. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
2. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.
Thinking back, I remember how much I liked math but also remember if I didn’t show my work in the way we learnt how to complete it in class we would lose half the marks for the right answer. When the guest speaker talked about how you hold up your pointer and middle finger the student says two but you show them to other fingers and they question the answer. They both mean the same thing and asking that question to a student can really show how much they know about counting and give them the ability to question if two other fingers mean two. Students have the ability to achieve a lot if you give them the time. You do not need to instructionally teach them how to think about numbers because they can do the basics on their own.
“Counting: the systematic use of methods to compare and order sets of objects • Localization: the exploration of one’s spatial environment and the symbolization of that environment with the help of models, diagrams, drawings, words, or other means • Measuring: the use of objects or measuring tools to quantify dimensions • Design: the creation of forms for an object or for decorating an object • Games: the development of games and the more or less formal rules that the players must follow” These are four different ways that math is taught differently through other cultures. The first time I learned an indigenous method to do mathematics was in my second year of university. We learned base 20 and other ways of writing numbers in different cultures. It is important as teachers we recognize math is not interpreted perfectly the same since other people have different methods towards learning it.
Respond to the following:
A. How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
B. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
“I am a young white women, one, who was raised in a stereotypical white fenced lifestyle. I grew up in a small town, had blonde hair and blue eyes. I am a cisgender, heterosexual, middle class Canadian citizen. Some would call me normal, many would call me lucky, and I know I’m privileged.” (Hackl) This is a quote I used in another class to explain my upbringings that will influence my biases and assumptions I make in the classroom. I will never be able to understand going to school hungry and have that lived experience but I can do my best to help myself be aware of it. With me being aware of my own identity I can start to think about all the biases I will have going into a class and try my best to not be stereotypical and provide the most support I can. My single story is one many white Canadians would be able to identify with, its my turn to hear the real stories of people different than me.
A belief in my life that I continue to draw on is the idea that all Africans have aids, are poor, and are skinny with big tummies. I learnt this from TV commercials and thought that is what people in Africa looked like. I remember the first time I met someone who was chocolate colored I asked “So how did you get enough money to fly here and what did your hut look like.” It is crazy to think that my entire life I made a construct on a whole continent based on a commercial. For now on it is important for me too look into what I question and not be so naive to the world around me.
In order to unlearn the negative assumptions and biases we have formed, all we have to do it be patient. It will take a long time to get rid of these biases and assumptions fully. For now, it is important we can recognize them not only once their said or acted out, but, stop them when there already in our head. Many people will be bias without recognizing it. I noticed I was able to notice my biases more once I found my teaching Identity.
- What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples? 2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
I am not really understanding the question, why should we teach Treaty Ed? The answer is simple, because we are on indigenous land. We made a treaty to support each other, it is a contract that was put in place to respect the people that were here first! We have been taught since we were kids “share your toys” and we were also taught “do not steal” but the history of the land we are on taught the opposite of these morals. When the European settlers arrived they had every intention to use the indigenous and because they felt they were more civilized it was easy to trick them. European settlers on no occasion had in mind that they would share instead they had in mind that they could takeover the indigenous culture and use the people for their own benefit. We forced the Indigenous people to become someone they were not, converting them knowing it would erase their culture. This was done through Residential Schools. This is extremely sad. We need to teach Treaty Ed because if you are a Canadian citizen you are a treaty person one who is supposed to abide and understand the laws that were made many years ago. We had a contract to be together not to be one culture. It is important to teach Treaty Ed because it’s our history, and if we don’t teach it the domino effect of tragedy will continue to pass through the indigenous families over and over again. Education through schools about Treaty Ed is important because parents can drive opposite points of views at home. When the students learn they will be able to argue facts in order to teach their parents the proof. We need to remember that it is crucial to address the assimilation that was done and the culture that was lost. We need to look at our broken promises and promise to never break them again.
“So you use paquataskamik if you are fluent (in Cree) and if you are a young kid you use noscheemik … they confused, they’re not saying it properly. That’s too high of a word for them so they just use the simple word, noscheemik.”
When I first read this quote I instantly noticed the impact residential schools and colonization had on language. When language is lost, parts of culture are lost too. Every word in Canada’s Indigenous languages are important. Talking in their language were not just important for their everyday life it was crucial to speak and understand to shared their history through storytelling. The colonized world no longer fits with the words values. For example, the word hjkl could of meant something hilarious but since nobody can understand the language its humour has been lost.
It is sad indigenous peoples sense of language and home has been lost. The places and land in which many indigenous peoples of Canada’s ancestors would of called wonderful feels so downsized and lacking from the definitions behind the words used to express their connection with the land.
It is interesting to note that many young members of Indigenous communities are not being taught the importance of their own culture. The stories about the land are not being told and if they are many people do not understand them. With the lack of story telling the connection towards the land and nature is depleting.
With becoming a teacher I need to remember my place within the land I’m standing on. Treaty 4 and 6 Territory are both places I call home. I need to have a part in the community to understand my connection to it. We stand on this land for some importance that we are not fully aware of! We need to make sure we do more than bury are feet in the earth and instead walk great lengths to understand it. We have many stories and lessons to learn. The world has many cultures to learn from, but, with being in Canada why don’t we know more about our own people. It is time to hear the stories from Canadian soil, not the soil in England that many of us have never or will never walk on. It is funny how we know more about history on the other side of the world versus the true history that can be told but nobody wants to hear here.
Prior to Reading
When first being asked about how curriculum is formed I pictured a room full of old men somewhere in Regina discussing the many problems every day trying to come up with new ways and methods to teach Saskatchewan students. I believed it was almost like an ongoing meeting something that they were always changing. When I talk to Katia about my belief she told me that parts of The curriculum haven’t been changed here since the 90’s. This was astonishing to me knowing that there has been the same systems in place for over 20 years and I asked myself “how can that be the case when so much is changing in our Dailey lives”
I voted in the last election and I follow politics I’d say quite well for a girl my age. I was lucky enough to have role models in my community introduce policies to me in an interesting way. Knowing how important politics effect how school system is important to be aware of since they influence teaching methods and our jobs themselves.
After the Reading
I think it is astonishing how we give the politicians such a huge say in what we teach since they may not value education in the way we need them too. I think students needs are being overlooked and they should be the biggest influence on our system because they are the student requiring the tools to better our future.
In the article it mentions how the role of politics is misunderstood by many teachers and I think that is teachers need to be aware of the public sphere since it influenced our students lives.
I am concerned that we are not taking our students opinions into consideration. I also beleieve this is a problem because the curriculum is made for us teachers to benefit our students.
In the reading Against Common Sense I found a quote in which I would like to address: “ Furthermore, was this not the view of effective teaching upon which current proposals to reform schools were based, namely, that we reward those schools that can get their students to demonstrate such learning and punish those who do not?” This is something I have been thinking about lately in our culture and connecting the ways in which are curriculum is built and connecting it to the system we used when we had teachers in residential schools. Common sense is can be seen in the school when students do behaviours they learned and never questioned. For example: walking down a hallway on the right side and absolutely not on the left or lining up when leaving class. Even for teachers we expect the student to raise there hand just because it was a behaviour we learned we assume all student will know to do this! We need to be aware that there can be different common sense in different cultures as well maybe someone that is an immigrant walked in the left side of the hallway? We would probably think to ourself “what are you doing” or when someone budges in line, again “what are you doing”! These are not norms directly taught to us it’s the common sense that we learn from action in our community something we just do something we don’t question.
In relation to this a “good” student is a student you is privileged or a student who grew up accustomed to norms. A “good” student is one who doesn’t question common sense. Yet this is based on the values are curriculum and biases hold us too! It is possible to break away from the idea of what a “good” student should look, act and believe and instead beleieve everyone can be a good student if they are expanders of knowledge and critical thinkers with any subject brought towards them.
Education is important to all students because learning how to do anything in a successful manner will be beneficial to anything you do in life. For instance, being able to talk is something we learn at home and in school. If we do not learn how to express our thoughts into words we would never be able to share our knowledge or opinions. Earths planet is populated with millions of people who all have a different idea on what life should be like and it is important that we collaborate all of our thoughts because when collaboration happens knowledge is formed.
I would say knowledge is a pretty powerful weapon. If I were in an argument i would have the knowledge of how to express myself respectively from my social work class. If I was stranded by myself on an island I would have basic chemistry and science and math tools to hopefully help me to safety. I think education has prepared many of us for many jobs but also to be structure minded individuals so we are able to think critically and not assume all that we hear. Maybe education is not only a weapon but it is also an Armour so we are prepared to face anything. With education being a weapon it could be detrimental to those who are not in schools, yet, I know that learning can be done a lot through inquiry and the wondering process.
It is important for all students to have a desire to learn, understand how education can save there life and know how to share there knowledge to others. Students are the future teachers even if they decide not to be a teacher in a school they will teach there children and there peers there belief and as the school teachers we need to help them learn the basic tools so they can understand any new idea that’s thrown at them
In elementary school my teacher had us partake in the type to learn process. Type to learn had helped me type at the beginning when completing the course. Today, is a different story. I could not tell you the proper way to place my hands on the computer keyboard. This could be due to the lack of time spent on the computers after the process. Without being able to practice I was unable to achieve success in a skill I had completed a course on.
In my school we also used a resource called Career Cruising. Career Cruising is an online portal where students go through a process of answering a survey to see what jobs they would be good at. The survey was able to use your identities interests and skills and place them behind a possible future occupation. I connected this Site to the Tyler’s rationale because it see’s the child as a savage needing to be moulded into an ideal adult. This system already in grade 7 picked out three jobs that I should become. This site gave us the ability to believe these were are only choice because these were the only thing we were good at.
Limitations on the Tyler rationale is quite simple to see because students are formed into something that seems great and ideal for society. With this belief being taught to the students it does not give the students a chance to mold outside from the box lifestyle that the curriculum holds them too.
The Tyler rationale mentions that we need functioning members of society with this idea we need to remember that we want to prepare them for tomorrow, not today or yesterday like we currently do. Yes, curriculum does sometimes change but not enough for our forever changing society. Keeping in mind we are not teaching our generation at that age we are teaching a new generation at that age.
Tyler’s rationale has potential benefits because when we teach everyone the same thing this results in like thinkers. Like thinkers will usually get along because everyone enjoys being around people who are alike and value the same things. So yes this could be a potential success, but of course if we were all like thinkers collaboration will diminish because everyone will only believe in one structure.
As a society we need to remember the importance to have diversity; that’s why it’s great that we can play with the curriculum and help to diminish the control in the school and curriculum.
Life happens and everyone is on their own life path. In the reading I was left with a greater understanding of how socialization impacts our pathways of life and how that changes are ability to believe and understand. When an individual finds their group in society they will surround there self in “like” groups. the idea of Like Groups is when the people in the group tend to agree and have similar life goals and expectations. When we do this we create normalize patterns and beliefs and together create a society and culture that followings hidden laws and systems. The systems creates actions which provide hidden messages which are there but not thought about and continue to be repeated until they are a system of common sense.
As a future teacher I need to be able to draw connections with my students and understand that they might have different traditions, morals and know that they may have their own definition of common sense because they walked a different path of life than me. I need to remember to be true to my own beliefs but also have a healthy balance of being open to not only my students but to all people in my life that may believe a different rule set than what I grew up with. Being open to different paths and understandings of life will help me be a more well rounded teacher and life individual.
Everywhere in the world has their own belief system because they are different life group of “like” people. Let’s say an individual moved here from an island where they believe that it is common sense to where your shoes on the wrong feet. This seems really strange to us here in Regina because we know that wearing your shoes on the wrong frets seems silly because they are shaped to fit either a left foot or a right foot, but before we judge there norms we need to learn why this is normal to them and not expect that our way is the right way.
Common sense is something we grow up learning a way of thinking we take for granted and don’t realize we are learning their rule system.
Thanks I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on common sense!