Getting back to Nature

We can reintroduce nature by incorporating it into our curriculum and everyday lives, we must be able to understand, nature and be a part of nature before it is to late, nature is such a big part of firsy nations culture and life because they believe that everything has life or has a soul. There is no doubt that being reinhabited with nature will help mental health and physical health too. To be part of nature and incorporating nature into our daily lives will only benefit our mental health better because it has been shown that it helps clear minds and relax. First nation culture is always been known for their storytelling and always past on knowledge and history orally because it is more personal, they always tell stories of nature and are always able to introduce nature within the fabric of the story. I believe that incorporating more indigenous stories will only help our reintroduction to nature and how to be more eco-friendly and help our health and well being of not yourself but others around you.

In the narrative, I saw ways of reintroducing nature and decolonization, by the way, that the students went to the elders and learned from them and the elders took them on the river to tell them about the history and importance of the land and the nature around it. Until we have an understanding of the land and its importance then we can truly start decolonizing and that what the narrative shows they are taking back nature they are not going up the river for resources or cutting down trees they are just learning from the elders about the land and how it was so important to the first nations culture. The students even create an audio file of the elders telling these stories to show. I find it very interesting that they use audio to tell the stories they don’t write down the elders stories, it shows that then students want to keep that audio way of learning of these stories and we must change our curriculum to incorporate these stories and points of views.

Reading these stories shape my teaching and change my view on things because I have always been fascinated with history and learning about history but much of the First Nations history is told verbally and not written in these books, and in that case some of it has been lost because a lot of people outside of the first nations culture have grown up learning what is in the history book and not from passed down knowledge from someone from that culture. That is why I believe that we must incorporate more of the storytelling aspect because not all students like reading out of a sourcebook and some may not be very strong in their reading capability, that’s why the verbal way is so important so these vital stories about nature and decolonization are so important by the first nations culture, because they know what it is like to be “colonized” and what the land was like beforehand and how we can get back to nature and the benefits that it gives to us.

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Curriculum Process

When I first thought of the making of the curriculum I believed that it was made up by a committee in the ministry of Education that decides what is best for the students and what they should be taking. I did not know of the whole ordeal that they have to go through to make the curriculum, and the amount of revision and political interference that they had to go through. I assumed that there was political interference some might not get their views used in the making. I assumed that whoever they were they were a group of “experts” picked by the government to oversee this task and decide on what’s best for the curriculum and what should be improved and made priorities.

It is very difficult for agreement on the curriculum because there are so many different views on what should be important and what should not be so important, it is like the goals set by the government before it was reading and literacy and now it is about math and getting the overall average up, and eventually it will shift again. No one will ever completely agree on what we should be learning and what is most important, because people will always think that one is more important than the other. More business-minded and technologically minded people will more focus on the sciences and mathematics and decide that they are more important, but on the other hand, people who are more artistic may lean towards art and language being studied and more important in the curriculum. What I am trying to say is that it is very difficult for people to make a curriculum because everyone is unique in there learning ability and what they want to do in life. Who gets to decide what individuals have a say after all the discussion is done who’s voices actually get heard because of all of the trial and views it goes through people must get lost in the confusion and mess.

Let’s be honest the making of Curriculum at this point in time is a mess, they said it best themselves in the article there just isn’t enough hours and days for schools to provide all the outcomes people want the children to learn. We as teachers would have to meet at least 2 outcomes a day for 8 years for the students to meet all the requirements that we believe that they should. It just can’t be done right now. And who gets to pick these outcomes and why should they have to meet these outcomes. Curriculums are subject to political change and tampering, they are incredibly disputed between political parties and social groupings. They have to decide what is important and a mandatory class and what is not. Like if a school tried to take out a math program there would be an uproar because that is looked at as a core class and can not be taken out because it is too vital to society. On the other hand, some schools don’t even have an art program because it is seen as nonessential. We need to create a better process because it has caused some parts of the curriculum to be outdated and disputed and holding back vital learning for children like social studies and the health programs.

 

To be a “good student”

What makes someone a “good student”? Is it based on their listening skills or ability to regurgitate information that is told by the lecturer, and the ability to perform on a written exam based on the knowledge that has been decided will create working people for society. Kumashiro talks about a student named M. and M wasn’t one of these students that can learn from just a lecture or the conventional way of learning that has become so “common sense” learning. Kumashiro talks about how M’s behavior changes when they go to less structured class times and as well when not required to listen passively to a lecture M would be pulling him aside and asking questions about the museum Exhibit. M is not the only one that traditional classrooms do not work for or find very hard to learn it. It is not that M is trying to be bad or just ignoring teachings, its that M just can not learn in the traditional environment.

 

M’s behavior was chalked up to be misbehavior and was in time out almost once a day. So Kumashiro is saying that a good student in this school environment is to be able to follow the traditional way of learning with lectures and set class times. Obviously, the students who are able to learn in a traditional environment will be privileged because they are classified as good students because they fit the mold of what has been set as the ideal student to learn the curriculum in this way. It shuts down people like M makes them seem like screw-ups and punish them with timeouts because they physically can’t focus in a traditional classroom. That is why there needs to be changed in the classrooms for people like M so they can learn their own way because the traditional way doesn’t work for everyone. This usually benefits the Caucasian area of the student body and not others from around the world because they have different learning styles so they are not as good at this type of educational experience.

“Education is life itself”

“Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself”. Said by John Dewey an educational theorist he was born in 1859 and was part of the progressivism movement. I chose that quote because it is very ahead of its time, he is saying that school is the experience not what comes after it. School is not pushing you towards the experience that is later in life, education is life itself. Another thing that crosses my mind is that it is not just about school, education is life we never stop learning new things even though we become the teachers doesn’t mean that we know everything, we still continue learning while we are adults and that is what Dewey is saying I believe.

What does this quote say about curriculum? It says that if education is the experience then we shouldn’t be structuring our curriculum based on the workforce after school, it shouldn’t be steel rods sent into the factory, it should be structured around the students and what their interests are because their education is the experience so you want them to experience something that they will want to do for the rest of their lives. Because education is the experience it never stops, you never stop being a student you are always learning and facing experiences. John Dewey was very into the “learning by doing” so that means that he likes the hands-on model and really the experience of what you are doing.

Of course Dewey was still stuck in his time with some things, but he was a step towards a better education and future, “education is life itself” education is this experience of life it is not supposed to be for heading toward the factory, it is for the students interest and the school should be a tool for the child and be able to explore their interests in an environment with other children, the curriculum should adapt to the student and their interests for later in life, with school being an experience along the way.

Tyler’s Curriculum theory

Ralph Tyler was a behavioral psychologist and also the father of assessment, his rationale in the article curriculum theory practice, was basically 1. What educational purposes should the school seek to obtain, then 2. the content in which they will teach, thirdly the organization of the teaching and learnings, finally the assessment and evaluation. I feel like most of us have experienced this type of schooling where you do the lectures or classes and wonder when you will ever have to use some of these lessons later on in life, but must remember and become proficient on them because society says that you must pass the final test in order to graduate. Like in the Lecture talking about Franklin Bobbitt who was another man that was a “father of our curriculum” who was very into being efficient because “education is a shaping process as much as the manufacturing of steel rails.” he believed that efficiency is key and that the schools should be focusing on the scientific side of school because it will lead to better workers.

These problems are still in today’s curriculum, our curriculum is not neutral it benefits some more than others, it benefits to test takers and people who are more mathematically inclined or scientifically inclined, rather than some people who are more artistic or learn by using their hands rather than memorization. We’ve all experienced this sort of educational system as long as you were within the Canadian or American system. One memory of mine shows this ideology of having to take sciences throughout high school so that you can pass and graduate. When I was picking classes for my final year of high school they give you a sheet of paper that shows all the different classes and their categories and you must circle the ones you want. On this sheet, it also tells you what classes you have to take as a requirement or else you won’t pass, you must take at least one science class, one math class, both English’s and a social science. Nothing about having to take an art class or a shop class to graduate, people have decided that these classes are “core classes” and it limits people who may want to expand their learning and express their creativity in other classes but are limited because of the requirement of these courses.

The problem is that with these schools are almost modeled as businesses when they should be a learning place for children to find what they are most passionate about. To be able to follow in that path with the resources that the school should have and not be limited to a more mathematical background with little to no artistic. Obviously some strive and benefit from this type of curriculum with assessment but a lot of students don’t and they are ridiculed and not prepared for their future because they don’t benefit from the “correct” with math’s and sciences being held above others because they lead better in efficiency and Tyler’s vision as well as others but his vision for the education system.

It’s just Common Sense

Response:

Kumashiro defines common sense as an almost “normal” way to do something in your daily life and takes for granted that his common sense would be the same as a village in Nepal, he talks about when he was in the village the people were teaching him all about the facets of the village and that many of them seem to take for granted as “common sense” or something that everyone should know. That is what he defines as common sense something that everyone should know or thinks that everyone should know in a certain culture, his common sense is different than one of the villagers in Nepal, common sense is something that has been put in our brains from our society and culture a certain way of doing things, and the only way we have done things so we believe that we are right and the best at doing it because we haven’t had many experiences out of our culture makes it so we can’t reevaluate what we think as the correct way to do something.

We take our education system as just common sense compared to other countries who may have different views than us, Kumashiro talks about his experience in Nepal teaching with the Peace Corps, and his experiences are definitely different than anything that you would see in a classroom in Canada or the United States. However, that Is just our “common sense” telling us that teaching should be taught a certain way and that way is right. We have created almost an arrogance toward other cultures and believe that our teaching method is the best in the world and look down on others and try to change how they are performed. Although of course striking the children is not a productive way to teach or discipline a child. It is still important to understand different ways to teach and can often help you to become a better educator. We take common sense for granted and assume that our common sense is also the same as a student from a different country. It is important to understand what they come and learn of different places in the world and their teaching methods.

Writing the Self Analysis

 

In this analysis I am supposed to discuss similarities and what resonates with me from two of my classmates’ stories with how they demonstrate particular normative narratives, obviously everyone has their own experiences and no one’s story will be exactly the same so there will be differences in our stories. The subject of the stories will be gender because some of the stories I resonate with. One of the stories I will be comparing to will be Noah’s “Barbie Boy” because there are relations between our stories, and the other story will be Haley’s Blog because she talks about the Norms that women have to go through even if they have to suffer pain, because the “normal” thing to do. Both of these stories are different views on the gender norms because one is from a female student talking about the social norms of “looking good” while the other is about a boy wanting a toy that is marketed for girls.

There are all these normative narratives for Males and Females and in Haley’s blog she talks about getting her hair and makeup done for grad, she talks about the pain of getting everything ready, and the suffering through this whole ordeal so that they “look good” as she says in her blog “Even though almost every female goes through the same type of events and has the same feelings about them as I do, they still continue to do it.” This is one of the normative that women have to face even daily, some women wear makeup every day and have to go through this long process because it is what society tells them they have to do, they have to look “pretty” to look like a “lady”. It is like what I said in my blog with their being predetermined thing that men and women have to follow in their life because its what the world around them does, all the makeup and hair is seen all around in magazines and in pop culture, it is just “normal” to do it. She is correct in saying that it influences 1000 decisions we make every day.

The other story that resonated with me was Noah’s “Barbie Girl” it relates to my blog post because it as well struggles with those social norms for what is a girl’s toy and what is a boy’s toy. Everyone has to deal with these social norms, guys cannot buy a Barbie doll because that would be something that a girl would play with. I feel like I had similar experiences to Noah in my upbringing, I grew up with a sister and she, of course, had many barbies and I had Legos, army men, and race cars. I remember my sister saying she loved Lego, but she never had any because there wasn’t any made for girls. Why does it have to be made for girls or boys, why can’t kids just play with whatever toy they want? It is because we have this mindset taught to us since we were born that there are only two genders and they all have their own preset personality traits and must cater to the world around them and the toys they are supposed to play with.

Part II

A lot of people try to disrupt these normative narratives, we try to be different to be unique in this society because we don’t want to conform to the social norms that are put on men and women. Men don’t have to be strong and desensitized, they are looked at as “wearing the pants in the family. And being the “head of the household” and women are supposed to make themselves look a certain way, dress a certain way, and be sensitive and “feminine”. These words “masculine and feminine” are made up words for traits on how men and women are supposed to act and conduct themselves in today’s society. This story that I chose was Natasha’s story because it differs to some stories because she is going against those norms where girls can’t play the same sports as boys because they are too physical. As it says in our textbook “Is Everyone Really Equal?” by Ozlem Sensoy and Rodin DiAngelo chapter 7 page 112 says: “Mainstream movies, as well as many reality makeover shows, normalize the idea that it is important to for women to Transcend their race and class status to and realign with the traditional notions of femininity.” This quote is meaningful because it’s true and all of the stuff we see in pop culture and in tv shows today. We see these gender “norms” and these narratives with the man being strong and the hero and all the makeover shows for girls and how-to makeover videos on the internet. It makes it so that it is important for women to look a certain way.

I chose Natasha’s story “Gender Inequality on the Playground” about her experience with gender inequalities on the playground and in sports. She talks about how difficult it was for her to join in with some sports at recess because the boys had set games that they only played, the girls had games that only they would play. Natasha talks about how a lot of the time she would be the only girl playing the sport with a bunch of boys. We are taught as children that boys are supposed to be stronger than girls, so they get put into the more physical sports like football, while girls are pushed into the more performance sports like dance and gymnastics. She is going against these gender norms by playing the games that most of the boys play, Natasha says that she still played her fair share of these “girl’s games” but still it is the fact that she is not bound by who she is and will not conform to the gender stereotypes of which sport she is supposed to be in.

This story will silence others that try to say that men and women should stick to their pre-determined traits, it will silence the stereotypes for what is masculine and what is feminine, in Haley’s story when she is talking about how almost all girls go and get all dolled up for grad, some don’t and it is stories like Natasha’s where she states herself as a “tomboy” which is a word for a girl who falls under some of the “masculine” traits. again, as it says in our text talking about Prince Charming from Cinderella having to sweep the woman off her feet, in two ways creates a sense that the man has to be the hero of the story saving the “damsel in distress” and that the woman, in fact, has to be saved by a man in the first place.  Although both stories are true, there is no wrong answer when it comes to someone’s experiences, it is their point of view all that these stories are saying is different experiences on gender and of course a woman is going to have a different view on things than a man because of our society we hold genders to different standards. These “norms” are what are holding us back and the stories like Natasha’s show how not all people are the same, women can play sports with the boys even if they are the only one. These stories are showing that we need to rethink the definitions of “masculine” and “feminine”, everyone has a different story and you can’t just place people into this table based on what they look like on the outside. It is important to create these counter-narratives so that people who don’t fit this “criteria” are not oppressed and discriminated against.

 

 

Bibliography

 

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