were out on the river, traveling along its banks, and basically being out on the land. They interviewed each other. This allowed them to learn from each other. It gave the elders a chance to pass on traditional knowledge to a new generation. The youth were able to reclaim aspects of their culture that they had lost.

I could incorporate the place into my own teaching by arranging for an elder to speak to my students. I could also take my students to events sorrounding First Nations culture (example: Treaty 4 celebration in Quappelle at the beginning of September). I coulkd also take them to residential school sites if possible. Learning in such a way would be a change from the traditional method of spewing information to them in the classroom and give the students a chance to witness such things with their own eyes.

Commonsense Students

According to commonsense being a good student is sitting quietly at your desk and doing your work. You do not speak out of turn. If you have something to say you raise your hand and wait for the teacher to address you. Of course this idea of a “good student” doesn’t apply to every student. This definition only really applies to those with healthy family/home lives, who don’t have a disability or disorder like ADHD. By focusing on this commonsense idea of what a “good student” is these other factors that can greatly affect a students ability to learn go unnoticed. It’s also easy to forget that different students learn in different ways by focusing on what is deemed to be commonsense.

Assignment 1 Beginning

For Assignment 1 I decided to look at Aesthetic Education according to Maxine Greene. The article I found is called, Breaking Through the Ordinary: The Arts and Future Possibility. This article basically outlines what an aesthetic experience is and what can be learned from it. As an Arts Ed student I found this quite interesting. I also think it’s something important to learn about as the arts tend to go underappreciated in schools.

My nest step would be to find other articles about aesthetic experience. I was thinking about looking at articles by other scholars about Maxine Greene’s take on Aesthetic Experience. This should give me a more accurate view of the value of aesthetic experience and how to use it in schools.

Curriculum Theory and Practice

The four models of curriculum described in the article are curriculum as a syllabus, curriculum as product, curriculum as process, and curriculum as praxis. Curriculum as a syllabus is good for keeping learning structured as it requires a set plan laid out in a syllabus. This model of curriculum also tends to rely on a text book which contains all (or at least most) of the information to be taught. However this model of curriculum doesn’t necessarily lead to a deeper understanding because it is so structured.

Curriculum as product is a more practical model of curriculum as it is intended to develop skills for real life. However while this model might be good for job training in a classroom students would miss out on a lot of knowledge about the world around them.

Curriculum as process is great for developing a deeper understanding of what is being taught. In this model the teacher encourages learning through interaction. It does require the teacher to be prepared and able to think critically, but by interacting with the students and conversing with them on the subject a deeper understanding is achieved.

Curriculum as praxis is a more developed version of the process model. In this model you still have that interaction and discussion, but you also have action and review. In other words you discuss, then practice, and then you reflect on what you did so as to build on what you have learned. This ensures adeeper understanding of subject material and can also help students develop skills.

In my own schooling the most common model was probably curriculum as a syllabus. Classes almost always had a set plan to get everyone through the semester and ensure everyone learns what they need to learn. Of course text books were also very common. Having the text book was nice as it was a constant point of reference, so if I was having trouble I could look back. That being said in my weaker subjects like math the text book was not much help as I often struggled to understand course material and instead would go to the teacher for help. Another common model was curriculum as praxis, which was most often seen in drama class. In drama we would often be taught something about performance which we would practice and then reflect on what we had done to better ourselves. This was also often done in preparation for a performance. We would learn the script, take the skills we had developed, practice/ rehearse, and then reflect to get ready for the performance.

Kumashiro, Common Sense

In Kumashiro’s introduction common sense is defined as things people understand to be normal and go unquestioned. Kumashiro uses examples from both Nepal and the United States to demonstrate this. For the U.S. examples Kumashiro uses subjects studied in school as well as the timing of the school day itself. As these things have gone on for so long they are perceived as normal or common sense. It is the same for the examples from the school in Nepal. When new teaching methods were introduced the students immediately questioned them because they were not normal according to the students’ understanding.

 

It is important to pay attention to the “common sense” because of how it shapes our understanding of how the world works. People may not realise that something needs to be changed or how something can be improved because that something is seen as normal or common sense. Kumashiro mentions how new research and ideas on schooling are often dismissed by policy makers because they do not fit with what is seen as common sense.

 

Another reason to pay attention to common sense is that different people have different ideas of what is common sense. For example when the teacher tried to introduce new teaching methods in to the Nepal school the students became concerned they were going to fail because they thought they were not being taught properly. The students did not see the new teaching methods as common sense where as to the teacher these methods were common sense. Thus by paying attention to what different people view as common sense understanding can be generated between people.