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Curriculum as Numeracy

Thinking back on my experiences of learning mathematics back home, I do not remember any aspect of the subject that was oppressive to me. In general, I was always good at maths during elementary and high school years and I never really experienced issues in the subject. I also taught mathematics to some elementary kids and helped my brother who had troubles with the subject. However, I can understand how math might be oppressive to some students. Schools usually pushes educators to teach only one or two methods in order to reach the final product instead of considering other methods that might also work for some students. The methods used come from an Eurocentric idea and therefore some students that are struggling with applying them might feel oppressed or discriminated. In the article Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, Bishop recognized that mathematics is a cultural product that takes many different forms. Therefore each culture has its own way of dealing with the different concepts learned in the subject. However, some of those ways are not implemented in the classes nor taking into account when teaching maths. 

Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes of mathematics and the way we learn in that learning math for Inuit is more practical. One of these challenges is through measuring length. Inuit people use part of their bodies to measure length rather than rulers or other tools like the Eurocentric way. Another challenge is through the oral numeration. For Inuit people 20 and 400 are pivotal numbers and other numbers are built from these two numbers since Inuit use a base of 20 numerical system. Another way in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas is thought their great aptitude in spatial representations. Poirier mentions how Inuit children develop spatial representations that are different from those children who live in a city like Montreal.

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Curriculum as Literacy

My upbringing/schooling has shaped the way I read the world into a Latin American perspective. Over the years, I had been learning to see the world from the same perspective until that perspective defined in my mind became the only lens through which I view the world. Although I came to Canada and started learning from a white Eurocentric perspective, I still read the world with the same eyes as my schooling years, with Latin American eyes. This is why I consider that the schooling and upbringing education are both very important when it comes to shaping individuals. Kevin Kumashiro talks about teaching anti-oppressive education and including diverse stories. However, I feel that books that provide diversity were not introduced in my classes, neither diversity was a topic for discussion. I feel this happened because diversity is not something you could easily find in my country. Every student in my class had the same background, we were all born and raise in Argentina, and everybody had Argentinian parents as well. I feel like this could be one of the reasons why those topics were not included in my class. By not being exposed to stories that differed from how I viewed the world, I was not exposed to other perspectives that would challenge me on the way I read the world.

Single stories create stereotypes that make us see and judge people as groups and base on oversimplified ideas that we hear. Growing up I was exposed to similar viewpoints as Chimmanda’s roommate. I would view individuals from Africa under the lens of poverty and as individuals of a marginalized society. I remember media and different news or advertisements showing only that part of the continent, the lack of water or the malnutrition of african kids. This had a big role on shaping my way of seeing that part of the world, not allowing me to see the actual reality of the continent. Another single storie present in my schooling was the ignorance about diversity in the classroom and the lack of diverse books to have access to. We werent even exposed to different approaches or perspectives. Moreover, my school never touched on gender identity topics. 

As a future educator I am willing to work against these biases to ensure I am creating awareness on my students and shaping their view of the world. I would like to bring different perspectives to my classroom and engaging students to see the world beyond themselves. I think we can unlearn and work against these biases through talking about them, bringing them to the class and creating awareness. This can significantly change the way students perceive the world.

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Curriculum as Citizenship

When I was in school I was most of the time surrounded by personally responsible and participatory citizens. Students and staff were respectful, justice oriented citizens with  a pleasant attitude. Although I don’t remember doing community service throughout my elementary years, I had some community service activities during high school. However, community service was not mandatory in any of my classes like they are usually in Canada. Still, we all participated every time we had to go out of school to do a volunteer activity for the community but it was not a personal will to do good. Personally and after knowing about the importance of service community, I would have liked to enjoy more volunteer experiences.

In my grade 9 year I saw more of a participatory side come out when my natural science teacher involved us in an activity of collecting plastic bottle caps to collaborate with organizations or entities, which use them to obtain money for purposes linked to their own activity. In our case, we would give the caps to a children hospital at the end of the year to help them raise funds. Collecting plastic caps became a daily task for the students and the whole school as we all participated in this activity. 

I feel like my school always had an excellent participatory attitude towards programs like the one just mentioned, and at the same time each of us would maintain personally responsible citizenship skill. However, I feel like we needed to increase our participation into our community even more. In class we used to talk about how it is important to contribute to the community as well as helping non-profit organizations within our community but we did not have enough hands on activities related to that. However, according to what the article explains, we as students still had a good understanding of what was to be a good citizen, we were just missing the part where we pursuit it. Moreover, we were constantly asked to discuss particular social issues that were important to us and to community members. 

My education may have been seen as successful in creating personally responsible citizens, however my education missed on involving us in more socialized activities within the community. I feel this is as important as understanding what a good citizen is like and discussing about social issues since it helps students be constantly active in society.

We all can continuously be a participatory citizen at all points of our lives because we have such an important and big role in trying to make our society a better place. Our personally responsible and participatory attitudes should not be limited to only the time we spend at school. These activities at school should push us to be a better citizen outside school as well and in every aspect of our lives. Volunteer experiences should not be seen as an extra mark to pass a class, it should be seen as a way to engage ourselves with the community. 

ECS 210, Home

Curriculum as Treaty Education

The purpose of teaching Treaty Education Content and perspectives is to start seeing Indigenous and the rest of Canadians citizens as a whole and break that gap that divide them. I believe all students need the opportunity to learn from different perspectives, not only the settler ways of knowing. Many people think of the beginning of the history of Canada since the europeans arrived, ignoring what and who were here long before they came, the first peoples of this land. In schools, it’s important to incorporate Treaty Ed otherwise students will finish school having learned nothing about who were the first peoples of their land and their big role in Canadian identity. Instead, these students will continue to carry the effects of colonialism. Moreover, through the inclusion of Treaty Ed in schools, we as future educators will be able to help students building bridges that grow the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous people. 

When we say β€œWe are all Treaty People” my understanding of the curriculum changes greatly. When I think of we are all Treaty People, I think of the idea that we should all equally share the land we live in, having the same rights and responsibilities towards our land. It is really important to teach our future students about the creation of this Treaty and the meaning it has carried through the years for all us Canadians. Thus, Treaty Ed must be incorporated into all subjects areas rather than just one subject, since it’s a perspective that we can take with us through our every day life at school. 

ECS 210, Home

Curriculum as Public Policy

This week while reading Levin’s article, I learned some new facts about the implementation of the curriculum in schools across Canada. To begin, Levin defines curriculum as β€œ what students are expected to know and be able to do.” (p. 8) According to the article, teachers have a big role in the development of the curriculum. However, Levin describes the government as the biggest influencer in curriculum decision maker, since curriculum is basically shaped by political action. The new information that I found on this reading is how government and other associations have more power building the curriculum than teachers. I feel that the government is not aware of many important facts that teachers would be more familiar with, like student’s development process or skills in the classrooms. Also, as Levin explains, some important decisions made by the government are often made very quickly with limited information and discussion due to no other alternative. Another new information for me is how the involvement of experts in curriculum development can cause disagreements and confusion on what to do since they can make the subjects too hard to teach and learn. I agree with Levin when he suggests that community members should be involved in the curriculum development because their thoughts also need to be considered. I, as an community member and future teacher, think that we should have a louder voice and our opinions should be heard more when it comes to creating the curriculum; because at the end of the day, teachers are the ones who must use the curriculum daily and deal with it through the year.

As reading pages 1 to 4 of the Treaty education document, I learned about the goals that are set out from Kindergarten to grade twelve, which outline what outcomes should be achieve in the class and the knowledge students need to acquire. I consider that Treaty Education should be apply in different subject areas and in all grades with no exception. This document similarly to Levin’s article, brings the idea of how many people and components it takes to create and develop a curriculum.

ECS 210, Home

Learning from Place

Throughout this reading I saw decolonization and rehabilitation through the ten day trip of the Elders with the youth, sharing knowledge and beliefs about their connection to the land. This trip allows Elders to pass down stories to the youth, sharing experiences and engaging them with this reconnection with nature. The Kistachowan document that the youth and the Elders created together is another way of reinabitation since it provides the youth with an understanding of the decolonization process from a different perspective. This opportunity to experience learning in a none-western way allows the youth to have a better insight about indigenous culture and ways of living. 

A way that decolonization can be seen through this narrative is the economic exploration and large scale extractive development of the Mushkegowuk people. Together with this, the role of the land and the strategies they had to maintain their historical identity and way of life. These interviews were meant β€œto encourage intergenerational relationships and catalyze knowledge transfer from elder generations to youth. The interviews were ways of bringing together community, of fostering dialogue and generating spaces for socializing conceptualizations of the territory from a Mushkegowuk perspective.” (p. 74-75)

As a future educator, I think it’s really important to encourage students to explore the meaning of place and their identity. I would like to use these thoughts to help my future students connect with these ideas. I will achieve this by giving students opportunities to work towards understanding how their culture impacts their identity and together they shape who they are. I would like to provide students with activities where they can find it easier to connect with the land, with nature, taking them outside the classroom and engaging them into more outdoor activities that will create lasting memories. For instance, finding a sit spot in a calming place where they can close their eyes and feel more deeply the world around them and how everything is connected. Another example I can think of is taking students to field trips and find different ways to keep working on this connection with nature.