ECS 200 – Blog 8

3 Things I Learned:

  1. The difference between formal and informal teacher leaders. For example, while formal teacher leaders fill various positions and are hired through an application process, informal teacher leaders rise up on their own. In my mind, I never thought of these teacher leaders as formal or informal, nor did I know how they got into the position they were in.
  2. It was very interesting to learn a great method for improving teaching abilities and solving issues in the classroom. The method was in “The Many Faces of Leadership,” where a teacher did not understand why the females in his class were not as enthusiastic towards group activities as he thought they would be. He called in a colleague to observe the class and take notes, and they found the problem. The teacher was not challenging the females as much as the males and gave them the answers sometimes. Asking a colleague to observe your class and take notes can really give an outside perspective on the issues and class experiences.
  3. Another great method of solving issues is mentioned in this article. This issue is related to grading. Students were not reading comments on their grades, and not caring about submitting their assignment if it was already late. Soon, a group of interested teacher leaders came up with a new grading system that included self-assessment. It is now clear that self-assessment is very important in education because students can see their improvement, their strengths, and their weaknesses that they can further work on. This also gives the teachers a sense of their students’ progress in order to grade and evaluate them efficiently.

2 Connections:

  1. In my high school, there came a time when our principal had to be on leave for a while. During this time, two informal teacher leaders filled his place (I now believe due to a selection progress). Since these teacher leaders have taught almost all the students in the school, it was easy for them to be able to make decisions regarding the issues in the school. In my experience, I believe this almost gave them more of a detailed understanding of what happens in the school, but this also gives them a biased view of the students. Since this was in a small town, there was slight favoritism in the methods these teachers used in resolving issues. Therefore, there are both pros and cons to having informal teacher leaders, it may vary on the different schools.
  2. In regards to my second thing I learned, I wanted to compare this to our field work that we future educators will have to complete. Even though I have not experienced my in-class field work yet, I have some opinions about it. From what I have come to understand, a teacher observes you teaching a class and grades you on it. This is similar to the teacher in the example who had a colleague observe his class and take notes. This is very effective because right from the beginning you gain a sense of how you teach, and what you can improve on. I look forward to gaining this experience and being able to reflect on it to improve my teaching.

1 Question:

If teachers were to become teacher leaders (informal or formal), how can we erase the biased opinions that could lead to exclusion or inequality in the classroom, especially in small towns?

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Week 9: Reading Response

In my schooling, we did not really have any citizenship education. There was a point in one of my classes where we had to learn the textbook definition of each type of citizen, but we were not tested or further taught on the subject. This is unfortunate as I did not even remember these types until I read the article again. I had no knowledge of them as I simply read the definitions in high school and then forgot about them. So, in regards to citizenship, there is nothing for me to be able to understand about it from that class. I believe it could have been included more into the curriculum instead of just being a simple reading that was probably thrown out the next day.

ECS 200 – Blog 7

3 Things I learned:

  1. It was interesting to learn in the “Why are Schools Brainwashing our Children” article that even though teachers are promoting social justice and change in the classroom, people are assuming that they are brainwashing the children. Parents expect teachers to introduce their children to these topics, and to “teach” them accordingly; so if you expect a teacher to “teach” your kids, why are you calling it brainwashing? The teachers are not forcing the children to have a specific opinion on the topics, only to be aware of what is going on around them and how they can fix issues. It is strange how the teachers are given responsibility and authority over the children and what they learn, yet when they do as told, people say it is “abuse of power” and “brainwashing.”
  2. In “Racial Tolerance vs Anti-Racist Transformation,” the idea that is new to me is that “Individual changes in attitudes and behavior are necessary, but not sufficient to eliminate racism.” This could mean that individual changes are not quite adequate enough to fully eliminate racism. Individual changes are still essential because an entire group of people can not make a change together if the individuals are not willing to make a change. It starts with the individual, then gradually develops into an entire group change.
  3. Considering both of these, if individual changes are still essential, individuals need to understand how to make changes, gain knowledge, and gain respect and appreciation for other cultures. How are children expected to do that without teachers? Parents would just pass down their own biased ideas instead of displaying various knowledge and ideas like a teacher would. In a classroom, children can be exposed to more cultures than if their parents taught them everything. Teachers need to be able to not form opinions for the children but to show them all the ideas, cultures, and surrounding influences. So, in regards to the first article, if it were only parents passing their beliefs to their children, then essentially they would be the ones “brainwashing” (not actually, but as a response to this article), while the teachers express other ways of learning and changing instead of just one.

2 Connections:

  1. Before taking Education courses, I originally had the mindset of the “Racial Tolerance” column in the second article. “Changing individual attitudes and behaviors leads to the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. I never realized that there is more to just individual changes. I believe I still have a lot to learn on this topic though, as I need to explore more on what other ways besides individual changes are required to eliminate racism.
  2. I have heard similar assumptions that teachers are “brainwashing” their students. Especially in older people, they seem to assume that the new ideas and social justice that is being taught in the classroom is “unnecessary” and “forgetting about the basic, important subjects that should be taught.” But, these topics are important as they are all a part of our constantly changing world, which is why I question how this could be considered in any way “brainwashing.”

One Question:

  1. What are more methods to eliminating racism besides individual and group changes in knowledge and behavior?

Week 8: Reading Response

  1. In my experience, I have never been in a math class or witnessed one that seemed oppressive to anyone. The main focus of the mathematics classes I attended was just to solve math problems/equations. The only way I can think that would include oppression is the word problems. If there was any oppression included in these word problems, my classmates and I never noticed, or, at least it was not brought up. Most of these word problems consisted of unrealistic situations, so there was not much to bring up or question/notice.
  2. One method of Inuit mathematics that challenge Eurocentric mathematics is that they have found a way to express numbers and quantities orally, compared to our visual representations of numbers. The second method is that Inuits use a base-20 system while we use a base-10 system that we have integrated all our lives. The last one does challenge Eurocentric methods but also seems to be possibly used when we were younger. They use body parts for measurement. I can connect this to my childhood; when I was a little kid I would think measurement by “feet” is using our actual feet to measure. It took me a while to understand that they are not the same measurement.

ECS 200 – Blog 6

3 Things I learned:

  1. The difference between idealism and realism is not just my idea that idealism is pursuing unrealistic ideas while realism is the opposite, it is that while idealism is believing that one can view an unchanging reality through a philosophical lens, realism is using our senses to perceive the reality/world to create our own concepts from the experiences.
  2. One paragraph taught me that existentialists help forward social justice, and take pride in literature so this could include people in or out of school: “Existentialists prize the potential of literature for exploring life’s meaning and the choices confronted by characters. Existentialism as a philosophy leads to social reconstructionism, an educational philosophy concerned with social justice”
  3. Social reconstructionism seems to relate to conservatism as it wants to preserve, conserve, and have more social order.

2 Connections:

  1. I have witnessed plenty of existentialists in my own education, especially in the university. As time goes on, there are more people involved in social justice, mostly in the younger adults. Even though I have even noticed professors in the university that seem to be involved in this, I would never see this in teachers in my previous schools. They do not see any importance in social justice.
  2. I can use this idea to shape my own teaching philosophy. Although I would like to think of it as existentialist, I am beginning to change this towards realism, except that I do believe there is more than just one way of learning/knowing.

1 Question:

Considering that every person thinks differently, could there be a possibility that there are more philosophies than the ones already known?

Week 7: Reading Response

This email was unfortunately not shocking or surprising. Many schools do not implement First Nations or Treaty Education into their classrooms, and it is quite upsetting.

The sentence that upset me most is: “ I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students.” Even though there are no First Nations students in the classroom does not mean there aren’t any in the rest of the world surrounding these students. The purpose of teaching Treaty Ed is to give an understanding so that they can be respectful and understand their own history. Treaties were created for all parties included, not just the First Nations.

“We are all Treaty people” is exactly what the statement claims to be. If you are alive, here on this land, you are a treaty person. Every land around you is treaty land. This needs to be addressed more in the classrooms.

As I did not attend Treaty Ed Camp, I can make comparisons to the text assigned. I watched the video of Ryan McMahon’s keynote and I can compare this to how I want to introduce Treaty Ed into my own classroom. Firstly, I will display to them the different perspectives so that they can gain their own understandings. Secondly, I will expose to them the facts about Indigenous peoples; the racism, the broken systems, and the stereotypes that end up hurting people over time. As a result, I will not deny this education for my future students whether there are First Nations students in my classroom or not, as I believe that this is completely important no matter what subject the student is taking.

ECS 200 – Blog 5

3 Things I learned:

  1.  The culture as an iceberg taught me that there is to more to culture and differences than merely just foods, music, myths, and language. There are differences in the nature of friendship, facial expressions, sense of time, the concept of personal space, and much more. Although I would like to challenge this idea where it comes to the roles of men and women; as someone who regularly visits social media pages and has been included or witnessed topics and conversations about culture and stereotypes, I have heard plenty about the differences in the roles of men and women in various cultures. I am quite aware that women in other cultures do not have as many rights as Canadian women, and that the jobs can be limited for women as well. Even currently, there are petitions out to stop forcing young women that are children into marriage, as this happens still in many countries.
  2. Although many may know that some ethnic groups consistently achieve below the average compared to white students, I was not aware of how to close the opportunity and achievement gap. It certainly surprised me to see the study of early development learning skills in African American boys. It concluded that learning this skills at a young age can assist in closing this gap, even after considering the effects of the boys’ personal lives.
  3. It was disturbing to learn that there seems to be more of a bias towards boys in teaching. There was a study that claimed teachers ask more questions to boys and give better-constructed criticism to boys. Even considering some girls may have a higher average, they still receive less attention from the teacher than boys.

2 Connections:

  1. Referring to the second thing that I learned, in our ECS 200 class we were recently learning about early childhood education. We read into some articles and studies about the differences in teaching young children could make. One of our theorists we learned about also displayed to us about comparing the knowledge of one child to the rest of the children their age. Some argue that since every person learns differently, it is not fair to compare people of the same age. A metaphor I can remember seeing once is a comic strip, where a judge sits in front of a goldfish, a monkey, a giraffe, and some other animals possibly, and tells them that in order to determine their physical abilities, they will give them the same “equal” test: to climb a tree. These topics are very important because even though it is important to start teaching children at a young age, it is still important to not expect every child to develop equally.
  2. Referring to the third thing that I learned, I would like to use my previous observations and experiences in high school to make a connection. During high school, there were many “cliques” and “cliches” where I came from. You could see that there was a group of “smart” kids, “nerds,” “jocks,” and more. This had a negative impact on the school and myself because I did not “look” like a smart kid, or get along with any of them, yet I basically had the same grades as them. Yet I was not put into that category, and no one had faith that I had intelligence, including my teachers. Besides this, what I have noticed is, all the “smart” students in my grade consisted of approximately 5 of 6 girls and one male. None of the other males in the classroom were considered “smart.” Even in the classrooms, I noticed that the teachers gave more attention to the females, but only gave attention to the males when it came to watching them for negligence or cell phone use. Even though my observations prove that teaching was biased towards females in my school, other schools may have been completely different.

1 Question:

How are we supposed to take into consideration all the differences in cultures and gender, yet try to erase our current stereotypes we have of different cultures and genders? (Not just for educators, but for all people) I understand that this may be possible, but what are some steps in order to complete this?