Summary of Learning

Thanks for such a great semester filled with knowledge that I will take with me throughout my teaching career! Here’s my summary:


Curriculum as Numeracy

1. 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. 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.

For me, I believe that my learningn of mathematics was very oppressive. We had one way of learning, which was from the textbooks. The textbooks were created why white settlers, therefore meaning that it would be based on what they believe… not allowing other cultures perspectives to be mentioned. The textbooks were packed with specific assignemtns and lessons, that there was absolutely no room for teachers to teach anything besides what was in that book. Before reading the articles and listening to Gale’s presentation, I didn’t even know that there was a different way of learning. And for me, I feel as though I was ripped off… I wish I would’ve had the opportunity to explore the different ways of mathematics.

There are many ways that Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas…

Firstly, Base 10 vs. Base 20. I have always been taught that we use base 10, and that’s it. There is no othere way to do it. However, there is. When first hearing about it, I thought it was absolutely crazy but after Gale explained, it actually makes a lot more sense – there’s more reasoning behind it. The Inuit way doesn’t just cound our fingers (10) but also counts our toes (10), which means a simple base of 20.

Secondly, The Inuit people have different names for each number. Which is interesting to think about because in the Eurocentric view, there’s is only one word for each number. Since Inuit people have many different ways of saying numbers, they need to learn each way.. which makes the language very complex and maybe sometimes confusing.

Finally, Inuit people also challenges the Eurocentric way by the way they use the calendar. The Eurocentric way is very black and white; the calendar is always the same, and the seasons change depending on the month. However Inuit people decide which month it is and when each month ends depending on the ways of nature.

Single Stories

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

In my school, the single story that really stands out to me is my Social Studies class where it is clear now that we only learned from one perspective – a white, males point of view. But when I was in class learning all of these things, I for sure didn’t realize that the information could be false or that there’s always more than one side of the story and I was only learning the one side. And if we had questions about the other points of view, we were taught not to ask those questions or the teacher would switch the answer a little bit so that we were continuing to talk about the same sides point of view. All of this became clear to me when I came to university. I took an INDIG100 course that opened my eyes, I learned everything for the first time – everything I learned in high school wasn’t the exact truth since it was from the white males perspective. Therefore, I never learned much about aboriginal people and their stories.

I find that today, I try my best to have an open mind and listen to other perspectives from different cultures but sometimes it’s a little bit difficult because I have been taught to look from a white males perspective for so long. When having my own classroom, I believe that it is extremely important to teach students both sides of the story, it is up to them so agree with the side of their choice… teachers are there to guide them, not make the decision for them!

Curriculum as Citizenship

What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? Explore what this curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking of examples of citizenship is the SRC program in high school. The SRC program continuously raised money for different organizations such as the food bank and salvation army. However with all of the fundraising we did, we never really questioned why we were doing it, we just knew that money would help. If you knew the organizations already then you would have a good idea of why money would help, but other than that students didn’t really have the opportunity to learn about the organizations. We never took the step further, we never questioned why people were in these situations. Therefore, this program didn’t develop us to be justice-oriented citizens.

To become president of the SRC committee, the school voted for a president which was always the “good student”. However, there always seemed to be students who didn’t vote or who made up a person to vote for because “it was just high school” and “it wasn’t serious”. The curriculum needs to teach students more about citizenship so they know that something like voting is actually important!

We are all Treaty people

  • 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 weeks’ blog is based on the email that Mike received from a student that was interning and needed some help…

As part of my classes for my three-week block, I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada. I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke.

The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.

As someone who will be starting my pre-internship next year, this is the situation that I am nervous about. It’s hard to imagine that there are teachers who live on Treaty land that aren’t willing to teach about First Nations history.

Treaty Ed needs to be taught in schools today for many reasons, mainly because it is a process of deconolization. It is 2017, we should know that we shouldn’t be treating anyone anything other than equal!! It all starts with education at a young age, which is probably why the student who sent the email is having such a hard time… the teachers never got the proper education Treaty Ed and now the students aren’t either.

This is the first year hearing “we are all treaty people” and when I first heard it, I was a little confused but sorta just brushed it off. But now learning about it more, my eyes have opened and I realize the things that I didn’t before. I have accepted that I am not able to change the past, however as an educator I am able to help change the future. I can’t just sit back and let things happen, I need to educate my future students so that they have the knowledge to later teach others as well!

If I was this student asking for help, I would do exactly what he did – contact a current/past instructor that also beieves that teaching Treaty Ed is very important. There is also the possibility to contact an Indegenous elder, they would most likely have a lot of knowledge of how we can help teach students and teachers that this is i fact improtant!

Curriculum as Place

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?

After multiple conversations in different classes with different teachers, I have learned that this generation seems to think that we are the smartest, that this generation is able to teach everything. Which has resulted in losing respect for other generations… By thinking that we can teach anything, we are pretty much letting past generations know that even if we weren’t there, we know better…. NO. In this story, students were able to go on a 10-day river trip, giving them a chance to understand Mushkegowuk ways of knowing. This article proves that no, this generation is NOT the smartest but in fact, the ones who have the most experience are the smartest. The students were able to learn from a hands on experience which allowed them to really understand their environment and the traditional ways of knowing from experts.

This is the exact approach that I want to use as a teacher! I have knowledge in Aboriginal history, but not near enough. Allowing an elder to come into the classroom or go on a class trip like the article, would really allow the students to learn as much as they can! Hands on experience is always more valuable than sitting in your desk and learning about a specific subject.

Who makes the curriculum?

When first thinking about who made the curriculum, I thought that it was the people who worked within the school. Such as teachers or board members, or I would hope so at least…

After the reading, I realized that I was very wrong. It is actually the people who have never worked in schools who are making the curriculums, which I find absolutely insane. Politics and government have such a big impact of the curriculum, but they have never worked in a school nor tried to figure out what the students need in their curriculum. Therefore, it would make more sense to have parents and especially students help make the curriculum so that it revolves around what the students actually need to be learning rather than what the government thinks they should be learning.