Counter-Narrative – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

As you know, I have been writing blogs for my ECCU 400 class. This will be my final blog that I will be writing for this class. Now, this blog is slightly different from my typical blog post that I have written. This blog post will include a video that describes my thoughts on the given prompt. Included at the end of the blog post is the script that I will use for the video.

The prompt that I decided to respond to was to identify a myth that is listed in Chelsea Vowel’s book, Indigenous Writes, and to create a counter narrative that dispels the myth that is discussed. The myths that are listed in Chelsea Vowel’s book are all myths about Indigenous People in Canada. The myth that I chose to create a video on is “The Myth of the Wandering Nomad”. I chose this myth because it is the myth that is so often thought of when people initially think of Indigenous People in Canada. Many people, when they initially think about Indigenous People of Canada, think about people that are wanders that simply traveled to follow the buffalo or people that lived in teepees.

Many people have not been given adequate education about Indigenous People in Canada. Many people have the perception that Indigenous People just aimlessly roamed around following the buffalo and never really settled down permanently. Many people have the understanding that all Indigenous cultures are the same; that every Nation lived in teepees, hunted the buffalo, and participated in Powwows. This misconception about Indigenous cultures in Canada is a huge cultural appropriation that plagues Canada today.

As a future educator, it is important for me to teach my students that are many differences between Indigenous nations, including differences between language, celebrations, housing, and ways of living. I will teach my students that it is a myth that Indigenous People of Canada were historically wandering nomads with no intention in their movements. By teaching students this, I will be engaging student in some of the outcomes in the Treaty Education curriculum including TRK, HC1, HC2, TR3, and HC5. Encouraging students to learn more about different Indigenous Nations in Canada will help students learn more about the cultures of the Indigenous People in Canada and deepen their understanding that Indigenous People of Canada were not wandering nomads.

Below is my video that describes my counter narrative for the myth “The Myth of the Wandering Nomad”.

Thanks for reading my blog post and watching my video!

Ashley Osachoff

Script for video

“There is a common myth that many Canadian believe about Indigenous People of Canada: The Myth of the Wandering Nomad.

This is the myth that all Indigenous People were historically nomadic wanderers. This myth is extremely detrimental because Indigenous People did not wander around the land aimlessly. According to the Canadian Government’s website, there is over 50 Indigenous Nations in Canada today and there are over 50 Indigenous Languages. By believing the myth that all Indigenous People were wandering nomads, Canadians are continuing to believe that all Indigenous Nations are the same and all practice the same traditions.

Typically, people believe that historically Indigenous People were all the same hunter-gather, wandering nomads that live in teepees. Many of the Plains Indigenous People lived in teepees and followed the buffalo as a food source, but they did not pick up and move every single day as many would believe. The Indigenous Nations that typically followed the buffalo were skilled hunters and gathers that knew the resources of the land that they frequented yearly. For example, the Indigenous People would need to know the difference between various plant life, including the difference between a wild parsnip, which is an edible root plant, and the Water Hemlock, which is a poisonous plant if ingested.

The Plains Indigenous People are only a few Indigenous Nations that populated Canada before European contact. The Haudenosaunee are an Indigenous Nation that had a very different traditional history from the Plains Indigenous People. One of the main differences between the two groups is that the Haudenosaunee people typically lived in one area and were farmers. The three main crops that the Haudenosaunee grew were corn, beans, and squash, which together they called the three sisters. Another difference between the two nations is that the Haudenosaunee did not live in teepees, but instead lived in longhouses.

As a Canadian, it is important to understand that not all Indigenous People lived in teepees and hunted the buffalo. Each nation is unique and have their own traditional practices. There may be some overlap between nations, but each nation is still unique in their own way. Indigenous People in Canada were not wandering nomads, but instead they were skilled hunters that followed their food source, they were skilled gathers that knew the land they lived on, and some nations were skilled farmers that knew how to farm and grow crops before European contact.

You cannot lump all Indigenous People into one large culture, each nation is different and must be honoured and respected.”

Treaty Walk Reflection – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

So the past few weeks have been quite crazy with COVID-19 being the main topic in the news and in many conversations. Sadly, this virus and pandemic has altered the lives of people across the country, myself included. Due to the pandemic and the requirement for people to stay at home and practice social distancing, my ECCU 400 class is unable to go on our Treaty Walk that was supposed to occur on March 30th. I was disappointed to be informed that the class would be unable to participate in the Treaty Walk, but I was happy to see all of my classmates’ scripts online.

Seeing as my class is unable to participate in the Treaty Walk in person, I decided to take a peek at some of the scripts that my classmates created for their locations. As a person that has grown up in Regina my whole life, I knew many of the locations that my classmates had chosen to take us to on the Treaty Walk. One of the locations that my classmates chose to visit was the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. I have been to the museum countless times throughout my childhood and in recent years with children that I work with.

When I first think about the museum, I think about the robotic dinosaur, Megamunch, or the giant sea dinosaur display that terrified me as a child.  Thinking about the exhibits at the museum, I initially think about the life science or dinosaur galleries. I do not initially think about the First Nations exhibits that are at the museum, despite these exhibits being on display for as long as I can remember.

The First Nations Gallery is one of the three main galleries at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. In this gallery, there are five main exhibits: We are all Treaty People, The Tipi, Community, Yearly Circle, and Trades, Treaties and Today. Each of these five exhibits have visuals and information about Indigenous People in Saskatchewan.

Typically, when I visit the museum I do not read the information that is associated with the visual pieces. I love to simply look at the exhibits and I try to notice all of the small details that the artist has included in the diorama. I often do not take the time to read through the associated information that is included in the exhibit. At the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, I know that I typically have skimmed through the First Nations Gallery as a whole and I do not read through all of the information that is included in the exhibits.

Through reading through my classmate’s script and reading through the information on the Royal Saskatchewan Museum website, I have learnt a lot about the history of the Indigenous People of Saskatchewan. One of the most surprising things that I learnt is that there is a written document that is the only known written record of Treaty promises from the viewpoint of the Indigenous People. This document is not written in words, but instead the information is communicated through pictographs. This document is extremely important because it is the only known written document that shows what the perspective of the Indigenous People in Canada during treaty negotiations.

Another exhibit that really caught my eye was the Yearly Circle exhibit. This exhibit showed the different hunting patterns of the Indigenous People that lived in Saskatchewan. Typically, when many people think about the Indigenous People of Saskatchewan, they only think of Buffalo hunters. However, the Indigenous People of Saskatchewan hunted buffalo in the summer, the caribou in the in the fall, moose in the winter, and buffalo or fish in the spring. Up until I read this information on the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s website, I did not realize that the Indigenous People in Saskatchewan had such a range of hunting abilities or that they cycled through what they hunted depending on the season.

Overall, learning more about the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, specifically the First Nations Gallery, has taught me a lot more about the history of the Indigenous People living in Saskatchewan. Now, I know that there is much more information on the history of the Indigenous People in Saskatchewan in the museum along with many more beautiful exhibits, but due to the museum being closed, I am limited to the pictures that are available online. This opportunity to learn more about the Indigenous People in Saskatchewan has taught me that I need to pay more attention to the information that is associated with the visuals at the museum because it is credible and valuable information. This opportunity has also taught me that there is so much more to the history of the Indigenous People in Saskatchewan than what I already know.

As a white settler, I would like to continue to learn more about the history of the Indigenous People that live in Saskatchewan. I would like to continue to learn more about the Treaties and the perspective of the Indigenous People during treaty negotiations. As a white settler and a future educator, it is my duty to continue to learn more about the history of the Indigenous People of Saskatchewan and to encourage my students to not simply skim through or skip over the information about Indigenous People. To encourage my students to do this, I must lead by example and I must start to pay more attention to the information about Indigenous People of Saskatchewan and Canada as a whole. Even though it might initially look like the information is something that I already know, there likely will be some new information that will be included.

As a future educator, I will continue to learn more about Treaties and the history of Indigenous People and the injustices they still face. Some of the ways that I can do this is by visiting local museums or art galleries that showcase Indigenous history, information, or artwork. My learning is not finished, but instead just beginning. There is much more to the history of Indigenous People in Canada and treaty negotiations than the colonial story that is often broadcasted. It is my duty to learn more and delve deeper into the story.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Treaty Education in the Classroom – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

Treaty Education is a highly discussed topic in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. In Saskatchewan, Treaty Education actually has a curriculum. Teachers across the province should be teaching Treaty Education in their classroom regardless of the grade level or subject they are teaching. Despite there being curriculum in place for teachers to teach Treaty Education in the classroom, it is often an overlooked curriculum that is skimmed over or not taught at all.

Prior to entering the University of Regina, I did not know that there was a Treaty Education curriculum or that Treaty Education outcomes should be incorporated into every subject. I thought that Treaty Education was only part of the social studies curriculum. Once I entered into the University of Regina in the Faculty of Education, I noticed that there is a huge emphasis on Treaty Education and the importance of teaching Treaty Education in all subjects.

Through my studies at the University of Regina, I have learnt that Treaty Education is often not incorporated in many classrooms. In many curriculums, including the math curriculums, Indigenous content and Indigenous ways of knowing and learning are included. Despite the curriculum including Indigenous ways of knowing, many teachers often do not teach these outcomes or indicators for various reasons. If teachers are teaching the outcomes or indicators, they are often only taught on one very “special” day when teachers incorporate Indigenous knowledge or Treaty Education simply to check off that they have completed the outcome or indicator.

Throughout my education degree, I have struggled with the idea of how I can incorporate Treaty Education in all subjects, especially math. I have struggled to find ideas or ways to meaningfully incorporate Treaty Education into the math classroom. However, as I have learned more about Treaty Education, I have learnt that it is not something that we can force into every single lesson or force to make work with western ideas or subjects. Mathematics is a subject that is greatly influenced by Western and European ideas. Most of the mathematics that is taught in many schools is taught through a very abstract approach. Through EMTH 351, I have learnt that many Indigenous forms of mathematics use concrete understanding and concrete problems, rather than an abstract approach.

An example of an image that would be used in a word problem about Indigenous People of Canada

As a future educator, I would like to incorporate Treaty Education in my classrooms. I do not want to force Treaty Education or Indigenous concepts into the Western mathematics. I want to infuse Treaty Education into my classrooms in a meaningful way. By meaningful, I do not mean simply incorporating one word problem that includes an Indigenous person or an Indigenous cultural event. Most Indigenous groups did not use Western Mathematics when they created drums, Totem Poles, or any other Indigenous items that are often used in word problems in mathematics. By forcing mathematics upon Indigenous items or cultural events, I would not be honouring the culture.

Photo Credit: daryl_mitchell Flickr via Compfight cc

In my effort in taking steps towards reconciliation and incorporating Treaty Education in my classroom, I know that I need to continuously learn more about Indigenous cultures and the history of treaties and the injustice many Indigenous People have faced throughout history and continue to face. As an educator, I would like to incorporate more Treaty Education and Indigenous ways of knowing into my math classroom. Outside of the classroom, I would like to be an advocate for Indigenous People. I will continue to call out my family and friends when they are making racist comments or judgements. I will continue to engage in difficult discussion and conversations with my family and friends and give them another perspective that is different from their own.

Overall, I want to continue to learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing and different ways of teaching Treaty Education in the mathematics classroom. As I continue to go through my education degree, I have learnt that there is not one way to teach Treaty Education in the classroom. There is also not one way to incorporate Indigenous knowledge in the classroom. As an educator, it is my job to continue to learn more about Indigenous knowledge and ways to incorporate Treaty Education in the classroom. As an educator, I must educate my students on the injustices that Indigenous People have faced in the past and continue to face. To do so, I must teach Treaty Education in my classroom and incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing in my classroom. It is important to begin to incorporate Treaty Education in the classroom and make a mistake, rather than simply not teaching it at all in fear of making mistakes. Making mistakes is an important part of learning and growing.

Treaty Education is not option, it is an important curriculum that must be taught. As educators, we must ensure that Treaty Education is being taught and Indigenous ways of knowing are being incorporated into the classroom.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Treaty Book Talks – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

In ECCU 400, we are tasked with writing six blog posts about what we have learned in the class and how we can use these learnings in our future classrooms. We have been provided with blog prompts that will help us gather our thoughts on some of the issues discussed in class to get us thinking deeper about a specific issues. One of the blog prompts requires us to find a children’s book that is centered on Indigenous issues and that would be appropriate to use in a classroom. This prompt stuck out to me since I really enjoy reading and I know there are plenty of books that showcase issues faced by many Indigenous People in Canada.

The book that I chose to reflect upon is the book When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett. The author of this children’s book, David A. Robertson, is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation and lives in Winnipeg. The illustrator of this children’s book, Julie Flett, is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist who lives in Vancouver.

The short children’s book, When We Were Alone, was first published in 2016 as a response to the Calls to Action for reconciliation. This book focuses on a young girl helping her grandmother in the garden. While gardening, the young girl asks her grandmother about her colourful clothes, her long braided hair, why she speaks another language and why she spends so much time with her family. In response to the young girl’s questions, the grandmother discusses her time in residential school.

As an educator, I really liked this book. It is short and seemingly simple to read. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to read the book myself as I cannot access a library due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but thankfully there are many YouTube videos online that will read the story for you. One of the videos that I liked the most was created by students and staff at Fairlawn Public School, which is in Brampton Ontario.

This book is geared towards children that are in kindergarten to grade three. This book is a simple way to introduce children to the injustices that many Indigenous children faced at residential schools. It is written in student friendly language that is easy to read and understand. There is a Call to Action to teach students from kindergarten all the way to grade twelve about the injustices that many Indigenous people faced at residential schools. This book can be used as a way to introduce children to some of the restrictions that Indigenous children faced at residential schools.

As a teacher, you can use this book to begin the discussion on the difficult issue of residential schools in Canada. Reading this book with your class can introduce children to some of the issues of residential schools and can encourage students to try to think about how the grandmother felt during her time at residential schools. Young children will likely pick up on the injustices that the grandmother faced and you can then ask the students to discuss how they would feel if they were in the grandmother’s shoes.

Many educators do not want to teach children that are in kindergarten about residential schools because they believe they are too young to learn about the injustice that the Indigenous children faced. However, I do not think children are too young to understand what is right and what is wrong in kindergarten. By the time many children enter into kindergarten, they already know what is right and what is wrong and what is fair and what is unfair.

This book, When We Were Alone, can be read to students of all ages to begin the discussion of the history of residential schools. It is in simple language that can be understood by most and I think that even high school students would understand the message that is being portrayed in the story. High school teachers can use this book as a light way to introduce residential schools and to ease students into some of the injustices that they will be hearing about later in the unit.

As educators, we cannot sugarcoat what happened in residential schools. We cannot forgot what happened in residential schools. Residential schools are part of Canada’s history and all students should learn about residential schools. Students can learn about the injustices in more detail when their maturity levels have begun to develop, but students can be easily introduced to some of the injustices of residential schools through stories at a younger age.

Overall, I think that When We Were Alone is an amazing short story that should be in every K-12 classroom. It is written and illustrated by Indigenous Canadians who are tackling the uncomfortable story of residential schools and taking steps towards reconciliation. As educators we cannot shy away from teaching students about residential schools. Residential schools are part of our history and they should be discussed in classrooms to ensure that no injustice like them will ever occur again.

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley

4 Seasons of Reconciliation – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

This semester (Winter 2020), I was required to take ECCU 400 as part of my degree in Education at the University of Regina. When I first heard that the university was changing some of the courses and that I would be required to participate in this new ECCU 400 course instead of a typical ECS course, I was nervous for participating in ECCU 400. I knew signing up for this course that it would likely still have some kinks in it as it was just revamped and redeveloped to ensure that student-teachers were being taught more about reconciliation and how to implement that into our future classrooms.

Knowing that the ECCU 400 course is a newly developed course, I felt nervous entering the course. I have participated in some classes that focus on educating people about truth and reconciliation and about Indigenous cultures in Canada, but I have left many of them still questioning how I can actually meaningfully include Treaty Education in the classroom. Despite being nervous about entering this course, I was also excited to learn more about Treaty Education and how I can implement Treaty Education in my future classroom.

Although I was excited to learn more about Treaty Education and more on the history of the Indigenous People of Canada, I was afraid to learn of the dark past and history that I know Canada has. Many times when I learn about issues surrounding Indigenous People in Canada or about Reconciliation, I get the feeling that white people are often being attacked for the actions of our ancestors, which I know it not something that is meant to come across. I believe, that as a white person, I have receive undeserving privilege due to the colour of my skin and social status. I find it uncomfortable when I get grouped together with other people that have the same colour of skin as myself but have done unspeakable things. As I sit here and reflect on the feeling of being attacked simply for the colour of my skin, I know that I am getting a small sliver of the feelings that many Indigenous People of Canada and People of Colour everywhere feel with the systemic racism and blatant racism that they face every day.

As a white settler living in Canada, I have grown up with the idea that all people are treated equally, but white people did make some horrible decisions in the past. Now, as I get older and begin to learn more about Canada’s history I have learnt that not all people are treated equally in Canada. There is still plenty of racism that plagues Canada and the communities within it. There is still mistreatment of Indigenous People and People of Colour in Canada. There are still issues of giving people the basic necessities of living, such as clean drinking water, on reserves in Canada.

Entering into ECCU 400, I was nervous and I was afraid to learn about all of the mistreatments that Indigenous People in Canada have faced and continue to face. I know that I was afraid to learn about these topics because it is easier to be ignorant to the issues that are part of the world when they do not directly affect me or when I do not know about them. As a white settler, I believe that one of the ways that I can take part in reconciliation is to step up and learn more about the injustice that Indigenous People in Canada have faced in the past and the injustices that they continue to face. As a white settler, I can advocate for Indigenous People of Canada by starting to facilitate discussions with my peers and family members that might not know both sides of the story.

Overall, I entered into ECCU 400 with many fears about what I would learn and how I would feel about the issues that would be brought up. Despite my fears, I am thankful that I was able to participate in ECCU 400. It has opened my eyes to some injustices that I had never heard about previously and it has also shown me many new resources that I can use as a future educator. One of the resources that I was able to use in the class was the website called 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, which opened my eyes up to the third world conditions of life on some reserves and the significance of a Wampum Belt (something that I had never heard about prior to this experience). As a future educator it is important to learn more about the treaties that have been signed in Canada and that are still living documents today as well as the history of Indigenous People in Canada and the injustices they have faced and still face today. There is not one way to implement Treaty Education in the classroom. Instead, each teacher must take the time and educate their students about Indigenous ways of knowing and the Treaties that are still part of Canada today.

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley

My 4 Seasons of Reconciliation certificate:

Recognizing Origin Stories – ECCU 400

Entering into ECCU 400, a course at the University of Regina that is centred on teaching pre-service teachers more about treaties and how to meaningfully incorporate Treaty Education into classrooms at the high school and elementary school level, I was apprehensive to learn more about treaties but I was excited to learn how I can incorporate meaningful Treaty Education into my future classroom.

As part of the ECCU 400 course requirements, we are tasked to reflect weekly on what we are learning and what we have been assigned to read each week. The first few weeks of the winter semester have been quite hectic for me as I have been trying to juggle school assignments, work, and a social life. Unfortunately due to commitments outside of school and focusing on other classes for the beginning of the winter semester, I have not been blogging weekly for ECCU 400. Now that it is February break, I finally have the chance to give ECCU 400 the time that it deserves.

The theme for the first few weeks of ECCU 400 was miskâsowin [mis-SKAA-soo-win], which is a Cree term meaning finding one’s sense of origin & belonging; finding ‘one’s self’ or finding ‘one’s center’. The readings and the class discussion focused on appropriate names to use for Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. When I first heard the term miskâsowin, I had difficulty relating it to myself. I am not a very spiritual person, but I can relate to wanting to the idea of finding myself and where I belong in the world. As a young adult, I am just beginning to find myself and define myself as my own person; not someone that everyone else wants me to be.

When I first begin to think about who I am as a person, I think about the history of my grandparents and my ancestry. I know that my ancestors are white settlers that came to Canada for various reasons, including hoping to own and farm land in Canada, wanting a better life for future generations, and avoiding persecution. Regardless of the reasoning, all of my ancestors came from European countries and thus, I define myself as a white settler.

A photo from my Grandparent’s farm.

On my mom’s side of the family, both of my grandparents’ ancestors came to Canada from an area near France and Belgium border in the early 1900s. My grandfather’s family settled near Wauchope, Saskatchewan, which is a small rural town in south east Saskatchewan. My grandmother’s family settled near my grandfather’s family, but closer to the French town Belgard, Saskatchewan. Both families came to Canada in hopes of owning their own farm land and to create a better life for their future generations.

On my dad’s side of the family, my grandfather’s family fled to Canada from Russia and my grandmother’s family came to Canada from England. My grandfather’s parents were Doukhobors, which is a pacifist religion, and they came to Canada to escape persecution in Russia. My dad tells me that his grandparents were given land near Canora, Saskatchewan by the Queen of England to farm to save them, along with other Doukhobor families, from persecution. My grandmother’s family settled in Newfoundland, Canada. My grandmother was born and raised in Newfoundland prior to it becoming a province of Canada and it has always been a joke in my family to ask my grandmother what life was like prior to Confederation. Similar to my mom’s side of the family, it is likely that my grandmother’s family came to Canada for farming opportunities and for a better life for future generations.

Whenever my family discusses our ancestors or family history, we never discuss treaties or how we have benefited from treaties and the land that Indigenous people lived on for thousands of years prior to my ancestors coming to Canada. My grandparents on my mom’s side of my family live on Treaty 2 land on a farm near Wauchope, Saskatchewan which has been in the family for over 100 years now. Despite my grandparents owning the land that they live and farm on, it is not land that was fairly given to them. Instead the land was deceitfully taken from the Indigenous people through unfair treaty negotiations.

Like my grandparents on my mom’s side of my family, my great grandparents on my father’s side of the family were also farmers and they were given land form the Queen of England to farm on to avoid persecution in Russia. This land that the Queen gave to them did not come without any cost as my great grandparents needed to farm the land, but more importantly this land was on Treaty 4 land which also was also obtained through misinformation and deception in treaty negotiations.

Newfoundland is where my late grandmother called home. While I knew the numbered treaties that cover most of Saskatchewan, I did not readily know about treaties in Newfoundland. While researching Indigenous peoples that lived in Newfoundland prior to European contact, I discovered that there are no numbered treaties between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Newfoundland. Newfoundland was one of the first entry points for many European explorers to enter into Canada. Because of this, the Indigenous people that lived on the land, which is now called Newfoundland, were some of the first Indigenous peoples to have contact with European people. Due to European contact and the diseases that were brought to Canada, an entire Indigenous group that was native to Newfoundland, the Beothuk, went extinct. Diseases along with the persecution of Indigenous people in the eastern part of Canada is likely the reason why there are no numbered treaties in Newfoundland.

Knowing my family’s history and where they came from helps me define myself. My ancestors are white settlers, and thus I am a white settler. Along with my family’s history, I also define myself in regards to my economic status and the privilege that comes with it. Both of my parents work full time and are still married and because of this I am privileged to be part of the upper middle class economic status. I also come from a family that values education and both of my parents completed post-secondary education in Moose Jaw at SIAST. Because of my raising, my ancestry, and my current life status, I define myself as a privileged, white, middle-class, educated female living on Treaty 4 land. I know that these privileges put me at a higher social status without me doing anything.

Writing this blog really gave me the chance to think more about myself and my origin or miskâsowin. I have come to realize that I do not know as much as I initially thought about treaties or their effect on my life and the lives of those around me. I now know that I originate from ancestors who are white, settlers that came to Canada on the promise that they would be given land that was taken from the Indigenous people that lived on the land for hundreds of years prior to European contact. As I go forward with my journey through ECCU 400, I would like to learn more about treaties and the injustice that the Indigenous people of Canada faced throughout European contact and still face today. As I learn more I will continue to start discussions with my family and loved ones to encourage them to see a different side of the story besides the typical conservative, white settler view that I often hear. I would like to inform my loved ones on the information that I am learning in ECCU 400 and through my own discoveries while writing these blogs.

I know this blog was fairly long. I hope in the future that my blogs become a bit more concise, but if you know me, you know I am a talker so I cannot make any promises. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.

 

Ashley

Final Thoughts on EDTC 400

Hello everyone!

This semester has completely flown by and I cannot believe that it is already the end of EDTC 400! I am struggling to remember that finals are already starting next week and that I do not have to go to class on Monday! Even though EDTC 400 is over, I know that I will be taking many of the things that I learnt with me. The debates introduced me to many new perspectives on topics such as “cellphones in the classroom”, “social media’s influence on childhood”, and “openness and sharing in schools”. I also was introduced to teaching online, with my mini-lesson project, during EDTC 400.

Along with taking away many things from the class meetings themselves, I have also learnt a lot outside of the class. A big part of EDTC 300 and EDTC 400 is learning how to develop our own PLN (Personal Learning Network). In EDTC 300, I was introduced to Twitter, blogging and Feedly as a way to begin to grow my PLN. In EDTC 400, we were tasked with going beyond the basic uses of Twitter and blogging. In EDTC 400, we were tasked with mentoring three students from the EDTC 300 class. Part of the task of being a mentor was commenting on the mentees’ blogs and encourage them on their blogs and on Twitter. We were asked to stay in touch with our mentees and comment on their blogs each week.

Photo Credit: Salm3n Flickr via Compfight cc

I’m not going to lie and say this was an easy task for me. I found being a mentor quite challenging because I did not think that I was an expert in educational technology, Twitter, or blogging after taking EDTC 300. I was excited to try mentoring, but I was worried that I would not know the answers to questions that my mentees might ask me.

Once I got into the mentoring, I did not find it as difficult as I initially thought. Once I introduced myself to my mentees and told them that I was available whenever they needed and contacting me over Twitter would be the best way possible. I found it very easy at the beginning to stay on top of reading my mentee’s blogs. I was able to comment on at least one or two blogs each week and I was able to juggle school and being a good mentee.

As the semester went on and an unexpected death in the family occurred, I found it more difficult to continue to stay on top of my other classes and their weekly assignments and commenting on my mentee’s blogs. Even though I did not always comment on my mentee’s blog every week, when I did have the time to sit down and read through my mentee’s blogs I ensured that I started reading right from where I left off. I always liked to go back to where I left off when I read through my mentee’s post because I wanted to see their journey as they progressed through EDTC 300.

I enjoyed being a mentor to my mentees and watching them progress through their EDTC 300 journey. I think it was very rewarding to watch some of my mentees start off not knowing much about educational technology to knowing even more than I do about educational technology. I enjoyed reading my mentee’s blogs as well because they mentioned some helpful hints and tricks about technology that either I have never heard about before or I forgot about from EDTC 300. I also found it very rewarding to give little helpful hints and tricks to my mentees when I thought they would need them.

This process of being a mentee was quite rewarding and challenging at the same time. I think this process really taught me about the importance of keeping on top of my schedule and assignments, even when I am having a difficult time juggling life and school.

Teaching in person is much different from teaching online.
Photo Credit: Robin Hutton Flickr via Compfight cc

This process also taught me that teaching an online class can be very difficult. It is very difficult to try to communicate with people online sometimes. It can also be very difficult to communicate and teach through typed words. Teaching in person (and speaking) can convey emotion and topics a lot better than getting students to read off a typed out document. Teaching in person also gives immediate feedback and responses, where teaching online does not.

Juggling time can sometimes be difficult
Photo Credit: ☁☂Jo Zimny Photos☂☁ Flickr via Compfight cc

 

This experience really taught me a lot of things, but most importantly, it taught me that teachers have a lot to juggle. High school teachers teach at least four to five classes a day, which means they have four to five classes to prepare for and grade assignments for. I think this semester as a whole, and especially EDTC 400, has taught me that teachers really have a lot to juggle. I think that once I become a teacher, I need to focus solely on teaching, not trying to juggle being a teacher and having a part time job on top of that.

I think moving forward, I learnt a lot from this experience of being a mentor. I have learnt that finding the time to juggle things is very important, but I also learnt that it can be quite rewarding to see someone learn and grow. Being a mentor was quite fun and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was only taking EDTC 400 so that I could put my full effort into being a good mentor and staying on top of the required assignments for EDTC 300. Overall, this was a great learning experience and I hope my mentees continue to grow as educators and are successful in their future endeavors.

Here are my mentee’s blog go check them out! Their learning projects are amazing!

Garrett Bates learnt how to speak Japanese and his blog is here.

Mackenzie Stamm learnt how to dance and her blog is here.

Jocelyn McGillvray learnt how to knit and her blog is here.

Here is a log of all the comments that I made on my mentees’ posts if you are curious.

Thanks for reading my blog post! I had an amazing semester with my fellow EDTC 400 classmates and I hope everyone has a great summer!

Ashley Osachoff

Fighting Oppression Online?

Hello everyone!

This week has been very hectic. I had three major projects due this week, two of which were group projects. With so much due this week, I unfortunately did not get a lot of time to write my final debate blog. But, now that all of my major projects are done, I finally have had the time to sit down and write my final EDTC 400 debate blog. So without further adue, here is my EDTC 400 debate blog.

Last week, for the final EDTC 400 debate, the topic was “Educators have a responsibility to use technology and social media to promote social justice and fight oppression: Agree or disagree?” The two debaters for this week were Jesse and Daniel. Jesse was on the agree side of the debate, while Daniel was on the disagree side of the debate. Fighting oppression and promoting social justice is a highly debated topic. The class really got into the debate this week and there was quite a good discussion going for most of the debate.

THe Debate

To begin the debate, the class participated in the typical (and final) pre-vote. For this week’s pre-vote, the class was leaning more towards Jesse’s side of the debate (the agree side). About 70% of the class was on the agree side and 30% was on the disagree side. I was on the opposite side of the class to begin this debate. To begin this debate, I did not think it was the teacher’s job to fight oppression and fight for social justice online. I did not think it was a teacher’s responsibility to voice their political values online or that online is the best spot to discuss social justice issues. I have always thought that teachers should stay as neutral as possible in order to not let biases enter the classroom.

Pre-Debate Vote

Jesse’s Side of the Debate

With this is mind, we started off the debate. The class first listened to Jesse’s debate video. Jesse was on the agree side of the debate. He had three main points for his video. They are:

  1. Why staying neutral is problematic
  2. Risks of staying silent online
  3. Using technology/social media effectively can be beneficial

Jesse’s video raised quite a few important points but the most important point that stuck out to me was Jesse’s comment that staying neutral is problematic. In ECS 210, we discussed a lot about neutrality and the issues of being neutral. One of the biggest things from ECS 210 and from Jesse’s video that stuck out to me is that being neutral is siding with the side that is being oppressive. By not speaking out and not fighting against oppression, people are siding with the sides that are being oppressive. Pretending that oppression and social justice issues do not happen is not benefiting students, it is actually harming them. By not speaking out against oppression and social justice issues, teachers are unintentionally stating that they are not issues and that they are okay. Sometimes, what teachers do not teach is more important than what they are teaching.

Daniel’s Side of the Debate

After Jesse’s video, the class watched Daniel’s video that discussed why teachers should not fight social justice issues and oppression online. Daniel’s video included four main reasons why he disagreed with the debate topic. Daniel’s four main topics are:

  1. Teachers are under constant scrutiny from the public (parents)
  2. The education system is political
  3. Students are easily influenced
  4. Teachers should have a neutral standpoint when teaching and allow students to think for themselves.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me from Daniel’s video was his comment that the education system is political. In ECS 200, we discussed a lot about the politics of the education system. In that course, we also discussed the influence of teacher’s lenses on students. A teacher’s opinion and political standpoint can greatly influence the lives of their students. Many teachers do not want to post political issues online because they are worried that it can be taken the wrong way by parents or employers. Many teachers believe that it is better to stay silent online about oppression and social justice issues rather than chancing the backlash from parents or employers. Daniel’s side of the debate really highlighted many of the concerns that I had when I first entered this debate.

The Debate

After hearing both sides of the debate, I was still on the fence as to which side I fully stood with. During the debate, I really heard some points that stuck out to me. The class discussed a lot about the difference between fact and opinion. Katia brought up a great topic that highlights the difference between fact and opinion; the flat Earth discussion. It is fact that the Earth is NOT flat, but some people have the opinion that the Earth is flat. This example really made it clear to me the difference between facts and opinions. When discussing the issue of oppression and social justice problems, it is fact that there is oppression and it is wrong, but some people have the opinion that there is no oppression in the world and that the world is fair. The class also discussed the issue of discussing controversial topics with students in the classroom. It is important for teachers to discuss social justice issues with students because as I stated during the debate, when teachers are “neutral” they are supporting the side that is oppressive. Teachers must encourage students to understand the difference between facts and opinions. Teachers must also teach students that oppression is something that people must fight against.

My Thoughts

Educators must realize that they play a big role in encouraging their students to fight against oppression and social justice issues. Teachers can play both a positive and negative influence on their students. Teachers must recognize the influence that they can have on their students. As discussed during the debate, teachers can sway students by only telling one side of the facts of an issue. Teachers must provide students will all of the information so they can make an informed decision. As many of the articles that Jesse shared discuss, being neutral in the classroom and online will not benefit students. These articles include Valerie Strauss’s article, Damir Mujezinovic’s article, and Tim Walker’s article. Many of these articles discuss the drawbacks for students when teachers stay neutral. Teachers must speak out against oppression and social justice issues both in their classroom and online.

Speaking out against social justice issues may look different for every teacher. For some teachers, speaking out and fighting against social justice issues may be getting their students to participate in a pipeline protest as Maryam Shah’s article discusses. For some teachers, speaking out against social justice issues may be sharing articles that support fighting against social justice issues. Teachers must fight against oppression and social justice issues both online and in the classroom, but teachers must be aware of what they are posting.

COnclusion

Overall, this debate really sparked some good discussion with the class and changed my views on the debate topic itself. As the discussion went on, I realized that I live in a digital world and in order to fully reach as many people as possible is to share things online. Sharing articles or websites that fight against oppression and social justice issues is a great way to inform my students and their parents that I am not neutral in social justice issues. As I stated above, neutrality is not the best option when discussing social justice issues. Being neutral and refusing to choose a side that is against oppression is actually choosing the side that is being oppressive.

Post Debate VOte

At the end of the debate, Jesse got a few more votes than he initially did. Below is a picture of the final class vote.

Final Thoughts

This debate topic was a great topic to end the class on. The class really got into the discussion and like almost every other debate topic, the importance of balance was mentioned once again. It is important that teachers are balanced when they discuss social justice issues and oppression. Teachers must give students all of the facts and allow students to develop their own stand on the issues. Teachers can and should be fighting oppression and social justice issues online. Teachers can do this in any manor they feel comfortable with. This can range from anything from sharing articles on social media, to organizing a protest.

Thank you for reading my blog post! If you have any comments leave them below!

Have a good summer everyone!

Ashley Osachoff

EDTC 400 Summary of Learning Project

Hello everyone!

Here is a video that summarizes some of the things that I learnt in EDTC 400. This class was filled with information and I could make an hour long video to describe all of the things that I learnt this semester, but I had to condense it into a short ten minute video. Here is the video that I made with Kylie Lorenz to summarize EDTC 400! I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for watching the video!

Ashley Osachoff