Check out my ECS 210 Digital Reflection! This shows what I learned in ECS 210 and gives a look at how it will strengthen me as a teacher…
When Katia said this week that we could write about anything, I was nervous to start because I did not know where to go from that. But when I thought about sharing my struggles, stresses and questions I have had over this year, I got excited!
Here is my list of things that have stressed me out and what I have mainly thought about throughout this semester’s ECS 210 class:
- I do not want to fail my students
- Be open to teachable moments
- I am intimidated but passionate about Treaty Education
Now to explain…
1.I do not want to fail my students. I have this constant fear of failing, so the idea of being held responsible for what a student learns in a year is terrifying. I worried that if I explained something wrong or missed including a learning style then I would ruin a students future. Taking this class and listening to the personal teaching stories, such as Gerry explaining his relationship with the Saskatchewan Curriculum, helped me feel better. I need to remind myself that I am enough! There is no way that a teacher can do absolutely everything to make every single student understand one concept, and that is a hard thing to accept. I think that I have learned that if I try my best, that IS enough.
2. Be open to teachable moments. I have planned many children’s activities, and I sometimes become a little flustered when the schedule goes off the tracks a little bit, but these are some of the best moments students learn! These are called teachable moments. I remember in my high school English class we would get off topic and these were actually the moments that I learned more because it was interactive and as a result scaffolding and reflections were produced. For future planning, I hope that I can control the conversation to help students have that great learning experience. In “Learning from Place:A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing “, it emphasized John Dewey’s theory of learning by doing. I think that learning in the environment is one of the easiest and best ways to implement learning. You do not need any props, nature is your prop! Let the experiential learning kick in. When a teacher is enthusiastic about an activity it will get the students excited and it will be a great lesson!
3. I am intimidated but passionate about Treaty Education. I think that it is important to share Canada’s history from Canada’s First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples. I find this implementation a struggle for me because I never had this type of Educational experience in school, so it was a foreign idea to me. Since I have not had that much experience with learning Treaty Education myself, I do not feel confident that I can do it justice. Claire Kreuger’s lecture helped me sort those ideas out because she said that it is okay to fail, because it shows that you are trying. This advice also greatly helped me battle through #1…
Restoule, J., Gruner, S. & Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from place: A Return to traditional Mushkegowuk ways of knowing. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(2).
I am sorry that you are having this experience. It is important that you know that you are doing the right thing by including Treaty Education in your course, it shows that you are including a very important piece of the curriculum!
It is evident that these students have little knowledge on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people. It is disappointing they hold these prejudices. I would suggest incorporating some of the articles that you have read while studying education that has opened your eyes and surprised you. Share your personal story with your understanding of Treaty Education. Doing this will get on a personal level with your students. I also suggest showing your students CBC’s 8th Fire, and show them clips of the series so they can watch and listen to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people’s stories and experiences with personal struggles and reconciliation.
It is important for the students to know that just because you are not a First Nations, Metis, or Inuit person, does not mean that you are not a treaty person. We live on Treaty land, therefore we are all treaty people! It is important to be an informed citizen, and know the history of where you live and how it has made life the way it is today. Students need to learn about colonialism, white privilege, and reconciliation so they can have a greater understanding of Canada.
In Claire Kreuger’s presentation on Treaty Education, she said that she was a first teacher in her school to teach Treaty Education. With a similar experience as yours, she felt discouraged because she did not have support from teachers with her addition of Treaty Education. Once Claire set up activities and events with a theme of reconciliation, and other teachers started to understand why she was including Treaty Education. Developing good relationships with the staff and the student’s parents will help in this process.
If you have any more questions or need help in any way, do not be afraid to ask.
In the Learning from Place reading, some examples of decolonization projects are Canoe trips, bringing together Elders and youth, and radio documentaries.
It is almost difficult to examine how I could incorporate these ways of decolonization in the classroom, because it depends on what age the students are and how much they know about Indigenous issues.
A high school class should be able to do all these three projects. High school students should be able to handle these situations because ideally, they have been taught about Indigenous issues and Canada’s history. With this knowledge, he students should be able to rightfully appreciate these activities. Going on a canoe trip will help students gain a connection to the land. An Elder visiting the classroom will help them understand the importance of Elder and youth relationships in Indigenous communities. Listening to the radio documentary in the class may help the students broaden their understandings and richen their knowledge.
For elementary students, they may not have enough knowledge on Indigenous issues, so they may not be ready to hear personal stories as such in a radio documentary. But incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing in the classroom through the environment could be done. A teacher may not be allowed to take students on a week-long canoe trip, but they could take them to a park or go on a walk and connect with nature that way. The teacher could ask an Elder to come to the classroom and share stories and sing songs with the students.
Including decolonization in classrooms is important, and for it to be properly and efficiently done, the activities and experiences that are organized for the students should be age appropriate.
The curriculum has shaped me as a teacher because it is the basis of what I think is supposed to be taught and has taught me what should be valued. Teachers have also influenced me because they are the main influence I had and the ones who taught parts of the curriculum. Math, Science, and English are the explicit subjects that have the most important value in school, but there is also the hidden curriculum that teaches students that teachers must be aware of. The hidden curriculum can include racism and social stratification. These are the things as a teacher that I need to recognize and control. Instead of “turning a blind eye” to these hidden teachings, I should approach them and teach about them in an appropriate way. If I was to avoid speaking about racism, it would send implicit messages about where I stand on the topic. By saying nothing, it says it all! From taking my university classes so far, I have learned that what you teach will influence students in more ways than you know. It is important to remember this so you are mindful of what you are teaching.
Do teachers really have a say in what goes in the curriculum?…
After reading Chapter 1 in Ben Levin’s book, “Making Curriculum”, and attending lecture, it can be said that teachers do influence the curriculum, but sometimes not in primary ways. In the reading it said that teachers provide reviews and feedback.
It seems odd that the people who spend the most time with the students and who work closely with the curriculum the most, are not the ones that are making the curriculum. Isn’t that odd? I think that teachers would know best when it come to knowledge for what material is most appropriate for the students and what should be taught in schools.
The government has a great influence on the curriculum. In Monday’s lecture when we were observing Social Studies 5 Outcomes, you could see the bias that the government put in. The outcomes I saw were mainly about agricultural practices, crop yields, and oil/ gas industry. The Conservatives were in government when this was made, so it makes sense that there would a push for education based on their values.
Many different organizations have influence on what the curriculum is, but I believe teachers should have one of the greatest influences. Teachers know what will work best in the classroom and what will not work.
In “Against Common Sense”, Kumashiro defined what a good student is. In summary, it is a student that listens to the teacher, does not talk in class, and answers questions. These are the best students because they are well behaved and sit still. In traditional ways, teaching is a student, a book, a teacher and a board. These things are believed to be the bare necessities for learning and where the real learning happens. Anyone that cannot sit in a desk long enough to read a chapter in a book is not a good student.
What bothers me with the definition of a good student is, it only classifies one type of learner as a good student. Students who learn in more ways than reading from a book, like myself, do not fit in the category of a good student. Students that cannot sit still in a desk because they would rather learn from hands-on, active work, are considered problem students. There is an idea that we need to fix that student so they are able to sit down for a lesson, but there isn’t thought about changing a lesson to get the students moving.
If you fit the criteria of a ‘good student’ this is not a bad thing, and if you have characteristics of a ‘bad student’ you are not bad. Everyone learns differently. Therefore, this should be recognized and lessons should be accommodated to fit each student.
“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters- but how.” -Maria Konnikova
LOVE. THIS. QUOTE.
This quote shows the type of education that values and fosters creativity. It is about the process that children go through in school, not specific outcomes. It is important that students understand that they should feel encouraged to try new learning methods and see what works for them the best. Students that get the opportunity to explore their learning, may grow more as an individual and be more aware of themselves. I think that this quote shows that a teacher with this idea will understand the true significance of how the student is learning and what they get out of that learning rather than just knowing the final outcome. This quote recognizes the curriculum and the requirements, but understands that the content is important, not just another check off of a unit.
I can think of many instances where I experienced Tyler’s rationale in school. A method my teacher used in Math was through practice and repetition, and this followed Tyler’s values. A new formula would be introduced, and we had to repetitively use the formula in different examples and basically memorize the material. This would relate to Tyler’s rationale because the goal of the lesson was to memorize this formula, and the way it was done was through practice and repetition.
A limitation that comes to my mind when thinking about Tyler’s Rationale is the process that decides what the curriculum needs to include. It seems conflicting to me because, who gets to decide what is important for students to learn? Values and morals are greatly different from family to family and culture to culture, so who decides what knowledge should be universal?
A benefit to Tyler’s Rationale is that it could give a good outline for lesson planning. There are linear steps given in the rationale such as planning objectives, picking important content, and what examples will be used to reach the objective. The rationale does not necessarily restrict freedom. You can still pick out what you want students to learn and how they will learn it, whether it be through interactive activities or traditional methods. For teachers who need that extra guidance and inspiration, Tyler’s Rationale could be a helpful tool.
Kumashiro defines common sense as something learned and experienced. One cannot assume that common sense is universal knowledge and shared. Where and how you live develops your sense of common sense. It is important to know the ‘common sense’ of where you are, so you may not offend anyone that does not share that idea. By knowing ‘common sense’ you are able to compare yours to another’s, and you can learn a lot about a person or culture this way.
I think that this is a fitting quote because it supports the idea that common sense is not something that is universal. It is not something that is pre-programmed into someone and that is their knowledge for life. It is developed through experience, culture, and peer influences.