ECS 210 Curriculum as a Cultural and Social Practice Grading Criteria for Curriculum as Process: Summary of Learning
Here is my Summary of Learning Narrative. ECS 210 has been a journey of my changing understanding of curriculum, my approach to curriculum and uncomfortable learnings. Enjoy!
Here is the link to just the PowerPoint slides (without audio):
Welcome to my video about my summary of learning through ECS 210 about the complexity of curriculum.
1. The evolution process of my understanding of curriculum is apparent in my blog posts throughout the semester. Before this class, I did not think about single stories and how I have been affected by them, but in my first blog I engage with commonsense in education as a form of a single story; "the norms of schooling, like the norms of society, privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others and on the basis of race, class … and other social markers … has become normal … it has become normal for [some people] to experience oppression." (Kumashiro, 2009, XXXVI)
I used to think that commonsense, and other single stories, were not dependent on the location of a group of people. Now, I know that “commonsense … is learned by newcomers in a new culture and is known by locals because they are accustomed to the norm, they have been raised by/with commonsense” (Is It Commonsense To Know What Commonsense Is?, 11/1/2017). I think my understanding of curriculum in this way has changed, because I didn’t acknowledge commonsense in my life, such as in school, before ECS 210. The single story that I have experienced, and is still present in schools, is that of the white, Western, male. I did not know the prominence of this single story before this course, which may be different than the single story in another society. I’ve recently realized that the curriculum does not have to be discriminatory or oppressive, but schools “[illustrate] colonialism in a hidden way” (Curriculum as Numeracy, 20/3/2017). The curriculum is not as accepting towards everyone as I once assumed it was. For example, I had no idea that mathematics could be oppressive, “I thought ‘how can numbers be bias or reinforce colonialism?’” (Curriculum as Numeracy, 20/3/2017). I know that curriculum includes everything in society that affects schools, such as politics, numeracy, culture, written, planned and taught, place, hidden curriculum (what is taught in schools and the message it sends) null curriculum (what schools do not teach), lived experiences, and context. I have begun to understand curriculum better, including what is hidden within it.
My understanding of the efficiency of curriculum has change throughout the course. Before ECS 210, I thought that the curriculum was not efficient about what is taught and how to teach it, because during my schooling many teachers would rush through units because we were running out of time in the semester, regardless if students understood it or not. This lead me to believe that the curriculum demanded too much content to be taught in not enough time. The formal Saskatchewan curriculum is a long document, so I feel that I would miss teaching something to my students. This understanding of the curriculum has changed because I know now that getting through the desired outcomes in the formal curriculum is not impossible as it once seemed to be. Furthermore, Tyler’s rationale, in which the formal curriculum models, is efficient. An efficient curriculum “allows for students to get information quickly and have an educational experience” (Tyler’s Rationale, or is it just Tyler’s?, 16/1/2017). The curriculum is efficient in that students behaviour can be changed, because “educational objectives are essentially changes in human beings” (Schiro, 2013, p. 60), I have only recently looked at education in this simple way. My understanding of the efficiency of the formal curriculum has changed.
2. My approach to curriculum is not to do what is traditional of education, because my main role is to not only meet the outcomes, but to engage my students while doing so. If students are not engaged in their learning, they will not remember what they learn. I do not want to follow the Tyler Rationale, instead, I want my students to explore, explain, elaborate, engage and evaluate as a part of the inquiry process. Inquiry-based projects focus on curriculum as process and is an interdisciplinary approach, which is important for me to teach towards. Also, inquiry-based projects would enhance the curriculum as I involve students in their learning and allow students to make the formal curriculum more relevant to them, by utilizing their interests and talents. For example, I wrote, “perhaps [I could] incorporate [content] into what [students] already enjoy/know how to do. …this could include drama, maps, visuals, … planting a garden, writing/singing a song, making videos, using clay, [and much more] … Working with the students and catering to their interests and capabilities may make them more accepting of new content” (Dear Pre-service Teacher, 28/2/2017). I want to use the power that I have in transmitting the formal curriculum in my classroom to enhance the curriculum. Inquiry-based projects is just one strategy to engage students while meeting the necessary outcomes, which is my main role.
Furthermore, I also have a role to teach students to develop their own opinions by leading their own learning. I do not want to teach in a way that reinforces what is right and wrong. I can help with this by providing multiple perspectives so that students can be exposed to a variety of understandings to form their own story, not a single story, such as in my schooling experience by learning only “about Christian, white, privileged, Democratic perspectives” (Single Stories, 13/3/2017). Furthermore, I want to inform students to be able to choose literature that is anti-racist because “when students read literature by only certain groups of people, they learn about only certain experiences and perspectives” (Kumashiro, 2010, p. 61). The formal curriculum that is in place also has a hidden curriculum, in which I unknowingly reinforce as the transmitter of curriculum. Due to this, I must be careful about what I say to my students so that I do not influence their perspectives. I am worried that I will say the wrong thing to my students and reinforce negative stereotypes or beliefs. Although I want to meet the necessary outcomes, I strive to provide students with agency over their learning.
3. ECS 210 has shaped how I look at Treaty Education. Before this course, I thought that Treaty Education would be difficult to incorporate while meeting all the necessary outcomes, so I was hesitant to teach Treaty Education. I thought ‘what if other subjects and the corresponding outcomes are not taught because Treaty Education has replaced them?’ I also didn’t know a lot about Treaty Education, which made me uncomfortable because my peers knew more about it, and I felt obligated to know more. I have become more open and willing to incorporate Treaty Education in my classes, even interdisciplinary. My beliefs about Treaty Education have changed since I had the opportunity to contribute to an interdisciplinary lesson plan with Treaty Education for the Curriculum as Written, Planned and Taught assignment. This has allowed me to see how seamlessly Treaty Education can be incorporated into various curriculum outcomes and indicators in various subjects. However, I am still concerned about how I will handle students, parents or coworkers that defy my teaching of Treaty Education. My blog post, “Dear Pre-service Teacher”, has helped me to deal with my uncomfortableness regarding defiance. I think that the most important reasoning for including Treaty Education or any FNMI Content and Perspectives is that “if children, citizens of our society, do not know about other cultures and diversity, there is a chance of harm towards minorities” (Dear Pre-service Teacher, 28/2/2017). My learning process in ECS 210 has shaped my understanding of Treaty Education in a positive way, my comfort and knowledge about Treaty Education has increased due to the opportunity to teach Treaty Education to my peers.
Thanks for watching my video about my learning experiences about curriculum and uncomfortable learnings in ECS 210.
Kumashiro. (2009). The Problem of Common Sense, In Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning
Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI.
Kumashiro, Kevin. (2010). Against Common Sense. Routledge. Retrieved from
Schiro, M. (2013). Social Efficiency Ideology. In Curriculum Theory; conflicting visions and enduring concerns,
2nd edition. Retrieved from
http://ecs210.wikispaces.com/file/view/Schiro_2013_Social_Efficiency_Ideology_of_Curriculu m%20copy.pdf/593340440/Schiro_2013_Social_Efficiency_Ideology_of_Curriculum%20copy .pdf
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 worldviews. ... 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.
1. I never knew there was a different way that Inuit, or other Indigenous groups, learned/used mathematics, so that is an oppressive and discriminatory experience of the teaching of mathematics that the curriculum makers and my past teachers are responsible for. My mathematics classes were only based on the Western view; linear, singular, static, objective, rational, knowledge for the sake of knowledge, written (Little Bear, 2000). This illustrated colonialism in a hidden way, from my perspective. I only realize during Gale Russel’s presentation that curriculum could be in the form of numeracy. I guess I thought "how can numbers be bias or reinforce colonialism", it didn’t seem to fit. Students that viewed math differently than the Western way, for example, refugees or Indigenous peoples, had no other option but to learn math the way Westerners learn math. It’s this way or no way, that’s how I felt my mathematics schooling experience was like, I needed to follow a step by step procedure to get the correct answer. The objectiveness in my past Western mathematics experience “concerns itself with quantity not quality” (Little Bear, 2000, p. 5). In addition, if a student didn’t use the learned procedure, it was a negative thing, whereas, “in Aboriginal societies, diversity is the norm” (Little Bear, 2000, p. 6).
2. Inuit mathematics uses oral representations, not numerals. This illustrates the importance of oral traditions in their culture and passing down knowledge orally. Eurocentric mathematics use numerals more than oral representations, if any. This shows the contrasting Inuit and Eurocentric ideas about the way to learn mathematics. Because of the oral representations of numbers in Inuit mathematics, each number has different forms according to the context, whereas, in Eurocentric mathematics 2 + 2 always equals 4.
Eurocentric ways view mathematics as “something that can help [us] solve everyday problems” (p. 55), whereas, Inuit peoples ideas disagree. Inuit peoples use math at an early age to learn counting and patterns, such as cosmic cycles of the year (seasons, eclipses, phases of the moon). This is a different way that Euro-Western peoples use mathematics. For example, I use math in the grocery store, to calculate the right amount on my pay check and to set the dinner table when there’s company. These examples are Eurocentric ideas about the purpose of mathematics in everyday life. Inuit mathematics could be useful in teaching kids mathematics because many students struggle with learning Eurocentric mathematics, including myself.
Inuit do not use “paper-and-pencil exercises … [and instead] are based on the ‘natural’ ways of learning” (Poirier, 2007, p. 5). This illustrates that the purpose of mathematics is to have a relationship with the environment and to gain knowledge from animate objects used in Inuit mathematics, because everything in the universe has knowledge. This reflects Inuit worldviews, social constructions and values in their community.
Bear, L. L. (2000). Jagged worldviews colliding. In M. Batiste (Ed.), Reclaiming Indigenous voice and vision (pp. 77-85). UBC Press. Retrieved from
Poirier, L. (2007). Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community. In Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 7(1), p. 53-67. Retrieved from
Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered? How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
I have been surrounded by people during my upbringing who are Democratic and do not see Indigenous peoples as equals, but instead people who steal the government’s money. This influences how I read the world because I can chose to blindly agree with those people by getting information just from them, or I can gather more information and form my own opinions. Because I have never had much of an interest in politics or a good understanding of, I have used my Democratic peers/family members to gather political information about certain topics. This influences my vision of the world to be only how I am told it is. Unlearning and working against these surrounded biases is entirely dependent on the learner that takes in their surroundings, me in this case, and how the learner uses the information given to him/her.
Also, I have been raised in the south east of Regina, in Wascana Circle. The south east and Wascana Circle are often associated with wealthy families who pay lots of taxes for health care that they don’t need to use. This extends into the fact that mostly white people, like myself, live in this area. In addition, I went to W.S. Hawrylak School within the same community, which is associated with rich and snobby kids because students use iPads and it’s a large school with a population of about 600 students. There were no Aboriginal peoples in my school, which blinded me from other stories and worldviews, I had a 'single story'. The biases that people in the community have discriminate against other racial group, which is a lens that I bring into my future classroom. In a classroom I cannot reinforce these biases, or else my students will be influenced. I need to teach my students to be open-minded, accepting and appreciate diversity, so I must analyze my biases.
In high school at Luther College High School, a “single story”, or at least one that was pushed on students the most, was the story of God and the Bible. Although it is a Lutheran school, many of the students did not chose to attend the school because of its religious influence. The truth about God and how the universe was created was the one truth that mattered to the structure of the school. Luther's slogan is "Quality education in a Christian context". The Christian and Western worldview were also reinforced through literature. Kumashiro (2010) writes, "when students read literature by only certain groups of people, they learn about only certain experiences and perspectives” (p. 61). This is how I have felt throughout my schooling, only learning about Christian, white, privileged, Democratic perspectives. Because I have experienced this one-sided approach to education, I challenge myself to give my students all of the facts and multiple perspectives so that students can form their own opinions.
Kumashiro, Kevin. (2010). Against Common Sense. Routledge. Retrieved from <http://www.myilibrary.com?ID=10708>
What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? Explore what this curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.
In my K-8 schooling at W.S. Hawrylak shapes "what good citizenship is and what good citizens do" (Westheimer, 2003, p. 47), according to the schools' Canadian values. For example, the national anthem was played every morning, which made possible for students to participate in this form of citizenship (personally responsible citizen) or not and engrained nationalism into students' heads. Furthermore, in grade 6-8, students could vote and run for the SRC which made it possible for students to potentially become involved in the school and society. The opportunity to vote in grades 6-8, regardless of anything, meant that all students were citizens of the school and had rights. For the students who just voted and did not run, including myself, it was mandatory to vote which enforced personally responsible citizens in the school. Also, every grade 6-8 student had to listen to the speeches of the SRC candidates, which allows the voting students a glimpse of what a participatory citizen involved and what they could work towards. This illustrates what one Canadian school think democracy involves. Westheimer (2003) writes, "when we get specific about what democracy requires and about what kind of school curricula will best promote it, much of [the] consensus [about democracy] falls away" (Westheimer, 2003, p. 49). At W.S. Hawrylak, "good citizens in a democracy ... take active parts in political processes by voting ... and working on political campaigns" (Westheimer, 2003, p. 49).
Although SRC was a good way to involve the older students in the school in a meaningful way, it was a popularity contest. Those that won the majority vote were favored by students and teachers. This makes it impossible for a citizen/student who lacks popularity, SRC leader, even if the students has good intentions, goals and the ability to make a change. This implies that only certain people can become good citizens, so students that thought they were unpopular did not even try to run for SRC. The push for students to participate somehow in a mini-democracy may be due to a desire for Canadians to take advantage of their right to vote. Often, "the biggest declines [of voting rates] are among young people" (Westheimer, 2003, p. 49), so schools attempt to encourage this democratic privilege.
In addition, once a year there was Earth Day which meant that the older students in the school would participate in cleaning up the playground. This can be questioned, because it seems that the only encouragement students were offered to clean up the playground was that it would help the school's space look more presentable. The motivation is an important factor in why many of us, even as adults, act as 'good' citizens. It would be more beneficial for students if they cleaned up the surrounding neighbour hoods every week, not just on Earth Day. Students were given the idea that they made a difference, and they did because the playground was cleaner, but there's always more that could be done. The most basic citizenship, personally responsible citizen, is what was encouraged, and nothing more.
During fall semester last year, Mike received an email from an intern asking for help. Here's part of it:
"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 listen to Dwayne's invitation/challenge, as you listen to Claire's lecture and as you read Cynthia's narrative - use 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"?
Dear Pre-Service Teacher,
It saddens me that some students feel that teaching FNMI Content and Perspectives is a waste of time. In reality, FNMI Content and Perspectives gives students, who are not First Nations, Inuit or Metis, an opportunity to be culturally diverse. This is important to form a society that is not ignorant or set in their own cultural ways. The need of schooling, I think, and for curriculum is “to live [and] to make a livelihood that does no harm” (Chambers, p. 33). If children, citizens of our society, do not know about other cultures and diversity, there is a chance of harm towards minorities. For example, my parents, went to school at a time that FNMI Content and Perspectives were not included in the curriculum and there were no discussions about their history/culture at all. Now, when there is growing awareness of Aboriginal issues in Saskatchewan and Canada, our parents turn a blind eye or immediately go against Aboriginal peoples. You may consider asking parents and students to come to an open house in your classroom about FNMI Content and Perspectives, and use the curriculum as backup for your reasoning to teach about Canada's history involving First Nations. Many parents can be ignorant and/or unknowledgeable about diversity, specifically FNMI Content and Perspectives, in Canada. Nonetheless as a teacher, we should strive to change this overwhelmingly popular attitude.
Perhaps when you reintroduce the topic to white students you could try to incorporate Treaty Education into what they already enjoy/know how to do. For example, this could include drama, maps, visuals, etc. Working with the students and catering to their interests and capabilities may make them more accepting of new content. Claire Kreuger illustrated this with various inquiry-based projects; planting a garden, writing/singing a song, making videos, using clay, etc. This caters to all students interests and engages them while learning something very important. The projects also allow the teacher and students to learn alongside one another, which demonstrates an example of a relationship that treaties involve.
“We are all treaty people” literally means, to me, that we are all users of treaty land that once did not belong to white settlers. Due to this fact, everyone in Canada must acknowledge this and act upon it. In schools, this should be acted upon by learning extensively about Aboriginal peoples’ history and culture, especially how both relate to Canadian history. The statement means that the relationships behind the treaty are more important than the treaty document that has been signed, as Kreuger said. This means that within the curriculum, the strive to see Indigenous peoples as equal is not an Indigenous problem, it is a white problem. Parents should be informed about controversial issues so that discussions can happen at home and issues of Aboriginal people in the media and literature should be discussed. This considers that the discussions about treaties involve everyone, treaties are a relationship with everyone who utilizes the land.
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)
1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.
2. How might you adapt these ideas to considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?
Reinhabitation takes place in the article's narrative as the elder, youth, and adults discuss the environment as their place. They identify and recover nature/environment as a place where the elders grew up and as a place where the youth should learn and will benefit their health. The narrative also discussed how to live well in the environment, such as near a river. The river is used for “fishing, hunting, camping … it’s also very beautiful, its pristine, and of course, it being a river, it also carries water that’s important for human life; it carries water, and its clean” (Restoule, 2013, p. 74). This illustrates a connection to nature and a purpose; how we live with it will determine its usefulness. In my own teaching, I could take my students on field trips to show the connection that Aboriginals have with nature all the time compared to my students' short time of feeling connected to nature. Actually experiencing something hands on will ensure my students' learn it and will benefit.
Decolonization takes place as the youth, adults and elders use media “to communicate the messages to the wider community about the experiences and perspectives of youth, adults and elders, about the river" (Restoule, 2013, p. 74) This identifies and changes other’s ways of thinking and exposing others to different spaces, such as a river. It also creates intergenerational relationships, something that many people may not be familiar with, especially if not from an Aboriginal community/background.
Language also is another example of both rein habitation and decolonization. Cree is being used less and less among Aboriginal peoples. The article mentioned that the youth use less specific words for things than the elders did and this is considered, to the elders, as a loss of culture. In my future thinking, I can introduce a variety of Aboriginal languages to my students. A constant reminder of Aboriginal culture and language would be to label items throughout the classroom. That act by itself should not be the only act, though, it should be paired with other efforts. Residential schools are an example of how language has been decolonized. In my own teaching I must consider the places that my students have been and what they have experienced. Students’ experiences, or lack off, may put them at an advantage or disadvantage for formal curriculum outcomes, in which I need to adapt my teaching to accommodate their experiences. This includes being sensitive and accepting of the familial struggles that Aboriginal families have gone through with residential schooling, possibly including loss of language for that particular family.
Restoule, J.P., Gruner, S., Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing. Canadian Journal of Education 32 (2), pg. 68-86.
Before you do the reading ask yourself the following question: how do you think that school curricula are developed? This is an entry point to this topic and whatever you write will be fine.
After doing the reading, please write your blog entry. Reflect upon:
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?
I think that government officials and a few teachers create the formal curriculum. I assume that people who have good experience in education participate. I think that this process involves a lot of meetings and discussions, which may result in a long process, maybe even taking a couple years. I know that students are very very rarely involved in the process. If major changes are made to the curriculum, parents, teachers, and school board staff can vote on the changes, I think. In addition, I do not think the personalities of the people who participate in creating the formal curriculum need to be good. I think that just someone to do the job is desired.
According to Levin (2007), the process of formal curriculum involves a group of experts, including government officials, teachers, principals, senior administrators and elected local authorities. The group is organized/directed by the ministries of Education. The current curriculum is reviewed and suggestions are made and agreed upon in regards to what could be changed for the new curriculum. Then, a draft may be released and a final version of the curriculum is created. The process could take several years, like I expected. The implementation of the curriculum does not seem to be enforced very strictly. I think accurate research behind the new curriculum, and a very big push to implement it, would be beneficial, or if teachers were properly educated on the new aspects of the curriculum.
I did not know that post-secondary staff decided, in correlation with high schools, the entrance requirements and, therefore, influences the formal curriculum. This makes sense; post-secondary staff must take into considerations what courses are available in the area for students to be eligible to enter a certain program. It never crossed my mind! In addition, I have known since high school that certain high schools offer different courses to take as electives, based on the school’s values, etc., but I did not think about this as the school contributing to the curriculum, this is surprising to view in that way. It makes senses because not every school should offer the exact same courses, I think, because this limits students to certain career paths for their future and limits individual interests.
It surprises me that experts on a certain subject are involved less in the formal curriculum process than I thought. Levin (2008) argues that experts do not consider/are not familiar with the actual teaching of the subject and lower expertise of learners than what they may be used to. I think teachers could learn from someone in an area of expertise and benefit students that are affected by the formal curriculum, including effective implementation. Levin (2008) states, “There is a large gap between producing a curriculum and the experience of students in the classroom. … Classroom practice can be [far] from [the] new curricula and … a change in curricula can have [little impact] on teaching practice.” (p. 20). This illustrates the reality of what happens after the curriculum has been changed, which is concerning to me. I would assume that when teachers are told that they need to change what or how they’re teaching that they do so immediately. However, I can understand that it can be difficult to change something that some teachers may have been doing their entire career or disagree with.
I am surprised and concerned at how much politics is involved in the creation of the formal curriculum. Levin (2008) writes, "elected government are subject to pressures and constraints based on voter preferences, election timing, and the views of key interest groups" (p. 9). The pressure of the public on government officials who make/change education policies could influence the formal curriculum in good or bad ways, after all, "[government tries] to do what votes want" (Levin, 2008, p. 9)
Levin, B. (2008). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be learned in schools. In F. Connelly, M. He & J. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction (pp. 7–24). Retrieved from: http://www.corwin.com/upm-data/16905_Chapter_1.pdf.
What does it mean to be a "good" student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?
Being a good student, according to common sense, is repeating exactly what teachers have taught the students so that students learn what they’re supposed to, according to the formal curriculum, such as,
“what books students need to read, how many and what types of essays they need to write, what vocabulary words they need to memorize, and the for final exam, what themes from the books they needed to understand and be able to develop in short essays” (Kumashiro, 2004, pg. 19).
Commonsense does not allow students an opportunity to express their own opinion in class or on exams. The learning experience does not seem like an experience or learning journey, because it is not up to the student to decide their learning journey. The “good” students agree with the teacher and recite back the lecture that the student has just heard instead of challenging what the teacher teaches. This same student may also be a “good” student because of their ability to write exams well, leading to good marks. This does not require extra effort from the teacher to accommodate to the good students because they do not have varying needs, so the teacher likes the 'good' student. This leads to a very simple and fixed way of testing students which separates good and bad students based on those that do well on tests.
The good students benefits from the definition of a good student; the standard ways of teaching/assessing works for that student and they can strive with the commonsense ideas. Therefore, the traditional educational system favours these students, so they will succeed. The teacher can give traditional work and exams for the “good” student, with promising results. With less difference in thoughts and more uniformity among students, the teacher is put at ease and the traditional system can remain the same and commonsense does not have to change. The students that are not familiar with the local commonsense of what is a good student will not benefit, no matter what the commonsense is.
It is impossible, with commonsense ideas of the 'good' student, for students to have their own opinions and thoughts separate from what they are told in classrooms and required to write down on exams. This eliminates an individual approach to education and sticks to a traditional system of the ‘good’ student. In addition, the commonsensical 'good' student does not allow for questioning what we learn in school, therefore, it is impossible to understand how school is related to real life. If students learn something in school they assume it’s factual and truthful, which may not allow them to be open-minded towards others’ views that may differ from the traditional system. For example, encouraging a certain type of 'good' student. Within commonsense that is decided by society and implemented in the school systems, we often do not see what messages the curriculum is sending to students by including/excluding ideas as commonsense.
Kumashiro, K. (2004). Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What It Means to Be a Student. In Against Common Sense, (pp. 19 – 33). Retrieved from http://lib.myilibrary.com.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/Open.aspx?id=10708&loc=17
Choose a quotation related to education. It might be a quote from lecture, a quote from the list posted, 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 related to your own understandings of curriculum and of school?
This quote makes the student’s success possible and it disallows efficiency to be the main focus, because the child's independence is worked towards regardless of how long it takes. This quote, I think, is how all education systems should work; when a student can do the task/objective by themselves, without the teacher’s help, that is when they have learnt and when the teacher is considered successful. One of the purposes of education, I think, is to develop independence among students. Therefore, the focus is on the student more than the teacher. The teacher simply guides the student to be able to be successful at a task, alone. Maria Montessori stresses that the student has the confidence to learn and prove their learning. The teacher cannot give students the answers, he/she must help students.
I think this quote is a great measure of success for students and teachers. When students can do a task by themselves, they have succeeded in learning and the teacher has succeeded in teaching. The success within schools is possible because of both parties playing a role. Measuring success of both students and teachers is important to the school systems today, so I think this quote is relevant. In addition, the quote applies to students of all abilities and intellectual levels, which has become increasingly important in our society as we move closer to inclusion of all students. All students can become independent in a task/subject/etc. I believe that all students can learn and succeed, this quote shows how this is possible.
I have experienced this quote at my job at the Autism Centre. I have been working with a 5 year old boy for a year, so I have seen his progress. He was still being potty trained when I started working with him in May 2016, but with my help he has been building independence and has mastered this skill. Also, we have been working together to learn how to use a computer mouse. I needed to guide him through the steps for a few months, and now he no longer needs my help! This experience has shown me that my students need my guidance, and once they are independent, that is when the student and I have both succeeded.
To me, curriculum is difficult to define. Nonetheless, this quote is curriculum as process; the interactions between the teacher and student in the classroom are extremely important to work towards the students' success. The best learning relies on the teacher and student, together.
The only problem I have with the quote is that it uses the term ‘children’ to replace ‘students’. Although Montessori focused on early childhood education, I think ‘student’ would be better to capture that this quote is a goal for all students of all ages. Schools help to develop independent and responsible adults.
Respond in your blog to the following writing prompt: Curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective is widely used across schools in Canada and other countries. Can you think about: (a) The ways in which you may have experienced the Tyler rationale in your own schooling? (b) What are the major limitations of the Tyler rationale/what does it make impossible? (c) What are some potential benefits/what is made possible? Be sure to refer to the assigned article in your post; you may also include information from lecture if you wish.
a. I have experienced Tyler’s rationale in my own schooling; “’educational objectives are essentially changes in human beings’” (Schiro, 2013, p. 60) and “education is a process of changing the behaviour of people” (Schiro, 2013, p. 58). I had never thought about education before in this simple way. As I went through school, my behaviour - how I improved my critical thinking skills, how I learned to read with expression, how I learned social skills, all changed from a less desired behaviour to desired, and that was when I had achieved the outcome.
Also, Tyler focuses on what is the goal of the education (objectives in the curriculum), how will we know the student has achieved the goal (indicators, what to look for), and a process of testing for sure that the student has met the goal (assessment). This is seen every day in my schooling; I am taught the outcomes, I must demonstrate the indicators (without being told about either, if I may add), and I must reproduce what I've been told in the form of a test. Furthermore, students are told what they’re generally going to learn, how they will learn it, the assignments and how they will be graded. This is so drilled into students, including myself, that it makes stressed when I do not received a syllabus following this format. Students, especially in university, are trained to expect this. These expectations reflects Tyler’s rationale.
b. Tyler’s rationale has some limitations. I think that it would restrict teachers from being creative and changing the way they teach class, such as only using examinations to assess student learning rather than other types of evaluations. Because of the recent desires to use new forms of assessment, I think this part of Tyler’s rationale is limiting for teachers. Some teachers are trying to move away from a strict syllabus and exams to test students, as Tyler’s rationale reflects, but sometimes it is frowned upon because of the fear of change in society. Many think that because Tyler's rationale has worked for so long, why change it? Furthermore, for some students, Tyler's rationale may not be effective in teaching them. This makes it impossible for some teachers to teach their students, if the Tyler rationale is all that they are familiar with.
c. Efficiency is a benefit of Tyler’s rationale. Efficiency allows for students to get information quickly and have an educational experience. The efficiency of each student/class “is defined in terms of expenditure of time, money and human resources” (Schiro, 2013, p. 59). Efficiency can become a major limitation if a school/community does not have enough teachers, money, time or resources that allows them to be efficient. Any lack of efficiency limits students' experiences and learning.
Comfort in the way that education is right now, based on Tyler’s rationale, is a benefit for some. Society does not like change, so if a parent knows that their child’s teacher will stick to the traditional way of teaching, the parent may be pleased and confident that their child will receive a good education.
Tyler’s second question that every educator must answer when creating a curriculum is “What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes [curriculum objectives]?” (Schiro, 2013, p. 59). This shines an important focus on the curriculum objectives that students need to obtain. This reminds me of project-based learning, a helpful ‘hands on’ experience that can give students “an opportunity to practice the kind of behavior implied by the objective” (Schiro, 2013, p. 59).
Schiro, M. (2013). Social Efficiency Ideology. In Curriculum Theory; conflicting visions and enduring concerns,
2nd edition. Retrieved from
Photo taken from Google Images.
How does Kumashiro define 'commonsense?' Why is it so important to pay attention to the 'commonsense'?
In Kumashiro's article, ‘commonsense’ is defined as what everyone should know, which is the default answer that most people would give to define this term. However, commonsense to one person may be different to another person's definition; it depends on culture, values, gender, race, socioeconomic class, background, experiences, and more. Therefore, commonsense is not universal. People are set in their own ways/routines, and, to them, those behaviours and experiences are considered commonsense. Commonsense seems to be learned by newcomers in a new culture and is known by locals because they are accustomed to the norm, they have been raised by/with common sense. Commonsense is practiced over and over, without even realizing it, so it is ingrained. It may be easier for others/newcomers to question the commonsense in a new city/town/community because the locals consider it to be normal. Commonsense is often difficult to recognize and to challenge, because it gives a group/individual comfort. An example that I can identify, though, is how white people have a commonsense view that Indigenous peoples have a low socioeconomic status and engage in alcohol and drugs. This view gives a group of white people comfort in knowing that they are the superior group, and believe it will continue to be this way.
It is important to pay attention to commonsense so that we can question society and our values. We should be exposed to alternate ways of thinking and intentionally allow this to happen. Students should not be ingrained to think that something different to their beliefs are wrong, etc. simply because it is different than their ‘commonsense’ way of living/thinking. By questioning commonsense (such as having school morning to mid-afternoon, September to May) we become comfortable in our ways and continue to follow the norm. When the norm, however, is negatively impacting an individual/group of people, commonsense should be challenged. Kumashiro (2009) writes, "the norms of schooling, like the norms of society, privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class ... and other social markers... has become normal ... it has become normal for [some people] to experience oppression" (p. XXXVI). As a teacher, we need to be open-minded towards all children, beliefs, etc. and if we do not question commonsense, our students are impacted.
Kumashiro. (2009). The Problem of Common Sense, In Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI.
Welcome to my blog!
To be completely honest with who ever is reading this (I hope there's at least one of you!), I have never written a blog post before, so bare with me! This post is for an ECS 210 assignment.
My name is Erin Emma Zinger, hence why my website is titled 'Erin Zinger's Education Portfolio"! My father decided my first name and my mother decided my middle name, which was her mother's name. In addition to my parents, I have a younger sister who lives with me at home in Regina, Saskatchewan, and an older brother who lives in Kelowna, BC.
Today, the weather in Regina is, to say the least, cold! Brrr!! It looks like Antarctica and feels about the same, maybe even a little colder! -26 degress Celcius with the windshield to be exact. I'm looking forward to when it warms up in the next week or so to 0 degress Celcius! I like warm weather; I have travelled to Japan, Florida and California and the weather was wonderful every time!
Well, thats a brief overview of me, thanks for reading!