This class has been very enjoyable. Not only did I gain a new perspective on curriculum and society but I met some amazing people. I hope I get the chance to work with many of them in the future. Thanks for a great semester! My summary of learning can be found by clicking the link below. Once in the presentation clicking on the sound icon will initiate my narrative.
I think that my upbringing/ schooling shaped how I read the world in many ways. In some instances my schooling influenced how I read the world positively and in others ways negatively. The schools I attended were fairly diverse in terms of the students who attended them and the classes that were offered. So I grew up understanding that everyone likes different things, are good at different things, and have different backgrounds. However, I think that these differences were still done under a Eurocentric canopy. We were still taught math and science in a Eurocentric manner. Just as the classics were still being taught in English class. So while I was being exposed to and encouraged to be accepting of difference, I was still being taught to read the world from a Eurocentric dominant lens.
The first and hardest step in working against biases is recognizing our biases. I think that often people, including myself, are unaware of how we are viewing the world with biases or from a single story perspective. I think that working against biases begins with being self-reflective. I also think that listening to understand, as opposed to listening to respond to, other people’s perspectives while blocking out any preconceived notions we may have.
There had to be many “single stories” present in my schooling however, similar to the biases, “single stories” are hard to identify until someone else identifies them for you. In my schooling, it seemed as though the students whose truth aligned with or conform to the Eurocentric values of the school were valued. I would say that the majority of my school was from a single story perspective until high school when we were challenged to think critically about situations. I think in grade 11 teachers began to encourage us to read what was being implied by what was written compared to what was being left out.
When I think back on the teaching and learning of math throughout my schooling experience, a prominent factor that stands out is that the material were presented as being facts. There was hardly room for alternative methods or approaches. I did not find this approach to be oppressive or discriminating but that could be because I understood the approaches and could relate it to my life. However, I am sure that other students did not feel the same way I did. One teacher went as far to state that math is a universal language. As stated in the article this is true to the extent that every culture has six common aspects. However, by my teacher making this statement, they undermine the prospect that these aspects can be executed and interpreted in multiple ways. Therefore, resulting in being oppressive and discriminatory for some students.
The Poirier’s article made apparent the ways in which Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas. Inuit mathematics challenge the idea that math can be learned through the natural environment and therefore do not require a pencil and piece of paper. In a typical Eurocentric ideology the use of a pencil and paper is the standard. The next way in which Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric ideas is the fact that they use a base 20 numeral system. Prior to reading this article, I did not know that numeral system could vary. Another way in that Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas is that numbers can take various forms depending on the context in which they are being used. Ultimately, these readings made me realize that there may be more than one factor influencing why a student does not understand the math being taught. I need to make an effort to approach math in many different ways and make sure to be open to viewing math with various lenses other than the traditional Eurocentric lens.
I remember examples of participatory citizenship and personally responsible citizenship throughout my schooling. Often this took form similar to those stated in the article such as food and clothing drives. There were often fundraises for clean water projects in Africa. Once I got to middle school and high school this often took the form of leadership classes planning various fundraisers and events. Consequently, relying on the rest of the school body to contribute to these events and fundraisers. I remember there being little education in terms of becoming a justice-oriented citizen.
I think that the lack of focus on becoming justice-oriented citizen makes it impossible for students to become critical thinkers when it comes to contributing to society as a whole. The article also mentioned how this could be seen in the fact that many young people understand voting is vital aspect of being a good citizen but the majority of them actually vote http://www.civicsurvey.org/sites/default/files/publications/what_kind_of_citizen.pdf). I think that this could be due to the lack of education on how to think critically about tough topics like how and who should run our country. Similarly, the justice-oriented citizen is able to think about and understand how changes need to be made to the system in order to see a fundamental difference. If this is not taught to the students then the students are left feeling as though they are hopeless in contributing to change or making their thoughts known.
Providing a response to this email requires addressing a number of points. I think that first off the student needs to not only understand why students, especially white students need to be taught about Treaty Ed or First Nations, Metis and Inuit content and perspectives. The student who sent the initial email also needs to be confident in explaining this to the coop teacher with emphasis on why Treaty Ed is necessary. I think the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed is recognize and learn a more comprehensive view of how we came to live the life we have now and what sacrifices were made. Students should also be able to recognize how the environment and place we live in influences their identity.
The readings and podcasts have greatly influenced my understanding of “We are all Treaty people”. I grew up in BC and I do not remember having any Treaty Ed therefore as a result I have little knowledge outside of the grand narrative taught in social studies curriculum. Because I do not have many experiences with Treaty Ed, I could take the approach of learning with my class. I think that if my students see me embrace learning about Treaty Ed and how it affects my identity, the students will be more open to starting their own journey. As Claire said in her video, I will make mistakes and I will not be perfect at teaching Treaty Ed. However, not teaching Treaty Ed is not an option so I need to be conscientious about learning.
Throughout the narrative reinhabitation and decolonization can be seen through the river trip. Similarly, sharing stories among youth and elders further strengthens the connections with the lands and traditional ways of knowing. Ultimately, reestablishing what has slowly been lost over generations. As a future teacher considering place while teaching is important to understand. I am in the elementary program and therefore I hope to teach grades k-5. While I will not have a specific subject area, place will greatly influence who I will be in my classroom. Place will also depict who my students need me to be and what approach will benefit the students the most. I think it is important for students to recognize not only the land that we live on but also to appreciate and understand different ways of viewing the place we live.