Single Stories and Upbringings

My school upbringing was a very western way of seeing the world and learning. The way I was brought up in school and in my upbringing made it seem like we were superior to everyone. We only saw the bad in places like Africa or other places and that is what we were brought up with having that picture in our heads. These ideas and ways I was brought up in school gave me the bias that us in Canada have a far superior life than anyone else, where in fact that is actually wrong. The Biases and lenses I bring into classrooms is that we grew up thinking we should have pity or feel bad for someone who comes from a different place than we do. This is because of the way I was brought up throughout my schooling and they made it feel like that was the “right thing to do”. The way we can work against these biases is for us to see our biases first hand. When we see something first hand, we can make our own opinions and thoughts, rather than being told how to feel about that topic. This is the way I’ve began working against my biases to make myself the person I want to be and it gives me all the control in how I chose to see the world.

The single stories present in my school were very similar to those of Chimamanda Adichies. In our school, we only grew up seeing the bad side to every story, and that we only read books that had ourselves in them so we never got to see the world outside of what we knew. The only truth that mattered in our schools  was whatever the school told you. If you didn’t agree with what the school told you was correct, you were seen as a troublemaker who was going against them. We never learned about anything outside of our province so we only knew and learned from what we were being told by the teachers. This is something that didn’t help any students after highschool because we are all coming out of school only seeing the bad side of certain places, so it really affected how we all saw the “real world”. Our situation about single stories were very similar to how Chimamanda’s roommate, how we’d feel pity for someone before we even met them.

Citizenship

In my K-12 schooling experience, I never really noticed at the time what types of citizenship were being shown to us. After learning about the three types, I realized we had two types of citizenship shown, the personally responsible, and the participatory citizen. With the personally responsible citizen, our teachers always taught us to be the best person as we can be. They gave us the opportunity to volunteer at various places, like food banks and others to get credits and to also put on our transcripts in high school. Elementary and middle school I don’t really remember if we did a lot of volunteering, it was mostly just around the school wherever needed help. With the participatory citizen, I think that was the most relevant one in my high school times. All of our teachers welcomed discussion in class if we had something to say about a certain topic, especially in my grade 12 biology class. We would have weekly debates in groups in front of the class on various topics, which is something that really helped me understand the knowledge of strategy to help out our debates.

The knowledge of skills like decision making and problem solving for public engagement was something my grade 12 business teacher really helped me out with. Myself and a group of others went to Brandon for a business case competition, which we were presented with a certain case and how to make a presentation in 3 hours on our recommendations for what the case was asking for. This was something that helped with the decision making because we had to decide what was best for the business and how to actually implement it. We were given a short period of time to work on it so it was a time crunch and forced us to use our time wisely. It also helped with the problem solving aspect of it because we were given a case study we’ve never seen before and we had to work together to find a way to improve this business. After we had completed it, our presentation was chosen to be presented in front of everyone at the event, which was 700 students and a panel of 10 judges. This was an event that definitely helped us with problem solving because we never would’ve guessed we’d  be chosen, so we had to begin preparing again to present it and go in front of everyone. My high school times is where the majority of the citizenship qualities showed up and it really showed a lot of the time.

These approaches didn’t really make anything impossible for us. We were all given the same opportunities to help ourselves and to help others. The two approaches previously mentioned guided a lot of our curriculums during that time. We were able to have open discussions in every class and not feel like what we’re saying is wrong. Our teachers always wanted the best for us and to see us succeed and the school and the teachers prided themselves on that.

Mikes Intern

It is good that you are taking such an interest in Treaty Education and implementing it into your classroom. The most important thing to remember is to just keep trying to implement it and try bringing Treaty Education in the classroom in different ways. It doesn’t always have to be in a lecture, another way it could be done is by having a class outside and using what is outside to help you learn, just like the Indigenous ways of knowing and learning.

We are all treaty people. That is the bottom line. Whether we are Indigenous or not, we are still affected by treaties and are treaty people. It is an important concept to learn and to teach because it is apart of Canada’s history and still has direct effects on us today. even though the Social Studies 30 curriculum hasn’t been updated since 1997, it is still apart of the curriculum back then, and should be today (Social Studies 30 Curriculum ).

Claire Kreuger talks about how magazines and other outlets are writing about the needs of Indigenous peoples but we’ve trained our eyes and ears to skip that part or to not listen or to not care about those issues because they do not directly impact us. This is why it is important to teach it in a classroom setting where the eyes and ears of students are on the teacher and listening to what they have to say (Claires Video). This is why we teach Treaty Education in the classroom, because it may be out there in the public and in the news, but not many people tend to listen to it when it is on. The classroom is a place to learn and retain knowledge, and is the perfect place to talk about these issues and what is going on with First Nations people so that students can hear these problems, and keep them with them as they move through the school system to possibly make a change in the future.

Dwayne Donald talks about pre service teachers being interested in doing better. With this being said, the best way to do better is to gain the knowledge you need in accord to do better (Dwayne Donald).As teachers, we want what is best for the students and that includes Treaty Education. The more knowledge the teacher has on the topic, the more likely the students are to listen and take an interest in what is going on. The best way for you to get your students to listen and to understand is to educate yourself on the topic. Once that is done, you can always introduce new ways of integrating it into a classroom.

No one can tell you how to teach the right way. That is different for every teacher. We are all treaty people no matter what, that is something to remember whenever you’re teaching, whether the students are Indigenous or not. The purpose of teaching Treaty Education is to give the students the knowledge and to inform them of what is going on around them. This may or may not have a direct affect on them, but it will somehow affect some part of their life.

Always remember that we’re all treaty people, and to keep teaching these kids about Treaty Education. Whether they retain it or not, it is still an important topic to cover in schools of all ages.

Curriculum Practices

Curriculum are developed a lot on the backing of political power. That is something that shocked me but there is a lot of politics involved with developing a curriculum. Levin also 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”. With this being said, it focuses on the general goals such as someone being able to do math at a certain grade level and what the students should be learning. Then it focuses on the broader goals meaning it could be whatever really. Not much is said on how it should be implemented, I think because you can’t really narrow it down to one right way of implementing such a thing. The new information I gained from this was seeing how much politics is involved. It makes sense for it to be that way but it s still something that I will carry forward with me. The two things that shocked me during the reading was Indigenous studies wasn’t mentioned once, and how it is demeaning physical education at the same time. Physical education isn’t something that should just stop at a specific time. You use physical activity everyday, so why should schools cut it off at a certain grade level?

The ways that the Indigenous Curriculum and the previous article  are the same is the ways of implementation. The Indigenous Curriculum focuses on general goals and can have broader goals at the end as well. With this being said, it makes it easy to implement it into any class. An example would be in say a history class, you can easy have a class focusing on the treaties that were created and what each one of them meant, or you can talk about the language and the culture and dive deeper into that. The tensions I believe that were apart of this were making sure you got everything right and you say the right things. Since it’s a newer subject, it’s important to say the right things and make it something everyone can get behind so you don’t have people trying to go against it.

Ways of knowing

Ways of knowing ties into the Indigenous culture with land, language and other things having a much deeper meaning than what is presented on the surface. I had a lot of trouble trying to understand and break down this article so I don’t really have a lot to go off of.

Bringing the elders and the youth is a great way to pass down knowledge and learn past ways of how things were done. That idea goes with the reinhabitation portion. Many Indigenous youth have lost their identity within their culture due to it not being enforced in everyday life. The idea of them going out with elders and learning the significance of the land and their surroundings was a huge part of beginning to learn again. There was one part about every curve in the river having a name due to ancestors being buried there which is thought was cool because that’s not something that someone would know unless you had the elders there to help explain everything.

There are may ways this can be adapted to fit someone finding their own place because everyone is different. Everyone has their own place in the world and in their teachings. It can’t really be described in words how I would do this for myself because it’s not something that you can spend time searching for and trying to force it to happen. It would have to occur naturally for me to actually believe it otherwise it would be forced and not genuine.

Good Student

A good student means someone who the school wants them to be. It is someone who doesn’t criticize the teacher, does their work, and looks for what the teacher wants to hear. The school determines what the students need to learn, what they need to understand, and they need to be able to retain that information to be able to write exams and pass them. Being a good student often means being able to complete all assignments, and repeat the information and themes on the assignments to exams at the end of the year. Some teachers don’t like to be criticized in the classroom, so normally students will just keep their heads down and do their work. No one questions what they have to learn and why they’re learning it, they’re just there to get their work done and pass classes.

The students who are privileged by this notion of a good student are those who are able to properly focus in a classroom and can test well. Students who do not have any type of disabilities are also privileged in this setting as they don’t have any type of set backs in learning and are able to go in and get their work done. Students who have disabilities are often segregated and put in different classrooms, so from the start they’re not even given the chance to be in the general classroom. Students with language or cultural barriers will struggle in this as well. If a student can speak English properly, they’ll also be able to understand it and read it properly. This helps a lot in the classroom as English can be confusing to understand, so someone who ca understand it will have the advantage in the case. For those who test well, it’s a huge impact because a lot of classes are reliant on exams. That’s the majority of  where the marks come from, so if someone can test well, they’re being set up for success right there.

The one thing I see that is made impossible from this definition of a good student is to be creative and expressive. Students aren’t given the opportunity to go off course a bit and put their own thoughts into an assignment, since the assignments and reading are always given to the teacher and they have to teach those. There’s normally only one correct answer and nothing else. If students don’t see it that way, they’re often punished in the class by bad grade. Students who try to challenge or ask questions about what they’re learning are looked down upon because teachers and the school don’t like to be questioned what they’re learning and why. Being expressive is hard to do in this as well because the learnings are set out already so there’s  never really chances to be yourself in a classroom, you’re just trying to give the answer the teacher wants to hear. All students care about are getting good grades and passing a class, a lot of times if they don’t agree with it, they don’t say anything because they know that’s not what the teacher wants to hear. It’s present in all categories of schooling, starting from middle school a lot of times, all the way through to University.

Curriculum as Playlist

In Sean Wiebe’s article “Curriculum as playlist: Responses of synopsis and expansion”, he talks about how the curriculum can be compared to a boombox. The comparison comes from being able to personalize your playlist on your cassette tape so that you can listen to what you want to do. The same can be said for the curriculum. Curriculum is made to help the students learn what will help them in the future. The teacher can take that curriculum and personalize it to how they see fit so that their students can have the best experience.

The quote “Our collaborative play and our processes of mixing and remixing invite new ways of thinking about and contributing to the development of North American curriculum studies.” is something that spoke to me. I take it as thinking in a new light of the way we think of curriculum and how it should be and to switch it up. With changing times and how society works, that only means that the curriculum needs to change as well. Mixing and remixing the curriculum is what needs to happen in the future to be able to keep up with our constant changing society. 

My next steps for my assignment are to keep my research going in order to find more on my topic. The topic I’m choosing is disability in the curriculum, as I’ve had a lot of experience with that.