ECS 301

I am very excited to start the new year and get to know everyone better!

Cheers,

Amanda Livingstone

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What’s a Lesson Plan Anyways?

I am not going to lie, I have been putting off writing this last blog. Mainly because I could not decide what to write about! I have thoroughly enjoyed this class (seminars more than the lectures). I feel like Gerry has prepared me more in the last few months for next year than the other year and a half of my degree.  I finally have been taught how to make a lesson plan, something that I had been stressing out about.  Also getting familiar with the curriculum has been HUGE in making me feel more prepared for our practicum next year.  I feel like the practical work we have done in seminars is the work that has made this class worth it.  Overall, I have enjoyed this class and am happy that I feel more content with where I am at as an Education student.

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We Are All Treaty People

One of the first questions posed this week was the purpose of teaching treaty education in a classroom where no or few First Nations, Metis, or Inuit students reside.  I believe it is important to educate children (and adults) the history of how the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit’s first inhabited this land.  Claire Krueger put it best into perspective when she spoke of the need for treaty education for white students.  It is important for them to be aware, but not feel guilt, for how the settlers “claimed” the land.  It is clear by the email that Mike received that many white students are not being educated on the true history.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Claire Krueger’s class this week, I found it to be one of the more informative presentations I have witnessed throughout my educational career.  She really focussed on the concept that we are all treaty people.  I want to be able to incorporate this into my own lesson planning in the future.  It was comforting when Claire mentioned that we as teachers will be learning with our students.  She stressed to not be afraid of offending someone or making mistakes when teaching of treaty education.  This is HUGE since for myself it is inevitable to make mistakes in this are.  I believe in every subject, not just treaty education, it is important to be comfortable in making mistakes since this is how we learn and it will show our students that it is okay to not always get it right.

Reinhabitation and Decolonization

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Last week we read Restoules article, Learning From Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing.  There are many way that reinhabitation and decolonization are referenced throughout the article.  One of the main instances are that of the 10 day canoe trip.  This gave the students the opportunity to learn the importance of their land, language, and culture.  By doing this the elders were able to pass down their wisdom and knowledge.  Another concept that I found interesting was that they posted signs in Cree language to begin rebuilding the community.

By reading this article I have realized the importance for all children to be in tune with their culture and environment.  I hope to implement many outdoor activities ad fieldtrips that focus on both of these concepts.

 

Curriculum and How It Has Shaped Me

I wasn’t sure how to address this post at first.  When I think of how curriculum has shaped the teacher I am today, I can’t help but think of the classes I enjoyed and the ones I disliked.  I feel like this alone will shape the teacher I am because I want every child to be interested in what they are learning, even if it is a subject they loathe (I assume everyone loathes math even though there are people out there that don’t..)

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By doing this I want to keep in mind all the different ways a student learns, and I want to make sure my teaching strategies are fun.  I believe the hidden curriculum of instilling manners and social skills will be very prevalent in my teachings.  I believe at a young age these concepts need to be focussed on.  For myself, I realize that to be the best teacher I can be I need to understand that everyone has their own story, even children in Kindergarten.  This is a concept that I had never considered before being in Patricks class last semester.  We spent a class talking about how some children will have seen things you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy, and it is important to be open to this and understand everyone has their own story.

Curriculum As A Guide

Before I entered the Education Program, I had assumed that the curriculum was set in stone and we as teachers were expected to follow it and hit every singly outcome and indicator there was.  As I now realize, if this were a real expectation, we would need longer days and longer school years.  It’s just not possible to cover every single thing!  Thankfully I have learned from Gerry that the curriculum is there as a guide.  Yes it is important to use the resources we are given.  Yes the curriculum was made for a reason and it is important to at least attempt in following it. But NO it is not something we must sign our life away to.  I now understand that the curriculum is not  something we need to be afraid of.

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Is “Good” Actually Good…

What is a “good” student according to common sense?  This question is one that if someone had asked me before entering the Education program I would have blindly replied with something along the lines of “someone who does well in school” or “a teachers pet”.  With doing the readings in class it has become clear that a “good” student IS someone who achieves what society expects of them in a classroom (and what the teacher expects as well most of the time).  This is unfair to many because to do “good” in school it is expected for you to do well on tests (for the most part) and lets be honest, not all of us are great in that department.

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This definition privileges those that excel in the test-taking department or in some cases those who do not challenge or criticize their own teachers. In Kumashiro’s book Against Common Sense, he speaks of how he assumed certain children were not doing well in his class due to bad behaviour.  In time, he realized that these children did not learn in the traditional way and needed different techniques to spark their interests.  I feel like it is important to constantly be challenging not only your students but yourself.

Valid Points With John W. Gardner

I chose to unpack this quote because as soon as I read it, it resonated with me.  I believe that many teachers today are just spewing out information, or simply handing it to their students when in fact we should be allowing them to experience education in their own ways.  Allowing a student to work towards the conclusion on their own (or with other students) instead of just giving them the answers is really important in developing their own strategies for learning.  On the other hand, I do think it’s important (when appropriate) to help a student when in need for achieving goals.
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I do not completely agree with the statement that much education today is monumentally ineffective, because that’s a generalized idea that does not pertain to every teacher.  This quote relates to my own understanding of curriculum because it embodies what I want to focus on as a future teacher.

Old White Man Logic

Before this weeks lecture I had never heard of the Tyler Rationale, never mind the man behind it.  Ralph Tyler has been deemed the father of assessment, evaluation, and standardized testing.

When reflecting on my past education, I remember standardize testing being important in my elementary and high school years.  There was an expectancy that every child should be at the same learning level.  This was something that I had never put much thought into before due to the fact that I have always been mediocre when it came to testing.  With my knowledge now, knowing that every student learns differently, I understand that this is not a fair way to determine ones intelligence.

With this concept there are benefits and limitations.  The strengths that I can see are that it provides structure for the teacher and students.  There are outcomes that need to be met which can be beneficial for setting goals.  I have always believed that being goal orientated was a strength, but knowing that every student may be at different intellectual levels can hinder this.  I believe that there are more limitations then benefits when it comes to this particular concept.  The goals are not always attainable, we all know that not all children learn the same way.  I strongly believe that standardize testing is not a suitable way in determining a students intellectual ability.  This idea reminded me of ECS 100 where we learned the different types of learners: beach ball, clipboard, teddy bear. and calculator (at least from what I remember these were the different types of learners). I also believe that this concept forces students to cram information by memorizing it and relies on them being able to regurgitate it on test day.  Most of the time the concepts being taught are not understood and soon forgotten.

Overall, the Tyler Rationale would be great if students were one dimensional, but we are not.  Everyone has their own way of learning, and this particular concept is not accommodating to that.

Kumashiro-What is Common Sense?

Kumashiro defines “common sense” as what everyone should know. He goes on to speak of his own experience teaching in Nepal where he was struck with different culture concepts he was not accustomed to. At home he was familiarized with the idea of having breakfast, lunch, and diner daily, but quickly learned there were only 2 meals served in the shop at 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. Another cultural difference he had to overcome was that of water. There was only one faucet that served as a shower, dishwasher, and device for laundry. Not only did these differences become apparent in daily activities but in the classroom he taught. His students were accustomed to the lecture-practice-exam approach, which Kumashiro did not intend to abide by. The students would complain of this and even suggest he enforce obedience via hitting other students. When speaking of common sense in U.S schools, Kumashiro states “common sense limits what is considered to be consistent with the purposes of schooling” revealing a concept I had not thought of before. All of these aspects contribute to the importance of understanding that one’s cultural ideas of common sense can differentiate from another, and it is important to question the common sense that our own community has established.