As a child math was one of my favourite subjects and even into high school I was always an average student at math, I wasn’t a math person but I wasn’t not a math person. Until I was in about grade 11, I thought of myself as someone who succeeded in math but then I had to take pre calculus 20. Now I knew this class would be tougher than my previous math classes but I thought I was up for the challenge, until my teacher taught in a way that I couldn’t understand and didn’t care to take the time to help when I asked. This is the start of my negative attitude towards math and really stopped calling myself a “math person”. I believe that the high school math paths can be very discriminatory towards students because of the notions around each math route. Students who took the workplace math were considered to be not good at math because it was said to be “easy” math, then the opposite the students who took the pre-calclus path those students were considered exceptionally smart. Right away students who thought they were not good at math took the “easier” routes, and this problem could be how the math was being presented. I did experience oppression in math classes as I got older but mostly I was hurtful to myself and they way I told myself that I wasn’t good at math anymore. I often find myself saying, “You used to be good at math, what happened?”, this continued to get worse as I had to take university math. This negative attitude to oneself, can be detrimental to one’s self esteem and confidence when asked about marks in math. Therefore, if math was presented in a way that wasn’t so right and wrong but a skill that had to be practiced then I think more students would believe that they are good or better at math then they once thought, including myself, but this is a problem I don’t see schools shifting away from this because of the given timelines in classes.
After Gale’s presentation, my thoughts shifted into thinking that math isn’t all the same and it can actually change with location and culture. Also the way different culture use math and in what ways they present it makes math not universal as most people think and that comes from the western worldview, that everyone learns like we learn and the way we learn is the best and most useful, when that is not the case. After reading Poirier’s article, this point has been clearly made. Three ways Inuit math is challenging the Eurocentric ideas of math are:
- This is the most obvious to notice right away because they are using “a base-20 numerical system”, where as traditionally we use a base-10 number system, thinking that this is they way everyone counts. We think this because we think it makes sense, but what makes sense to us may seem inefficient to others.
- Secondly, these ways are challenging because they disrupt the way we commonly teach in schools, with pen and paper, as well as reading questions from a textbook and writing the answers done, explaining step by step how we got the answer. The Inuit math does ways which we would call untraditional and often ineffective, they teach math orally, observing an elder or listening to enigmas. This oral tradition is probably something that the western worldview would not think of to teach and furthermore pass on information.
- Lastly, the way they use math it for everyday and natural life. This is often the complete opposite from our Eurocentric view because I can assume that at least once, people who take math from a western way have asked ourselves when we are going to use this math. This is from assumption unlikely with the Inuit people, because they use math, based on natural reoccurring events, such as the days in the month, it all depends on how long it takes for that natural event to occur.
There are many more way this article shows the tensions between Eurocentric ways and the ways Inuit people teach and use math, these there stuck out to me and really made me open my mind to new ways that I would have never thought even possible.
1. Treaty Education is important in low FNMI population schools, because many of those students have very little knowledge about treaties and indigenous ways. Teaching treaty ed in schools with a high FNMI population, defeats the purpose because most of the students have more knowledge on the topic than the teacher that is teaching it. This can actually make it seem that those schools or classes are being single out when just as Claire said is the last thing FNMI students want, from the perspective of her First Nations daughters. As Claire stated in her presentation, “This isn’t an ‘Indian Problem’, it’s a white problem.” Approaching this as a white problem, which most individuals don’t, we need to first recognize that these (white) students do not have the prior knowledge about Indigenous people and treaty education that the Indigenous student would have, therefore there is the first piece of evidence as to why Treaty Ed should be taught to white students.
Secondly, teaching Treaty Education can be beneficial in schools that lack FNMI students because it can increase this tension around what many white settlers think about FNMI people from assumptions and from the stereotypes that western society has placed on FNMI people. This tension can often increase uncomfortableness which the students especially white students, which often is where growth and change come from. This grow can encourage and help towards the rekindle the relationship between white settlers and Indigenous people. Although being uncomfortable when teaching it may show our unsureness as teachers, but as you, Mike, always says it is about reps. The first time teaching it will be awkward and I will ask myself if I am fit to teach this as a white settler with the lack of knowledge on treaties and Indigenous ways and people, but as I continue to teach it over and over it will become easier and better with grow and unlearning.
In Dwayne’s video he discussed, that in order to move forward we need to look backwards first, and “to repair and renew relations with Aboriginal peoples Canadians must engage with the aspects of Canadian culture that have lead to this incomprehensible disability”. There is this divide between the Indigenous and “Canadian” people because of the deny in the need to have a relationship and the need to live in harmony. This deny has led white settlers to believe that it is an us against them game and in order to win we need to push them out, knock them down, deny that treaties are real, and this is what we have done for many years and only recently have we stressed the importance of knowing, but again do to that we must unlearn and go back.
2. My understanding of “we are all treaty people” is a new term to me this year and is still unknown and awkward for me at this time, and right now I would not say I identify as a treaty person, but this is that process of learning and unlearning to become okay and proud to identify as a treaty person. Through this semester I have realized how ignorant I am towards the Indigenous population, I used find myself wanted to take Native Studies in High School because the notion around this class was it was easy. It was an easy mark and I had no interest in actually learning the content, until I look back on those experiences I thought that I was one of the better white people. This thought also let me see how far I still have to go and in hopes of continuing my journey, I am going to be able to let my students have these realizations towards Treaty Ed and how desperately we need it, because a major role does come from the teacher but the change with happen with our students.
The elders in the piece put lots of efforts into reclaiming and rebuilding their language, as well as bringing the youth and elders together to teach them the Indigenous ways of knowing and the way of the land. The community is coming together to involve the youth in the importance of the land and waters, also the ways of story-telling and sharing of language, doing this with the youth brings the community together and makes the community stronger.
Incorporating Indigenous ways has seemed to be impossible when thinking about incorporating it into any type of science classroom, but as I continue on this journey. I have realized that many of the curriculums in science have opportunities to include different ways of knowing. For example in the Science 9 curriculum, there are times to discuss the different ways that Indigenous people think that the world was created, and not to mention that different Indigenous groups have different stories, so we as teachers need to keep in mind what stories are being told and where those stories come from. Allowing students to be able to have a connection with the curriculum allows for students to want to become engaged with the class and therefore will be able to reflect on a personal level.
After re-reading the Environmental Science 20 curriculum, I have noticed that it strongly has autonomous literacy embedded into it, but also noticed hints of ideological literacy. For the bits of ideological literacy, it discusses identity and the process of becoming a stronger self when you explore connections of their understandings and others including Indigenous perspectives. As there are a lot of notes about Indigenous ways and seems that the curriculum is culturally sensitive but I still believe the curriculum is strongly a western way. More dominantly the autonomous model is about skill and in this curriculum the outcomes discuss being able to analyze and exam certain scientific issues that require skills already. This curriculum focuses on the comprehension of environmental issues that affect people which the curriculum assumes students would have some prior knowledge about these issues.
School curriculum is made by people who are considered experts in that field, they get together and decide what knowledge is important to be taught and at what levels they knowledge will be taught at. This prepares us for the future and mostly for post-secondary institutions, this seems to get decided by what the society seems fitting to learn and what they should be learning in school.
After the reading, I noticed that curriculum may not be based on what’s best for the students to learn, but instead it is what post-secondary schools want to see in their future students. This is based on politics and as many of us know the people who have the final say are those who are powerful and have the money to finalize the curriculum. Curriculum is what the upper class wants to see in the middle/working class people.
When the public is asked about a certain issue or about what should be in the curriculum, many who have attended school think that what they had to learn was valid and important therefore students today should still learn the same things in their schooling.
I think citizenship is taught in our education system without really knowing thats what we are teaching, because it is more a part of the hidden curriculum there is a greater chance to pass on the teachers ways of knowing about being a good citizen to those students. With that cycle of passing on knowledge that may have stemmed from a great deal of white privilege and how easy it is for the majority to think that they are a good citizen. For people who are a minority, when they learn this they automatically think that they cannot be a “good” citizen because of the colour of their skin.
If the curriculum focused on a lesson about actually learning and doing what it takes to become a good citizen, students would benefit more from in their day to day lives rather than being so performance based in schools. This performance based education prepares students to write essays and standardized tests which some may not have use for if they aren’t attending post-secondary school, instead we could be teaching what will be useful in all aspects of life for all students.
What it means to be the “good” student is to listen when it is time to listen and talk only when called upon with your hand raised. It is the student who hands their homework in on time and does it with maximum effort. The “good: student always shows up to class and writes down notes, they shall not fool around with other children and do not play with the “bad” student. As well as coming to class with only learning what they learnt in the previous year in the classroom and not bring in ideas that they had learned outside of the classroom.
Children who benefit from the definition of the good student is predominantly white middle class students. They are already looked at to be the good student while others can already have a discourse to be the misbehaved or “bad” student. These students that already have the label of the bad student, are usually nonwhite, lower class and possibly from a single parent household. The students who are looked at as “good” already, they have a higher chance of succeeding in the class because of that upper advantage of having no judgements.