Active Citizens: Why Should We Care?

In my own schooling I don’t remember a lot that was taught about citizenship, but my experiences with external sources with the school helped dramatically. What I am referring to is mainly the field trips that I partook in throughout my K-12 years and how citizenship was seen in these events. Although it wasn’t intentional, my first experience happened to be when I was preforming for an old folks home with my grade 7 jazz band. What was intended to only be a performance turned into a fun afternoon with all the seniors at the local retirement home. In my high school years the way I saw citizenship was through our mandatory volunteer hours. Although what was said to be mandatory wasn’t legitimate, I still happened to volunteer with the Special Olympics swimming organization.  I learned about another aspect of our society that I never grasped before and although it wasn’t through the school, I do owe them credit for pushing me towards their direction. Both experiences weren’t technically through school; however I wouldn’t have developed this knowledge without it.

The Personally Responsible Citizen is the category that my experiences would fall under due to them being a volunteer aspect. I think that most schools use this category because it’s an easy one to hit and it’s probably most beneficial for younger ages because it has them experience it firsthand. Teaching citizenship at a young age would be quite difficult and I think that having students learn it firsthand could be more beneficial. It also gives the student a voice in how they learn this concept which is also a better way to develop a concept and in my opinion is a better way to approach new concepts. This one concept is seen in my schooling and I bet it is seen in many, but where do the other ones come into play?

The other two aspects were never looked upon when in my schooling and I think both of them are overlooked in most school systems. Both The Justice Oriented Citizen aspect and The Participatory Citizen aspect look into the politics of citizenship and how justice works in the government, but I think it’s learned mainly in core subjects like social studies. I didn’t get much knowledge on this because it’s something that doesn’t interest me because I find it hard to learn about. My lack of engagement when in social studies and the subject of politics could have been improved if I learned it in a different way however. Maybe visiting parliament, or a Politician guest speaker could have sparked my interest but the schools lack of commitment disconnected me. Even in present day I find this subject hard to learn about and it will affect me dramatically when voting comes along. Being an active citizen is an important issue to develop in our students, and having them understand all three concepts will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

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Math Might Not Always Make Sense

With Mathematics being my major in my degree, one may think that I strive in the field of mathematics and have a passion for it. However, it seems to be a different aspect in my own opinion due to my experience of it as a student. Throughout my early years I was put into a multi age aspect, this meaning that I was in a grade 1/2/3 class and 4/5 class. This wide range of ages made it hard for me to strive in school especially in the context of mathematics. This is because the older ages in both multi age classes seemed to be focused on as a priority and is why I struggled. We also had the options to try the different grades questions, and although my competitive nature made me always try the hardest one I think that’s why my learning was affected. The foundation that we are supposed to develop in these early years is crucial, and I missed this opportunity due to my competitive nature and the teacher’s lack of engagement with the younger years. Leaping forward upon my high school years however, I think this passion had changed due to the passion my teacher had towards the subject. She really believed in different ways to learn things, and trying new ways to teach them. I developed this passion towards mathematics that was lacking in my early years and although I wasn’t great at it, I love a challenge. Although my skills for math aren’t very high, the passion I have for it makes me strive for success.

With the Inuit way of mathematics that we discussed in class, although I had prior knowledge of it from my EMTH class I do think it’s in a different perspective  when in this subject. Why must we teach mathematics in a westernized aspect? This question has come up a lot this semester for me and I think it has great meaning. There isn’t a right or wrong way to teach math, and the Inuit way is just another way to look at it. This method is a great way to not only educate the aboriginal way of thinking, it is also a deeper way of thinking for students because of the fact that it’s not common sense to them. Having the aspect of base 20 for example may be harder for our society’s students because they have to think more critically. We are so used to base 10 that the thought of base 20 could make a simple expression like 100+200 allot more difficult when in terms of base 20. The relationship of this system as well is a great concept that also grabbed my attention because it connects mathematics with the real world. In this case it’s the world of the Inuit people, but it can be easily connected to what our students face. The western way of thinking when in mathematics is the preferred and I think incorporating the Inuit method may develop our knowledge in this subject.

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Treaty Education Help: Student Intern

Dear future educator,

                Although the purpose of treaty education is different in your perspective than it is in your placement, I applaud your thinking to ask for help. My only advice to you is to look back and wonder what made Treaty Education important to you. It may have been a class, a professor, or even a colleague, but what made it beneficial in your standpoint? Once you come to this conclusion you can regenerate this learning upon your placement students and hopefully create the same spark that ignited upon you when first discovering about treaty education. It sounds like the intent of treaty education is unrepresented in your school and I challenge you to start developing the notion of how even though they aren’t of aboriginal descent, we are all treaty people. We are all part of this nation and have the responsibility to take action and once your students understand this concept they will no longer take it as a joke.

I would recommend that you participate in treaty education camp here at the university. Both you and your future students could come and spend the day learning all there is about treaty knowledge and how to apply it into your own life. What I took back from this experience was learning about the 100 days of Cree and incorporating this idea into ones teaching. Although it’s hard to connect subjects to one another, using the Cree language is an easy alternative to connect everything. Whether its linguistic, numerical, or historical, I enjoyed learning about how Cree related into every subject material and how easy it is to incorporate into your everyday teaching.

Whether or not you incorporate the 100 days of Cree into your placement, the whole point is to get out there and teach treaty education. Use your passion, try new things, find outside sources (like treaty e camp), and hopefully all of these ideas will help increase the engagement with your students.

 

Best of luck in your future of educating

Yours truly,

Noah Wasyliw

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Teaching for Decolonization and Reinhabitation

  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?

 

  • Brought together youth, elders, and the generation in-between, sharing their learning about the relations of the people to the lands
  • bring generations together to share, use and deepen the knowledge of connecting to the land
  • Deeply ingrained relationships among people and also between people and nature
  • reinhabitation and decolonization depend on each other

 

The idea of decolonization and reinhabitation are important in terms of my own teaching and already exist in my own philosophy. However, as future teacher I think the presence of decolonization and reinhabitation is crucial to have in both my subject areas. When in the context of math, I first relate back to my ECS 300 placement. My coop teacher had incorporated the Cree language into his everyday teaching, connecting it throughout courses and I hope to do just that. Specifically in math, I would like to use the Cree numbers in a way that it increases understanding of math and treaty education all at the same time. I also learned the Inuit number system this year, and although it is far from our number system it is also another perspective I would like to try out. This system has different words for the same number depending on the context and it relates back to nature in the same way Reinhabitation was described in our reading. On the other hand, I also think it’s important to incorporate all this information in my PE background as well. Treaty education is an aspect that I have touched based on the most in my PE background and I think it will be the easiest to develop and integrate. With the fact that I can use and outdoor aspect when in PE makes this concept an easy one to hit and is something I look forward to developing in the years to come.

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Curriculum development: Good or Bad

My thoughts on how the curriculum was made before research: 

The way I think that the curriculum is developed is through a committee. This committee sits down and works together to come up with a curriculum that they think needs to be learned based off current society. Although I don’t think that the curriculum is up to date in most subject areas, I also don’t think that the right people are in charge. Mainly the government/ minister of education, and other parties are involved. I think that teachers, parents, and even students should be the ones to come up with the content of the curriculum.

After research:

After reading in more depth towards the making of the curriculum, my findings were quite shocking. I came to the conclusion that the curriculum is mainly politically based. This political aspect means that any disagreement is decided over a vote. Although this is what our society agrees upon, it may not always be the best conclusion for our students. I enjoyed reading that teachers and administrators had a good role in the curriculum, however I wish that the overall goal was in favor of the students and not decided due to majority.

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What does it mean to be a “Good Student”

Respond to the following prompt on your blog: 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?

 

According to Kumashiro, being a good student contains the following.

  • Being on time to class
  • Doing homework on time
  • Being attentive in class
  • Not speaking out of turn
  • Giving their best work

And the list can go on. Though, what kumashiro describes as a “good student” is not realistic in today’s society. The diversity our learners have in today’s culture is no longer “good or bad” but labelled as different or unique. This uniqueness is looked at as a disadvantage in kumashiro’s work but in today’s perspective it is looked at as a opportunity. This notion of a “good” student as kumashiro points out to us, gives them an advantage as they are considered the favorites. They get all the attention and overall have a higher chance at success. If this is indeed the truth, what happens to the “bad” student?

The common sense of having a “good and bad” student is overrated and honestly unfair for a lot of students. the labeling of good and bad distorts us to see what every student has to offer, and just because they don’t fall under a list of good qualities like the one above, doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer.

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ECS 210-Blog Post 3: Self-discovery

As I continue to educate myself with the Saskatchewan curriculum, I came across a quote from an education philosopher by the name of Maxine Greene. Greene states that “Part of teaching is helping people create themselves” and I couldn’t agree more. The profession of teaching is complicated and although the curriculum is our guideline, I think Greene expresses that self-discover is the most important aspect of school. As I previously stated in my last post, self-discovery in the most beneficial learning you can come by and Greene backs up my previous beliefs. Although self-discovery takes time, it’s one disadvantage falls under how little time we have as teachers. It’s very hard to hit every outcome/indicator that the curriculum states, but if we follow the idealization of Green it would make completion even more difficult. Moreover, the positives to this approach give the student a deeper connection to not only the content but to their own identity. Teachers help advance the next generation of humanity, and self-discovery is only the beginning to a better future.

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