Learning From Place – Restoule Et Al

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.
  • using the precise words of their language to reference their specific land
  • realizing and acting on children not using those specific words
  • the continuation and emphasis on elders passing stories onto the young
  • strong desire to maintain decolonized. Stating that land is greater than money
  • desire to be studied in order to get their message out there

2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

Centering Indigenous voices in the classroom by:

  • Having students know and acknowledge the treaty area of the school and participate in Indigenous focused events
  • Involving voices of the Indigenous community.  Ex: invite an elder in to do an intro to a unit
  • Centre Indigenous authors, musicians and artists in appropriate classes
  • Acknowledge and make effort to introduce Indigenous language. Ex: Teach “hello”, “bonjour” and “tanisi” and have these words and others visible in the classroom.
  • Have Indigenous letters and numerals or posters visible in the classroom. Support Indigenous groups and artists when purchasing these items.
  • Bring in Indigenous leaders to lead students in Indigenous art such as beading, creating art using Bob Boyer strategies, etc.
  • When listening to background music in the classroom, choose Indigenous musicians
  • Create opportunities to try Indigenous foods and make efforts to have these available in school canteens. Pizza and perogies are there – why not bannock burgers at the canteen?
  • When teaching units focused on Treaty Ed, have Knowledge Keepers visit the classroom to share

 

CURRICULUM POLICY AND THE POLITICS OF WHAT SHOULD BE LEARNED IN SCHOOLS BY BEN LEVIN

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? IMPORTANT – Please write your blog before our lecture as YOUR OPINION will be an integral part of the lecture.

In Ben Levin’s article, he states that “education governance typically involves some combination of national, local, and school participation; and in federal systems, education governance will have a fourth (and often primary) level at the state or province. The division of powers and responsibilities across these levels is quite variable from one country to another. In most jurisdictions, final authority over curriculum rests with national or subnational governments. In many federal systems it is provinces or states that control curriculum. In a few situations curriculum authority is largely located within individual schools. The central role of governments inevitably brings into play a range of both political and bureaucratic elements.”

This article gave me a new perspective on the development and implementation entirely.  I had no idea how it was created and I assumed that it was done so by teachers and the school boards.  I have heard comments in the past about schools not including voices of varied representation but I did not fully understand what that meant.  It was interesting to see how many people are involved from many different areas and sectors.

I do find it concerning that there is no student voice being used.  The balance is also concerning.  Voices will likely never be equally powerful, so it is concerning that any of the deserving voices may not be heard.

 

 

 

Kumashiro – Against Common Sense,”Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student”

  • What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

A good student “gets along”. Kumashiro states that “learning means completing certain assignments and repeating information on exams the correct definitions or themes or analysis in a strong essay format”, and “students who are unable or unwilling to be the kind of student that schools and society often tell them to be” will not fit in.   Kumashiro states that there is “pressure from schools and society to produce this type of student.”

The students that are privileged by this definition are the few students who learn well from a particular teacher’s teaching style. Students who do not have any learning disability, have no problem sitting at a desk, have no issue with taking instruction and following along, etc.  Essentially, any student that does not fit within the “perfect student” mold will face many more difficulties.

Students who think outside the box, need special instruction or need a different form of authority figure are made difficult to understand because of their difficulty to fit in to the “commonsense student”.  Kumashiro states that  “there is a problem that was deeper than art and abilities to create tailored, responsive, or engaging lessons.”  Kumashiro stresses that students of all backgrounds and needs need to learn in comfortable ways.

Unpacking a Quote

Choose a quotation related to education. It might be a quote from lecture, a quote from the list posted here, or a quote you found independently. In a post, unpack that quote. Think about what it makes possible and impossible in education. What does it say about the teacher, about the student? How does it related to your own understandings of curriculum and of school?

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
-John Dewey

In our recent discussions about curriculum, the topics of what curriculum is and who decides what is taught has come up frequently.  As a class we have discussed the value of the transmission style based learning, where facts and specific information are told to the student with the expectation that the student can repeat it back while testing.  We discuss how valuable this is – how valuable it is to know facts, dates and specifics? Is it that important? Can the time and energy be better used to focus on something else?

How about the actual pedagogy itself? Dewey suggests that we need to keep our strategies and information evolving.  We cannot teach future students the same way we taught the past because as the world evolves around us, so do the students around us.

It makes perfect sense. Teachers need to be maleable and flexible with student learning.  Events and culture will always be challenging and attention grabbing, and with these we need to have the fluidity to change our discussions and lessons at any given time.  However, this way of teaching can be a disservice as well.  How can Dewey expect a teacher to be a great teacher during class, a fair marker after class, complete all teacher repsonsibilities, and then fnd some time to evolve their style of teaching as well?  Perhaps a refresh every year? Every semester?  How can we pay our respects to this quote while also managing the daily routine?

Dewey suggests that the student is ever-evolving, always learning, and culturally aware.  It also implies that the teacher has full control over how the student observes and learns – as if the student is only able to develop if the teacher is also developing.

 

 

Social Efficiency Ideology by Michael Schiro

 

  • Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experience the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible? (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.

As a student product of Saskatchewan Public schools, I have definitely experienced the Tyler rationale in my schooling. In particular, Tyler’s quote, “Organization is important in curriculum development because it greatly influences the efficiency and instruction and the degree to which major educational changes are brought about in the learners.” When I read this, I immediately thought of multiple teachers I had experienced which were focused primarily on staying on schedule and being efficient as possible.  This method showed little regard for my learning or how well I was taking in the material.  Upon further reflection, I remember multiple student interns who represented the Tyler rationale as well.  I am assuming that these interns were concerned with the expected outcome while balancing classroom management and were feeling pressure to stay organized,on task, and in control.

The major limitations of the Tyler rationale are how the theory limits creativity and individuality, suppresses the individual needs of a student, groups and assumes every student has the same learning style, assumes the students needed skills for post-education careers, and offers no room for student questioning and independent thought.

Despite the long list of cons, Tyler’s rationale has some strong attributes, too.  Tyler believes that “learning takes place through the active behaviour of the student; it is what he does that he learns”, and this can be viewed as a strong point.  Not every student is an academic, and most will not move on to a post-secondary education, so perhaps Tyler’s rationale is great for students taking a technical path.  For example, programs at Campus Regina Public create opportunity and open doors for students who are looking for a hands-on, technical approach to education, where they can leave high school as an employable individual with skills in a trade.  This is possible due to the active behaviour of the student.

 

 

The Problem of Commonsense

  • How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

 

Kumashiro defines common sense as looking at education through the lens of familiarity, consistency and expectation by your own experience.   The reality is that everyone’s common sense is different.  His examples of cleanliness in the home in America versus the realities of home cleanliness in Nepal were a great example of what we come to expect as common sense.  In America (or Western world), a clean house is an expectation to the point where we feel terrible or embarrassed if it is not done, but in Nepal, it is simply a treat to just have access to water after everybody else is finished up with the well. Therefore, having a clean home is not common sense in Nepal – opposite of us here in North America.

It is important to pay attention to common sense because assuming everybody has a level of common knowledge can be oppressive to those who do not fit the mold. Everybody has different life experiences which result in different levels of knowledge, autonomy, and ability.  This makes me think of the quote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  As educators, we can’t approach a classroom full of bright children expecting them to all be fish.