When I was growing up, a lot of the books and shows I watched involved people that were usually white. Definitely at a young age, growing up in the late 90’s and early 00’s, television and entertainment was focused on white characters. I was taught that being white was normal and being born a different colour meant they were the minority. Even though they are the minority, the lesson that was behind that meant white was powerful. Sadly, even if it was not expressed verbally or obviously, I can see how i grew up with those ideas. At a young age, you are so impressionable and making those decisions are not as simple as they seem. You learn just as much from the curriculum as you do from interaction, media, and community. I went to school at a catholic, mostly white, middle-class population. All those elements play into the biases that one may have. Learning that white is normal and different races were “other”, catholic beliefs were important and what the bible said is law, and finally that wealth was truly a matter of trying and those who were poor did it to themselves. As I have grown up and started to challenge the subconscious beliefs I have had, I remind myself that all are equal but not all stories are the same. By keeping an open mind and constantly reminding myself that I do not know the whole story, and I do not know them better than they do allows me to keep my biases in check.
of the single stories that was present in my education was the idea that the
poor people around the world were incapable and the only thing they could
accomplish was being poor. It set the
idea that we were lucky and privileged, and that what largely mattered in life
was being successful in terms of income.
Even though there are many different ways a person can be successful
that doesn’t require them to be wealthy, that typically was not the
lesson. I also remember the importance
it was for us to do fundraiser’s and charity events for kids in places like
Africa. Constantly reminded of how lucky
were, and how poor and unfortunate their lives were. We would even watch those classic “for
two dollars a day you can save the lives of this young boy’s family”
videos in class. Even though what were
doing for those kids was good in nature, it created the mindset that we were
better than them. And definitely at a
young age, seeing these families that were usually black, most kids would have
associated circumstance to race. We
never got to learn about the successful people that were also from Africa, and
what they are doing for their people, and rarely did we ever learn about the
people within our own communities that were poor. The single stories that we get taught could
have long effects on every individual and it should be our job as teachers to
express many different sides and opinions that would allow the kids to have a
When I had the chance to look back at my own education and the different ways that we had learned math, I think about the underlying messages that come along with that type of learning. Math itself is not based on perspective or opinion, it is based on rules and facts. The constant message of “number’s don’s lie” always comes to mind. We were taught that math itself follows rules and every question has a specific answer that you always have to come to. We were taught to do math in a certain way, and that when you were able to figure out the right mathematic answer that was not the way the teacher taught, it was considered wrong. Thinking of specific examples of lessons is hard because I have not had a math class for six years. Thinking back, I can totally see how math could be considered oppressive and discriminating. It never promoted students to work out questions on there own terms and feel as if they were the ones that came up with it. We were simply using a method that was given to us and told that it was the only way to do it. When you compare it to life and the challenges that many people have, we are told a certain way to act and work within society. Every person does not see the world the same way, but sometimes education is meant to push a certain outlook whether it is wanted or not.
Counting- They use a different counting system compared
to the Western way of doing it. They
have different words for numbers dependant on the context in which those
numbers are being used. In Westernized
math, every number can be used in its own form without being changed, which
makes it constant.
Localization- The Inuit have developed an outstanding sense
of space to help orient themselves.
Inuit have also developed a very precise vocabulary for speaking about
spatial relations. This is something
that I do not remember focusing on in my own education. I imagine that is largely due to the
technological world that we live in that does not require us to need those
Measuring- Inuit women use certain parts of their bodies
to measure length. In the western world,
we use measuring tools compared to body parts.
I imagine this would make westernized people uncomfortable because we
are so use to being so precise and calculated.
When I look back to my years of schooling, it is very
easy to think of examples of the type of citizenship education that we were
taught. Lessons were usually based on a
moral lesson which allowed us to develop as people in society. Simple lessons from kindergarten such as
learning that sharing is caring, and helping someone in need was very
important. As we got older, the lessons
were usually more societal based and allowed us to think about the our place in
society and what was required in order for us to make a difference. Those differences that we were supposed to
make were not actually meant for us to make change, but help where needed and
develop a good self-image in the community.
Looking back, we were never really challenged to find out what needed to
change for the societal issues to progress and change for the good. It was our job to donate food, help the
homeless by giving them a couple bucks outside 711, or maybe give away some old
clothes for people in need. It was for us
to be able to pat ourselves on the back and feel like we were making a
difference, compared to taking the time and investing our time in changing the
narrative for the good.
The focus of our education was to create a Personally-responsible citizen by being someone who fit
into society and did the things that were expected of us, instead of exceeding
the expectations. When we got into high
school, things changed a little bit. The
expectation grew a little and our education was more so modelled to be a
participatory citizen. That is when we
were told to advocate and explore the societal issues a little differently than
before. It looked good on us to be
involved in the community, which was only ever done through the mandatory
community service hours that were required.
I hope that one day curriculum allows students to explore the real
issues within society and not just develop young adults that help the community
to help themselves succeed. The
importance to being an outstanding citizen goes beyond what one takes credit
for. Being a good citizen should be
about the good a person does without acknowledgment and credit. That is when you know a person is truly
invested in the betterment of society and the people they share the world with.
agreements. The First Nations people of Canada went into negotiated agreements
that spelt out the rights, responsibilities and relationships of First Nations
and the federal and provincial governments.
These agreements were about creating alliances, and often dealt with the
sharing of land, resources, and the ability to coexist. They were negotiated in Canada between First
Nations and the British Crown as early as 1701. The Canadian government
acknowledges 70 historic and 24 modern-day Treaties. These are considered
important building blocks of the nation.
means that Treaties do not involve only the First Nations and the government or
the Crown, it also involves everyone past and present. Every Canadian has
Treaty rights. If you own property or
plan on owning property in Canada, you are exercising a right that goes back to
the very first signed Treaties. As
newcomers to Canada, learning about Treaties is very important and will help
understand a picture of what Canada is. It will help us better appreciate the
relationship between the First Nations peoples and the federal and provincial
governments. More importantly, it is a big part in understanding the country’s
origins and how it developed. Historic
and modern-day Treaties continue to be key elements in future relationships
between the First Nations and the Crown.
There are still modern-day Treaties being negotiated in Canada today.
These Treaties concern First Nations traditional territories that were not
included in the Treaty-making process.
is still a large part of the Canadian society, and understanding Treaties can
help us become more aware of economic and societal issues that First Nations
peoples are facing. Understanding Treaties is one of the steps that can prevent
us from making judgments or biases and become more understanding and motivated
members of society.
The Mushkegowuk Cree
have found a unique and special way of growing the faith and development of
their community and the livelihood of their people. It is so different from the way that western
ideology has expressed how and what to value in life, and it definitely shows
in terms of the education that most of us have been taught.
They have been able
to show forms of reinhabitation by involving the youth and all generations in
different activities and community excursions as a way to develop
awareness. This also helps in terms of
cultural development and understanding.
As each generation grows and adapts to the western world that is fairly
unavoidable, they find it extremely important to share with and help the
youth. The elders and community leaders
have developed a program that helps the youth learn and experience the values
of their ancestors and the importance of the land. paquataskamik is significant because it refers
to the historical relationship to land which encompasses a much larger area
than the reserve or family camps .The
relationship that the Mushkegowuk Cree have with the land and the river is
absolutely crucial in their lives. They
believe that by sharing the importance of the land and their peoples
relationship to the land, they will be able to develop an understanding and
respect that can be utilized in all areas of life. They also talk a great deal about the
importance of the river. The river is
the main connection between their people.
Their people believe that by appreciating the river and all that is has
done for the people, they will understand the importance of relationships and
bond between them.
I believe it is
crucial to be able to take the product of what you teach as an educator and
allow it to have meaning inside and outside of the classroom. All of their lessons and stories allow for
each student to grow as a human being which is very unique. I hope that I will be able to use this
because I am majoring in health and i believe that it can be used as a great
tool to express the importance of treating yourself and others with the respect
they deserve. I may not be able to have
the spiritual connection to the earth and the world as they do, but that does
not mean I can not learn or bring in people who have that greater understanding. Being open minded and developing
relationships with people in and out of the community will give me the ability
to become a well rounded and meaningful educator
I believe that the development of curriculum is solely based
on the level of satisfaction of the majority.
People who have power are ultimately the ones that get to voice their
opinion and have a say as to what children of today get to learn. I imagine the process of changing curriculum is
extremely difficult and creating progressive ideologies and teaching outside
the box is quite frowned upon. The
government most likely has its way of controlling the outcomes and development
of curriculum, as their goal would be satisfying the people who have equal or
higher social standing. To create a
curriculum with respect to all races, genders, classes, etc., they would no longer
be appealing to the people of power and influence, which would most likely
result in a lack of support. Since the
governments job is to stay in power as long as possible, this would be hard to
After reading the article, one of the most shocking things I
found about the politics and policies of curriculum is knowing how many
different groups of people are involved in the process. Not only the different groups are significant,
but the different levels of government, local groups, and community influencers
that have a say in it as well. I never
thought about the community as a contributor, but now thinking about the
importance of what a province or city feels they need in workers and
employment, it makes sense. I am not
shocked by the intense involvement of the government, but it does worry me that
their main concern is the approval of the people in power. This no longer shows the focus of developing
the student but ensuring the vote. The focus
should be on the people who are receiving the education because they are going
to be the future leaders of the world.
When reading the assigned
readings for this week, I was able to attach a bunch of different lessons that
I have been learning in my education courses over the past two weeks. I have been learning about focusing on our
position in a student’s life, and what our role should be for that
student. This poses many different
issues because not all students can be affected the same way by the type of
teacher you want to be. In the chapter
it essentially explains that students should be a blank canvas. This would allow teachers to mold and add to
them however they please. They need to
have the ability to sit quiet, engage nicely with students, and have the focus
to attain all information that is being shared with them, and take that
information in the context that the teacher wants them to. No student comes with a blank slate to work with. They all have a past and an understanding of
the world that may differ from what is expected of them.
The kids that usually get to fit into the mold of what is a good student are the children that are part of the majority. This favours children in a way that already instills the hierarchy of power at a young age by expressing favouritism and success for children who fit in that mold. This allows us as learning educators to find the subtle flaws in how we relate and understand the students we one day will be involved with. We need to have the understanding that all kids have their own way of learning, and that we as educators should not punish them for that. Is it our responsibility to help them either learn in their best way or help them find ways to develop in other ways of learning to give them the best opportunity possible.