Final Reflection

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I grew up in a place where there were not very indigenous people in my school. Out of the 136 I graduated with about 5 of them were indigenous. I feel as a result of this I developed a bias of Indigenous people, because we just never really talked about them in my classes. We learnt about the history of Indigenous people, but I do not ever remember discussing Indigenous people today. I think that is so important to discuss Indigenous culture as well.

The single story that stuck with my in my schooling was the white perspective. Every class that I had was from a white teacher, and I now feel that there was a type of bias around what we were learning. The teachers also never brought someone in to help us gain a better understanding of diverse perspectives, so I was only stuck with that one. It seemed that all I learnt was the terrible things that happened to Indigenous people, and we never learnt about the culture or what is really happening today.

Types of Citizens

Throughout my schooling I mainly remember citizenship education in the form of learning to vote, and how important it is for people to vote. We discussed the importance of voting from grade five, and especially talked about it in History 30. Although we talked about voting, in grade twelve neither myself or my peers could legally vote yet, and I think that we never really critically thought about voting simply because we could not do it yet. However, now that I can legally vote I do appreciate learning about the importance of voting. I also remember in elementary school that we talked about how our own decisions affect the world around us. We talking about recycling and taking care of the environment, but we were just taught that this is important to help the world not exactly why doing this makes someone a good citizen.

            The three types of citizens mentioned in the article are: the personally responsible citizen, participatory citizen, and the justice-oriented citizen. The personally responsible citizen mainly focuses on the person as an individual, while the justice-orientated citizen questions why the world is the way it is. All throughout my schooling we mainly focused on the personally responsible citizen. We talked about how we can make a difference in the community by recycling because it was important for the environment, but we never went into what it means to be a justice-orientated citizen. I believe that it is so important that students have the tools and knowledge in order to become justice-orientated students who recognize the need to make changes in the world. It is important for student to know what they are supposed to do, but also question why they are supposed to do it. By providing students with the tools to look at the root of the problem, this can hopefully help to break the cycle of whatever keeps on happening.

            However, within a school resources are often limited, so it can be extremely difficult to provide students with opportunities to be a justice-orientated citizen. Students must also be willing to work towards this type of citizenship because not all students in the classroom will feel that it is important. Working towards justice-orientated citizens should be the goal, but it may be difficult with the resources available within a school.

Curriculum as Numeracy

Looking back at my time in math classes I never really felt that anyone was oppressed or discriminated against. However, I was always taught that there is one way to find an answer to a certain problem, and I now beginning to realize that it is not always the case. Our math classes constantly used the math textbook, and it was not very often that we would differ away from this. Although the way that math classes were divided in my school was the ‘smart kids’ took foundation 10 and 20 in grade 10, then in grade 11 they took precalculus 20 and 30, and in grade 12 they took calculus 30, and then AP math which was Math 110. The kids who ‘struggled’ in math were often encouraged to take the foundations route, or the workplace route. While I often did not feel oppressed when I was in my math classes there was definitely an expectation of what math everyone should be taken. As I look back on it now I realize that this was of streaming students into math classes probably was not the best one as it was all based on assumptions.

Inuit mathematics use a 20 base system instead of the Eurocentric 10 base system. This can be very confusing as every calculation that is made must be changed. There math system is also oral so ensuring that different people know what they are saying is important when it comes to math. Secondly, there sense of space is different from Eurocentric ways of mathematics. The reading mentioned that when an Inuit person goes hunting they can see how far away from the bay they are by smelling how salty the air is. This concept is completely unknown in Eurocentric ways of thinking, and the ways that Inuit people position themselves in regards to sense of space is very unique. Thirdly, the measuring system for Inuit people is different than the Eurocentric way. Still today Inuit people use parts of their bodies to measures certain items such as clothing, while when I think of clothing I think of standard small, medium, and large sizes. The example in the reading is that the palm of the hand measures the base of the neck, which is something I had never heard of prior to this reading.   

Treaty Education

1.      While some educators have shown resistance to enacting Treaty Education in their classrooms, there is many benefits and purposes to teaching Treaty Ed. Whether there are Indigenous students in our classrooms or not, these students are still going to see indigenous people and their way of life almost wherever they go. If students plan to take a career path such as education or social work, they will be so far behind because they lack knowledge that could needs to taught in Treaty Ed. Reading this email also made me think back to my experiences in high school. I grew up in Warman which is a small city north of Saskatoon which is predominantly white. Out of the 136 students in my grad class about 10 were of indigenous background. I learnt very little about indigenous lives and knowledge, and when I came into university I was amazed by how much content I was missing because I was never exposed to it. Regardless if the teachers want to teach it or not it is becoming more mandatory for a reason. In order to start the process of decolonization students must first need to become familiar with indigenous content from the past in order to look toward the future.

2.      From my understanding the term “we are all treaty people” means that it two-sided. There was both indigenous representation and the crown representation when treaties were signed. Since both sides were involved in the treaty making process everyone within those treaties are also involved in regards to implementing and understanding what happens within the treaties. However, one cannot just say that they are a treaty person, they must enact it in things that they do, and they also must know what it means to be a treaty person. A person cannot just say that they are a treaty person without having done anything. Being a treaty person is also ongoing and never stops as people are always learning.

3.      Treaty Ed Camp was a wonderful experience for me and I am glad that I was able to attend the event. It helped to give me the perspective that one cannot just say they are a treaty person, but they also must enact it. One of the sessions that I attended discussed resources that can be used within the classroom. This was very useful for me because I know how important it is to bring indigenous content into the classroom, but I was not aware of the resources that are available for educators. The first resource that they showed us was where to find resources about the Truth and Reconciliation on the Saskatchewan curriculum website. They also introduced to concepts like Blackboard and Rover, and Rover is a place where educators can find a variety of videos about indigenous issues and knowledge. This session was really helpful for me as it showed me that the government does supple resources in order to enact indigenous education. The second session that I attended was about the Blanket Exercise. I had done this exercise before in university and it was extremely powerful and provided a visual as to what actually happened to many indigenous people. It also showed me how important this exercise is to students that are still in high school as it provides a powerful narrative. Hopefully when I am an in service teacher I will be able to take my students to a Blanket Exercise so they can experience it first hand.  

Curriculum as Place

Blog #6

            Throughout the narrative I see multiple examples of decolonization happening:

1.      Elders and youth set out on a research project learning from their own experiences and listening to what each other has to say.

2.      Connection to the land: “the land… is a complex being – a spiritual and material place from which all life springs” (p.71). This way of looking at land is very different from western thought.

3.      Looking at language differences and how they came to be. Gaining a better understanding as to why some languages thrive and why some are dying.

4.      Looking at traditional territory using the Cree word “paquataskamik”. Developing a better understanding that land was never ‘given up’ to European settlers (p.78).

5.      Deepen relationships between all people.

6.      Continue to use the land and create connections to the land.

7.      Continuing to practice traditional activities.  

As a social studies major considering topics from different perspectives is critical. Most of these ideas above can be used or implemented inside of a classroom. It is important to use resources that draw from both the indigenous perspective and the western perspective. This can include using readings and videos by indigenous and western authors. Having posters up in my classroom with different languages and different viewpoints is also a way to help create a sense of place. In my ESST 300 class we are discussing how social studies is never neutral, and when one believes that it is neutral they are siding with the dominant side. In order to create a more inclusive place for everyone the teacher must recognize that social studies never neutral and provide resources from all viewpoints. Believing that social studies is neutral only encourages the cycle of colonization to continue. Attending traditional activities is also another way to create a sense of place. My school always provided students with the chance to attend a Powwow, and giving all students this chance helps to provide a different real-life context. Looking at current events happening in the media and critically analyzing them in the sense of if they are told from the western point or not is also an important part of creating a sense of place. All of these ideas can be implemented, it is just up to the educator to put in the time and effort to do so.     

Curricula Part 2

The common theme as to how curriculum is implemented revolves around politics and government. One concept that I found interesting was how voters interest drives everything. A lot of the time I feel people believe that they do not have a say in what is happening within the government, but when one votes to put a particular party in power they really are believing in what that political party wants to change or not change. When I look back at my answer before I do see some similarities in how the curriculum is implemented, but there is a lot more researching and steps that goes into it that I did not initially know. Although curriculums are often created with various professionals from not only the government but people in that in subject it is always the government who has the final say. Many people argue over what should actually be taught within the curriculum, but it always goes back to the government having the final say. An example of this is with the new social studies curriculum be written. Elders are in these meetings to provide input on indigenous knowledge, but not all people agree with how mandatory learning about these things should be. While everyone acknowledges that indigenous education is important, to what extent it should be in curriculum varies on individuals’ opinions.

            After doing this reading I believe that students, parents, and teachers need more of a say in the curriculum as they are the ones who are experiencing it first hand. Students are the ones who are taking this knowledge with them into the outside world and they deserve even a little bit of a say when it comes to what they are learning.

Curricula: Part 1

From I what curriculum begins with a variety of people who have knowledge on the subject matter and they sit and discuss what they believe should be in the curriculum. In one of my curriculum courses we had a presenter who is on the committee for the new Social Studies curriculum that is being implemented. The people who are going over what should be on the curriculum come from school, universities and the community. One they are finished coming up with what they want in the curriculum they send it to curriculum writers. They then write up the curriculum and send it back to the original group to see if it meets the expectations. Then sometimes curriculums go through a pilot year where volunteer teachers take the new curriculum and consistently work with the writers to see what worked and what did not. I know that implementing new curriculum is extremely difficult as everyone has their own opinions.  

What is a Good Student?

In the reading Kumashiro defines common sense as something that “everyone should know” in relation to cultural and location practices. A good student is someone who sits and listens to what the teacher has to say. They show up for school on time everyday and they actively participate. They also do their homework to the best of their ability and will help others who are struggling. Since common sense varies in different places so will what it means to be considered a good student. For example, in some places a good student is someone who is engaged in their academics but is also someone who excels at sports. While other places may just look at academic performance to define what a good student looks like. Kumashiro also discusses how the grade at the end determines a child success. So, if someone is a good student then their grade should reflect as such.

            The definition of a good student solely benefits those that are good at school. It is often does not consider outside factors of someone’s school success. For example, a student may have to miss school because they need to watch their siblings. This does not fit into what a good student according to common sense looks like because they are not always attending school and may fall behind in assignments. This student may still succeed in school but it will be a lot harder than the so called “good student”. These ideas of common have oppression aspects to them. The good student will succeed because they have the resources put in place for them to succeed, while the “not” good student may not succeed because they must work so much harder. Students are becoming more diverse and school are becoming more inclusive, so it is important that schools get away from the “good student” model and try to help all students succeed, regardless of their circumstance.

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