Going through school math was always my weakest subject, I really struggled with concepts and ideas presented in the form of problems and equations. As I progressed through the years I fell further and further behind in mathematics, and this led to a lot of problems for me by the time I got to grade 6. But, the 6th grade was the year that things got turned around for me, there was an excellent staff at my school and they really cared about how I was doing and so my teacher met with my mother and gave her all the workbooks from grade 6-8 for me to work on at home with help. After a little while I was back on track and actually a little bit ahead for the first time in my life which felt great. All the years leading up to the 6th grade I felt awful about my math skills and because I did not understand right away I got lost and felt like the teacher and the class left me behind in the lessons. I know there were also a few other students that had the same problems I did, but unfortunately later did not have the same teacher I did that helped me so they never really caught up. For the longest time me and a few other kids felt like we were not as important in the classroom just because we weren’t moving along as=t the same speed as the others.
A few of the Inuit ways of learning math that stand out to me as challenging Eurocentric ideas are that the Inuit have a mainly oral form of teaching, meaning they don’t rely on paper or a board at the front of class to teach what they need to teach. Using their body parts for measuring is another great difference because it is something concrete younger children can see in front of them rather than just being told how long something is they can see it for themselves. The last thing I would like to point out is that rather than use a base 10 counting system the use base 20, it seems that most of the world uses the base 10 and it is a usually agreed upon counting system but the Inuit people do things differently and that shows that there doesn’t have to b just one way of doing things in life. It is possible to have different ways of doing regular things that will still work the same as the “norm” way of doing it.
I feel as though my upbringing was very generic and relatable to most people who live in a middle class white family. I was read the basic stories when I was young like Dr. Suess and The Giving Tree, books and stories that taught what it meant to be a better person. Once I got into school I feel those same principles were being taught with similar books. The bias I saw tended to be focussed on the race and professions of the people, a lot were farmers working with their animals and the kids in the stories were all very cheerful, and on top of that most of the characters were white. What these biases taught me is that there is a very specific type of person or people that are represented in these stories, that along with the fact that I did not see a person of colour in my classrooms until about grade3 my view on the world was very limited. It becomes very important for people to realize that there are multiple ways to be viewing the world, in my opinion the best way to challenge these biases is to be getting more younger people so to speak exposed to other views besides their own.
The stories I saw as I said earlier represented a mainly white character base. It seems the only truth that seemed to be represented was the western European views on what people should be doing.
When I think back to my education I often think of late elementary school up in to high school. And in this context I think they are the most relevant years of developing the kind of citizen I am. I do not really recall doing a lot of community activities in school. What I did do recall though was sports, I loved to play sports and be apart of a team. it was on these teams that I learned a lot of very important life lessons about how to be just an all around better person. Respect was valued above everything else in sports, especially respect towards the coaches and other players. There were a few times where I learned how to better respect people the hard way when I misbehaved and would not be allowed to play in the next game and experiences like that broke my heart. Playing organized sport, either through the city leagues or the school leagues helped to create that base on which I built myself as a good citizen.
I do feel though that my limited experiences with other community things kind of slowed down my citizenship development and I do regret not participating more in other school activities and volunteering.
I think that teaching treaty ed in schools is going to important no matter what, even if there are no First Nations students in the school the information that is provided with some treaty ed and First Nations knowledge is beneficial to all students not just the students who are apart of that culture. If it were me in this situation with the teachers being very closed minded about the content that is being taught, I would try and seek help from people outside the staff. Maybe community members or teachers from other districts. And after I had looked for help from others, I would try and use the information I had gotten and implement it into the class in little pieces.
Treaty ed has become more important in recent years and will continue to be important for years to come so it is good to get students used to learning about some of these topics in order for them to properly understand why it is being taught. Learning about the past is the best way to understand the faults of some of our ancestors so we do not repeat them. We are all treaty people and should all be knowledgeable of what took place. In my understanding, being a treaty person is saying that we all live on treaty ground and are a part of the deals that were made a long time ago, and we must still honour those deals.
In this article Levin says that schools just like everything else are affected by public policies and governments, it is these governments and policies that end up deciding what will be included with in the curriculum. Many of the people within power who have the tools to change and revise the existing curriculum are not educators, which ends up making it harder for teachers trying to get across what is actually needed, and in the eyes of many educators these officials and the policies they produce are very unpopular. those same teachers and educators who are unhappy also believe that politics themselves should not be imposed upon schools at all.
Aside from the fact that the changes made are often unpopular, it is good to see that these changes and revisions are being made based on some research and findings. These politicians are probably doing the best they can with what they have. Developing a curriculum and deciding what is important is a very difficult job, and not one that I would want to do, so although I am not making excuses for those in power, I am just sympathizing with their difficulties and challenges they face. It is a little upsetting to see and understands how large a role the government and politics play in the decisions of educating the youth, but I also understand that this is how the system is run.
I believe that the main connection between these two articles is the involvement that the government has on what is to be taught and learned within schools. Levin’s article focusses on the policies and the government within the curriculum, and in the Treaty Education article we are shown that the actual Ministry of Education has given and recognizes the right of the governments role in deciding the curriculum.
A few of the tensions that come to my mind when thinking of this are the willingness to learn about these differing perspectives from the students themselves, asking myself would there be any pushback from the children and their families? and who would be responsible to teach this new addition. Because the mandatory teaching of First Nations heritage came in 2007, I would assume that many of the active teachers did not have a formal education on these new topics so they would probably feel pretty uncomfortable teaching it at first, and there is a good chance that some of these teachers may have had a feeling of guilt surrounding the topic.
This weeks article ‘Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing’, talks about a research project on the Cree ideas of land, life, and the environment. The ideas discussed in this reading were centered around how the Cree people were making an attempt at decolonization and reinhabitation in order to take back their land. One of the attempts that can be made to decolonize is to get the younger generation participating in tradition ways of knowing as a way of reviving the culture, this action is seen as a sort of resistance to mainstream ideas that were introduced to these people.
As a future teacher I would hope to be able to provide my students with this important knowledge of culture and heritage, hoping that they will become more knowledgeable of what is really important and what Cree and Indigenous people are doing in order to reclaim their culture and tradition. I am hoping to make the class an open environment that students will enjoy and not feel like they are being force fed knowledge that they do not care about. I believe that everyone is a life long learner so there will always be new ways to integrate these concepts into the classroom.