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Blog Post One – Being Canadian

Home for me is not the place where I sleep, nor is it the place I visit once every few months where I grew up. Home is a place I have learned to find love for myself, and warmth in the air. A place where memories last a life time, and is a whole plane ride away. This place is only home with the right people at the right times, allowing thoughts from others into my life only when needed, and a place to guide me back to other memories and childhood. What makes it home is the light that goes into my eyes, the magical words it makes spill from my lips, the drops, lifts, and sharp turns it allows me to make, and the new memories it allows me to create, but I will not share this place. Home for me is where I am happiest, where I can be myself, where no judgement is released, and where smiles are widened.

Life brings us to unexpected places, love brings us home. – Unknown

northern lights

 

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Learning From Place:

Ways that reinhabitation and decolonization are introduced throughout Learning From Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing are as follows: 

  • Renaming and reclaiming locations (benefits youth by introducing and increasing the probability of seeing and bringing more Cree concepts into their lives).
  • Sharing knowledge and understanding between youth and elders provides valuing traditional territory, leading projects, becoming connected with nature and the importance of the connection for intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development within children.
  • Both reinhabitation and decolonization are interconnected within each other.
  • Inserting and introducing the Cree language into different activities/ documents helps attention to be drawn to traditional territory creating relationships, joining communities, and also creating a historical identity. 

Personally, these ideas have been adapted into my life by learning about Indigenous history throughout my high school career, as well as both being enrolled in Indigenous and a Cree language class during my first year of university in 2018. In the future, I will be able to introduce these ideas and concepts within my classroom, teaching students to respect and incorporate Indigenous history and ideas in both their learning and everyday lives when attending class. Assisting students by understanding how to connect with nature, self, treaty land, etc., will be an important topic within the classroom. 

 

What It Means to Be a Student

According to commonsense being a “good” student means that you are dedicated and understanding of what is expected of you as a learner. We, as students, have to learn to work our way towards the answers we seek, asking questions in the classroom shows that we are engaged and wanting to carry out conversations about topics that are being taught, showing up to classes, handing in assignments on time, responding positively to feedback, being open to working with others and carrying your weight of the assignment, and putting thoughts and time into your projects are all commonsense ways of being a “good” student. Problems also arise with this image of a good student. Good students are also the quiet ones who benefit from listening to class discussions rather than participating in them, who take notes and expand on others ideas when they go home at night and do homework, a good student is someone who is just happy to be attending school and be away from home for a while, a good student is even someone who misses days of class to tend to a sick family member who has no one else to take care of them, but yet still turns in assignments on time and shows up for the final exam.

The definition of being a “good” student revolves around the individuals with a high class, mostly white privileged students. What is not taken into account is students lives outside of school. We are all “good” students, with good intentions. We all believe in ourselves or have someone who believes in us, but sometimes that is not enough. Some need more guidance than others, extra help outside of class, a strong support system, funds, different ways of having information transmitted, etc.

What is made impossible to see, understand, and believe because of these commonsense ideas are as follows: It is impossible to see how busy a students schedule may be when school, two jobs, homework, driving, cleaning, relationships, etc., all adds up, it is impossible to understand that mental health limits how a student can progress or express themselves within the classroom, it is impossible to believe that a student may be trying their best even when every assignment is late. We are all “good” students trying to achieve a better future for ourselves.

Critical Summary Proposal

For my critical summary assignment I am choosing a scholar. I have chosen a scholar named Michael Apple who is known for the following: curriculum theory and research, development of democratic schools, and also the relationship between culture and power. Michael Apple is an influential construct to curriculum and research.

Throughout reading information, specifically Critical Theory: From Michael Apples Perspective, I have learned the importance of how education is deeply connected with society. “It is unrealistic to talk about education without understanding its interconnection with the three systems: culture, government and economy” (p.132, 2016). For my critical summary we will be focusing on the relationship between Michael Apple and education paired with society, how they are interconnected and its impact on schools today.

The next step for my critical theory assignment based on the scholar Michael Apple is to find more article based (peer reviewed) information that explores relations between education and how the society imprints on it. Looking into how these observations have also effected present schools and students.

Smith – Curriculum Theory and Practice

The four models of curriculum described in Curriculum theory and practice are as follows: a body of knowledge/ syllabus to be transmitted, to achieve a product result from students, a process, and lastly as a praxis. Each model of curriculum plays an important role within both the students and the teacher, this results in students being prepared for certain activities and hosting specific details within oneself. With each model of curriculum we encounter both positive and negative aspects. 

Beginning with the positives of each model: curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted brings students the most effective ways of being taught and becoming educated. This is an example of showing both the students and educators that important information can both be given and understood over time and is beneficial to begin at a young age. Curriculum to achieve a product result from students expresses how education can be seen as ‘a technical exercise’ (Smith K. Mark 1999, 2000). Once the preparation exercises are complete an exam may be applied to measure the result. This is a positive model as it gives each student a fair and proper chance to learn and absorb what is being taught. Next, curriculum as a process lies heavily with the understanding that behavioural objectives are highly depended on. The attitudes of students and their desires to learn or understand can either make or break a lesson plan. If the students react just as the teacher expects, the lesson will move smoothly giving the student a positive expectation and outlook on learning. This can be a positive model of the curriculum and different theories on how to handle the behaviours of students. Lastly, curriculum as a praxis ‘a development of the process model’ (Smith K. Mark 1999, 2000). This model reaches beyond what is being taught and shows both the students and educators what it means to connect with experiences, thoughts, and confront conflict/ issues. ‘The praxis model of curriculum theory and practice brings these to the centre of the process and makes an explicit commitment to emancipation. Thus action is not simply informed, it is also committed. It is praxis.’ (Smith K. Mark 1999, 2000). The curriculum is meant to develop and change over time molding to what students need/ should be learning in the present, this helps the students develop interests in subjects and ideas. 

Negatives within curriculum are as follows within the four models. Beginning with the syllabus to be transmitted, this can lead to students limiting themselves in what they can learn to just what is outlined for them to learn over the period of their course. Rather than learning the importance of the information that may lie between the subjects, both educators and students learn strictly from what is written in the syllabus. Second, curriculum as a product. Measuring knowledge and behaviour can be difficult and often times not exactly accurate, as the article states ‘It is very often difficult to judge what the impact of particular experiences has been. Sometimes it is years after the event that we come to appreciate something of what has happened’ (Smith K Mark 1999, 2000). This model has the downfall of measuring how successful a child is in that time period based upon the ideas of what others believe they should understood to become successful within the world. The third model is curriculum as a process, having the negative of teachers believing that a lesson will go one way, and not having a backup plan to fall onto if the behaviour in the room is negative or different questions occur that change the lessons core value. Lastly, curriculum as a praxis. This model shows one the negative side of curriculum by not having a clear vision of what should be done or applied to the classroom. 

The models of curriculum that were prominent in my schooling experience included all four theories. These models added structure and understanding to my school experience as they were never viewed in a negative way by me personally. Being able to understand and look forward to what was being taught in the classroom was important, especially being able to know what yourself as a student would be learning as the semester moved forward. Moving throughout exercises within the classroom can be challenging based on the learner and what the subject is, but being able to apply an understanding/ connection made it more versatile. Your behaviour, attitude, knowledge, skill, etc., was all taken into account within my school making it comfortable to be measured by what you knew and what you were learning. Curriculum is what we should all be learning from, but there is no harm in learning from things that are not straight from within the curriculum. Curriculum made understanding of what could be built and created from minds within the classroom. 

 

References:

Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000) ‘Curriculum theory and practice’ the encyclopaedia of informal

education, http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-curric.htm.

The Problem of Common Sense – ECS 210

The Problem of Common Sense

How does Kumashiro define ‘common sense’?

Kumashiro defines ‘common sense’ in the perspective of many different people, as well as keeping an open mind to the knowledge that others shared with him between the United States ways of learning and Nepals. Common sense, according to Kumashiro is defined as the following: the idea of what schools are supposed to look like, how schools could be rather than how they should be, what is the right way to teach versus what people believe to be the ‘wrong way’ to teach and how this can affect a new teacher when entering the classroom and wanting to introduce a new approach to teaching and learning. By adding new ideas, approaches, and skills into a classroom more knowledge can be shared and absorbed over time. Do not think of how a classroom should be, think of what they could be with the approach of change. Incorporating new ideas from different cultures is a necessity to change and the understanding of each other. Kumashiro speaks about the basic understanding of human nature and how there is no right way to do things, only different interpretations of learning within the classroom in different cultures. 

Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

Paying attention to the ‘common sense’ is important to understand as it can lead you to be successful. For example, if a student from Canada went to Nepal to study they would have a shock when it came to the learning environment. The student would not understand why they could not sit wherever they please, that large amounts of homework expected from them daily, speaking to the teacher and other students during class time was unexceptable, and being hit was a natural form of punishment within the classroom. The shock within the classroom would also be noticeable if they roles were reversed with a student from Nepal coming to Canada. Speaking to the people around you to express opinions and ideas is encouraged, hitting is not an acceptable form of punishment nor is it tolerated, and you may sit wherever you please or where seats are available. It is important to pay attention to the common sense to understand your environment and what is expected of you to be successful.  

Week Seven: The Role of Technology

Technology within the classroom is used in many forms, and are used daily within my field placement. To begin the computer that sits upon the teachers desk is used to access websites (such as math quizzes or headspace), take attendance, make sure that students have a safe ride to and from school, play music, article responses, and to bring up examples and videos to project. It also helps educators find websites that are helpful to them by providing information to help with lesson plans and finding other teachers who have pointers that work within the classroom. This leads me in to both the projector mounted onto the ceiling and the smart board located at the front of the classroom. For those of my readers who many not be aware, a smart board is an interactive display that looks like a whiteboard but can preform more tasks than just simple writing. IPads are also used within the classroom for math purposes. Each student receives an iPad from a cart that can be ‘rented’ during class periods and can work with each other to learn their equations on a different form and can see their class score. 

Moving on to technology within the library I only noticed one form, the computer that was used by the librarian herself. This computer is used to keep track of the books taken in and out of the library telling her which student is borrowing it, where each book is located in the library, displaying websites, and showing her ratings on books that should be brought into the school potentially. Both laptops and iPads are displayed in separate carts that can be used and taken into classrooms. There is also a computer lab that is available to use by students with teacher supervision, along with every teacher. secretary, and principal has their own computer available to use. 

In school students are exposed and encouraged to use technology in their learning environment, especially since they are familiar with it. They all are aware of the technology they are allowed to use and what it is used for, helping them learn and see a new way of learning and understanding other than a paper and a pen. As the world evolves so does the classroom and this is very noticeable with the school environment. When they go home after school they may be exposed to the following forms of technology: television, iPads, cellular devices, and possibly computers (either desktop or laptop). 

Both the students and the cooperating teacher use technology in different ways. The students found technology the most useful at home and in the classroom for the following uses: math games, daily five (reading, writing, etc.), watching YouTube, reading short stories, and playing other popular games. The teacher however uses his technology for: creating class plans, assessment, attendance, emails, professional conversations with other educators, etc. Overall technology is a very important component in the learning environment that benefits with the learner and the educator as a whole.