Understanding How “We Are All Treaty People”

In the lecture titled “On What Terms Can We Speak” by Dwayne Donald, I was initially intrigued by the way in which he introduced himself. Dwayne introduced himself in Cree, which is something that he had to get himself used to. I believe this is a good place to start with looking at Treaty Education. Although Cree is a language that many of us do not understand, shouldn’t each individual have the right and feel confident in introducing themselves however they see fit? I think many teachers struggle with this and the ways in which we can teach about the culture and tradition of a culture that is not necessarily our own. Dwayne mentions in his lecture that we are meant to teach about aboriginal perspectives, but no one is educated enough to do so without feeling hesitant. Dwayne explains that we have all been colonized in one way or another. This allows us to explore the effects of colonialism and “denying relationships,” like he mentions. Dwayne also discusses the amount of disconnect that there is between cultures. Many people believe that if they don’t see or interact with these varying cultures in their everyday lives, there is nothing for them to learn; there is no need to consider these cultures.

I believe this is where there is the greatest detriment in children’s education today. Many teachers, as mentioned in the email to Mike, just don’t think that there is a need for Treaty Education unless their school has Aboriginal students. One of the broad areas of learning in the Saskatchewan curriculum is ‘building engaged citizens.’ How can we build engaged citizens if we are not providing them with the education that they need to be respectful to each and every individual that they meet, no matter their culture? Many school programs, especially in small schools I find, are lacking in Treaty Education. I personally believe this is because some teachers are set in their ways. In my own experience, teaching Treaty Education consisted of teaching a brief history of residential schools and there was not much more to it than that. Dwayne also mentions this in his lecture asking the question of how will teaching a timeline of the history change the between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. I personally do not think that teaching a historical timeline can alter the relationship; there is so much more that needs to be done.

To me, the term “we are all treaty people” never truly had much meaning before coming to university. I never really felt like this was a phrase that could be used by anyone and actually be true; I never felt a connection to it. However, looking at the work done by Clair Kreuger I have come to the realization that if I do not feel like I can confidently say “we are all treaty people,” how am I going to teach my students about the relationship and the history of treaties? I watched a short clip (about a minute) on her blog, where she had some of her students explain how they are all treaty people and what exactly that means to them. This is the type of teacher I wish to strive to become. Claire is truly an inspiration for all becoming teachers, as she makes such a huge impact on her students lives. She helps her students understand that the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people needs to be strengthened and improved upon. She is working to remove the stigma that is often associated with varying cultures.

 

References:

Donald, Dwayne. (2012). On What Terms Can We Speak? https://vimeo.com/15264558

Kreuger, Claire. (2016). Claire Krueger Electronic Portfolio: Class Videos. http://clairekreuger.ca/class-videos/

Saskatchewan Curriculum. (2019). https://www.curriculum.gov.sk.ca/bbcswebdav/library/curricula/English/Physical_Education/Physical-Education-20__aug-23-2019.pdf

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Place-Based Learning

This article shows many examples of how we can use the outdoors to decolonize our classrooms and schools if we simply put in the effort to do so. One quote by Restoule, Gruner & Metatawabin that really resonated with me goes as follows; “connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development.” Throughout working to obtain my degree, I have participated in outdoor education classes that have showed me exactly how this quote can come true. Using the outdoors is an excellent was to decolonize our school programs, and this is shown in Fort Qu’appelle, SK. If you look at the land-based program that they provide for their grade 10 students. This program shows how Indigenous ways of knowing and culture can be taught through an outdoor education program. The learnings that students have during land-based education provides them with many life skills; skills that may be necessary later in life.

Place-based education opens many doors for teaching about reinhabitation and decolonization. Teaching in the outdoors can be cross curricular in many ways. You can teach about the history of the land, Indigenous traditions, language, and ways of life. The opportunities are truly endless. There is a way in which you can teach for every subject in the outdoors, allowing your students to create greater bonds and relationships with the environment that they live in, while still educating them.

 

Reference: Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing by Jean-Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin

Good Student vs Bad Student

This weeks topic of good students really has me thinking about what this means. I remember from previous courses, being told over and over again that there is no such thing as a bad student. When discussing the ‘good student’, we are typically thinking about a student who is always ready to learn, done their work on time, is respectful of their teachers and peers, and is always behaving in and out of the classroom. However, when we think of the ‘bad student’, we not only think about the exact opposite of a good student, but we also think about how we can control these students into behaving like a ‘good student.’

I personally believe that this is unfair of us as teachers to label these students in such ways, and to expect each student to be the ‘good student.’ Why are teachers and schools so focused on forming students to fit these molds? Forcing students to become the good student may encourage them to fight it and do their best to stand out anyways.

Inclusion to Belonging

“From Inclusion to Belonging; A Practical Theology of Community, Disability and Humanness” is the article that I have began to take a look at for my project. In this article the topics of alienation, stigmatization, and exclusion are discussed in relation to disability and how we can overcome these in our classrooms. In the article it is mentioned that we need to move from the idea of inclusion, to that of belonging. I believe that this is an important idea to research further. However, the article also discussed the view of Jean Vanier and Dietrich Bonhoeffe who suggest that religion has a major role in the inclusion of those with disabilities.

From this point, I would like to continue to research some different perspectives. I am curious to see how others view this topic, as I know that I have my own beliefs and values that have been engrained into me throughout my life. It will be interesting to see how many perspectives are out there that have been written about.

Curriculum Theory

The first model explored in the article by Smith (1996, 2000) was curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. In this model the contents of a specific course are made aware of at the beginning of schooling, it shows the exact topics that will be explored, and it also makes parents aware of what their children may be learning (Smith, 1996, 2000). I think this model is beneficial for parents who may have a hard time understanding the reasons behind what a teacher is doing and why they are teaching their children certain topics. The second model mentioned by Smith (1996, 2000) was curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students, or curriculum as a product. Curriculum as a product is more of a technical exercise, as there are set objectives which are then applied and measured (Smith, 1996, 2000). In my schooling, I would say that curriculum was more of a product approach than anything. We were aware of what needed to be done, when it needed to be done by, and how we would be assessed on said assignment. I think that having curriculum as a product limits the creativity of a child. Being handed a rubric stating exactly what is needed to achieve a high mark is what limits us as students. The third model by Smith (1996, 2000) was curriculum as process. This model has behavioural objectives, documents on specific implementation, as well as a strong interaction between students, teachers, and their knowledge (Smith, 1996, 2000).  The fourth and final curriculum model explained by Smith (1996, 2000) was curriculum as praxis. This model is a development of the process model and includes statements about the interests that it serves for the students (Smith, 1996, 2000).

The Problem of Common Sense

In the article by Kumashiro (2009), common sense can be defined as something that everyone should know. I believe that it is important to realize that common sense differs for everyone. What you may see as common sense is likely not what others will view as common sense. As teachers, it is important to understand that not all of our students will have the same understanding on ‘common sense’ as we do. I believe that one of the major factors in understanding common sense is viewing location. As teachers, there is a strong possibility that we will not remain in the same school for our entire career. This means that each school we encounter will have different beliefs and values that the students view as ‘common sense.’When we discussed this article in class, the group of three that I was in all had different views on common sense in schools. We each had different experiences throughout our schooling and different rules that were to be followed. I believe that every teacher will have their own beliefs about what common sense is.

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