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>