Joelle Mae's Blog

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." – Vincent Van Gogh

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Summary Of Learning – ECS 210

Please click on the following link to view my summary of learning for ECS 210

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ECS 210.0

Respond to the following writing prompt: How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

Kumashiro attempts to have educators question the notion of what is common sense. For example, if common sense states that high scores on a standardized test is proof of higher learning, does it mean that low scores mean students are not properly learning? What if this is simply an issue of not properly being taught; not having their education suited to their personal learning style?

It is important to pay attention to the idea of common sense as each persons common sense varies from one to another. We are unable to come to an exact definition of what is and is not common sense as education, culture, religion, biology, nature and nurture all play a role in creating our ideas and we are not able to all withhold the same experiences to create the same mindframe.

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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 mathematics and the way we learn it.

I always had and still do struggle with math as a student. However, I do not think this is due to oppressive or discriminating aspects of education in this specific subject area. I was fortunate enough to be in a school with an amazing math teacher who provided many opportunities for students to learn the concepts and formulas necessary for success. This included differentiated strategies, models, and tutoring hours. In the ninth grade, I finished my math course with a 63. By grade twelve, I finished at a 94. This was due partially to my continued effort as well as to the genuine care of a great educator who wished to see all students succeed and be proud of their accomplishments.
However, I do believe there are oppressive points to mathematics. Indigenous people tend to look at mathematics as a daily use whereas the Eurocentric idea is to prepare for higher education or trades. In addition to this, most teachings in Inuit, First Nations, Metis, and Cree peoples are done in natural settings as opposed to the traditional classrooms presented in the school systems. Finally, the native language of numeracy differs greatly due to their differentiated digits (20 scale as opposed to 10) and their ways of measuring (distances in body parts, rather than scales).

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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?

 What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

The purpose of teaching Treaty Ed is to understand that we all have a role in creating a better future. There was a lot of hate and discrimination in our history and, although there have been vast improvements, there is still quite a great amount of these poor instances occurring. The only way to be rid of this is through understanding – an understand which can only come from an education and compassion for all. Even in classrooms where there may not be a large population of FN, Metis and Inuit students, it is inevitable that students will encounter First Nations peoples at some point in there lives. By being educated, it removes the barriers that may have otherwise been present.

The statement “We are all treaty people” removes those barriers further by representing the fact that we are all one and the same. The land we live on is treaty land, and our forefathers were part of the treaty. This has been passed down to us and it is our duty to uphold the treaty with respect for the land, culture, and one another.

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You have been asked to examine the curriculum of the subject area you expect to teach once you graduate. Re-read that curriculum with the frames of literacy presented this week: autonomous and ideological? In what ways are these two frames present in the curriculum that you examined? Which one is more prominent? Following Lihsa Almashy’s example, what changes can you do to connect the mandated curriculum to the students lives.

The prominent model of literacy in the arts education program is ideological. There is no correct way to teach the aspects of visual arts. Each teacher appears to have their own preferences. Yet, the arts education curriculum does not reflect this aspect. It seems to prefer more of an autonomous teaching style. This could work well in some cases by teaching certain areas like the principles and elements. Yet, they could be switched to an ideological area of designs for this aspect by adding in a more creative component. If teachers instructed students to create any choice work and then search for the principles and elements post-product, they would realize they are already using quite a large number of these techniques.

Luckily, Arts Education quite easily connects to students lives as they are representing THEIR ideas, THEIR emotions, and THEIR stories through visual, dramatic, and musical motives.

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How is citizenship education a curricular problem?

It is our responsibility as teachers to aid students in developing critical thinking. Through these skills, students are able to become active members of society.There are three different types of citizens students are able to become in members of society: personally responsible, participatory, and justice oriented.
Personally,  I view that the curriculum and teachers as a whole tend to do a great job of catering to responsible and participatory citizens, but are lacking in justice-oriented. Many schools tend to focus on the past issues rather than current which makes it difficult for students to become aware for justice-orientation. Children and teenagers are massive forces of change. I believe we, as teachers, have a responsibility for educating youth to be more actively aware of social issues to create a more positive future.

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ECS 210.3

  • 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’s Against Common Sense, being a “good student” meant that one was willing and able to conform. To the student, this would look like not asking questions that seemed “nonsensical,” or solely handing in works that were traditional – meaning expected artworks in lieu of branching out in one’s own ideas and creativity in fear of being scolded or given a poor mark. The “good student” strives towards As, follows expectations, and does not disrupt the classroom – and above all, answers the teacher’s questions in searching for the “correct answer”, or rather the answer the teacher wants them to give -regurgitating materials instead of giving opinions.

By this definition, the privileged students are those who are able to work in the traditional classroom setting. These students most frequently come from middle or high class homes with attentive parents. Why? Because they have been taught “proper” behaviors and the “social norms” of a classroom setting.

This idea completely overlooks the diversity in a typical classroom culture. There are students from multiple backgrounds including social status, culture, learning types, and health. A Caucasian child from a middle class home with attentive parents will learn differently than a First Nations child in foster care, or a Syrian refugee child who has recently moved to Canada after witnessing the horror of war. How can we expect all children to be under this definition of “a good student?” Perhaps we need to change the definition to be more accepting and tolerant of students with different views, cultures, and ideas of what is proper versus improper.