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ECS 210-014

Week 8 – 2020 Mar 3

What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus? Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.

In my K to 12 years in school, I experienced citizenship education from volunteering within the school and organizations outside of school that had a connection to the school such as the local churches. In grades seven and eight, I helped as a big buddy to the kindergarten children known as little buddies. There was “buddy” time throughout the month and I assisted with reading and other activities. This gave me experience in caring for younger children and being able to communicate with them at their level. I also volunteered with a school club known as Project M.A.D (Make A Difference). I was an active member of this group in grades six to eight. We volunteered at different places such as Souls Harbour, serving food to the people needing their mission of outreach. We also had once or twice a week events where we would take coffee and donuts to workers such as those in the hospital. From being a part of this group, I became more aware at an early age of social issues in my community. This wonderful experience has remained with me. It helped me realize that things the majority of us take for granted, such as food and shelter, are not readily available and a struggle every day for many.

In high school, I was a member of a club called SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). This club was about making students more aware about mental health, destructive driving, and many more other social issues in the school and civic community. I was also an active participant in the astronomy club, choral group, and vocal jazz group. All these groups and clubs made me see everyone as one community instead of multiple communities with borders. I believe the focus of being a responsible citizen is not to be served, but to serve others and in many cases without being asked.

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ECS 210-014

Week 6 – 2020 Feb 11

Part 1) According to the Levin article, how are school curricula developed and implemented? What new information/perspectives does this reading provide about the development and implementation of school curriculum? Is there anything that surprises you or maybe that concerns you?

In Levin’s article, he says, “Indeed, most policy decisions in education, including curriculum decisions, are made with little or no public attentions”(Levin, 8). Levin says this in regards to how the education curriculum is developed without public input. It is disconcerting that the Education ministries of provincial governments do not seek public input or openly announce the changes made to the curriculum. It is even more disturbing that not even local school boards announce the changes to the public. The decision on what is taught goes through many processes and should include different views and insights so the curriculum remains relevant and adaptable to the changes in the world. I feel that changes to the curriculum should be examined by groups representing teachers, parents, and maybe even the students. Having this broader and diverse audience would be a good step to ensure the curriculum meets the ever changing needs of delivering relevant learning. The curriculum has to be able to conform to the needs of the people and changes in social surroundings for students to be able to have guidance and knowledge of what is happening at the local, national, and international levels.

Part 2) After reading pages 1-4 of the Treaty Education document, what connections can you make between the article and the implementation of Treaty Education in Saskatchewan? What tension might you imagine were part of the development of the Treaty Education curriculum?

Ben Levin, talks about teaching students but does not talk much about how the Indigenous history is important outside the classroom. Making a point of using and applying this knowledge outside the classroom would make education a reputable source of information when citizens of all ages seek more knowledge than the media provides when reporting about Indigenous people news and events. There is pushback from some groups, especially people of white European ancestry, who are of the opinion that enough is enough and Indigenous people should get over it and stop complaining. Other people support having Treaty Education in the curriculum as knowledge is power in a good way as it helps to make an individual more well-rounded and contributor to the wellbeing of society.

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ECS 210-014

Week 5 – 2020 Feb 4

Margaret Wah Ta

“Learning from Place”

It is important to know and understand what we are teaching, and how we teach Treaty Education to our students. As teachers we need to create a learning environment where Treaty Education is the norm within and outside the classroom. All students, no matter what their cultural background, need to learn about Treaty Education and how the Treaty agreements came to be. It is especially important for students of white European descent. I have heard white European individuals and small groups strongly disagree with Treaty Education using the argument that Indigenous people always want attention and seek money from the government. Treaty Education is vital because it teaches students the perspective of Indigenous teachings, knowledge of the world, knowledge of life, and how life was before and after the European colonization.

In Claire Kreuger’s video she mentioned, Treaty Education focuses on the First Nations people even though people in Canada are aware of the historical and significance of First Nations culture and way of life. Claire Kreuger suggested that the the education system should expand to include all the Indigenous people in Canada such as Metis and Inuit.

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ECS 210-014

Week 4 – 2020 Jan 28

Margaret Wah Ta

“What is a ‘good’ student?”

A “good” student based on common sense is a student who always finishes tasks and assignments on time, obeys the teacher, pays attention, and achieves high academic standing.  I think the criteria needs to be changed. A “good” student is a person who consistently finishes tasks and assignments on time, follows the rules, direction, and guidance of the teacher, shows an active desire to learn, and maximizes their gifts, talents, and abilities to perform at their highest potential. Every student has their own ability to do well even if they are not the common image of a “good” student. Each student has their own way to strive forward to achieve their goals in school. Students have a life outside of school and many times they will experience troubles and situations beyond their control which will have an effect on their school performance. There are very few students who are privileged to have a smooth straight road as they strive to meet the standard ideal “good” student.

When teachers were in elementary and high school, they observed what was considered to be a good student. This past experience and what was taught in becoming a teacher became the norm and standards they use in their teaching. Common ways and thinking can be tough to break away from because we are surrounded by it in our everyday lives. This is not a fault of the teacher but instead a challenge to be open to new ways when considering what makes a good student. Each student has their own learning style and way of understanding, even if they do not do something the way we think the teacher thinks they should. Getting the expected result using methods that were unexpected should still be considered correct and acceptable. If teachers compare every student to the high achieving student in all assigned school work, students at a slower learning level will be not be able to accomplish the goal the school has for them. I believe that a student should only be compared to themselves.

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ECS 210-014

Week 3 – 2020 Jan 21

Margaret Wah Ta

My essay will focus on the topic of Reconciliation and Curriculum. My starting point article is Niinwi – Kiinwa – Kiinwi: Building Non-Indigenous Allies in Education through Indigenous Pedagogy by Lindsay Morcom and Kate Freeman, Queen’s University published in the Canadian Journal of Education in 2018. The article is a good starting point as it looks at the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada and implications for teacher and student education. This is relevant as many education institutions are placing an importance on Indigenous education and reconciliation and have drawn attention to the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

At this point, I have chosen two articles that I can draw on to provide connections:

  • Reshaping Canadian History Education in Support of Reconciliation by Lindsay Gibson, University of Alberta and Roland Case, The Critical Thinking Consortium. Canadian Journal of Education 2018.
  • Teaching History for Truth and Reconciliation: The Challenges and Opportunities of Narrativity, Temporality, and Identity by James Miles, University of Toronto. McGill Journal of Education, 2018.

On my initial look, both articles presented a link to the teaching of history. I expect upon more in-depth reading of the articles, I will find connections to other subjects and ways to engage with learners about reconciliation inside and outside of the classroom.

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ECS 210-014

Week 2 – 2020 Jan 14

Margaret Wah Ta

“Curriculum theory and Practice”

The curriculum was systematic and highly organized. A limitation of this approach was that learners “are told what they must learn and how they will do it”. Looking back on my elementary school years I experienced this limitation. I was seven years old when my family left a refugee camp in Thailand and came to Canada and Regina. No one in my family spoke English. I started school at my neighbourhood school and experienced an overwhelming amount of new information and many strange and confusing things. I followed the instruction from my teachers the best I could. This was difficult because there were many times when I didn’t fully comprehend what was being said. The systematic instruction didn’t allow for the various levels of where each student was and different styles of learning. For example, linguistic, aural, and visual. To lessen the effect of this systematic drawback, the classroom instruction needed to be complemented with a teaching assistant or in my case an EAL class. The drawback to the EAL class was the instruction time I missed from the regular classroom. Whether the assisted support is EAL, modified instruction, or alternate instruction, the learner can be affected psychologically in a negative way. The learner knows very quickly in the process that they are different from the other learners. I persevered and my teachers were very understanding and helpful in making extra time for me.

“The success or failure of both the programme and the individual learners is judged on the basis of whether pre-specified changes occur in the behaviour and person of the learner (the meeting of behavioural objectives).” The success was based on getting the correct answer on an assignment or exam and using the steps that were instructed to get the answer. I am grateful that the teacher of my high school Workplace Math class didn’t use this criterion to the letter of the law. My teacher would show the steps to get the math result. If I didn’t understand the steps, I would try it a different way and many times get the correct result. The teacher encouraged us to show the steps and if I didn’t get the correct answer, they would show me where I went wrong and give me partial marks instead of just marking it based on a right or wrong answer.

The caution here is how the changes in behaviour are measured. The instructor needs to be cognisant that other learning and changes in behaviour can happen that were not anticipated. It is more in-depth than just a checklist.

In the article the line, “the curriculum was not to be the result of ‘armchair speculation’ but the product of systematic study”, stood out for me. The curriculum is a system to help guide students to better their learning and equip them with information and a tool kit for a changing world. The curriculum was to help construct learning for all students though it was not adjustable to the learning needs of all students. It does have its benefits and is a good starting block for curriculum teachings for teachers.

Even though the Tyler Rationale was developed in 1949 it is still followed in education today. At that time, the theory may have been appropriate as one size fits all for the classroom of the time. Over the past 70 years, culture, how we work and live, people’s views, and the population demographic have changed. Education needs to look inward and evolve to meet the needs of 2020 learners. Using the wisdom and experience from the past, and the challenges and opportunities of the present, builds an effective and sustainable vision for the future of education.

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ECS 210-014

Week 1- 2020 Jan 7

Margaret Wah Ta

“The Problem of Common Sense”

How does Kumashiro define “common sense”? Why is it so important to pay attention to the “common-sense”?

What is common sense to a person or group of people may not always be common sense to those who are new to an environment. As Kumashiro said in the article, just because one is unable to cook the meals the Nepalis have does not mean one cannot cook. I found this interesting because sometimes people expect others to think and act the same as them instead of considering the current context or past knowledge and experience of a person.

Kumashiro defines “common sense” as continuing to so the things we should do. “Common sense does not tell us that this is what schools could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing.” “Common sense does not often tell us that the status quo is quite oppressive.” Kumashiro also goes on to say, “the insistence that we ‘use our common sense’ is really insistence that we view things as some in society have traditionally viewed things and want to continue viewing things”. It seems Kumashiro does not agree with the way ‘common sense’ is viewed as in our society and schools.

It is important to pay attention to common sense because cultures interpret common sense with different results. It is important to be aware of our surroundings and understand at a deeper level what is happening around us. Thinking and acting based on uncommon sense in situations we experience can be a fresh approach to common sense.

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ECS 210-014

Hello!!!

A new semester. A new beginning.