EAE 350 Class Process Portfolio

 

January 16: Art As Activism

The social justice topic/issue I chose to create an art piece about is the negative affects of consumerism on the environment. The constant capitalist necessity of “development” and “growth”, which directly translates to MORE: more money for investors, more market gained, more products sold, it is ruining the environment. There are movements towards sustainability, but it is said that switching over to 100% renewable energy would be impossible considering global trade, air travel, and some markets of scale. We would need a global revolution. The diverse needs and desires of the world would have to change drastically in order to switch over to complete renewable energy. The conflation of need and desire is at the core of consumerism and advertising, as I see it. In my picture, I included some positive imagery from advertisements from around the world, with Tide detergent and Coca Cola. The constant barrage of images like these have worked their way into our psyche, and what we think we need and what we actually need have become two different things. The picture of Santa Claus on the right and the swatches of wallpaper samples at the bottom right are included to contextualize the consumer aspect of the advertisements. The woman hugging the penguin symbolizes a favorable view of nature albeit an ignorance (willing or otherwise) towards what must be done to actually protect it. The poem I created with the poetic inquiry process follows the picture, and this format will continue throughout the entry.

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PACIFIER by Matt Carr

The factories with their disheveled chimneys

A luxurious lay-z-boy evening

If you’re cold, they’re cold

Bring them inside tonight

Mom can we have McDonalds?

We have McDonalds at home

We have General Electric at home

We have Samsung at home

We have Shell

We have JP Morgan

We have the China Bank at home

Where can I get some feathers for a pillow

January 23: The ADDRESSING Model

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Above, we see one of the ADDRESSING Model charts supplied through the course. I decided to quickly circle where I fit onto this spectrum and upload it. As you can see, I am firmly on the side of power/privilege. I would even contest the relation between christianity/non-christianity and power/less power. Though this dynamic continues to exist, it is becoming less of a dichotomy in post-colonial contexts. Below, I have placed my art response, which is followed by my accompanying poem.

The piece that constitutes the artistic response is another visual art exploration. I found this picture while looking through magazines for my collage from the previous week, and I liked the image. To me, it encapsulated a childhood ignorance, which is occasionally lost far too early with kids who experience adverse trauma or other aspects of difficult childhoods. Far too often children are forced to grow up too fast. This doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. For instance, when I was growing up, I experienced a broken home riddled with addiction, abuse, and a general lack of structure. I found my fun, as a boy, but it was unconventional and often looked like the type of fun an older kid might find. I would get into trouble, in and out of school, but I would also partake in strange, solitary projects such as cassette tape manipulation, sculpture, and social experimentation, all at the ripe age of 8! These activities helped me grow into the person I am today. Another aspect of this picture is the fact that the boy is dressed up as a cowboy. Who is on the other end of the see-saw? Is it his friend dressed up as an “Indian”? There is a loose interplay with power structures and childhood play in North America. I chose to paint over the picture in hopes of emulating a sort of pop-art aesthetic. Although this didn’t end up the way I had hoped, I still enjoy the way it looks. My poem follows the picture.

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WALK ME HOME by Matt Carr

Around the corner a rustling surprise

A stray cat runs across the aisle

A car slows down to look me in the eye

I cross the street, they cross the street, I turn right

Beating heart, step by step

Don’t look back don’t look back

Im almost home, just two more blocks

An eternity within this walk

January 30: My Trauma-Informed Classroom

I had decided to draw a classroom with grouped desks, and there is unassigned seating. This can be freeing for some students who need to be able to change their scenery. They can also be assigned (or “reserved”), in case any students need more routine. There is also a table in the corner of the room that one or several students can work at instead of the desks. The couch and bean bag with the rug is a “calm-down” area where students can relax and take a break in case they feel trapped or on edge. In this area there are fidget spinners and silly putty to help relieve stress. In the top left corner there are some swirls; these are yoga mats that are currently being stored. They can be rolled out and used in any part of the room for students who need that type of freedom. The lights are on a dimmer switch so that they can be adjusted to the level that best accommodates the students, and there is a white noise machine, as well as optional music to be played. There are selections of nature sounds and other soothing recordings that can be played throughout the day.

I based this classroom off of my 3rd grade classroom when I went to Wolseley Elementary in Winnipeg. My teacher was a great educator, and that year sticks with me to this day. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, she was trauma-informed and very arts-inspired. She would urge us all to bring in a CD, one CD per student per day, and we would listen to it throughout the day when we were behaving well. Another aspect that I recall was that we would all gather and sit on a carpet to draw one student when it was their birthday. If the birthday student didn’t want everyone to draw them, then we wouldn’t do it. I thought it was a fun activity, and its a nice, free gift for that student. Two things that she showed us during these drawing sessions immediately improved us as visual artists: 1) she showed us to put the ground behind the subject (instead of underneath them) which created a sense of perspective, and 2) she wouldn’t let us draw eyeglasses with just a thin drawn line; she would ask us, “are those glasses actually just a thin line of pencil in real life? They have depth. I want you to actually draw that depth”. I recall many of my classmates being amazed at how much better they drew by just implementing these two simple elements.

I was also inspired by our visit to Yoga Haven, and this is why I thought it would be good to have yoga mats in the classroom. Doing actual yoga exercises can have plenty of potential in the classroom, but they have plenty of other potential outside of yoga proper, as well.

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SHE PUT HIM IN A CHAIR by Matt Carr

She put him in a chair

She said he looked good in a chair

The hardest part of healing is the waiting

The pain is waiting, not subsiding

For a moment he looked good in a chair

February 6: Self Care

I am constantly on a mission to eat healthy. I have worked in kitchens on and off for years, and the temptation to eat unhealthy food, or any food in excess, can be very strong. My partner and I really enjoy making salads, and we try to spice them up (literally and figuratively), but we often do not try very hard. Our rationale is that it doesn’t have to be fancy to be good! Just eat a salad! Oh, it’s not filling? Eat another one! Thats right, eat an entire bell pepper! Now eat two whole carrots! Maybe this next salad should have lentils?

Anyway, food is one of my main passions. In the collage below, I took two different salads that I created and turned them into a collage. I originally intended to only include the middle salad as my art piece (it is the superior salad by far), but I made another salad the next morning before class for breakfast and I got to thinking, “why not?”. The main salad has got onions, celery, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot, chicken (baked with smoked paprika and cumin only), and a chimichurri that I made with a slightly altered recipe. Chimichurri is probably one of my favorite things ever.

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COMPLETE by Matthew Carr

In the stillness of the morning

I can feel the warmth of your breath, your soft breast against my chest

Your heart beats from beyond the wall of sleep

In this moment I am complete

February 13: Visit to The Mackenzie Art Gallery

Our visit to the art gallery was a great time! I work at Craft Services (The cafe located on the main floor at the Mackenzie), so I am there on a regular basis, and I had already seen the exhibit with a friend. I have been passionate about Michif/Métis history and art for a while. From jig dances to the fiddle, artists such as David Garneau and Sherry Farrell Racette, to leaders such as Clément Chartier and Jim Sinclair, the local heritage of the Michif/Métis people is rich and storied. Me and a friend create electronic music together often, and he is rediscovering his Métis heritage, and we would like to one day create something together as a comment on our identities as they are constructed from our heritage, our communities, and our convictions. It is a long-time away, as we are still trying to figure out how to do it right, or if we should even do it at all.

The exhibit had some surprising pieces, such as “Bloodletting: Does This Make You More Comfortable with Who I Am?” (2004). As it is a mid-career retrospective, there is a strong element of her identity presented with this curation, and the themes of nature and activism are present throughout. I often find these themes are over-played or done in a way that I don’t particularly take to aesthetically, but all of Christi Belcourt’s pieces were refreshing and endearing, with several of the larger ones being rather astounding for me to experience. The protest posters and the images present on them are a nice touch, as well. Isaac Murdoch’s collaborations, and his pieces in the exhibit, are a wonderful aspect to the curation. One thing I really enjoyed was the way that the posters were not placed in the same way as the other pieces, centered perfectly with the didactic panel beside, but they were positioned in strategic areas around the gallery, bookmarking the exhibit, on the way up the stairs and into the gallery spaces, and concluding the exhibit with the posters crowding around the back door.

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SOMETHING RAW by Matthew Carr

Your lipstick kiss, it marks my jaw

What is your name, I can’t recall

My tangled shirt is falling off

It is my crib, this bathroom stall

A running tap is my alarm

I’m wearing shoes but not my socks

Where is my phone, where did I park?

The walk of shame is all day long

The obelisk, it breaks my fall

The primrose path does not lead home

I fill my cup with something raw

ECS 410 Assignment #2

Group 2: Cale, Hannah, Ana, Andrew, Matthew

Week Four:

                Involving Students in Communicating About Their Learning by Anne Davies begins with a quote from a certain Mary Lou Casey: “What people really need is a good listening to”. This is very poignant because, for starters, it is a bit of a play on a disciplinary phrase we’ve all heard (“what that boy needs is a good talking to”, et al.), but it also speaks to the universal need to be understood. There are power dynamics at play when it comes to being understood. Being understood is so often something of privilege. One of the pillars of early feminism concerns itself with being understood. In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an early piece of feminist literature, the protagonist is a woman who is diagnosed with “temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency” (a common diagnosis for women at the time). She is told to rest, and to stay inside and not to read or write. We learn that she is a writer, but without anything to write or read, she is left to read the wallpaper. She eventually pulls meaning from the wallpaper that may not be there. In the end, she seems to lose control of her logical senses (depending on your interpretation). The feminist reading of the story sees it as a condemnation of the male control over 19th century medicine. If the protagonist had been able to write, and get her feelings out, and read them herself, and then consult with someone like a counsellor, she would have likely gotten through the challenges that set her in place for the diagnosis she had received. If she was just understood, she could have learned and changed; grown. But psychology was not such a landscape at the time. Thankfully, we can stand on the shoulders of such giants and encourage learners to be conscious about their own learning and subsequently communicate about their learning.

Self-awareness for learners comes from self-assessment. Sharing their progress with their family and friends can enhance their experience of learning and make them feel good about themselves. Getting others involved helps create a resiliency to criticism, and a leniency to learn to bend to something greater. There is no shame in being wrong. Communicating about our own discoveries can overpower feelings of humiliation that often result from isolated learning. We can teach ourselves many things, but we’ll go only so far in a vacuum.

The chapters from Starr Sackstein’s book are full of practical strategies and concepts about feedback. I have found that, during my pre-internship, a common response to student work would be some measure of empty platitudes. It is just easy and it feels right to say something nice almost immediately. Though this isn’t necessarily a detrimental behavior, it doesn’t help much, either. From this reading, I have noticed that it is best to work on strategic critical feedback that is related to the content of the assignment and/or the goals of the student. “Feedback must be supportive but honest, and always tied to specific elements of learning.” Keeping feedback short and simple is something I will always keep on the forefront of my pedagogy. Some other strategies include creating rubrics with students, or re-writing rubrics with students in language and/or terms that they understand if creating a new rubric is not possible, getting students involved in the feedback process with appropriate success criteria that can be worked on together, and one other idea that I really enjoyed from the Davies article: giving a learning context to the audience at school performances by including audience feedback. This latter idea is something I have never witnessed or even heard of. As an arts-educator, I find this very interesting, and it is something I am going to research more into.

The Davies article finishes with the topic of testing, and how it does not tell the whole story. But what else do we have to talk about? Building better assessment practices enables all to have a better idea of what goes on in classrooms, and having a greater awareness of education brings it to the forefront of everyone’s mind, and maybe we’ll have more to talk about than test scores (and maybe we can allocate more funding to education as is in dire need). As a future educator, I foresee many challenges with learning contemporary assessment strategies amongst an often-outmoded environment, or (god forbid) uninterested colleagues. I am inspired to read more about these practical and elemental strategies of assessment, feedback, organization, instruction, communication, and evaluation.

Week Three:

Assessment in The 21st Century…

We are living in what some would call the augmented age. At a party, when something is unknown, we do not rack each others’ brains to see what we know collectively, we take out our phones and bring up Google. This temptation finds its way into the classroom. Ages ago, calculators made their way into everyone’s pockets, and now there are classrooms where the students aren’t even expected to learn their multiplication tables.

Dochy, & McDowell posit that assessment culture can develop into something past simply teaching students content; it can develop into a process that tries to develop students who are capable of learning how to learn. “There is no one ideal assessment format for all cases. All assessment formats can have negative effects on teaching and learning” (Dochy and McDowell, 1997, pg. 293). Educators must be literate when it comes to assessment when attempting to adapt their assessment to the new technological landscape of the classroom. New, alternative assessment must take the best of the old to create something new. As new technologies make research and communication easier, there are new possibilities as well as new road blocks. Digital literacy, digital citizenship, and intellectual integrity are all aspects that must be mastered in the classroom. Roswell & Walsh claim that it is essential that educators learn to use new modes of communication for classroom learning. As the global culture of communication evolves, and new technology and new language become commonplace, our assessment must remain relevant. Continuous, valid, and formative assessment is crucial to an engaged learning experience. The use of portfolios, and other ways to incorporate play into learning while still recording student achievement, can be useful way to incorporate assessment in new ways.

Week Two:

When we assess, we are being mindful of our students process and behavior. Once I am practicing in the field, I hope to be constantly assessing; always considering the learning of my students and how I can better their learning environment. More specifically, assessment occurs in formative ways with different activities and executable assignments or strategies. The readings are comprehensive in their scope when discussing the value and philosophy behind assessment.

I will be mindful of the opportunities for assessment that abound, while still attempting to use valid and reliable assessment strategies, all while maintaining efficiency and using a contemporary constructivist approach. I will be mindful of the assessment in the classroom during my pre-internship, especially now after my involvement in this course. From multi-modal assessment to challenging bias, incorporating FNMI, addressing Multiple Intelligences and so on, I want to keep these principles close at hand. That being said, as I learn and develop into a competent teacher, I will primarily focus on the basics (such as reliability, validity, student-centered assessment, transparency/learning target alignment, and efficiency), and keep the holistic and contemporary approach close at hand so I can flex that part of my practice whenever possible.

Week One:

Assessment philosophy. What is assessment? What is its aim? What is the relationship between assessment, classroom environment, and instructional practices? What is important to keep in mind when designing assessments for your classroom? 

“Classroom assessment encompasses all the formal and informal ways teachers examine student learning and performance.” (Volante, 135)

Assessment is the act or process of observing and evaluating learning. It can be done by oneself, assessing oneself, by peers, with peers, assessing a group, or by an educator. It can happen in person, in real time, remotely, or asynchronously. Assessment is partially testing and grading learners, but it is also a mindfulness that everyone in the learning process shares; it can be formal as well as informal. As teachers, we can only guide and support our learners as we see fit. The aim of assessment is to gage students’ progress, as well as to aid in learning.

The relationship between instructional practices, classroom environment, and assessment is like a triangulation into the betterment of the student. As an individual teacher, my instructional practices are the main element of what I bring to the table, and the environment I foster is a setting for that, as well as a setting for a safe and enriching place for learning. Assessment is a kind of glue that helps bind it all together and standardizes it, to some extent, for the rest of the school, as well as the greater school district. Last semester, in our curriculum studies course, there was an emphasis on the agency of the teacher when it comes to creating course content and activities based on the curriculum. Now, while focusing on assessment, the freedom of said agency is focused in on the bettering of the students’ learning in the way of how and why we assess.

Some things that are important to keep in mind when designing assessment for my classroom are inclusion of those with exceptionalities, and the adaptations or differentiation of content and content delivery that come with inclusion. Also, it is important to consider my own strengths, and when best to use them, or when best to challenge my own weaknesses as an educator. Taking advise, and asking for help when I may need it, is also crucial when growing as an educator. A contemporary approach to assessment is my goal, but I do not want to over-exert myself and have my students suffer for it. One foot in front of the other, with holistic and contemporary pedagogy always in mind.

Treaty Ed

Treaty Ed

1)What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?

  1. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?

The content and its delivery in schools comes from a colonial history. There was a specific effort put forth by the government to strengthen the European ways of thought when our country was in its early stages. The land was valuable for resources, among other things, and maintaining power in this place was necessary. In an oversimplified way, it can be said that this is the basis of our early educational content. This has changed in many ways over the generations, but the Indigenous ways of knowing that were here prior were not prioritized very greatly. Treaty Education, Indigenous ways of knowing, and FNMI content is therefore tantamount because we have a proverbial uphill battle in order to reach any semblance of equity when it comes to educational content. Therefore, it is important to teach this content for all students, especially in situations where there are no, or few, First Nations, Metis, or Inuit people. We see this content in areas such as Social Studies, but as educators become sharper with cross-curricular approaches, it can be incorporated into more subjects. We might not realize it, but the European content spreads across nearly all areas of the curriculum, and in order to decolonize our society we must start by tipping the scale in the direction of FNMI content. Many First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people are aware of, and proud of, their heritage, but many people have lost that part of their identity. It is for this reason that it is important to teach FNMI content to every student.

 

There are aspects to the treaties that can be troubled, but it often goes unnoticed because the treaties, themselves, are seldom taught in some schools. We must not just say “sorry” and feel guilt for the colonial acts of our ancestors, we must take responsibility for the world we currently inhabit. Being treaty people means we create honest and true relationships with one another. Dwayne Donald defined colonialism as “an extended process of denying relationship”. To decolonise it to be mindful of the wrongdoings of the past, and to create and maintain valuable relationships. We are all treaty people, and we must live and breathe this fact, not just understand it intellectually. There are legal rights and obligations that are a part of the treaties, but there are also values of a harmonious relationship that must be lived by that can be instilled in our students by teaching the treaties. We must teach the history of both sides of the treaties. The land of Canada was not ceded as the Eurocentric view assumes, and to teach the troubling aspects of our history, treaties included, is important.

Curriculum as Place

Curriculum as Place

The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to: a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74). List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative. How might you adapt these ideas / consider place in your own subject areas and teaching?

One of the examples of decolonization is in the documentaries the Indigenous youth are tasked with creating. “Fifteen interviews were collected and formed the basis for a short audio documentary, titled The Kistachowan River Knows My Name, which aired in the local community and on Wawatay radio, which reaches a wide audience in northern Ontario.” The documentaries create intergenerational relationships through the interviews, and by airing them on the radio, it spreads the history to a wider audience. The facilitators and the students then go on a trip to the river, to see the land itself. They rename words and areas on the map of the area into the Cree language, and they are encouraged to use Cree in their assignments. The students learned how the Mushkegowuk Cree community perceives land, the environment, and traditional cultural and economic practices in relation to social and economic well-being. They learn about the development proposals in the Treaty 9 region. There are hydro development projects and multiple announcements about potential roads and mining projects. “As the region became seen externally as a new frontier for extractive development, it was also a time of resurgence of Indigenous identities and cultural practices.”

We cannot escape who we are, and where we are and have been is a large part of constructing that. I believe that being a good role model and educator requires one to be honest with themselves, and part of that requires us to actualize where we are and where we have been. I will be reaching out to elders and knowledge keepers in my community to come and talk to my students to incorporate different perspectives in the classroom; a perspective from those with the authority to speak their story. I will also prioritize teaching practices that focus on the land. Teaching the holistic aspect of nature in all subjects in the classroom, and taking our projects outside as well as on field trips and nature walks, are some of the ways this can be accomplished. This must be prioritized because a connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development. I will also post treaty maps in my classroom, as well as maps showing the different nations of Canada pre-colonization.

Math, Numeracy, etc

 

I am almost certain that math was taught in my school years in oppressive and/or discriminatory ways, but I honestly cannot recall. The reason any pedagogical inequity hasn’t stuck with me is likely due to my privilege; I was not learning disabled, neuro-divergent, or otherwise exceptional. I struggled what I would say “the normal amount” when approached math. I don’t know what normal actually is in this regard, but it didn’t come easy to me, and I didn’t have an excessive amount of difficulty to practice and learn the concepts.

Poirier’s article outlines research done by members of the Kativik School Board, and it addresses the ways in which these students were having difficulty in mathematics. The students didn’t learn English or French until the third grade, and their number system is a base20 system, which is  a great divergence from the base10 system that is more widely used. Thanks to the work done through this project, the students continue to use their first language, Inuktitut, during their work with mathematics in the third grade. there is also a divide between their lived experience and the content of their mathematical studies. The methods of teaching are also very different. making the switch from their first language into English, in regards to mathematics, very difficult. The number system in Inuktituk is an oral system which complicates the switch to the Eurocentric math. There is also a different measuring system which does not have a clear equivalence in “western” mathematics. There is a strength with these students when it comes to spatial representation, however, this is not valued in their current curriculum. From the different teaching methods, to the language barriers, this is a challenging switch for these young students.

How did I “read the world”? Which “single stories” were present in my schooling?

I grew up in an area of my hometown that was not very ornate. The houses were in varying degrees of disarray. It was an area where you can see many families that were struggling, fragmented, and lost. Many families were new to Canada. Most of my friends spoke English to me as their second or third language. Their families were large. When I was in the 5th grade, I recall only having one friend who had a small family like mine (one sibling). Everyone was struggling, or so it seems in retrospect. I lived in affordable housing. Many families ate from the food bank, including our own. Very few of our parents drove. I found out later in life that some of my friends’ parents drank frequently and stole merchandise from stores on a regular basis. The corner store by my house had bars on the windows, and my mother would call the store manager and inform him that I am coming to buy her cigarettes, and I would run such errands for her almost daily.

My family moved to Regina, one by one, when I was in the 7th grade, spending part of my school year between two provinces. Our financial situation improved greatly, and I had learned that much of what I had experienced was not a necessity of life. I was the kind of kid who had an attitude. At one of the schools I went to back home, I spent many days in the office. It took me almost the remainder of my grade-school days, until later in my high school years, to turn my attitude around. In my earlier grades, I responded poorly to authority, as did all of my friends. I thought we were lost, and our neighbourhood was perceived as being dangerous. After growing up some, I realized that the neighbourhood was quite alright, albeit mainly working class. Some people still tried to avoid it, but it really wasn’t that dangerous. I changed my attitude towards authority, and many of my old friends are now quite successful and otherwise happy. I once assumed that the community was doomed because of the class-structure that it had, but that was a flawed perception. We were not without our own set of privileges, and we overcame the challenges that we met. I was lucky to have seen so many communities, and I was lucky to have parents who did not give up on their kids or themselves.

As a future teacher, I value transparency. Part of being transparent requires us to be vulnerable. What we think we know about our students can blind us to the opportunities we get each day to learn from them. I had not realized my privilege growing up in poverty, but it was there ,and as a white teacher, “the work of interrupting [my] privilege is never done” (Kumashiro, p. 77). It is my responsibility to acknowledge the things that I do not know, and why I do not know them. It can be difficult to be vulnerable, but it is the first step. And it is important to know that sometimes, when we seek, we do not find. We must keep our head up when we see and feel life’s injustices. When we work hard for something and it goes to the less-deserving; we must remember that this is our perception. We don’t know everything. And life isn’t fair.

A friend of a friend made a Facebook post about their bike getting stolen from inside of their apartment. The bike was eventually retrieved, but there was a weapon fastened to it. The comments on this post were left mainly by individuals who were aghast and they condemned this individual for stealing a bike and carrying around a weapon. One comment, however, stuck out to me. This commenter questioned why this person required a weapon, and why were they out stealing bikes? It was a refreshing perspective that assumed an inherent good in all of us. It reminded the other commenters that this person who was out stealing bikes, carrying a weapon was likely doing so not purely for nefarious reasons, but likely for reasons to do with survival. I have had bikes stolen several times, and I hated it, but nobody dreams of growing up and stealing bikes. It is an unenviable reality. This space, this Facebook status, was in danger of becoming a single story. The refreshing perspective supplied by the aforementioned commenter was a reminder for me to always keep my mind-set on this positive, open-minded side of things, something I think is important for all educators to maintain.

A good student, according to “common sense”

Traditionally, a “good student” is obedient, quiet, and they do their work. They respect authority and meet the expectations of the teacher. Kumashiro had met students who did not behave in this traditional way, but does that mean they are not a good student? Does it mean they are not deserving or capable of the same learning as their traditional “good student” counterparts? Kumashiro says that it is the responsibility of the educator to adapt to the needs of the student. These “common-sense” ideas privilege those who are white and usually male, those who have secure and supportive home-lives, those who do not have physical or mental disabilities, and those who embody the status-quo. When a student is behaving in an unusual way, it is traditionally seen as disobedience. Educators must adapt their expectations to what they find is most beneficial to the student, which might look different than the needs of the “common-sense” student. Understanding someone’s behavior isn’t always easy, and accommodations are often necessary for a more enriched learning atmosphere. Furthermore, the classroom will never be perfect as it is a place of varying learning styles and habits. Students express themselves in different ways, and some have difficulty expressing themselves at all.  Because of the diversity within the classroom, common-sense ideas in education are detrimental to inclusive praxis in pedagogy.

Four models of curriculum

Four models of curriculum described in the article are,

  1. Curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted

An approach to curriculum theory and practice which focuses on syllabus is only really concerned with content.

  1. Curriculum as product

Curriculum as product is an approach to curriculum that is based in rationality and relative simplicity. “Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students.”

  1. Curriculum as process

“What happens in classrooms.” (Catherine Cornbleth 1990)

“The attempt to describe what happens in classrooms.” (Stenhouse)

Lawrence Stenhouse made the analogy of curriculum as a recipe in cookery; “A curriculum, like the recipe for a dish, is first imagined as a possibility, then the subject of experiment. The recipe offered publicly is in a sense a report on the experiment.“(Stenhouse 1975). “Outcomes are no longer the central and defining feature… content and means develop as teachers and students work together.” “The focus is on interactions.” “A process approach to curriculum theory and practice tends towards making the process of learning the central concern of the teacher. This is because this way of thinking emphasizes interpretation and meaning-making.”

  1. Curriculum as praxis

“In this approach, the curriculum itself develops through the dynamic interaction of action and reflection.” Praxis is informed, committed action. It can be recognized as practice that focuses on collective understandings, a commitment expressed in action to the exploration of educators’ values and their practices, and educators to explore their practice with their peers.

 

I can explicitly recall the first three models of curriculum being present when I was in school, and I can surmise that curriculum was praxis was at play as well, however, I don’t have an overt memory or example of it. There is an importance to each approach because of the different types of learners as well as the strengths and preferences of the educators.

Kumashiro and Common-Sense

Kumashiro’s introduction is interesting. His time in Nepal definitely challenged what his notion of common sense was, from mundane tasks to big picture ideas. Even though he was brought to bring an outsider’s perspective to the school in Nepal, he was scoffed at and confronted over the fact that he had a different approach. Even the Peace Corps had reinforced “American” values and “common sense”. I found the testimonial experience to be an insightful and layered illustration of his professional epiphany regarding common sense.

On the surface, common sense seems to be something that it omnipresent and neutral. Kumashiro shows that what is common sense for one may be novel or alien to another. He elaborates on the idea, noting that schooling is not neutral, either. We must learn, to the best of our abilities, which ideas in schooling are in fact rooted in a certain perspective? Challenging the “common-sense” is difficult because it is engrained into the curriculum, and these “normal” ways of teaching are seen as “professional” and “effective”. It is also comforting to stick with the status quo because we have been taught that it is moral or normal.

The customs teachers adhere to must be in flux while being well-informed. If not, we risk privileging some and marginalizing others. The systemic privileges are built into the education system; into the curriculum. Kumashiro finishes his introduction by listing four overlapping approaches to anti-oppressive education:
1. Improving the experiences of students who have traditionally been treated in harmful ways.

  1. Changing the knowledge that all students have about people in this world who have traditionally been labeled “different”.
  2. Challenging the broader (and often invisible) dynamics in society that privilege certain groups and identities and marginalize others.
  3. Addressing reasons why anti-oppressive education is often difficult to practice.

 

I want to thank you for the resource, and the introduction to the concept of anti-oppressive education. A big takeaway for me was that anti-oppressive education is premised on the notion that its work is never done.