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.

Deal with It We Must: Education, Social Justice, and the Curriculum of Hip Hop Culture

corn-culture

 

In the article Deal with It We Must: Education, Social Justice, and the Curriculum of Hip Hop Culture” by Denise Taliaferro Baszile the article discusses the use of hip hop culture in the curriculum. In the article the controversies of hip hop culture comes up as teachers have the struggle on how to approach the subject. Some of these issues can range from not feeling comfortable about teaching something that can be too sensitive for the class. Hip hop culture has evolved with the music, the dress apparel or appearance, and even language and art being used. Students in today’s growing age of hip hop culture are learning from the trends that are happening in social media.

In hip hop culture the article states,

“It has become one of the most popular forms of youth culture. Any quick scan of YouTube or MySpace will confirm that hip hop has not only found its way across various urban landscapes but also into the homes of white suburban youth and across the borders of the U.S. with multiple manifestations in Africa, Asia, and Europe.”

The truth is that even in today’s hip hop culture it keeps on evolving and it is an expressive way of art. Just because some expressive ways of arts in culture may be deemed “too sensitive” to cover in a classroom there is lots you can learn if it pertains to race, gender, social issues, and even identity. Lots of learning can be explored through different ways through hip hop culture it is just how we go about exploring those different avenues with our class. In the article it states, “As educators, then, we cannot afford to dismiss, ignore, or minimize the significance of hip hop and other popular youth cultures.” I personally agree with this statement because as educators we should be continuously growing as learners. It is important to be able to relate with your student’s art expressions through hip hop and make it a learning experience that they will be able to connect with hip hop culture.

My next steps will be to find some similar articles that pertain to the hip hop culture. I am hoping to see two sides and different opinions and be able to compare between the different authors. Everyone is not the same and share different views on what hip hop culture should be used for. I also want to be able to see things from a different lens and also be able to understand the different ways of thinking.

The Problem of Common Sense

The Problem of Common Sense

1. How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?
Common sense tells us that experiencing such things is what it means to be in school. Were we to learn that there are other ways to structure schooling, or that prevailing views of schooling are actually quite oppressive, we might end up feeling quite disoriented or uncertain or even guilty. It is not hard to imagine feeling quite uncomfortable when learning how everyday social processes define only certain people as normal, or how everyday schooling processes track only certain students toward academic suc cess, including ourselves.
Common sense does not often tell us that the status quo is quite oppressive. It does not often tell us that schools are already contributing to oppression. And it rarely tells us that schools need to place a priority on challenging oppression. Instead, common sense often makes it easy to continue teaching and learning in ways that allow the oppressions already in play to continue to play out unchallenged in our schools and society. The insistence that we use our common sense” is really an insistence that we view things as some in society have traditionally viewed things and want to continue viewing things.
We tend to see things how others interpret commonsense which can be an issue because we are going with the norm rather than challenging ourselves to look at the bigger picture. We need to challenge our minds as teachers but also challenge our students. Seeing things from somebody else’s lens can be challenging because there mind is already made up and you are just going with what they think commonsense is.

Smith – Curriculum Theory and Practice Readers Response

The four models of curriculum described in the article. Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000)

1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted.
2. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product.
3. Curriculum as process.
4. Curriculum as praxis.

Benefits

3. In this sense curriculum is not a physical thing, but rather the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge.Curriculum is what actually happens in the classroom and what people do to prepare and evaluate.

Drawbacks

4. While the process model is driven by general principles and places an emphasis on judgment and meaning making, it does not make explicit statements about the interests it serves.

What model(s) of curriculum were prominent in your own schooling experience? What did these models make possible/impossible in the classroom?

All four models of curriculum were prominent in my schooling experience. I would not say anything was impossible because I believe you can make anything possible. I just know as a student what worked and what was needed to be adjusted in order for me to pass that barrier. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students – product. In the article it states, “The dominant modes of describing and managing education are today couched in the productive form. Education is most often seen as a technical exercise. Objectives are set, a plan drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes (products) measured.” Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000). In response I know as a grade 3/4 student I struggled at certain subjects and excelled in others. When I struggled my teacher used a technical exercise to get me to understand certain concepts that I was not picking up. That could range from extra work to get extra practice and help.

What could be deemed impossible is if there are no alternative ways to teach a subject. In life we have alternatives and it is our job to explore those alternatives with our students and give them an option on how to learn. I have had classes where we were forced to learn one way and that can be intimidating for some students but there are always alternatives to learning. “But we should not fall into the trap of thinking that to be educators we have to adopt curriculum theory and practice. The fact that so many have been misled into believing this demonstrates just how powerful the ideas of schooling are. Education is something more than schooling.” Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000). 

I agree with what was said. There is so much more to education than just schooling. As educators we are not just teaching but we are also the ones being taught every single day. We should never stop learning because there is always something to learn not just in the classroom but also in life.

Work Cited

Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000) ‘Curriculum theory and practice’ the encyclopaedia of informal
education, http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm.