Challenging Eurocentric Ideas in Math

While reading the article, it turns out that there are many ways that Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas of learning. To begin, they take language into consideration. From kindergarten to grade 2, the students learn in their language; however, when they hit grade 3, they switch to either English or French. This can cause confusion with an overload of information. There is also confusion on if the numerical system in Inuktitut is the same as French or English. Next, the Inuit use their senses as a way or orientation. Instead of compassing or using traditional use of degrees, they use their noses to smell the saltiness of the air to know how far away they may be from the bay. They also make Inukshuks to signify a good fishing spot. Lastly, measuring is different. Instead of using a ruler as a measuring tool, they have traditionally used body parts, especially while making clothing.

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Response to a student

Student,

Thank you for your email. Teaching about Treaty Ed with students and a Co-op who doesn’t support it can be difficult. It is important to explain that even with there being no Indigenous students in the class, it is extremely important to know and understand the history of the land the First Peoples. I would suggest teaching about the ten cultures area of North America: the Arctic, the Subarctic, the Northeast, the Plains, the Plateau, the Northwest Coast, California, the Great Basin, the Southwest, the Southeast. With this, you can introduce Australopithecus, looking at Lucy and her remains and way of living. This should get their attention and you can then move on to how the Norse people came over and their way of living. Finally, you can move to the current day and peoples’ way of living.

Hope this helps,

 

 

Blog #6

Decolonization through the narrative

Decolonization can be seen a variety of ways through this narrative. Examples of this is used through the land. Decolonization and reinhabitation is described as “creating an audio documentary about relations to the river and engaging in trips along the river,” while “younger generations were re-introduced to traditional ways of knowing” (Restoule et al., 2013, p. 70-71). While learning about culture through story telling from elders, youth are working towards gaining a way of living and working with the land.

My subject area and teaching

I am working towards a minor in outdoor education and have a dream to teach in the Canadian National Parks. While doing this, most of my teachings would be about how the land is beautiful and it is a privilege to experience the beautiful space.  I also would explain to the patrons that we only take what we need from the land and don’t take what is not necessary

Writing the Curriculum

I think that the curriculum is written by a majority of individuals within the education field, but also politicians having input helps develop curricula. I believe that individuals who are in their later years of life are the majority of the ones who sit on the board of curriculum development.

After reviewing this article, it became evident that there are many different individuals who sit in on writing/developing curricula. This includes members such as administrators, teachers, principals, and many members of government. I truly believe that students should be able to speak about what should be included in curriculum. As we saw in the lecture, students became visibly upset with the change of Sex Ed in Ontario where they walked in during school. Students do care about what is being taught to them. It also concerns me that in Saskatchewan, Practical and Applied Arts is on the Saskatchewan Curriculum website with a large list of classes that can be offered, but the majority of schools do not offer these classes. Of course, when budget cuts happen, these classes will probably be the first to go, but we know that a high percentage of high school students in Saskatchewan will not go to university. Instead, they will be going into the trades, or working on the family farm. So why aren’t schools working towards helping these students who are on the verge of staying in high school by offering classes such as welding, auto-motives, agribusiness, etc.? And if personnel is the issue here, then universities need to be making the effort to promote these types of classes in Saskatchewan so we can specialize and teach these classes.

What makes a good student?

 

While looking at the commonsense definition of a “good” student, we see students who are punctual, and never tardy. We see students who always submit their work in on time with no questions asked. We see students who are engaged when classroom discussions are encouraged, and are silently working when independent study is in process. These are only a few examples of what some may see as a “good” student, and when students don’t portray these qualities, they are labelled as “bad” students, or are not given the same chances as the “good” students. However, what some may not see or may not know about these “bad” students is that they may come from a home with a single parent and 5 other siblings that had to be dressed, fed, and sent to school before that “bad” student could even brush their teeth. They may not know that that “bad” student has to work immediately after school and doesn’t get home till really late, so naturally their homework gets pushed aside. They may not know that that “bad” student who doesn’t participate in group discussion may be scared to offer their opinions because they were told their whole life that their opinions don’t matter.

It is so easy to label our students as “good” and “bad” without knowing what is really going on in their lives, and, unfortunately, some students may not even let us know. They may be scared to let us in on their battle through life, so we need to set our “good” and “bad” student opinions aside and realize that all of these students have a life outside of school. Whether the students are coming from a tough home, struggling with their mental health, or trying to figure out who their true self actually is, they are all going through some thing and every student deserves the best from us.

William Kilpatrick (1871-1965)

William Kilpatrick was a theorist who believed that the curriculum was for child development, growth, and social relationships. One of his quotes are as follow:

“The important thing is for the teacher to understand each child, so he can give him recognition for the good things in him; and so to conduct his class that every child has an opportunity to show off those good things which he can and is able to do. I treated those children with a kind of affection. I never scolded them; I never used harshness or reproof. I tried to teach so that the children could get some good out of it and in such a way that they could see they were getting good out of it. I trusted my children. I appealed to the better in them. I respected them as persons and treated them as persons […] I appealed to the better in the children and I gave them an opportunity to act on that better self and then gave them recognition and approval for such behavior”

I believe this is a great mindset to have as a teacher. I don’t agree with disciplining children for being wrong as it takes away from their creativity. I also think that teachers shouldn’t be treated as superior to their students as are all human and we are all learning from each other in the classroom. Teachers and students should plan together when going through the curriculum as every student and every class is different.

 

https://www.performancemagazine.org/thinkers-on-education/kilpatrick-william-heard-1871-1965/

Social Efficiency Ideology

In this week’s reading, there was a reference to Tyler (1949) which stuck with me. He wrote, “education is a process of changing the behaviour of people. …[E]ducational objectives, then, represent the kinds of changes in behaviour that an educational institution seeks to bring about in students” (as seen in Schiro, p. 2, 2013). This reference can be explained further by the analogy of Franklin Bobbitt (1913) where he explains that curriculum was used as a model to simply create an ideal adult through factory work (as seen in Schiro, 2013). His analogy is as follow:

  • school = factory
  • child = raw material
  • adult = finished product
  • teacher = factory worker
  • curriculum = processing raw material (child) into finished product (adult)
  • curriculum developers = member of research department who investigates what the consumer market (society) wants

Now looking at the present curriculum, there are Broad Areas of Learning (3) and Cross-Curriculum Competencies (4) that are the same for every grade and subject (K-12). The Broad Areas of Learning are building lifelong learners, building a sense of self and community, and building engaged citizens (Ministry of Education. The Cross-Curricular Competencies are developing thinking, developing identity and interdependence. developing literacies, and developing social responsibility (Ministry of Education. Looking back at Bobbitt’s analogy, the Broad Areas of Learning, and Cross-Curriculum Competencies do reflect creating individuals to survive adulthood, but provides more leniency in how individuals do it. Now the problem seems to be the importance that is placed on certain subject areas by the admin. Most school will place a greater importance on subjects like mathematics, sciences, and languages than subjects like physical education and arts. If the present curriculum has the same broad areas of learning and cross-curricular competencies in every subject area in every grade level, then students should be learning how to survive adulthood just the same in every subject and there should be equal value placed on every subject.

 

 

https://curriculum.gov.sk.ca/webapps/moe-curriculum-BBLEARN/CurriculumHome?id=199

“The Problem with Commonsense”

In the reading of “The Problem with Commonsense”, Kumashiro describes that they thought they knew the “commonsense” until they went to teach in Nepal where everything seemed different. They thought they knew the “normal” layout of the day, but with only 1 water tap in their community in Nepal, they had really think about the order of their day (pg. 2). While Kumashiro was in the classroom, they noticed a difference in the learning as well. They found the students had a hard time adjusting to the way Kumashiro taught which was American based. Through this, we need to realize that the rest of the world isn’t like our westernized education and other countries teach and learn in different ways. The “commonsense” in the Americas is very different from the east.

Week 12 – Carly Kentz. (Dis)ability

The term disability not only refers to one’s physical component, but can also affect cognitive, intellectual, mental, sensory, or a combination of these. Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes disability as, “not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives” (retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/disabilities/en/). Furthermore, the WHO also states that about 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability (WHO, 2017).

Dan Habib’s TedTalk about disability and his experiences with disabilities really hit home. I found it interesting when he asked the audience if anyone ever felt uncomfortable around people with disabilities as a child. I, for one, have felt a sort of discomfort when around people with disabilities. This wasn’t because I was discriminating against them in any way; it was more because I simply did not understand why they were the way they were.

Now Dan’s son, Samuel, seemed to have a very positive experience through grade school, despite having cerebral palsy. However, this makes me wonder how many other children with cerebral palsy have the same or similar experiences. It was apparent that Samuel had loving parents who worked hard to make Samuel feel safe and accepted, as well as grow up in a community who worked just as hard to achieve those goals. We know not all parents or communities are like that, which can make things challenging. Reflecting back to my experiences in elementary schools in Regina, I found some of them not very wheel chair friendly, especially the bathrooms. I also wonder how many teachers would feel confident in teaching physical education to a class with a student who is in a wheel chair. Would they know how to adapt the lessons for the student in the wheel chair but still make it challenging and interesting who those who are able-bodied, while still meeting the outcomes?


A couple of questions we were asked were what do you think shapes a person’s identity and how does their identity play a role in their education? Why do you think people with disabilities are often identified by their differences and not their capabilities or character traits?

I think a person’s physical appearance absolutely shapes their identity, but also their acceptance of themselves plays a role in this. For example, I have a friend who is deaf in one ear. Someone who doesn’t know this individual would never guess he has a congenital disability – he looks like a “normal” person. However, my friend makes it known to everyone he meets that he is deaf in one ear. He defines himself by this disability and is proud of it. He has has been discriminated against due to his disability and has had to change his dreams and career path, but wants to show his hard work in making himself successful, despite his discouragement in the past.

 

Week 11 – Carly Kentz

While watching The Secret Path, there was a statistic that really stuck out to me. The statistic was from Ry Moran during the discussion panel when he said only 66% of Canadians have heard or read about residential schools, which is something that we need to bring to 100%. This surprised me because I remember learning about residential schools a lot during my upbringing. This may be because I had teachers who made sure we knew about Canada’s history, or because the last residential school closed the year I was born (1996) less than an hour away from Regina. So for that, I feel privileged in a way to have had the opportunity to learn about such a horrid event, instead of it being brushed off like it never happened. However, after learning that statistic, I thought about this video and Gord Downie’s work for this story. Gord was a well known rock star in Canada, and I felt concerned that I didn’t know about this project that he worked on before his death. This video was released a year ago, and I hope many other people have had the opportunity to see it, or listen to Gord’s songs about Chanie Wenjack.

While listening to Gord and the panel discussion, many other statements stuck with me for a while. I applaud Gord for his effort to use his fame to tell someone else’s story. Someone’e story which ended a long time ago and was not able to end happily. I appreciated Gord when he said he was “trying to capture the feeling of trying to get home” while writing his album. I can only imagine Gord’s struggle while writing these songs in his efforts to really capture what not only Chanie went through, but every residential school attendee.

While in the panel discussion, they talked a lot about residential schools themselves and different experiences and emotions people may feel. They said that when talking to a residential school survivors, there is a “shame embedded” while sharing their past. I think that alone says a lot. Residential school attendees were forced out of their homes and had to leave their families, and culture, behind. It wasn’t their fault they had to go, and yet they feel ashamed because of it, and we all know shame can really destroy you emotionally. It was also mentioned that with Indigenous people, there comes a lot of myths. A lot of myths about their way of life that never seem to be corrected. A specific myth that they talked about was “the myth of indigenous people being less than”. I find this myth to be a popular one. We hear it all the time in media and rumors that Indigenous people simply are less than, but that’s the problem. People seem to be stuck in their ways and don’t like to give them a chance. There are many Indigenous artists, reporters, and others who have done so well and given themselves a good name, but many community members like to turn a blind eye and focus on the ones who have done the bad.

Lastly, I think Gord really captured one of his goals throughout this project. The goal of showing that “this is not abstract history for [the family]. This is their brother”. The project showed real love for the family and how much they miss him. Chanie was not the only child who didn’t make it home from residential schools. There were way too many children who didn’t make it home, and Canada does not give enough recognition for those who perished after being forced out their homes and taken from their families.