Hello! So this is my final assignment, my personal curriculum narrative. I believe that my journey throughout this course has been quite influential towards my own personal teaching philosophy and my future career as an educator! It was very interesting to go over everything and compare my initial thoughts on curricula to my current understandings. I went from never having read a curriculum and lesson plan to being able to critique a curriculum and develop my own lesson plan, and even being able to “teach” a specific lesson plan to the class! Overall, I believe as I develop into a fantastic educator, I will learn so much more, as I have learned so much from this class. Thank you all once again for an amazing class that will influence my future teachings and responses. *Note: video is recorded on phone due to technical issues*
It is very hard to determine how I “read the world” based on my schooling, as I have lived in various locations across the country. In the multiple schools that I attended in small towns in Saskatchewan, I noticed a pattern of views. Firstly, everyone was either related to each other or knew each other very closely, so the views of the town were all unanimous and small-minded, as there was no exploration of the views and beliefs of the rest of the world. One of the towns where I attended school was a very religious town that consisted of the same race, so we mostly learned how to read the world from a “white, religious perspective.” We stuck to methods of learning only approved by everyone in the town, so when I am learning, I automatically go to those methods. There were some biases I gained from this, and I can unlearn them by surrounding myself with other ideas and being open-minded. Some biases I can think of are that we learned that immigrants are “stealing jobs,” I believe I am unlearning this, as my boyfriend is an immigrant and I am learning lots from him, a well as my friends who came from another country. I am learning from all of them and unlearning what I have previously learned. With First Nations and single stories, I am reminded of my schooling experience in Newfoundland, where Indigenous education is not common. I did not learn anything about First Nations until I came to the University, because in Newfoundland that part of learning was skipped. They believed learning about Indigenous education is unimportant. I believe we can work to end this belief by introducing this education into the curriculum, and being open to learning any beliefs/values/views/cultures. Representation and education is important, so it needs to be introduced to these schools.
3 Things I Learned:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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.