Mathmatics in Schools

  1. 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?

    Mathematics was and still is a scary subject for me to learn and to want to teach. I have had nothing but bad experiences from math from Grade 5/12. Grade 3/4 I was able to grasp certain concepts through repetition. It was not the fact that I was not willing to learn or that I just hated math it was the fact that it took longer for me to understand what was being taught. Once I started to understand the content math became easier. As I made it further into other grades I struggled massively. My brain was not keeping up with the pacing of our unit plans. I fell behind to the point where we were finally doing our reviews for the test I would starting to understand the content. That is that scary thing I was starting and we were already nearing the end. I felt left out and I felt shackled because I just could not pick up on the content that was being taught. It was overwhelming it was scary for me and it is something I do not want to have my students go through. Ways that were the worst was where I had a teacher fail me in my grade 10 math class. She said maybe if you asked for more help you would have passed the class. The problem with that was that I did get help. I stayed in with an EA to assist me with my assignments and to help me study. My mom took time away to help me when I was at home. It became evident that aside from my other classes math was my priority. It just sucks that some bad experiences with math have me resent it. My goal as a teacher is to never have my students feel the way I felt and give them a positive learning experience.

  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.

 

  • Inuit children learn mathematics in their mother tongue during the first three years of schooling.
  • But the challenge is also in the fact that each number has different forms according to the context.
  • Such precision in language brought the Inuit to develop several forms for
    each number to mark the context in which it is used.

Against Common Sense

a) How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?

My upbringing and schooling was really well done when I went to school. I had one specific teacher that made it her personal duty for us to understand and experience the world around us with her teachings in the classroom. It was important to her to educate us on what was around us the different cultures and the different foods that were out there that we were not a custom to. Of course in a classroom we do get biases and still to this day we are going to have biases that is just life. All I know is that I was personally shaped as a student because of this teacher and she made us respect the world by reading the world. We were taught that we are so lucky to have life and that we are so lucky to have the things we have. Treaty education was not really touched on and I did not learn about it until 2015. We can learn and work against these biases by expanding our minds and reminding ourselves that we are all one people. No matter what we are all one so we need to be understanding and ready to learn.

b) Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

We read a story called “Love you Forever” Robert Munsch. It taught us the importance about the love of our mothers. It taught us that no matter what we will grow old and so will our parents. So when we become adults we will need to become that figure of love. It is very personal and passionate and helps us connect to that story. We were exposed to lots of stories but the most important thing was that we gained an understanding from what ever we read in class. Grade 3/4 was a highlight because I still remember our teacher having us think for ourselves and did not tell us how to think but to form an opinion on our own. That is very important is giving your students that free reign. The truth that mattered was the fact that we were forming our own ideas and opinions at a young age. It is important to listen to other ideas and opinions but you also need to have a view on others views as well.

CURRICULUM POLICY AND THE POLITICS OF WHAT SHOULD BE LEARNED IN SCHOOLS

  • Part 1) According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

    In the article “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of what Should Be Learned in Schools” by Ben Levin states that; Most curricula are organized around at least two levels of objectives—very general or broad goals and then much more specific learning activities and objectives. New information to me  was No Child Left Behind (NCLB). I did not know that it was affecting teaching practices. In the article Ben Levin states, “That effect will only be positive if schools and teachers understand the standards and if the tests are carefully aligned to appropriate curricula and teaching methods—conditions that are very hard to achieve in a highly decentralized education system.”   

    It surprises me and it also concerns me at the same time. I do believe things need to change but what is the purpose of pushing someone through if they are not ready yet? In life sometimes we are not always ready for things and we need to take our time. In my opinion No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is not the greatest method. I understand that it is a tough decision to make as an educator but we are not doing our students any benefits by pushing them forward when they are not ready. It is delaying them more and doing more bad then good.

  • Part 2) After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan? What tension might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

    Treaty education had ample amounts of opinions that were differing from others. In the document, Investigate how First Nations people were forced to learn languages and cultures other than their own. This was the indicator that spoke to me because in residential schools words were taken away from Indigenous peoples. We need to be aware and make others aware of what was happening. We need to teach treaty education because it is a part of Canadian history. Even though it was a dark period in Canadian history it should never be ignored.

We are all treaty people

In my personal beliefs it is extremely important that we teach treaty education in our schools. Students need to be taught about it and see things from a different perspective and from another lens. Students need to learn about treaty education because if they do not they will not be able to understand why it is so important. As educators it is important to also immerse ourselves into Indigenous content so we are able to gain an understanding so we can be able to teach it to our students. You do not have to be Indigenous to immerse yourself into treaty education and your students do not need to be Indigenous to learn about it. We say we are all treaty people because it is true. It is important in my beliefs to see everyone as equals and that the learning will never stop despite what others will think. The learning continues and it will grow and if we expand our minds and see the bigger picture makes treaty education and any other education really important. You never stop learning it is an endless cycle of information and we need to cherish that.

Colonialism is an extended process of denying relationships. It does not matter what color of your skin is or where you are from. We are all colonized. – Dwayne Donald

Claire mentions in the video that when you teach students Treaty Ed content and perspectives you also should make that learning accessible for parents so that they know what their children are learning about and can learn too. It is important for parents to know what there children are being taught so they can be informed and learn alongside there children. Treaty education is important and it will help parents be able to learn so when it is being taught they will be able to have a better understanding of the subject matter.

“The way that you think about the relationship (between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples) has a distinctive bearing on how you take it up in the classroom.”

It can be an uncomfortable to cover in the classroom but we all need to understand that we are all treaty people. We need to be accepting and take care of one another. As relationships can grow by taking it up in a classroom. In my views by not talking or sharing culture in schools students will not believe they have a culture. However, exploring culture with students and having them connect to the different culture is what will make it a rich experience. By not talking about culture will make students believe they do not have a sense of culture.

I was able to really understand where Dwayne was coming from because no matter what we have all been colonized. It does not matter what the color of our skin is we are all treaty people. Treaties are not the past but they are the present and it is a form of reconciliation for all.

Learning from Place

List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative. How might you adapt these ideas / consider place in your own subject areas and teaching?

In the article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” by authors Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin discuss the use of Mushkegowuk perspectives of the environment and why it is important to use it for the future generation of teaching students.

“Kellert (2005) has said that connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development. In the case of the Fort Albany First Nation, this connection to nature and land was all the more significant for its contributions to and additional dimension of development: the cultural identity of the people.”   

In response to this quote I believe that by seeing and doing the students will be able to understand the concepts better. They get the intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development which will give everyone a better understanding. They are able to see and do which is really good to implement in a classroom. I am a firm believer of movement education and by implementing it into your teaching I feel like it can make a big difference for you and your class.

“Gruenewald (2003), paraphrasing Bowers (2001), says decolonization as an act of
resistance must not be limited to rejecting and transforming dominant ideas; it also
depends on recovering and renewing traditional, non-commodified cultural patterns such as mentoring and intergenerational relationships.”

I believe in order to understand and to learn you cannot always be trapped in a classroom. You need to able to see and do. Making connections to place is important if that is teaching it in math using patterns, science, social studies (what is happening currently in the world), health etc. It is important to offer those experiences in a variety of forms. Teaching our students to respect others, ourselves, and mother earth. By incorporating that in our classroom we will be able to teach a richer lesson. Incorporating the arts is important with place if that is covering the strands of music, drama, dance, literature etc. The goal is to make it engaging for the students by experiencing place.

 

PREPARING TEACHERS FOR CRISIS: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A STUDENT

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense?

In commonsense to be a “good” student is to follow along in class and to have a good behavior. Behavior is a major focus in schools but there a reasons for students acting out. It can be from a variety of things mental health, home life, or even an intellectual or physical disability. It is commonsense in classroom for students to follow along with a lesson to sit still and be quiet. Reflecting on my grade 2 experiences we were rewarded more for good behavior than we were for our school work. We had a “manner money” system where if we showed “good” behavior we would get monopoly money to than later buy a gift from the class store. Reflecting back on this experience all this focussed on was behavior we really weren’t excelling in anything else from my memories.

Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?

The ones that are privileged are the ones that can sit still and follow directions well. Some students can do that but not all students can do that. We are all different and we have different things that make us tick as human beings. Some students can sit still and follow what is deemed to be commonsense. Some students that cannot sit still struggle with that. Someone that has attention deficit disorder has a way harder time with following along for long lessons or sitting still. Does that make them bad? Of course it doesn’t make them bad but as an educator we need to make adjustments to make it work for everyone. Kicking the student out of the classroom because they may be disruptive to others is not right. It is something that in that moment that student cannot help so instead of removing the student work with them. Commonsense gives us this expectation that if you just work really hard on your behavior that you will be this model student. I personally do not agree with that everyone is different and everyone deserves an opportunity to learn.

What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

It is impossible to understand everything but as educators it is our goal to also not always go with these commonsense ideas. These commonsense ideas do not work for everyone and we need to understand that. We are not a “factory” producing the same clone of a student we want them to be. We as educators should work with our students and mold them and be accepting of their differences. It is hard to understand because even as educators we are still students and we are still learning. We are always going to continue and grow but the only way we can do that is if we stay true to ourselves and stay true to our students.