Treaty Education

I think when talking to a class who is not open to Treaty Education, one way to introduce it while emphasizing the importance of it would be with the saying “We are all treaty people”. Dwayne Donald says that when Aboriginal peoples of Canada sit across from non-Aboriginals, they tend to not understand each other because both sides have their own views on the past and they don’t understand the other sides views. So, I would recommend teaching kids both sides. Once students hear both sides, whether they favored one side or not, hopefully, they will understand why either side was acting certain ways and will want to rebuild those broken relationships. Hopefully students can then move forward and be able to have meaningful conversations. Claire Kreuger took her students to the celebration of the signing of Treaty 4 and I think that is one of the best ways to introduce students to topics like that. It’s a fun but still educational day and once you get into the classroom and dive a bit deeper into the topic, students will already have an understanding of what this is, and with an enjoyable memory to go with it.

It’s especially important for us to teach Treaty Ed where there are little to no First Nations, Metis or Inuit students so then non-Aboriginal students can get to understand the whole truth of the past. Something that I found thought-provoking in Mike and Claire’s discussion was when they talked about educating students on Residential Schools, it is not only about the content-the dates, names, etc., it’s also about empathizing and understanding what these kids went through and how it has had an impact on their lives and their families. This also applies to the way the Treaty agreements were carried out. Hopefully, once students can understand and empathize with what happened in the past to Aboriginal people, then they will work towards rebuilding those broken relationships.

For my understanding of curriculum “We are all treaty people” means that we are a part of this Treaty, this is our lives and we need to understand what it means to be a part of Treaty 4, or whichever Treaty you are teaching under. Just as we are supposed to know about the Canadian government and how it came to be and all of that strictly settler history, it is equally important for us to educate students on Treaties. Just as we live under provincial or territorial law, we live under the Treaty agreement. I would say in this day and age, one of our parts in the Treaty agreement would be to continue with and work on relationships between us (settlers) and the Indigenous peoples of this land. However, the relationships did not play out how they were supposed to and now they are broken and damaged, so it is our duty to repair those relationships and fix what has been broken, and educating students on the true nature of the Treaties will help with that.

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Learning From Place

I see rehabitation happening through the youth of the Mushkegowuk community. “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 (following Haig-Brown, 2005) as younger generations were re-introduced to traditional ways of knowing.” (pg.70) this quote summarizes well how rehabitation is in the article. For example, the word Paquataskamik. This is a word that young Cree speakers don’t use because the word noscheemik is easier and they don’t understand the difference between the two words. Learning from the elders about the significance of the river and land and even the difference between those two words shows rehabitation. The elders are re-teaching to the young kids this traditional knowledge so it doesn’t get lost down the road.

Some of the interviewed community members said that the confusion of words like Paquataskamik were due to the language loss in Residential Schools. Now that the elders are teaching about the traditional language shows that they are decolonizing from the effect of residential schools. “The river trip helped members of the community share linguistic, cultural, historical, and geographical knowledge.” (pg.81) The river trip definitely helped the community to at least start the process of decolonization by being able to educate their youth in the natural environment and showing them exactly where sacred grounds were. This shows us that learning in an environment that is significant to you and being able to see what you are learning about and how it relates to you and your life is very important and useful.

I am a social studies major so most likely I will at some point be teaching about Canadian history or even directly Native Studies. So, I will have multiple chances to teach my students about colonialism and its effects. I will also be able to teach them about decolonizing our minds and the importance of it. For me I learn best when I’m able to relate the content I’m learning to things I experience in my own world. So, I thought it was great that youth and elders went on the river trip and they got to see all the sacred grounds and nature and I hope I can give my students experiences like that where they can physically see and experience the content we’re learning.

Bibliography

Restoule, Jean-Paul, et al. “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing.” Canadian Journal of Education , 2013, pp. 68–86., https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dI7wj8JcsOuMVHjWx1aKJy3XzCSoyYuc/view.

What it means to be a “good” student

According to the commonsense to be a “good” student is almost to be like a robot. You need to sit quietly, do not move around, or talk to your classmates. You understand everything that is taught to you and have no questions. You do not need extra breaks or learning time than what is given to you. As well you hand in assignments early or on time. You never come to class late or need to leave early and you are always ready and eager to learn. Students who are privileged by this commonsense understanding would be kids from middle- and upper-class families. Also, kids who do not have any physical or mental disabilities/ issues. As well kids who are just natural learners, they pick things up really quick and don’t have to ask many questions. Something that is made hard to believe with this commonsense understanding is for kids who struggle with school, they may feel like they can never reach a point where they understand and enjoy the content they’re learning. From a young age you realize whether you fit into the commonsense box of what is a “good” student, and most kids who do not fit into it, carry that title with them for the rest of their schooling and let it define them, which can bring down self-confidence. We need to remind our students that just because you don’t understand one subject, or school entirely is not your thing, does not mean you are any less smart or capable of doing great things, because sometimes this mindset gets engraved into kids, whether schools means to do it or not. Also, this commonsense can lead to teachers not fully understanding why a kid is struggling in school. If they come in with a mindset that “these students come from good families and are eager to learn and can learn easily” and if the student or parents have not told the teacher about the circumstances then teachers may perceive situations wrongly. For example, a kid coming late because they had to walk their siblings to school, may be perceived as the student not caring. Or if a kid is constantly moving around in their desk or always seems to be talking to someone because they have ADD, the teacher may view them as someone who is always distracting others and not willing to learn. So, teachers should always be looking a bit further, as to what could be causing these difficulties in learning, and what changes could be made to help the student.

Decolonization and Curriculum

For this assignment I will be looking at decolonizing the curriculum, which I think is something new teachers need to be thinking about a lot. It is important that when we go into classroom’s we our open-minded and welcoming of all people. I also want to look at the struggles of adopting this new way of thinking and how it is challenging for students and teachers.

In “Anti-Discriminatory Practice: Pedagogical Struggles and Challenges” Narda Razack talks about the class she helped develop called “Anti-Discriminatory Practice, a core course at the School of Social Work at York University, Canada.” (Razack, pg.232)”. The class is meant to help social work students develop anti-oppressive mindsets by looking within themselves. She also talks about the issue of both students and professors needing to be open-minded and vulnerable as that is what it takes to truly understand the objectives of this class.

Razack also discusses “Many articles tell us what to teach but tend not to deal with the major challenges the teacher and students face in the classroom.” (Razack, pg.234). During the classes first few attempts there was a lot of tension, discomfort, and anxiety in the class when talking about difficult issues, as well as personal guilt after the class- all of this was felt by both students and professors. With this Razack talks about how scholars will write about how the class should be taught and what to discuss but not how to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that accompany these discussions.

Next, I will be looking at “CHAPTER 5: Decolonization and Education: Locating Pedagogy and Self at the Interstices in Global Times”, this talks about students being sidetracked from important history that has greatly affected certain societies. Nina Asher also discusses how even though we are trying to decolonize our thinking many of the effects that colonialism has on curriculum still come through to students. As well, “The Decolonization of Educational Culture: The Case of India” which has a unique look at decolonizing the curriculum, and researching India’s curriculum.

“Curriculum Theory and Practice” Response

  1. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted.

Since a syllabus usually does not talk about the timeline or order of which things need to be learned, it is “only really concerned with content.” This approach focuses on the objectives of what needs to be learned and making sure kids understand them, in whatever amount of time it takes. A benefit of this is that teachers do not focus on a specific timeline, they make their timeline around the kids in terms of how long they take to learn each lesson. It still gives the teachers certain objectives to get across but allows them and their students some room to learn at their own pace.

  1. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students- product.

The benefits if this would be that it gives students a structure and prepares them for the future- with certain deadlines that cannot be changed. Some drawbacks would be that there is a certain procedure that has to be followed and with that there is little room for other things that come up. For example, if some students need extra help with a certain lesson, or maybe they need to be taught a lesson a different way. It also constrains the creativity of teachers. Another issue is “unanticipated results”, since educators and students need to focus on learning specific things in a specific amount of time, some misunderstandings may be overlooked.

  1. Curriculum as process.

This says that curriculum is more something to be questioned, tried out, and tested, more of a starting ground for a teacher to branch off of. Instead of having specific objectives and timelines, students and teachers work and learn together and figure out end goals. This process emphasizes learning, and emphasizes that the teacher needs to focus on how students are learning and interpreting lessons. This is good because it allows students to give more of their own input and voice their struggles or concerns to the teacher and student and teacher can work together easily to figure out what works best for that student and the class. This method plans the objective and timeline around the needs of students.

A problem with this process is the success of it depends on the quality of the teacher. If the teacher is not open to it or does not understand how to implement it in their classroom properly, then that causes problems. The students will not be able to learn properly and the quality interactions will be lost. As well on the opposite side, if students are not willing to work and compromise with the teacher, then it makes it difficult to come up with any reasonable goals.

 

  1. Curriculum as praxis.

Here, the curriculum is made through discussions and critical thinking between teacher and students. This is beneficial as it requires students and teachers to do critical thinking as a group and look deeper into themselves than all of the other methods require. This pushes them to have a deeper understanding of themselves, the world they are in, and their peers that they’re discussing this with. A drawback, as I mentioned in curriculum as process, would be that both students and teachers have to put themselves in a very vulnerable place in front of their peers, which can be scary, so you would have to have open students and teachers to have this method work well.

As said in the article, many primary school teachers use the first method for curriculum. For most of my elementary school experience that is the method my teachers used, some subjects we had to learn everything and therefore it was important we were on schedule, but that would have been towards the later years. In high school it was definitely method number two because I feel as though high schools have a stricter curriculum that needs to be followed. Especially in math and sciences we needed to have a lesson done by this day, a test done on this day, or else everything was messed up. Classes like English were a bit more lenient but still have those timelines. I would say the first two methods are what most students in North America are used to, it would probably throw a lot of kids off to have the last two methods become “the normal”. However, I think it would be quite helpful to many kids to have the last two methods in school so they could have a voice in what and how they learn.

“The Problem of Common Sense” Response

Kumashiro defines common sense as what people in a society view as normal. Many societies do not like when their common sense is disrupted, and they let the person, group, or thing know that their “alien” ideas are not welcome there. He also defines it as oppressive, everyone looks at their common sense as “the normal” and should be used everywhere and especially in North America, people believe their common sense should be adopted by others. 

 

It is important to pay attention to common sense because as I said above, we tend to be stuck in our own little world of what is normal and what is not. It is important so when we go to other societies or other societies come to us, we except them and their ways with open arms. We need to be understanding and open-minded to their common sense, and they should be the same for us. As a teacher would say, it is never bad to learn new things and that applies to our way of life as well. Also, we need to be mindful that not everyone will understand new ideas of “common sense” and when showing our views to others we need to be mindful and respectful. For example, the students he was teaching in Nepal did not like the new way he was trying to teach things, they even went behind his back and told other teachers. This shows that although we may think a certain way of teaching is good and is the best, we have to be careful about how we present it to others. These students were clearly not prepared for a new way of teaching and were strongly thrown off by it, many were angry. This is not to say that Kumashiro should not have presented these new ideas, but maybe eased into them a bit more, or the kids should have been well warned that they would not be taught the same as in the past. 

Our “Normal”

1)

Reading from the book is “Is Everyone Really Equal” I have learnt that class is very misinterpreted. People who are in higher class’ tend to be blinded about the truths of the lower class and how they are treated by the government. Class is something that is not realized by people who are higher in class, but very much effects and is realized by people in lower class.

Something that I have found comparing my blog to others, is we never realize what we have until we see others without it. I am reading Kylie Escott and Samara Tenson’s blog posts and we all have very similar stories. We heard about someone’s problems who were in lower class than us, and we realized how lucky we were to have things like a car, or simply food for every meal, things we don’t even think about, but others wish for.

“This small lesson of sharing from when I was younger has made me recognize my privilege and the class that I live in today. I’m thankful for my two hard working parents who are able to provide me a warm shelter and food every day.” (Tenson). “I never even considered how fortunate I was to have my own car as most of my friends and family also have their own cars and it just seemed normal to me” (Escott). “It also opened by eyes to how much I take for granted my car and easy transportation. I am lucky to have my own car that I can use anytime, and if I am ever in need, one of my family members or friends can drive me.” (Hillis) I wanted to show these quotes back to back to show how we are so similar in how we react to things we aren’t used to. We all reacted by feeling thankful, for some material things, but mostly for our families, and there are many other examples like those. It shows how we tend to take similar things for granted in our lives.

I think the normal narrative is that we always think our situation is normal. More so when we are young, we believe that everyone’s families, houses, and lives are the same. However, once we realize, we think, others, who aren’t similar to us, are the odd ones out. We tend to believe that our lives are the norm and many people around us are the same.

2)

The next story I am using is Zoe Sargent’s. “I was living below the poverty line. I had never really thought about it before, it was just my life. The day I realized we were “poor” is a day I still remember quite vividly.” (Sargent). Zoe is different form the stories above as she doesn’t think that her situation is normal. She states later on, “It took a really long time for me to fit in and even longer for me to adjust to life as a normal, middle class kid when I moved to live with my dad.” (Sargent) This tells us that she thought that the life she had been living, with her mother, was not normal, but the one she now had with her dad is. This goes against the normative narrative because she doesn’t think her life is the norm, she doesn’t think that many others have the same life as her.

I think this story, and others like it, just helps us to see the other side of it, the side that many of us are wondering about and don’t get to see.  This story is different because she does not talk about looking at someone else’s life, as Kylie, Samara, and I did, she is talking about her own. I noticed in many of my classmates’ stories that we talk about experiences we had with people who had very different lives than us, Zoe, however, just focused on her own life and her own story.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Escott, Kylie. “Writing the Self 4: Resturant Realization.” Kylie Escott, 6 Nov. 2018, kylieescott.wordpress.com/.

Hillis, Gabby. “Self Story 4: Prom Time .” Gabby Hillis’ Blog , 6 Nov. 2018, gabbyhillisblog.wordpress.com/.

Sargent, Zoe. “The Poor Kid .” Zoe’s Blog , 6 Nov. 2018, zoesblogword.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/the-poor-kid/.

Sensoy, Özlem, and Robin J. DiAngelo. Is Everyone Really Equal?: an Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. Teachers College Press, 2017.

Stenson, Samara. “The Little Girl With An Empty Stomach .” Samarastenson, 31 Oct. 2018, samarastenson.wordpress.com/.