1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
2. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes of mathematics and the way we learn it
In elementary school, I really struggled with math and my teacher seen me struggling but passed me anyway. When I got to High School math was challenging for me I was never good at math, to begin with, and my teacher did not want to help me it felt like. I would ask him for help then he would respond “well what do you need help with?” I replied usually with “I don’t understand any of it” he said “Well I cannot help you if you don’t tell me what you need help with” I felt stupid and walked away. I was never confident with my math and I ended up failing my ninth grade math. The teachers began to think I had a learning disability and started putting me through tests lowering my self-esteem. They found out through the tests that my math developmental level is grade three math… when they said that my heart dropped and I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I realized the fact that everyone was moving forward and I was falling behind some of the students in my class knew I was struggling but told me I will make it through. When I did not make it through I didn’t even want to look at my other classmates.
three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes of mathematics and the way we learn it.
- Inuit use base-20 whereas European use base-10
- Inuit teachers do not ask a student a question for which they think that student does not have the answer.
- Inuit use natural ways to do math like their calendar they let nature takes its course how long one month depends on how long it takes for a natural event to take place associated with each month are everyday activities that men and women repeat each year
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?
2. What does it mean for your understanding of the curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
1.) It is important to teach Treaty Ed because a lot of the land in Canada is treaty land and it is important to learn the history of where we live and how it came to be. We as teachers also need to help children become open-minded to other cultures. Some of our History is tragic but is very important to learn and teach to the next generations to come so we would not repeat the same mistakes.
2.) To me personally the saying “We are all treaty people” means becoming united with each other. As well we are all living on treaty land, therefore, it is important to acknowledge and learn about each others culture. We all share the land and have different backgrounds and to show respect and build relationships with each other we must learn to understand everyone’s backgrounds.
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.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
Reinhabitation occurred when the First Nation elders went on a 10 day trip with their youth to show the younger generation how they connect with the land and its importance. The elders wanted to teach the youth the importance so they begin to appreciate the lands and bring back old traditions that are slowly disappearing. The elders seem to be afraid of the fact that the next generations may not learn to respect what was given to them. As well the purpose was to bring everyone together to create a new bond.
Decolonization occurs when the elders talk about the issues going on in our generation loss of, language, traditions, beliefs etc.
As a teacher, I would ask the students what are some traditions, backgrounds and such then ask them how may those traditions relate to the land? Then I would talk about the environment and how it is important to us then ask each student why it may be important? I would also incorporate a culture day into one of my lessons so we learn about other people’s culture and why they think certain things are important.
What does it mean to be a “good” student according to common sense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
According to common sense, a “good” student would most likely be a white, wealthy, heterosexual male, who is obedient and have good manners. A good student will also keep to themselves and not challenge the teacher on what is being taught. The idea of being a rich white male as a “good” student is only selected by a few students those students are expected to be a replica in order to become privileged.
Its hard other students to succeed because of this image in their heads, students were expected to be something or someone who is out of their control. One cannot choose their skin color or background or where they came from. This makes the students feel discouraged and not participate in the classroom because they will always feel judged. Makes the students feel unworthy and they tend to give up and drop out because they will never be able to live up to impossible expectations.
I think that teachers and staff members from different schools come together to discuss as a team, what they believe is important for children to learn at certain grades and ages creating curricula. I think they probably discuss what subjects should be more focused on than others and what criteria should be tested.
The school curriculum is developed by the government and is treated like politics. The government believes they know what is best and do not put much detail into the curricula but make it very broad and general. The reading shows that the curriculum process does not involve teachers but is directly carried out without their inputs and given to them to teach to the kids without explanation. Simply expected to teach what is given without question. I always thought that teachers had a say in what goes into the curriculum because the teachers are the actual people who are teaching the lessons. Moreover, the teachers spend the most time with the children and build an understanding of what should and should not be taught to the children. You would think teachers were eligible to have more input because one they are the ones teaching it and two the government do not have connections towards the children at the schools the only people who should have a say on what is to be taught are the schools.
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 experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale? (c) What are some potential benefits?
(a). In my school experience, I have experienced the Tyler Rationale in High school. In High School, I had an English teacher who would make us write an essay and assess us like we were in University. It was a great struggle because we were only in High school and were being assessed like we were in University students. He never had us do many interactions it was mostly lecturing then tests and quizzes. Though I struggled at first with his class it turned out to be very valuable and actually did prepare me for University and I am thankful for that.
(b). When it comes to the limitations of rationale there are a few major ones when it comes to curriculum. The rationale is set up to be in a way strict “this is what the kids need to learn and we do it in this way” some teachers go by this and do not accommodate. By not accommodate I mean they have straight lectures and which some kids learn very well from but others need different learning styles like interactions with other students and working in groups. Some teachers are so focused on the way the curriculum is set up and follow step by step but do not incorporate different ways to teach the lessons so all students understand in their own learning style.
(c). Some potential benefits to the rationale would be that there is a set of guidelines for teachers to follow so they do not teach on random subjects or lessons. Moreover, if you are new to teaching it is a set of instructions to help guide you on your lesson planning.
Kumashiro tells us that common sense does not tell us what schools could be doing but rather it tells us what school should be doing. She explains what she means by ‘should’ we often feel the social pressure to confirm this fact. Kumashiro states “its just common sense that teachers teach those things and that students do those things.” Even though we may feel what is being taught is useless, it’s just what we have to do.
It is important to pay attention to common sense because we as teachers need to challenge the social norm. Not by resisting what needs to be taught but asking more questions about why it is being taught. Be original and change the social norms by adding questions and adding deeper thought into ‘common sense’.