Curriculum as Numerecy

When I look back at my experiences in mathematics, I never considered anything in the way it was taught as being oppressive or discriminating. Whenever I was in math I just thought it was about equations and rules associated with numbers. With that sort of perspective on math, it is hard to see oppression or discrimination. My journey in becoming an educator has provided me with a new lens that I can look through. Now I can see that math was oppressive and discriminating to some students. The way I was taught math was a Eurocentric approach which can be oppressive and discriminating to students. Now that classrooms are becoming more diverse, the potential for this eurocentric approach to be oppressive or discriminating is more likely. In Jagged Worldview Colliding by Leroy Little Bear, we can see that Aboriginal people learn subjects in different ways. In mathematics, students are taught through storytelling, dance and other traditional aspects of their culture. This example from Leroy Little Bear shows that the traditional way that math is taught in schools is oppressive and discriminating towards students who do not conform to a linear and single value system of eurocentric learning.

 

After listening to Gale’s lecture and reading Poirier’s article, I can see that there are many ways in which Inuit mathematics challenged eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics and the way we learn it. One of the ways that Inuit mathematics challenged eurocentric ways of thinking is when Poirier highlighted that Inuit mathematics “is a social construction meaning that the learner’s culture and community will play an important role in learning” (Poirier, 2007, p. 56). In eurocentric ways of learning mathematics, mathematics is not taught in a way that takes the learner’s cultures and the community into consideration; excluding wider worldviews. As mentioned earlier, different cultures have different ways to teach and learn subjects like mathematics, whether that be through oral stories or dances. In eurocentric ways of learning mathematics, it can be seen that diversity within classrooms is not taken into consideration as these methods usually approach mathematics to be taught in one singular way without integrating the learner’s culture or community showing how Inuit mathematics challenges eurocentric ideas. Another way that Inuit mathematics challenges eurocentric ideas of mathematics is how Inuit teachers “do not ask a student a question for which they think that the student does not have the answer”(Poirier, 2007, p.55). This challenges eurocentric ideas of mathematics as teachers ask questions without considering whether or not the students may know the answer. Finally, Inuit mathematics challenges eurocentric ideas of mathematics as “Inuit children learn to count in their language then would switch into either French or English in grade 3.(Poirier, 2007, p.57). In eurocentric ways of learning mathematics, the teaching is always facilitated through one language. When Inuit teachings start to incorporate English or French in grade 3, we can see more than one language used.

Curriculum and Place

When reading through Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing by Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin we can see reinhabitation and decolonization within the narrative of the paper. 

The first example of decolonization is when Fort Albany First Nations children wanted to produce an audio documentary. “The processes of creating an audio documentary about relations to the river and
engaging in trips along the river were part of a decolonizing process of re-membering
as younger generations were re-introduced to traditional ways of knowing” (p.70-71). The experience that the youth had was a way of connecting with the land and reestablishing the connection with culture and life as well. We can see reinhabitation within the article when youth and Elders travelled together on the traditional waters and lands, exploring history, language, issues of governance, and land management (p.75). When travelling on the traditional waters and lands, students had the opportunity to learn from the elder many lessons and ways. This is an example of reinhabitation.

When I consider place in my own teachings, I want to look for opportunities for incorporation and try to help students make connections to the land. As I want to teach physical education, I can facilitate activities outside that students can benefit from and develop a connection. There are many resources that are available to teachers today that can help benefit them in teaching about place.

 

Email Response Blog Post

When I read over the email that was sent to Mike, I was surprised to see how other teachers talked about the topic of treaty education within the school. After listening to Dwayne Donald I see that educators and their relationship to treaty perspectives have a direct effect on how treaty education is taught. I am interested in how many teachers have received treaty education in their schooling and how perhaps their education, family, etc. has caused an effect on how they perceived their relationship with First Nations perspectives.

Dwayne Donald also explained that if we want to think about the future, then you must look backwards in time and trace the lineage of the circumstances that have brought us to where we are today. I think that this is a very important reason to explain to those teachers who think that teaching treaty education has no purpose. If we look back, how have we benefited from the marginalization of First Nations people? Even if we have not participated, we are still benefiting from the actions caused.  If we look at treaty education from the concept of ethical relationality, we don’t deny that we are different but we look at how our histories and experiences position us in relation to one another. From this, we can think and act in reference to those relations and hopefully better our the relationship between us and treaty education. This will show that treaty education is important because we have a relationship with our world and we have to better understand our relationships.

Curriculum Development and Treaty Education

In Levin’s (2007) article of curriculum talks about how politics influences how the curriculum is made. While reading the article it is apparent early that politics plays a huge role in what we are able to teach. Levin (2007) states: “In every setting, from classroom to country, political influence is usually highly unequal, and those who have the least status tend also to have the least influence on political decision making” (p. 8). From an education standpoint, it is easy to see that students have the least influence in the decision-making process of determining curriculum. Levin talks about how in politics, “they want to give the perception of action even when they are not doing much, and sometimes they want to give the perception that changes are less significant than they really are” (p. 10). You can start to wonder the true intentions when determining curriculum. Levin would continue on to say that most of the time voters are not truly interested and even if they are, they are most likely not fully educated on the issue.

After reading the treaty education outcomes and indicators paper, I looked for who was involved in the creation of the curriculum regarding treaty education. The treaty education outcomes and indicators (2013) states the following regarding who was involved:

This was a comprehensive consultative process with the following partners:  Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, First Nations University of Canada, Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Curriculum Sub-committee for the Shared Standards and Capacity Building Council, and the Ministry of Education (p.4).

Relating back to Levin, it is very important that we look to try and to incorporate the right people to develop the curriculum so that it can have effective and meaningful outcomes for students. As educators, we should have the influence to provide meaningful education to our students and have the resources to provide that education in a meaningful way. By understanding the way our curriculum is formed through politics is important to how we as teachers can teach.

 

What is a “good” student?

When I think of a “good” student, it is a student who follows the rules set by the teacher, retains and processes the content taught and does not question the methods of why certain content is taught. A “good” student is used to cultural norms and is most likely from nearby. most importantly, a “good” student knows and follows the commonsense norms set and are often the ones most privileged.

Due to commonsense, it is hard to see other ways of thinking. We want to follow the comfortable, unquestioned path that has been laid out before us. we do not see the flaws of our commonsense because it does not affect us but for the people who have come from a place with a different commonsense. My mom was the vice-principal at my elementary school, so I wanted to make my mom proud and follow the rules that were set before me in school. I blindly followed the commonsense views set before me. I definitely benefited from following commonsense views in school.

Article Summary

The article that I decided to look up relates to the topic of standardization and the curriculum. The article I selected was by Wayne Au (2011) Teaching under the new Taylorism: High Stakes Testing and the standardization of the 21st-century curriculum. In this article, Au argues that the role of standardized testing in our 21st-century curriculum. Au states that “standardized testing in the US represent a form of New Taylorism…testing is connected to issues of control over the classroom practices” (p. 38). Standardization in classrooms is based on the hope of a product and the efficiency to reach said product.

Au compares the Taylorism of the early 1900s to today’s curriculum in the 21st century. The most significant indicator that Au points out is that:

“The application of scientific management in the early 1900s was used to expand public education to the growing masses of students, today’s New Taylorism is serving the opposite function: It is being used as a lever to attack and potentially even shrink US public education (p.40).

The use of public education as a political tool to “advance conservative politics” (p.40). Shows an agenda that is not open to everyone.

This article points out the fundamental flaws of standardization in the curriculum. However, there is good with standardization in the curriculum as well. In my research paper, I want to look at articles that highlight the positives of standardization in the curriculum and recommendations to improve the curriculum for the better of students regardless if they are from a view of pro-standardization or not.

References:

Au, W. (2011). Teaching under the new Taylorism: high‐stakes testing and the standardization of the 21stcentury curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(1), 25–45. doi: 10.1080/00220272.2010.521261