Curriculum as Treaty – Dealing with Resistance Towards Treaty Education

1. 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?

The purpose of teaching Treaty Education or Nations, Metis and Inuit Content and Perspective to a population with few or non-Indigenous peoples is to educate them on how they are in a legal relationship with the First Nations (FNS). It is even most important that non-indigenous students are educated in order to show that they are in a legal contract with the FNS, just like they are in a legal contract as with the Canadian government to fulfill their duties as citizens of Canada.

2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

The Saskatchewan curriculum currently does not include the Treaty Education outcomes and indicators on their website. The Treaty Education Outcomes are on a separate website and if you do not know about Treaty Education you would not know that there is a curriculum specifically about Treaty Education made by the Government of Saskatchewan. For me, the phrase “We are all treaty people,” in a sense of curriculum, means that we have a curriculum that is conscious of the effects of the treaties on non-indigenous and First Nations students relationships and to a border extent such as relationships between the indigenous communities and the Canadian government and

If I were a response to this email, I would write to the intern to integrate Treaty Education with other subjects and use that as a starting to introduce Treaty Education.

Curriculum as Numeracy

When I think back on my experiences from elementary and high years, I never thought that there were any aspects that were oppressive and/or discriminatory in teaching me and my peers. There were times where I hated math because I saw it as useless. For example, when I was going to need to calculate the equation for a parabola? On the other hand, there were times I understood the math and I felt accomplished.

I always thought that math was something objective and that it was universal. It was not until my first year of university that I realized that math is not as objective as I thought it was and that math is not universal. For example, I was taught to count by tens and I thought everyone counted by tens, too.  It was in MATH 101 where the professor taught us that different cultures had different number systems. For there is a group of Indigenous people in the states where their number system is 8 based. And their reason for that is, that they count between the fingers and thumbs. Compare to the Eurocentric 10 based number system, we use our hands of count but instead of counting between fingers were count the fingers themselves. I realized that culture affects the way people did and taught math. Going back to my past experience with math I can now see my math experience was dominant by a Eurocentric way of looking at math.

If we were to compare European mathematics and another culture’s way of doing mathematics we would find many differences. For example, a study investigating the math difficulties experienced by students in an Inuit school found that the teachers were teaching their students Inuit mathematics and then transitioning to Eurocentric mathematics (Louise Poirier 2007). The transition from Inuit to Eurocentric math is difficult because the two systems have many significant differences.  There are three different I want to highlight.

  1. Base number systems are different. The Eurocentric number system is based on tens, while the Inuit number system is based on twenties. This challenges out Eurocentric way of counting because it brings into the question “why do we count by tens and not twenties?” Is it because counting by tens is more efficient?  But who cannot say that county by twenties is as efficient as counting by tens?
  2. Measuring units – For example time is measured differently in the Inuit culture. Europeans measure time in mounts and years, which is based on the lunar mount and solar year. In contrast, in the Inuit culture time is measured in events. For example, September is when ‘when the caribou’s antlers lose their velvet’ (Poirer 61). And the number of days for months changes it all depends on how long the event will last.
  3. Style of teaching is different. Eurocentric way teaches math visually with text and paper, while Inuit teaches math orally with stories or narratives. This difference brings in questions such as  “why do we teach this way?” “and why do we only teach this way?”

I have learned there are many more differences between Eurocentric and Inuit mathematics and even more differences with other cultures. It is being open to other perspectives on math that I know I will grow to appreciate and see math has rich cultural connections.

Louise Poirier (2007) Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community,
Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7:1, 53-67, DOI:
10.1080/14926150709556720

Reading the World

The way I was brought up and the schools were I went to have shaped how I “read the world” or in other words how I understand it.  My family is from the Philippines. We migrated to Canada when I was three years old so I considered myself a first-generation Canadia. I live in the city of Regina for most of my life. Although the majority of the people I was surrounded were white, when I was little, there was an active Filipino community so I never felt singled out. When I got older I noticed that Regina had become very diverse that I’m so used to seeing people of different ethnicities. Funny story when I  went back to the Philippines for a vacation I was surrounded by Filipinos and I thought it was so weird that everyone was brown. I was so used to living in a multi-ethnicity country I thought it was weird to not see white, black, or Indigenous peoples.

For schooling, I went to both Christian private elementary school and high school. My parents are very educated-oriented and thought that going to a private school would be better for my education. My elementary school was very small only 20 some students from K to 9 and it was mostly made up of Asian and white students. Most of the Asian students were refugees from Myanmar and Thailand. Here I was able to learn that there immigrates who didn’t choose to move to Canada, but they HAD to move because their or their country was too dangerous for them or they were under oppression and had to move.

My high school was bigger, but compared to public school is was pretty small. 200 plus students from Pre-K to 12. There were about 100 high school students. Even though this was a small school it was pretty diverse. There were Filipinos, Chinese, Indigenous, Metis, Africans, Hispanics, mixed students, etc. There many recently immigrated students, 1st generation Canadians,  and some international students.  Being in such an ethnically diverse place I got to compare my cultural perspective with other perspectives. It was here that I realized that immigrants have biases that they bring to Canada from their own countries. For example,  I learnt that, just as there is a white ethnicity hierarchy, there is an Asian ethnicity hierarchy.

Although I went to a diverse school most of the books were read were about white people or were written by white people. And whenever were read books about people of different ethnicities it was always about something traumatic, like being bullying because if their race.  From this type of expose I create a preconceived notion that minorities were always oppressed, poor or someone to be pitied. I know this is not true. Minorities can be empowered people, can be rich, and they can also be the oppressors.

Growing up as a teen, thanks to the internet was exposed to literature from different cultures. Not just books but different forms such as manga, web novels, webcomics, and shows written by people of many different ethnicities and who lived in different countries.  But even here I see that some non-white ethnicities dominate other non-white ethnicities. For example, I noticed that Chinese, Korean, and Japanese media is most prevalent in Asian media.

I think that the first step to unlearning and working against my biases is to realize my own biases and how I see the world and how it affects the way I treat others. Another step would be listening to other people’s perspectives as a race, ethnicity, community, individual, etc. And always to remember that one person does not speak for their groups.

 

ECS 210 Assignment #1 – Decolonizing Curriculum

The Canadian education system was used as a tool to assimilate white non-Anglo Saxons and people of colour into British culture. Although Canada is no longer a colony, the education system rooted in colonial education and still is heavily influenced by its colonial history. In Lisa Kortewag and Tesa Fiddler’s article, “Unearning Colonial Identities While Engaging in Realtionalty: Settler Teachers’ Education-As-Reconciliation,” they argue that to decolonized curriculum non-Indigenous teachers, specifically, white teachers must first unlearn their colonial identity. It is not enough for white settler teachers to unlearn their colonial teachers but there also must be cooperation with Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators to create a non-colonial curriculum.

How as teachers in training will we try to decolonizing curriculum in our teaching? First, we must understand how to unlearn our colonial identities and once we know we need to take this knowledge and act on it. I will use these two articles below to support the idea that unlearning out colonial is connected to decolonize the curriculum.

“The Limits of Settlers’ Territorial Acknowledgements” by Lila Asher, Joe Curnow, and Davis Emil. In this article, the authors argue that land acknowledgements do remind the general population of the Indenigouns peoples’ title to the land, but it does not educate general people of the Indigenous peoples’ spiritual way of life with respect for the Earth.
” ‘It’s doesn’t speak to me’: understanding student of color resistance to critical race pedagogy” by Sonya M. Aleman and Sarita Gaytan. In their article, they argue that students of colour participate in marginalizing minorities, their own and others, and upholding the dominant white narrative by denying the significance of race.
 

 

Curriculum as citizenship – What is Citizenship Education?

What is citizenship education?

First, we should define what a citizen is. According to the Macmillan Dictionary, a citizen is “someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country and has the right to the legal and social benefits of that country as well as legal obligations towards it.” We as Canadian citizens have rights and privileges granted by the government, but with rights and privileges comes with responsibilities and legal obligations.  When we think of the rights we think of the right to vote and we think of legal obligations such as paying taxes. Then what is citizenship education? Joel Westheimer states that  citizenship education is “to advance the democratic purposes of
education.” In other words, educate the student to become good citizens. But what is a good citizen and what do they do?

According to Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne, there are three types of citizenships – The Personally Responsible Citizen, The Participatory Citizen, and The Justice Oriented Citizen.

Personally Responsible Citizens act responsibly for their local community. Examples would properly dispose of and recycle waste, donating to charity, obeying traffic laws, etc. Personally Responsible Citizens is driven by character education.  Character education teaches that if students are installed with good character such as being respectful, kind,  and helpful it will help them develop into Personally Responsible Citizens.

Participatory Citizen actively participates in the civic affair and social life of the community at the local, state, and national levels. Examples of this would be organizing a pancake breakfast at your local community center or church, organizing a neighbourhood watch, and voting in local, provincial, and national elections. Participatory Citizen’s aim is to develop students who are engaged in community-based efforts to care for those who are vulnerable and/or in need.

Justice Oriented Citizens is Personally Responsible Citizens and Participatory Citizen together but take is a step further. Justice-Oriented Citizens learn how to understand and analyze social problems. They search for the root cause and would try to fix it where the problem started.

My K-12 schooling never explicitly taught citizenship education, it was more implicitly taught.  When I look back many circumstances would be considered to be citizenship education.

The earlier memory of citizenship education came in the form of The Personally Responsible Citizen. I went to a private Christian in both my elementary years and high school years.  There was a big emphasis on character development in both schools.  Concepts such as “treat others the way you want to be treated” – respect and “love your neighbour as yourself” – love,  were taught. Another example would be teaching us to pick up trash and not litter.  They never directly told use that picking up trash was your responsibility as a citizen, instead, they taught that it would help keep the environment clean.

An example of The Participatory Citizen is when I join the student leadership council (SLC) and the many school events we organized. One specific example is organizing a food drive. One of the main ideas I learn about participatory citizenship from organizing events like these is that healthy competition between people is beneficial to reaching a goal. One of the ways the SLC increase engagement among the students is that one of the incentives was the whichever class collected the most food got a reward.  Also, things, like informing the other students what kinds of food items they are able to donate, organizing/tracking the food items, and spending awareness about hungry in the city, taught me skills on how to be involved in a community.

Many of the times where I was taught citizenship education happened implicitly, but I think that this is an advantage as it demonstrated that citizenship education can be easily integrated into many subjects and activities in schools.

Works Cited

“citizen.” Macmillan Dictionary, Mcmillian Education Limited, 2020, https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/citizen. Accessed 03 February 2020.

Westheimer, Joel. Joseph, Kahne “What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating For Democracy.” American Educational Research Journal, Vol 41, no.2, 2004.

Influences that Make Curriculum

Part 1)

According to Benjamin Levin, school curricula is developed and implemented by public policies. Public policy are the rules and procedures that governed a public sector, such as the education system (Levin 8). I have always known that the government has a large influence in developing and implementing curricula. If you think about it the school system, essentially, teaches adolescents the tools to how to live in society as autonomous adults.  The students of today will be running this country and some will even be in government positions. It makes sense that the government would want to influence the curricula to create the next generation of people who will govern the country.

As I stated the government has a huge influence towards the school system. What I did not take into account are the influences that pull and push the government into approving certain polices and dismissing other potential policies. Levin states that, “As population have become better educated and better organized the number and intensity of the pressure on politicians has risen”(11). Also “Governments are particularly susceptible to issues that take on public salience through the media (Levin,  11). The general population has a greater influence than I previously thought.  This concerns me because the population has many diverse beliefs ad opinions on what the school system should and should not teach. Different beliefs and opinions often clash with another. Another concern is that mass media can highlight certain issues pertaining to curricula and ignore other issues is disconcerting.  Often people think that the government has the greatest influence when making public policies that govern education but external forces such as public criticism from the general population and mass media can also greatly influence school curricula.

Part 2) 

The mass media has brought to attention the ongoing oppression of the Indigenous peoples. Their coverage of Indigenous issues have led to the government implementing policies that aid Indigenous peoples in many public sectors. Such as the education system. For example, many schools now have history classes where Indigenous history is incorporated. Implementing these policies, I imagine, were difficult to initiate because of firstly, racism. People do not want to acknowledge that the racism of the past still influence people today. And secondly, people were worried that it might take up time from the real education, such as math and English.

 

Levin, Ben. “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should Be Learned Schools.” Curriculum Making, 19 Sept 2007, https://www.corwin.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/16905_Chapter_1.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowek Ways of Knowing”

In the article” Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowak Ways of Knowing” it records the research project on the Mushkegowek community’s progress in decolonization. The Mushkegowek resist the effects of colonization by re-establishing their Indigenous identity by connecting with their traditional territory and building intergenerational relationships within their community. One of the ways the Mushkegowek cultivated their Indengious identity was by launching a 10-day river trip where elders would share their relationship with the land as a people and how to take care of the land to the youth. Another way that that the Mushkegowek reasserted their Indeingious identity by reclaiming land and remaining the lands in the Inninowuk language. The Mushkegowek are decolonizing their land by cultivating the Indigenous identity by connecting with their traditional land.

As a future teacher, I hope to support Indigenous students with their Indigenous identity  by encouraging them to learn about their own traditional territory and instill in them a sense of responsibility for taking care of the land that their ancestors had lived off of. To non-Indigenous students, I hope to also instill a sense of responsibility for taking care of the land and appreciation and understanding of the Indigenous people and their connection to the land.

 

 

What is a “Good” Student?

According to most schools, a “good” student is someone who is quiet, follows instructions, and hands in assignments on time. Students who don’t talk back or question the teachers, and follow their orders benefit from this definition of a “good” student. The “good” students avoid punishment and are rewarded for obedience.  On the other hand, students who do not follow their teachers’ instructions and question what they are learning are labelled as disruptive and uncooperative. They are punished for behaviours that are deemed inappropriate. Most often these punishments hindered the students learning and hurt the social reputation.

This definition of a “good” student is the norm.  Because of this, it is hard to understand this definition of a  “good” student is subjective.  A “good” student depends on the societal context. In our society, people want workers who will follow orders and not question authority. The school system, whether consciously or subconsciously conditions students to become this type of worker.  If society wanted independent thinkers and inventors the definition of a “good” student would be vastly different.

“Curriculum theory and practice”

Reading: “Curriculum theory and practice” by M.K. Smith. 

Prompt: Think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling; (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible; and (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible.

I have experienced the Tyler Rationale in my schooling. In my elementary school,  the teachers focused heavily in English and Math. For example, using “Step 1: Diagnosis of need” (M.K. Smith),  the school diagnosis that the student lack multiplication skills. Then using “Step 2: Formulation of objectives,”  proposed that all the students had to memorize the multiplication table, up to the 12 times table. Students were tests in their automatic memory recall and speed to answering. Students did not have to show how they answered the multiplication question. 

From my experience the Tyler Rationale has some major limitations. Such as only it focuses on one outcome for all students. Specifically in my school,  the desired outcome was that all the students should have the multiplication tables memorized, up to the 12 times table. The desired outcome did not just want the student memorize their multiplication, but dictated  how the students answered. There was no variant to the outcomes.

On the other hand the Tyler Rationale has benefited me.  It’s limitation – specific outcomes, can be beneficial. Because my school taught me to memorize the times table I can apply that simple skill to more complicated equations. I don’t have to rely on a calculator for simple math questions. It  is much faster to solve a longer equation without having to use a calculator for every step of an equation. The Taylor Rationale has advantages and disadvantages. It can teach basic skills, but does not give room for different outcomes.