Summary of Learning Digital Story

ECS 210 – Summary of Learning

Hello, my name is Brody Brown, and this is my ECS 210 Summary of Learning presentation.

This journey started off back in September when I was asked: “What is Curriculum?”

Before taking this course, I assumed curriculum was no more than a document or piece of paper in which teachers taught students from.

From one of my first blogs I wrote that “Curriculum was a document created by the government with the assistance of a council of teachers.” While I was not wrong there was more to it than just that. One of the classes readings titled, “Center for Civic Education. What is public policy?” talked about the process curriculum goes through to become official. I learned that the process involves having people such as teachers, other people with authority who had been elected, administrators, and the government with representatives from the Ministry of Education who together first create a draft. This draft is created from looking at the old curriculum then changes are discussed then tested by small groups to see if it works. If successful it is implemented for everyone, if not it is revised an tested again. The process ended up being more political then I originally thought it was.

Curriculum has become more than just a document to me. Curriculum comes in all forms and is not always stated. These types of curriculum include: Formal Curriculum, Hidden Curriculum, Curriculum as Place, and Null Curriculum to name a few but there are more. Curriculum is what you make it and how to teach it.

I see myself approaching the curriculum with an open-mind and look forward to learning from it as well. I find all the approaches fascinating from one another. One of the things I plan to do is trying to integrate Indigenous teachings or emphasize it more than it currently is in curriculum. I talked about how much Indigenous teachings are involved with curriculum in my curriculum critique paper for this class. In that paper I said I believe it is important that we learn about the Indigenous Ways of Knowing but we need to have it in more than just one or two outcomes. While we are beginning to make progress by including it, we need more emphasis on the topic.

When thinking about my agency and approach to curriculum I see myself as a transmitter of curriculum content and a curriculum enhancer. I see myself as these things because I enjoy bringing in multiple aspects of different subjects and curriculum to help create the best learning environment I can. Cross-Curricular education is a great skill to develop because I believe the combination of multiple subjects helps students learn in many ways. The extra reinforcement from a different stance such as Arts Education in Science can make all the difference for a student who learns differently.

Two parts of this course that I found interesting to learn about were What is ‘Common Sense’ and the Tyler Rationale. In class we did a reading called “The Problem of Common Sense” by Kumashiro. In this reading Kumashiro explains the ‘common sense’ as the way things have been done even though he does not agree with it. The reading goes on to explain that since things are done a certain way that works we should not change it. While the ‘common sense’ is a good thing to know it Is important that we find new things that challenge us and enhance our learning and teaching capabilities. This is one of the problems with curriculum. Since we had a curriculum that worked people did not want to change it. However, as time went on and we realized the importance of indigenous learnings in education it was changed to incorporate it.

The second part that I found interesting was the Tyler Rationale. The Tyler Rationale was a method to teach curriculum that I found very similar to my own education experiences in my middle years and high school. This approach had 4 distinct steps: Setting Objectives, Learning Experiences and Content, Organizing Learning Experience’s, and Evaluation. While this method was useful for teaching I found it did not help find the deeper meaning in works or make meaningful connections when learning by it. Both in my blog and now I feel this model can help teachers be successful by being organized and having an outline, however, with students this model only covers the basics of a lesson. Without reinforcement of any kind I find this model troublesome in long-term learners.

The last things I want to discuss now are my uncomfortable learnings and future growth. The uncomfortable learning that impacted me the most was about Residential Schools. Over the past few years I have begun learning more about residential schools and the horrible things that happened and each time we discuss it I think it will become easier to speak about, but it doesn’t. Even though this is uncomfortable to talk about we must. It is apart of history and is why education is where it is today. We as future educators must learn and understand from past mistakes to make the future better for every learner.

I believe that everything in this class will impact my future growth. I have learned more about curriculum and residential schools then I have in any other class which I feel prepares me for the future. I understand what curriculum is, but I also know it is always changing and evolving. As I progress onward in my learning journey I will always keep an open-mind and reflect on what I have learned from this class.


Week 11: Curriculum as Numeracy

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?

 Back when I was taking mathematics in elementary and high school I was taught that there was only one right way to do things. During todays lecture we were taught that there was more than just one way to do math. One of those ways was verbally. In high school if we did the calculations in our head and just wrote the answer it was considered wrong since we did not show our work. However, with the Inuit way of learning this is fine to do.

 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.

 A.   Not with pen and paper. Inuit children learn from observing an elder or listening to enigmas.

B.   Oral Numeration. There are multiple ways to say a number depending on the context it is being used in.

C.   Collaborative Research. Students research the knowledge before doing the math. Understanding the work before being forced to do it. Learning the applications for extra reinforcement.

Week 9: Curriculum and Treaty Education

The purpose of teaching Treaty Education is because it is apart of Canadian history. It can be viewed as the origin of Canada. When you learn about the history of Canada in middle and high school, most of the information of settlers is kept in (besides the bad things) so why isn’t the Indigenous part included? I personally find it more important because many of the things that happened would not have been possible due to treaties. The purpose is also to teach students about the oppression and segregation of First Nations people that happened not long ago. We are learning on Treaty land, so we should become educated on how and why that is. This leads in how “We Are All Treaty People”

Canada is built on the treaties which cover the land. Since we are on Treaty land “We are Treaty People” and that applies to everyone who resides here even if you do not have a First Nations or Inuit background. We must understand what happened to develop our own identities. Without understanding we cannot learn nor create our identity. This also provides a new way of learning which opens up many possibilities for every learner.

Week 8: Learning from Place

The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:
(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)
1.List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

– They heard stories from an Elder

– The project renames and reclaims land

– Discussed issues that would support development of local aspirations

– Focusing on Cree land and a story of their history

2.How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

Integrating Aboriginal Ways of Knowing into teaching is very important in todays classroom. Since we also live on a Treaty it seems mandatory to at least bring this to attention inside classrooms. Usually Indigenous Studies tends to be brought up in Social Studies however it can be taught/seen in any class. One of the activities I would bring into my own class is the Blanket Exercise. This was an amazing learning tool that helped me learn some history. For my own area which is Arts Education we could have class outside and have students explore where we come from. Using things found in nature they could then create an at piece or find somewhere to perform a piece speaking about Canada’s history.

Week 7: The Good Student

When discussing what it means to be a “good” student in accordance to common sense it depends on which year we are focusing on. In the lecture today, we talked about the classroom and what “good” students looked like 25-100 years ago. Many on the characteristics included: Being white, male, catholic, wealthy, well mannered, and obedient among other things. By todays standards it is more equal, but the stereotypical idea is still the same to some. As someone who is in education programs I notice that there are far more females than males. The students who are privileged by the definition of “good students” are the white males. This is primarily of early colonization as well as the early 1900’s where it was typically white males who went to school, if not war. The same idea applies to the “good teacher”. Because of these common-sense ideas, it makes it harder to see anyone besides white males as “good students” or “good teachers”. However, I believe in more recent years this idea has begun to become non-existent, or at the least I have not noticed it since most of my educators have been female. I believe in the past the common-sense idea made it impossible for non-white and non-male people to see themselves as educators or “good students”.

Week 6: Autonomous and Ideological Models

I decided to examine and focus on English Language Arts curriculum at the grade 8 level with autonomous and ideological literacy frames in mind. Both frames of literacy are present in the English Language Arts curriculum, however, the autonomous literacy model seems to appear more compared to the ideological model.

The goals of English Language Arts are to Comprehend and Respond, Compose and Create, and to Assess and Reflect. With those as an outline it can be viewed that autonomous literacy prevails since the focus of autonomous literacy is learning how, reading and writing, comprehension, and the skill to do so. This model therefore suggests once you learn how to read you can use this skill for other aspects of reading such as comprehension which is one of the goals of this curriculum.

With all that has been said the ideological model is still present in the curriculum as well. While the focus of the ideological isn’t as skill-based as the autonomous model, this model focuses more on identity, knowledge, and culture. One of the outcomes which follows this model is CR8.6 which has students read and demonstrate comprehension to texts which include First Nations, Metis, and other cultural readings. While this is only one outcome this literacy can be viewed in other parts on the curriculum.

So, when viewing both models of literacy both types appear in the curriculum. Since I personally notice the autonomous model more frequently compared to the ideological model, I view autonomous as most prominent even though they both influence curriculum greatly.

Week 4: Creating Curriculum

Before Reading:

I think that school curricula are developed by the government with assistance from a council of teachers who help decide what needs to be taught. Together they discuss why certain topics within subject areas must be taught. Subjects usually stay the same with the core subjects being: Math, English, Social Studies, Science, Health, Arts, Physical Education and more recently a version of Indigenous/Native Studies. These are the core subjects because that was what was decided long ago but what is taught within them as topics is continually changing. Curricula develops when someone comes forth with an idea on why a certain topic should be taught. If it is explained well and a majority of the council and government agree it is important to be taught it officially becomes a part of school curricula.

After Reading:

After doing the reading I discovered that multiple groups create the curricula. Some of the groups have expertise in the area such as teachers but other actors on the matter would include local authority who had been elected, administrators, the government with representative from the Ministry of Education as well as other groups who would have a level of expertise on the situation. After a draft of the new curricula is made, based off looking at the older curricula, the new idea can be agreed upon and implemented or tested by using it on a small ‘test’ group to see if it should be altered in some way. All the information from the reading gave me an new understanding of how curricula is developed and implemented. The process for creating curricula is far more political then I first anticipated which surprised me. While curricula can still be confusing to decide upon I am glad I have a more accurate idea of what it entails.

Week 3: To Make Meaning

            One idea I have about education that I feel is important is that learning will always be a continuous journey and it is up to the students to make something meaningful of what they learn. A quote that I feel strongly relates to this is by Tony Wagner who said, “What matters today… is not how much our students know, but what they can do with what they know.” I think Wagner has the same view as myself about having the student being able to make their own meaning with their knowledge. I understand that students will continue to need guidance through out their learning journey’s, however, if they are able to see what they know can make a difference then I feel they will see education as something more useful then just “something they learned at school”. Like some of my classes in high school such as Pre-Calculus I did not see the real-world applications and what I was learning felt trivial. It was not until I had classes like Drama which I felt made a difference in my life and could use what I learn to help other people. Drama is one of the reasons why I wanted to become a teacher.

            Despite what I have said, I still feel education is important no matter what classes you are taking. The quote is possible for any learner to comprehend but the journey of using your knowledge to do something meaningful could be difficult. Also, the quote does not say that the students must use what they know to do something meaningful but to know what they can do. I feel if what they do with the knowledge is meaningful it would bring much comfort and satisfaction to themselves. The quote does not change who the teacher is or what their jobs are but it is asking more from the students. It is asking students to dive deeper into their learning and find the use of what they learn. Just because a student can get A’s all the time does not mean they get the best use out of their education. That student could have good memorization skills and does not connect with the learning. What matters is that they understand what they are learning and see it as something more than just answers on a test.

Week 2: The Tyler Rationale

While doing the reading on the ‘Tyler Rationale’ I noticed that the teaching described happened to me in elementary and high school. For this teaching to take place 4 steps must happen: Stating Purpose, Identify Experience, Organize Experiences, and Evaluate Experiences. What happened in most of my high school classes is the teacher told us what the class would entail, gave us our assignments, correct them, and then move on without really discussing the deeper meaning of the work. Much of prepping for tests consisted of writing down lots of notes being told to learn what we write. Lots of classes felt like passing was the main purpose of school and I felt that way until university.
Some of the limitations of the Tyler Rationale is that there is no deeper understanding of the material covered. Everything is learned as is and their no further discussion. I feel this is problematic because I learn better with the extra reinforcement of discussion which helps me remember. Also, the extra discussion helps with longer term memorization rather then just until you have the test and forget.
Some potential benefits of using the Tyler Rationale is students understand what is needed from them by the start. Having a good outline so students can plan accordingly is a benefit rather than learning without an idea of what is to come. Also for a teacher this lets them be organized which is needed to be successful. If there was some emphasis on what is being learned and explaining why the material is important this could be a useful model to use.

Week 1: What is ‘Common Sense?’

Kumashiro speaks to the ‘common sense’ as the way things are supposed be done, even though he does not agree fully with that. It is like an unspoken set of rules that no one established but everyone follows. People do not tend to question a system that works. It is like the old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. While some truth holds to this statement as a society we could always find ways which improve the way in which we live our lives. It is always good to try new things because you can learn more this way. That is why it is important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’ in education.  

It is important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’ because it may not always be the best solution for doing things. Just because the ‘common sense’ is the way most people do something does not make it correct. When it comes to teaching as aspiring teachers we should look for ways to challenge or find ways which help strengthen what we know. The ‘common sense’ is not a bad thing however it can alter the way in which we teach and learn. If we are only shown one way to do anything that is what we will ever do. If there is nothing new to learn we do not take chances to try and challenge what we know. As a student, I am always asked to challenge my thinking or view things from another perspective, by doing things the ‘common’ way I would not do this. Doing any experiment outside of this normative way of thinking is a way to grow as an individual but also as a society by teaching new ways.