Can’t believe the semester is over! With happiness, I am leaving my digital storytelling video here! You can click the link below to watch!
- 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?
Throughout this semester, I was lucky enough to have a placement at Campus For All, which allowed me to meet my friend K who has intellectual disability, as well as requires a wheelchair. The past 20 hours with her was an absolute eye-opening moment for me because it made me realize that how little interaction I had with people with disabilities. Thinking back to my schooling, all of my schools had a different classroom for students with disabilities, so we were separated for the most of time. When I was in high school, me and my friends did not even know that our school had students with disabilities, until we accidentally passed by their classroom that was located in a different building where was the smallest and oldest building at the school. After discovering that, we were surprised, but did not question why they were in the different classroom. Because to us, it seemed natural to be separated. Eventually, this segregation created a huge distance between the two groups, as well as embedded many stereotypes against people with disabilities without even realizing it. Therefore, I believe that to unlearn these biases, we have to get to know those who are different from ourselves, like me in this semester. Working with K throughout this semester taught me that people with disabilities require some assistance or different approaches, they are all capable, hard workers, passionate and would like to achieve success in their lives as much as I do.
- Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
Growing up in Korea, especially in my city where lacks the diversity, often the ‘story’ was very one sided. It was particularly obvious to me because I sometimes felt being excluded from the mainstream discourse. When we were talking about family at school, it was assumed that all students were from a ‘normal’ family with a Korean father and a Korean mother, but I was not: My dad was Taiwanese and my mom was Korean, and I was not living with my parents back then because they often go to different countries to run their business, so my grandmother was the one who looked after me. Hence, I often got confused when the teacher said ‘get sign from your mom or dad’, or ‘let’s make a card for your mom for mother’s day’. I always hated the first week of semester too. We always had to introduce ourselves on the first day, and the class would always laugh at me if I say my name, because my last name was not a Korean last name, and usually this would last for a week or so. This memory really hurt me, so I changed my last name after my mother’s as soon as I passed the age of 18, and since then, I never had to explain about my name or my family. This teaches me that it is very essential to have a multiple stories in the classroom for our students so that no one feels marginalized, and we as educators can ensure that all students become able to understand and embrace the diversity.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the lecture today. However, I noticed from the Wikispace that Dr. Gale Russell was invited as a guest speaker. I have met her in my other class in ECE325, and luckily, I still remember her lecture. She delivered such a powerful and awakening message about mathematics and its place in the classroom. I really enjoyed her presentation because she empathized with my and many others experiences of struggling with math, from young age to adolescents, as well as adults, especially those who are in the field of teaching. And if I may connect my memory of her lecture at that time with the readings today, her view was focused on how math is generally taught using a one-sided, Western dominant approach. This angle is often the reason behind why so many students feel disconnected with math. Although, I believe, the basic skills of measuring quantity and problem solving are so natural to us and we begin using them from such a young age. Along with this, I thought that math can be used and understood by everyone, not simply those who are “born with the skills”. The Western approach can be discriminatory towards those who have different cultural backgrounds, as it considers their knowledge illegitimate.
Speaking of which, looking back, I appreciated her notion of how Western math can be very much a colonial practice, because it supports the idea of one way as the ‘only’ way. Even though I was educated in South Korea, our mathematics was similar with, or perhaps the same as Western math. I did not learn about other approaches to math, and it may sound very self-centred, but I did not expect that there could be another way of approach math, aside from Western ways of knowing. I assumed that math would be done the same way all over the world, because that was all I knew. Poirer’s article, Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community expanded my understanding of how Indigenous ways of knowing differ from Western ways. At first, I wondered why they used base 10, but after realizing the significance behind it, using the “parts of the body”, it made perfect sense to me (p. 60). As Inuit people’s tradition is “essentially an oral one, the Inuit have developed a system for expressing numbers orally.” (p. 57). I can understand how the opposing cultural values of Western written vs. Indigenous oral would cause issues in understanding math.
Bear, L. L. (2000). Jagged worldviews colliding. In M. Batiste (Ed.), Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision (pp. 77-85). UBC Press. Retrieved from: http://ecs210.wikispaces.com/file/view/LittleBear2000JaggedWorldViewsColliding.pdf/593340214/LittleBear2000JaggedWorldViewsColliding.pdf
Poirier, L. (2007). Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community, Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(1), p. 53-67. Retrieved from: http://ecs210.wikispaces.com/file/view/Poirier%282007%29%20Teaching%20mathematics%20and%20the%20Inuit%20community.pdf/609038285/Poirier%282007%29%20Teaching%20mathematics%20and%20the%20Inuit%20community.pdf
- 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?
- What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
This first question has a basic answer to me: to teach the historical background of where we are today and the reasoning behind how it happened. This means that every person in Canada – whether he/she was born in here or is an immigrant – has been impacted by colonialism in one way or another. Treaty education is the story of how this country came to be, but it also indicates that there were many more stories here on this very land long before that. The act of not including treaty education is to succumb to the fable that Canada was a vast, open wilderness which brave European explorers discovered and tamed. It is innocent appearing, yet harmful views such as these which support the idea of Canadians not having a culture. As Dwayne Donald explains, this perspective puts Canada in the position of being without diversity, and any other cultural groups as being ‘foreign’ or different. He states that Canadians “perceive themselves as without culture” and feel guilty (Donald, 2011). These attitudes show how dominant beliefs in society become accepted as the norm, and push everything else aside as “other”. This proves the exact need for treaty education, which is to present multiple ways of viewing history, culture, and belief systems; shifting ideas of “the way” to “a way”.
To me, it is important to understand that “we are all treaty people”, because it displays how I and everyone else have become to the place that we are in today. Being a treaty person means recognizing that this agreement took place over the land we now call as Canada, and that it changed the course of everyone’s lives involved. For First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, this title involves reclaiming the promises that were made by their ancestors. It points out that these agreements were not meant to be temporary, but rather to last ‘as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the river flows’. Continuing to support the treaty also involves advocating for amendments, in order to update certain conditions on promises that were made and broken. The age of the treaty, or the original intentions behind forming them are not excuses for leaving them in the past. Instead, they must continue to be held as valid arrangements and treated with high respect and importance.
I might not be a White person, but I am a settler in Canada. And as a settler, being a treaty person means realizing the privilege that has been received through treaty promises made between the two groups – Indigenous peoples and the settlers. The history around treaty formation is violent and white supremacist, full of threats and oppression directed towards Indigenous peoples who were the First Peoples of this very land. Representing as a treaty person recognizes the purpose of these important contracts, but also admits that land was stolen from Indigenous peoples in order for the settlers’ benefit. Going deeper into this claim, the treaties involve the genocide of the First Peoples, which was transmitted through education, health care, and political actions of the settlers. Overall, this statement that “we are all treaty people” confirms the past and present outcomes of colonialism in Canada, as well as ignites the stride to changing the future.
Donald, D. (2011). On What Terms Can We Speak?. (Video). Available online: https://vimeo.com/15264558
The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:
(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
Reinhabitation and decolonization were key themes in this article, shown through the examination of a community based project. By taking an excursion along the river, a map was formed, highlighting major cultural and historic areas. Indigenous languages were also incorporated, through teaching some original words/ names of nature in Cree. The indigenous land is divided and regulated by Crown, Treaty, and reserve spaces.This control and manipulation has huge impacts on social networks, economic development, survival. It also contributes to language loss, as the linguistic connection to traditional territory becomes weakened. This results in lost knowledge of organized travel routes, that led to food, resources, and survival of the seasons in the past.
“When we hear frogs singing, we know the water quality is safe for our consumption. We listen to the song of the birds to know what kind of weather is approaching. The moose will know when we need food and allow themselves to be taken. Such is the contract we have with the animal world.” (Elder and community member, Fort Albany First Nation)
Although this is translated into English, it shows the indigenous philosophy of deep relationships between humans and the earth. The word “Paquataskamik” in Cree, describes the natural environment and traditional territory of these people. Reinhabitation involves rebuilding these strong, sacred ties with the land, and trying to salvage the invaluable land based knowledge.
Decolonization is also presented in this article, providing a change of perspective on past colonial actions and their impacts. The youth of Fort Albany First Nation were very active in broadcasting their beliefs on the subject of decolonization, rejecting old dominant ideas AND promoting new cultural patterns. Their “zines” and radio documentaries share experiences and perspectives of youth, adults, and elders about the river to the greater community of Northern Ontario. These interviews and stories provided personal context for this decolonization process. The group also organized an excursion on the river, during which, youth and elders explored: history, languages, issues of governance, and land management. These all contribute to the value of the land, and affect both social and economic well being.
After reading this article, I have begun to realize just how important place is, and the role it plays in education and life as a whole. Recognizing Treaty land is an important action, but it’s only just the beginning. This declaration must be followed, by sharing the historical context of the Treaties of Canada through an Indigenous perspective. It is important to provide this because the experience of the settlers/immigrants (which is often taught), and the indigenous peoples were very different. I find it incredibly necessary to explain what happened in the past, and what injustices continue today in regards to this land we now call Canada. Treaty promises were broken, in order to benefit white settlers over First Nations peoples. It must be made clear, that this was not the choice of Aboriginal peoples, they did NOT want this. In teaching Indigenous ways of knowing and values, the great importance of this land and its effect on Indigenous peoples can begin to show through.
Restoule, J., Gruner, S. & Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing. Canadian Journal of Education, 36(2). (pp. 68-86). Retrieved from: http://ecs210.wikispaces.com/file/view/RestouleEtAl_2013_Learning%20from%20place.pdf/597510552/RestouleEtAl_2013_Learning%20from%20place.pdf
What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus?
Throughout my schooling, I remember that the Korean flag was always hung up in the classroom and we sang the national anthem every morning. Also, until grade 2, we stated the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. This has engrained nationalism into students’ heads. From Grade 5, students became able to vote and run for the school election, which taught us that we were citizens of the school, while allowing students to learn how to involve in the society, as well as exercise the rights.
Also, each and every one of student was assigned a duty, like sweeping the stairs and hallway, managing the blackboard, etc. During the middle school years, volunteer work was mandatory; students were required to visit a shelter for people with disability on Saturday after school every twice a week. Donation or charity events were often occurred and students were highly encouraged to participate or contribute to it.
Now that I look back, my schooling tried to focus on all of the three types of citizenship in various ways.
Personally-responsible citizenship: This type of indicates citizens who fulfill their social and civic responsibilities, such as pay taxes, vote, etc. This is the most common vision of citizenship promoted in schools through community service projects and volunteerism. As such, most of experiences I gained through my schooling are related to this.
Participatory citizen: Citizens in this category would feature knowledge of strategies and skills for public engagement and action and play an active role in community organizations. I don’t recall experiences in this category during K-12, but I have seen many of my friends participating rallies in various purposes, such as protest against the increased tuition fee.
Justice-oriented citizen: This category of citizens would question the root causes of social problems and put efforts to make a difference in the society, as well as work towards equity. I don’t think I was able to be in this category yet. However, I think that pursuing the journey of becoming a teacher is training me by providing diverse notions that challenge the status quo, and will allow me to become a justice-oriented citizen one day.
Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed?
I think that curriculum is developed according to what children should learn, like fundamental things in terms of both academic and non-academic. Now, who gets to decide what is important and fundamental to learn? Several different viewpoints can be included here, but the majors would be higher government officials, such as the ministry of education, teachers who have in-depth experience in teaching, students and parents.
After doing the reading, reflect upon:
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?
As Levin (2007) explains, the process of curriculum development involves with a group of experts, including government officials, teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities. The group is organized by the ministry of education. The current curriculum is reviewed and suggestions are made and agreed upon in regards to what could be changed for the new curriculum. Then, a draft might be made first, and a final version of the curriculum is created by adapting few more suggestions and making changes. As this process is complexed and crucial to next generation and the society as a whole, it could take even several years to finalize.
I did not realize that post-secondary staff would have impact on the process of formalizing curriculum. I learned that as the University decides what the requirements are for the admission, high school gets influenced accordingly as they would have to assist the students to meet those requirements, hence the University can exercise influence on the curriculum. Also, in Korea, we have certain high schools that offer different courses to take as majored areas, based on the school’s values and etc. – for example, my city had certain schools specialized in fine arts, tourism, business, and so on – but I did not think about this as the school contributing to the curriculum. But now that I understand the relationships between the universities, high schools, and curriculum, it makes sense because not every university has same requirement, therefore not every school should offer the exact same courses. If it was, I think, it would have hindered the growth of students’ possibilities and limited them to certain career paths for their future and individual interests.
What surprised, concerned and frustrated me was how the student’s viewpoint is taken in a trivial part (or is there even a spot for student’s perspective in curriculum?) and deemed unimportantly, although they are the ones who get the hugest impact and have to deal with it anyway. At the same time, it was also disappointing to learn how much politics is involved in the curriculum. Levin (2008) argues that “elected government are subject to pressures and constraints based on voter preferences, election timing, and the view of key interest groups” (p. 9). The pressure of the public on government officials who make decisions on education policies could influence the curriculum in positive or negative ways. As such, after all, the government would do what makes them more popular and give them more power, because “for politicians, what people believe to be true is much more important than what may actually be true” (Levin, 2008, p. 13).
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7 – 24). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Available on-line from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.