Category Archives: ECS 200

Anti-Oppressive Technology

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The increase of technology in schools and education, absolutely creates oppression and injustice for some people.  While we do see some increase of technology in some schools, we are not seeing it at all in others.  As discussed in seminar, there are inner city schools in many places that are not seeing the influx of technology at all.  People who come from lower socio-economic class families are less likely also to have this technology in their homes.  As teachers, we cannot teach our classes through relying on technology.  For example, you cannot set an assignment to be handed in typed if it is to be completed at home.  Not all students have this technology and this creates injustice.  Technology is great in education, but it has limits that always need to be kept In mind.  It is important to use it in ways that only helps the students, don’t let this replace your teaching time and keep in mind ways that it may hinder students learning.  Technology, while it can help, is not the be all and the end all, use it cautiously.

Labels

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I am a white, female, who was raised in the middle class.  While I am these things, and I know that they do shape who I am, they had no effect of my choice to become a teacher.  It seems as though throughout this class we have been told not to categorize and label people and now we are asked to label ourselves.

Although I did not address these labels in my autobiography, I think I still completed the assignment as per the instructions of my seminar leader.  While I did not address these things directly, I believe if you look critically beyond what is said, you could find these answers for yourself.

I do not see it as ‘problematic’ that this was not specifically stated in my assignment.  The assignment was to write about WHY you wanted to become a teacher, not the TYPE of teacher you are going to be and the things that shape you into that teacher.  I am not there yet.  I do not know how these things are going to shape me as a teacher.  I believe these things will come and we do not need to search for them.

I am looking forward to becoming a teacher and learning and understanding how these things will shape me as the teacher I am going to be someday.  I think we cannot know yet how these things will alter our teaching.  I also think that it is extremely hard for us to discuss how we would react to these hypothetical situations that we may see in our classrooms.  We need to be in the moment and it will come as it may.  As for now, I do not believe we can make these assumptions and generalizations that we as students are going to ignore this.  It will come.

100 Years of Loss – Thoughts and Reactions

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While I was visiting the 100 Years of Lost exhibit at the Fifth Parallel – University of Regina, I found myself shaking my head at what I was reading.  Through reading the exhibit, I thought to myself that the name really lends to the exhibit as there really has been 100 years of loss for Aboriginal, Metis, and Inuit peoples living in Canada.  As I left the exhibit, I started to wonder how the debt could be repayed, however, in thinking about this, I thought that Canada has been taking necessary action to repair this relationship and that it may not be possible to ever completely repair the damage that some people have faced regarding residential schools in Canada.  I think that as white people, who were not around when these things were going on, we should not have to put the blame on ourselves for what happened.  As a result of this, I think it is very important to teach treaty education in schools in an effort to inform students of the marginalization that occurred in Canada’s history.  While I do not think students should take ownership for anything that happened, I do think that they need to know and understand the history, so they can understand the people who are living around them and in cities with them.  It is not only their history, but it is our history too.  The exhibit was vivid and creating pictures in my head that I have never had before when I had learned about this content.  I think the exhibit is successful in creating and outlining the information of what happened, and what it in terms that everyone can understand.  I enjoyed the exhibit very much and would recommend that anyone who has a chance to wander through should take it.

How Stories Shape Our Lives

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“Teaching in the Undertow: Resisting the Pull of Schooling-as-Usual”

This story uses the metaphor of an undertow to describe the potential negativity of newer teachers.  The story goes through many struggles that new teachers have and encourages people to keep both feet on the ground.  As well, it discusses being overambitious and how it can disappoint people.  I think the author is trying to help new teacher’s find support systems and reassure them that they are doing what they should be and when things get rough, stick with it.

“The Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club”

A 1st grade teacher from Milwaukee discusses the issues within race and ‘skin colour’ in her classroom.  She goes through an extensive list of activities that she uses in her classroom to address and challenge these issues in her classroom.  She is a teacher who is working to combat racism and social injustices.  The school in general uses many of these activities and students have been able to come a long way in the way they see themselves and think about race.

“What Can I do when a Student Makes a Racist or Sexist Remark?”

This short article is about how to deal with racist comments in the classroom.  It explains that a teacher’s reactions to these remarks are as much a part of the curriculum as anything else we teach in the classroom.  Rita Tenorio gives us a step-by-step process of how to deal with these remarks.  This includes considering who made the comment and whom it was directed at.  It also goes into detail explaining how we can turn these comments into meaningful classroom discussion.

“Framing the Family Tree: How Teachers can be Sensitive to Students’ Family Situations”

Dealing with family issues at school can be a difficult and unnerving situation.  “Framing the Family Tree,” discusses a little girl who made a tie for her late father for father’s day.  The article examines how we as teachers need to be sensitive to any assignments that require students to examine their families or personal lives.  We should also be sensitive to all students’ issues and in this, discussing things with the parents before they happen in your classroom.

“Heather’s Moms Got Married”

A Massachusetts teacher talks about how many of the children in her class have two moms.  The teacher goes on to talk about how it is an open topic in their classroom and they discuss this issue lots.  At the end of the story, there are some tips on how to deal with this in your own classroom: do not presume everyone has heterosexual parents, do not make reference to moms and dads, instead parents or guardians, get students in your classroom comfortable with the idea that not all families are the same as theirs.

“Our Front”

“Our Front” is a story about a high school, which promotes people to be open and honest about their sexuality.  There have supports groups within the school that they can meet at.  They also have an anti-slur policy in place that works to reduce the amount of negative vibes.  The school also has role positive role models for all students.  This is to help students to feel comfortable with who they are and feeling comfortable enough in the school environment to learn and have fun.

“Curriculum is Everything that Happens”

This interview is an experienced teacher sharing her thoughts about the readiness and important things that new teachers need to learn.  She says that politics is a big part of schools and there are a lot of outside forces guiding them.  She also says that you need to work very hard at getting to your students on a deep level.  As a new teacher, you need to make students feel comfortable with sharing their stories with you.  Lastly, she states that curriculum is everything that happens, not just a document and lesson plans, it goes deeper to feelings, and attitudes.

“Working Effectively with English Language Learners”

This article discusses how to effectively teach English to non-English speaking students.  It outlines the types of bilingual programs and what each of them means.  The article then goes on to highlight some strategies such as: speaking slowly, avoid asking students in front of the whole class, asking students to volunteer, etc.  Finally, the article discusses that it is important to learn about the cultures of the children in your classroom.  It is also important to find ways to communicate with parents in their first language.

“Teaching Controversial Content”

Many teachers’ struggle with teaching controversial content in schools at the beginning of their careers.  This article begins by discussing the fears new teachers have about teaching their personally created unit plans.  It is important to discuss controversial lessons with your principal and quite possibly the parents of your students ahead of time.  It is important to tackle these issues with your students, whether you teach an entire unit on it, or just throw in the occasional lessons here and there.

“Unwrapping the Holidays: Reflections on a Difficult First Year”

A first year teacher brings up that she thinks they should see more diversity in school common areas around Christmas time to reflect the student’s backgrounds.  Many teachers who have been teaching for many many years are offended by this and overreact to the situation.  This story is teaching us that it is important to not make big changes in our first year before we have gotten to really know our colleagues.  It is also sending the message to preservice teachers to not assume things about people who you in fact do not know much about at all.  While it is important to express your opinions, do not do it without thinking about the consequences before you do so.

 

Due to personal opinions and reasons, Part 2 of this assignment will be handed in directly to my seminar leader.

We are ALL Treaty People

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Today we had a guest speaker in our ECS 210 lecture.  Claire Kreuger was an engaging speaker who taught a lesson that hit close to home and all preservice teachers need to hear.  She discussed integrating treaty education into the classroom through regular lessons.  I found it refreshing that she was opening to sharing the mistakes she made in her first year of integrating this into her classroom.  This was nice because it showed us ways that we can avoid making the same mistakes that she did.

It is important to note that we are all Treaty People by living in Canada.  Treaty is something that is within us all and you have the opportunity to ignore it if you want to.  The alternative is to embrace it and have fun teaching and getting to know the history and how things went before we were here.

I think what Claire showed us in her presentation could be easily applied to high school in the exact same way that she presented it.  The only thing you would need to do is to expect more.  Higher expectations would be needed for high school as opposed to grade 3.

We need to embrace treaty education instead of hiding from it.  It is a part of us, who we are.  We may as well engage and embrace who we are rather than hiding from it.

“Common Sense” through Social Justice and Anti-Oppressive Education

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Social Justice is an educational philosophy that includes teaching to race, class, ability, language, appearance, sexuality and gender through the curriculum.

Anti-Oppressive Education is approaching education in a way that challenges different forms of oppression that we will see in our schools.  These forms of oppressions are well known to education students as the ‘isms’.

If I look at these definitions through a critical lens, I see that commonsense comes through both of them.  A lot of things in life can be related back to commonsense without us even noticing.  After the first reading and post on commonsense, I have started to notice many things that come back to commonsense.  Such as, teaching through social justice.  I think that each person’s individual definition of social justice is created subconsciously through commonsense (the ideals instilled before us from our parents, and that society has already dictated).  Therefore, while you may think you are teaching for social justice, you are probably only teaching to YOUR social justice.  I think it would be important to create a definition or an understanding of social justice with your class, before you can say that you are teaching to social justice.  Finally, anti-oppressive education can be related to commonsense through the ‘isms’.  As a teacher, you cannot use the definitions that you have created previous in your life.  I think it is important to not use commonsense in your class, because it can be offensive to students or not understood by them.  If you are going to teach to anti-oppressively, you need to start of scratch.  It is important to throw out your preconceived notions and start on a blank page.  However, it is important as a teacher to teach to both these forms of education so that barriers and walls can be broken down in your classroom and you can do what you can to make everyone feel comfortable in your class.

 

 

The Dangers Within ‘Common Sense’…

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As Canadians, we have a common sense that has been created by the many generations that have come before us.  Currently, this common sense is portrayed to us through our societal norms and it is expected that we know and engage in the majority of these norms.  With common sense, brings danger as I believe every culture and even every person has a different idea about what their common sense is and what it means to them.  It is not until you look at common sense through a critical lens that you begin to realize just how complex it is.  Only after you take a moment to examine what common sense is and what it means to each person, can you understand why mannerisms and beliefs differ so much from person to person and culture to culture.  Common sense can be a such a dangerous thing because it can so easily be misconstrued and taken out of context.  As an individual, you should take it upon yourself to critically engage in and challenge what common sense is and get a good understanding of what it is to you.  As people, society, and cultures are ever changing, so too should common sense.