Mathematics in the Inuit Community

Prompts:

  1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human world views. Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics. Were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
  2. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

Responses:

  1. After learning about the Inuit ways of knowing and learning math, I believe that the ways I was taught math, were geared toward western ways of knowing rather than Indigenous ways of knowing. There was a right and a wrong answer, and it was not practical. I am struggling now in even everyday math problems because I was not taught how to apply it. Math how I learned it was also discriminatory  based on learning abilities. For example, in the 30 level maths, there were only a few of us still comprehending the content. There was not a lot of accommodation regarding learning abilities.
  2. 3 ways Inuit ways of knowing math that differ from Eurocentric:
    • Practical ways of measuring, such as by the length of an arm, rather than units such as inches or metres.
    • Scale was based off of 20, not 10. Thus, they did not begin repeating until they reached 400, rather than 100.
    • There were various (sometimes up to 6) ways of describing numbers/measurements, rather than one way.
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“We are all Treaty People”: More than Just Words

Email Prompt: 

“As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada . I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke.

The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. 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. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.”

This is a real issue in schools. As you think about what TreatyEdCamp offered, as you listen to Dwayne’s invitation/challenge, as you listen to Claire’s lecture and as you read Cynthia’s narrative – use these resources and your blog to craft a response to this student’s email. Consider the following questions:

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

Information I would include in my response:

  • Equity: in regard to standard of living, Indigenous peoples receive inequitable funding for education, healthcare, and other essential services. It is crucial that non-Indigenous peoples know these inequities and the reasons for them, in order to help bridge the gap for a more equitable and sustainable system.
  • Relationships: relationships is one of the guiding ways of knowing for Indigenous peoples. Building meaningful and genuine relationships with Indigenous peoples is a step toward reconciliation. When we build relationships, we not only show that person trust, patience, and loyalty, but we are able to gain an understanding of what we can do to work together. Whether that be addressing an issue or simply being there as a friend or companion, relationships are crucial.
  • Understand the past and present so we can reconcile for a better future: when we know the traumas and injustices of the past and present (i.e. residential schools, foster system and overrepresentation in jails), we are able to understand our role in reconciliation to create a better tomorrow for everyone. It is important to look to the future in a positive light because otherwise, we will not get anything accomplished.

“We are all Treaty people” is more than just words. Acknowledgements are meaningless if we do not have the understanding and education to know what those words mean. Simply put, this phrase means that we all have right to uphold. If you own land, you are exercising a Treaty right. Treaties have not adjusted with the ever-increasing standard of living, which has created a significant gap in funding and provision of services. We must learn what Treaties represent so that we know how to responsibly and respectfully exercise our rights and advocate for an equitable system.

We are not fully engaged citizens until we understand our shared history, because it is a part of our collective identity.

The Realness of School Curricula

curriculum1How do you think that school curricula are developed? This is an entry point to this topic and whatever you write will be fine.

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?


Prior to the reading, I thought school curricula were developed by subject specialists along with the Ministry of Education, with input from parents and stakeholders that hold an interest in the subject (i.e. for physical education curricula, Saskatchewan Physical Education Association would be consulted).

After completing the reading, I learned that curricula is political because of the impact that politics has on public policy. Voters may very well decide the decisions about curricula that will be in place when they vote in a political leader. Political leaders will do what they can to make their voters happy, and if their base is highly conservative, well, the government will likely make decisions based on far-right views. That is, if the governing party has enough time to implement all of the changes they they had promised (the four-year election cycle is not as long as it seems in regard to public policy).

I am concerned that voters often do not know the detriment they may cause when they elect a new leader. For example, Doug Ford will likely do more harm to Ontario’s residents than Kathleen Wynne ever did, but because Wynne had been in a negative spotlight for her exuberant spending, many voters would have done anything for a change, even if that includes electing Ford. Voters can be short-sighted when they are outraged, and that is concerning.

 

 

 

Week 4: What Does it Mean to be a “Good” Student?

Respond to the following prompt:

  • What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the common sense?
  • Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student?
  • What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these common sense ideas?

I believe that according to the common sense, being a “good” student is being diligent, processing information that is given to us, and doing what is expected of us, and no less than that standard.

The students that are privileged by this notion of a “good” student are the students that are not inquisitive and do not want to learn through inquiry and self-education. Additionally, students who are armed with the tools in order to be successful and meet the expectations of them, are privileged by this notion (think students who are able to pay attention, and the ability to be at school and get their homework done on time).

What is made impossible to understand because of these common sense ideas is anything beyond the expectations that are placed upon us by our authoritarians.

ECS 210 Response: Unpacking a Piece by Aristotle

Response to a Prompt: Choose a quotation related to education. It might be a quote from lecture, a quote from the list posted here, or a quote you found independently. In a post, unpack that quote.

  • Think about what it makes possible and impossible in education.
  • What does it say about the teacher, about the student?
  • How does it relate to your own understandings of curriculum and of school?

I am choosing the following quote to respond to:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle

I chose this quote because I have often thought about this exact notion in the past. I have also experienced it myself and witnessed it in others.

I found this blog that helps to explain how this quote may be interpreted. There is a lot of overlap between their understanding of Aristotle’s quote and my own general understanding of it.

Simply put, it is crucial to be able to “tear apart” an idea or notion, fully examine it, and see both sides of the equation. After unraveling the pros, cons, and effects of said idea, is one able to use what they have learned from their analysis and practically use what they have learned?

Another aspect I understand of this quote is not accepting anything at face value. Just because there are popular views about ideas, does not mean that those views are valid.

There are limitations of this quote, especially with the use of the term “educated”. Just because someone can acknowledge an idea and even intelligently unpack it, does not mean that they are educated. I am sure that lots of formally uneducated individuals are able to take into consideration ideas without accepting them at face value.

As educators, we often have one way of thinking about ideas, and we pass on those biases to our students. Even curriculum-writers have biases. But, who are we to say what is meaningful to teach? It is time to stop endorsing our biases and rather, learn the depths of an idea, and then continue learning about that idea, through research and communicating with others. It is only then that we can firmly endorse an idea.

Additionally, I think that people are often not as “wrong” and often not as “right” as we believe. It is often the people who have not critically analyzed ideas, that are the most confident. This confidence often translates into the general population believing that these ideas are the correct ones. Thus, the people who have critically analyzed ideas often do not know how to coherently and confidently communicate their truths. Either way, it is important that we do not always just nod our heads to agree with others’ ideas. We need to do the background work ourselves, but unfortunately many of us do not “have time” for this. In other words, we do not make time for this.

We owe it to our students and to humanity as a whole to provoke and support diverse thinking. Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, and how true this is…

 

ECS 210 Response: The Problem of Common Sense

Reading: Introduction. The problem of common sense (Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI).

Reading response: Respond to the following writing prompt: How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?


Kumashiro defines (through his story) ‘common sense’ as the way we have been trained, taught or accustomed to see and do things. Kushamiro’s common sense was much different from that of her Nepali students’.

It is so important to pay attention to the common sense because it can blind us. What is considered common sense to each one of us and the societies we “belong to” are often seen as superior to others’ common sense in our own eyes. This leads to oppression and being ignorant and blind to others’ ways of learning, teaching, and living. Not only acknowledging, but working to unravel and disrupt, our own ideas of common sense enable us to change the that ideas are understood. If persistent, this unraveling and disturbance can eventually lead to a revolution in working through oppression.

EOE224 Digital Story: Connections of Learning and Becoming Through Outdoor Education

I invite you to watch my connections of learning and becoming through Outdoor Education unfold. I want to thank my instructor Audrey for nurturing the learning opportunities over the course; my classmates for helping me to learn alongside them; and the many guests that supplemented the growth of my Outdoor Education philosophies. In this course, I have learned more about myself and the interconnectedness of beings than I ever thought possible.

 


References

Kimmerer, R. W. (2014). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions.

Louv, R. (2006). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books.

Newbery, L. (2012). Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring Contested Space of Outdoor Environmental Education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 12. Retrieved from https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/article/view/1112/653

Orange, L. (2017). EOE224. Retrieved from https://lacybecomesateacher.wordpress.com/category/eoe224/

EOE224 Week 13: New Friends and Field Trips

This week was quite eventful. We had guests from Prairie Sky School here in Regina, and we also took a field trip downtown to explore some art pieces. The art piece that my group visited was in the courtyard of City Hall. The art piece was fairly large and it exists to honour the relations of immigrants (i.e. Ukrainians) to the founders of this land (Indigenous peoples). The piece on the West side of the courtyard reads “Tawaw” (meaning “welcome” in Cree), among other terms, phrases, symbols and landscapes engraved into the metal.

Further Southeast of this art piece is another kind of art piece, though I don’t know if I could call its subject a work of art. The art piece is a statue of John A. MacDonald, a founding father of Confederation, and detrimentally, the creator of residential schools, the beginning of many long years of cultural genocide to Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

This week, I felt closer to my classmates than I ever had throughout the semester. I felt like we were a big family at this point. I’m really going to miss them and the learning that we were each a part of together.

I have to admit that I did not do my place bonding this week. I have been mentally overwhelmed and told myself “I don’t have time for this”. I know that I was really just enabling the overwhelming feeling to grow, and that I was contradicting myself: if I had done my place sitting, I would have actually felt a lot better.

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ECS200 Volunteer Experience: Speers Funeral Chapel – Final Reflections

THREE things I learned:

  1. No two services will ever be the same. Every individual is unique, and I find that the funeral services truly aim to reflect who the individual was, what they valued, and how they lived out their life. Funerals are not about drawing on the negative aspects of one’s life, but celebrating the cherished memories that their family and friends may have shared with them. I believe this puts some amount of pressure on whomever is officiating the service (this may be an Elder, celebrant, priest or pastor) to gather a large amount of information about the deceased’s life in a small time frame. How the officiant conveys this information may have either a positive or negative impact on the funeral guests.
  2. Funeral directors and workers must put their personal opinions aside when arranging for and working a funeral. Although we may not have shared religious beliefs or general values with the deceased or their family members and friends, we must put our biases aside and attend to the deceased and their loved ones first. While this may be thought of as difficult to do, I don’t think it’s as difficult as one would imagine, i.e. honouring the wishes of the deceased is sort of the last thing we are able to do on Earth for them. Our objective is to help honour the deceased to our best ability.
  3. Just because someone has passed away, does not mean that they are able to receive the same services or memorials as others. In an ideal world, this would be the case. Funerals are costly, and because some families receive assistance from Social Services, for example, they may not be able to get the casket or urn that they would have chosen had they had the money to purchase it. There are certainly options that are provided for every family; however, the choices are limited. This is not necessarily a result of the funeral home, but rather shows a greater effect of marginalization in society (i.e. inequitable funding, etc.).

TWO connections I made:

  1. Hearing the dedications to the deceased at a service makes me think about how short life is. As family members or friends of the deceased say words about their late family or friend’s life, I can’t help drawing a picture in my head about their life adventures or the conversations they may have had with their loved ones. Of course, lives are often not lived 100 per cent good or 100 per cent bad, but hearing about the positive impacts that some individuals have had on those that they knew, really motivates me to consider my own life. I ask myself, “What will my legacy be when I pass away?” I want to be remembered not necessarily for doing one amazing thing in my life, but in having even a small positive impact on a few people, would make me happy.
  2. Helping out at funerals and generally being in the setting of a funeral chapel, has certainly enabled me to become more comfortable with death. Prior to volunteering at Speers, I had a concept of death, but I was scared. I was scared because not only did I not know what life after death would look like (none of us do, really), but I also didn’t like the fact that my earthly life would be over: I wouldn’t be around my loved ones or do my favourite things. I was also worried about no longer being able to try to make a difference in this world. However, reflecting on what I have taken in from my experiences at funerals and around those who are comfortable with death, I have realized that what I do on Earth can make a lasting difference. Hearing a loved one’s eulogy about how they have been impacted by the deceased can be truly moving. Plus if the people who help honour my life when I die are anything like the people at Speers, I can rest assured that I will be in good hands at my funeral.

ONE question I still have:

If I am helping someone with their grief (not professionally, but more as a friend or acquaintance), to what extent do I explain what my own views of death are? Everyone is comfortable to a different extent, and I don’t want to push my beliefs on anyone.

EOE224 Week 12: Embracing Discomfort

This week was sunny but frigid, plus I didn’t have mittens this week as they were at a friend’s house – big mistake.

It was fun to be active while playing a game called “Oh Deer”. It was a great way to connect with my peers and, I think, an effective means of socialization. Even though not a lot of dialogue was needed or used, the fact that we had to link up with someone across from us was a fun way of connecting. Audrey mentioned that this was a great way to bring in cross curricular connections, such as math, science and environmental education – even physical education. However, she also mentioned that outdoor education is not always about games. Through this game, there was no level of recognition of the land or historic ways of connecting events (Indigenous peoples and the traumas that have occurred on the land, for example).

I place bonded for 10 minutes…yes, a whole 10 minutes! I never thought this would be possible. Although it was frigidly cold (still didn’t have mittens at this point), I was able to lose myself, so to speak, in my surroundings. As I have learned to appreciate the land and the outdoors more than in the beginning of this course, I have a much more positive attitude toward my outdoor surroundings. I am not as phased by the cold weather and I don’t spend all the time I am outside complaining rather than being thankful for the beautiful Earth we have been given, and the relationships we are offered through it. I don’t try to ignore what could cause me discomfort, but rather embrace it and try to learn from it.