Teachers as a Profession

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 200, we were tasked with reading a chapter from Jon Young’s book about “Teachers and the Teaching Profession”. This chapter discussed a lot about teaching as a profession and teachers as professionals and some of the things that come with it.

One of the first things that I noticed this chapter discussed was that teachers should work collaboratively with parents, students and other staff. This collaboration was part of teacher professionalism. In my ECS 100 class and my ECS 100 placement, we have talked a lot about the importance of teachers collaborating with others. In my placement, the school has a flex math program for the older students. This flex math is only possible because the teachers are being collaborative and it benefits all of the students.

The main thing that jumped out to me about this article was its focus on the code of ethics that teachers must follow. I have heard about the code of ethics before in my ECS 100 class and I knew the general idea of what teachers must do. I looked over the Saskatchewan Code of Ethics for teachers to follow and it is much different from the rules teachers had to follow in the early 1900s that Pam showed us in class. Teachers are no longer responsible for creating fires in the morning, sweeping the classroom, or forbidden from going out after certain hours. The Code of Professions now focuses on commitments to the profession, to teaching and learning, and to the community. Teachers are required to “treat each student justly, considerately and appropriately in accordance with the beliefs of the profession”.

I know that following the Code of Professions is important for teachers to follow inside of the classroom, but it is also important for teachers to follow it during their daily private life because they are still teachers.

Teachers are part of unions in Saskatchewan and I knew about collective agreements in the past but I did not realize how much they affected me when I was in school. When I was in elementary school, the teachers were doing a “work to rule” where they withdrew from coaching and other extracurricular activities. I also remember the teachers taking part in a strike to fight for better salaries when I was ending my elementary years. I always thought collective bargaining only focused on salaries and benefits, but from reading this chapter I learnt that collective agreements can also be about the working conditions for teachers, such as the maximum class size and the amount of preparation time is given to a teacher.

Collective bargaining and agreements are part of the teaching profession and it is unlikely that strikes and lockouts will go away. I am concerned with what I can do as a future teacher during strikes to ensure that they have the lowest negative influence on my student’s learning.

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

References

Young, J. C. (2007). In Levin B., Wallin D. C. (. C. and Levin B. R. (Eds.), Understanding canadian schools : An introduction to educational administration (4th ed.. ed.). Toronto: Toronto : Thomson/Nelson

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Leadership Within Schools

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 200, we were tasked with reading some articles that discussed leadership within schools.

When I think about leadership within schools, I think about the principal and vice principal first as the leaders of a school. The article by Charlotte Danielson discussed leadership within schools and ‘regular’ classroom teachers being leaders. Prior to reading this article, I did not realize that classroom teachers could be leaders in their schools; I thought that role of leadership was left to administrators. I think it is important for teachers to become leaders in the schools they are working in.

Even though I am not currently working full-time in a school, I can begin to think about how I can become a leader in my future schools.  Simple things such as creating a reading buddies program for the older students in a school to read to younger students can be an act of leadership in the schools that I will be working in.

In my ECS 100 placement, I have seen my co-operative teacher be a huge leader in their school. I have seen my co-op teacher assist other classroom teachers with finding ways of differentiating their teaching and working with students with Personalized Program Plans. This teacher is a person that many of the other staff members turn to when they need assistance with a child’s needs or when they need help learning how to teach in a new way that benefits a student.

Luckily, the school that I have my ECS 100 placement in seems to have a good environment for teachers to become leaders, but I know that not all schools are that way. I worry that later in my life as a teacher I will encounter a school that does not have a great environment for teacher leadership and I am wondering what I should do if I feel passionate about something; yet there is not room for teacher leadership in the school?

The other online document discussed leadership in schools, but it also discussed hiring and the need for teachers in specific areas such as mathematics, science and French immersion. This need for teachers in these specific areas gives me some hope that I will be able to find a job in the near future. In my ECS 100 class, I have heard that it can be difficult for teachers to get their foot in the door and get a contract in the city. Hopefully, with my major and minor I will be able to secure a job.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Ashley Osachoff

Social Justice in the Classroom

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 200, we were tasked with reading an article that discussed social justice in schools.

Many of my classes have encouraged new teachers to integrate social justice into the classroom, regardless of subject. From this article, I have realized that social justice can encompass a lot of things including diversity, sustainability, global affairs and issues of race and class.  I have always been confused as to how I can possibly integrate social justice issues into my future classroom. I am currently majoring in math and I did not think that I would be able to integrate social justice into a math class. However, I can integrate class and race into a classroom by asking students to calculate the average income of families that are from different classes and races to show the gaps in income in cities or towns.

Since Canada and the Saskatchewan classrooms are becoming more diverse and inclusive, I can integrate social justice by teaching my students to be more understanding and accepting of others that are different from themselves. Teaching students to be accepting and inclusive is an important part of a teacher’s job that is not listed in the curriculum. In the school that I am in for my ECS 100 placement, I have noticed teachers encouraging mainstream children to actively integrate their fellow classmates that have exceptionalities. These children are learning how to be accepting of other children of different abilities while participating in daily classroom activities.

One of the most important things that I found while reading this article was the statement that “Kids need to feel safe” when teachers are teaching social justice issues. I remember in my elementary school, the parents had an option to not include their children in certain topics being discussed such as learning about puberty and genitalia. I think that it is important for teachers to give parents fair warning about what they will be teaching their children so that families are not offended and children are not getting traumatized. Being open with parents also gives them the opportunity to voice their concerns and ultimately decide if they would like their child to participate or not.

Overall, reading this article has opened my eyes to some of the ways that teachers can take social justice a bit too far. It is difficult for teachers to teach social justice to young children and I am left wondering when are children too young to learn about politically fueled issues?

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Educational Philosophies

This week for ECS 200, the main focus is the Social-Historical Constructions of Schooling. One of the pieces of readings that I will focus on this blog was a reading from my ECS 100 textbook on the Philosophical Roots of Education. This reading focused on the philosophies that influence education.

While reading through this text, a lot of things jumped out at me and I found myself making a lot of connections to my own previous schooling and education that I am seeing today. One of the first things that jumped out to me was that idealists and many educators believe that block play teaches students understandings of mathematical and scientific concepts such as size, balance, dimensions and volume (Edmunds, 2015, p. 213). I have magnetic blocks that fascinate one of my clients and I now know that they are learning more than just free play ideas, they are also gaining mathematical and scientific knowledge as well!

When I think back to my own schooling in high school, I realize that my high school math teacher taught with an Essentialism philosophy in mind. Due to a standardized A.P. test, the teacher stuck to the curriculum of the class and taught in very old school ways. They taught through writing notes, giving us worksheets and having tests at the end of the chapters. Not every class will work with an Essentialism philosophy, but thankfully this approach worked for my math teacher.

The practical application on page 216 of the text stuck out to me a lot because I noticed connections between this application and resiliency, which we have discussed in previous classes (Edmunds, 2015). Existentialism leads to Social Reconstructionism which challenges students to choose to make their own lives, regardless of the community that they grew up in. Resiliency also challenges students to not allow their upbringing define them.

The text discussed a lot about Social Reconstructionism and I found the line, “Truth has been defined by the powerful but it does not necessarily reflect the realities of the less-privileged groups” on page 228 really got me thinking (Edmunds, 2015). In previous classes, we have discussed the different lenses and philosophies that should be taken into account when creating curriculum and teaching which came from the Social Reconstructionism philosophy. I realized that Aline is challenging us as a class to look from this perspective and open up our lenses. I also found myself connecting truth defined by power to the media and the truths that are fed to us because the powerful deem them to be important. People do not hear the truths about the things that the powerful do not think are important.

Overall, this reading gave me a lot of information about philosophies that influence education. Now that I know all of these philosophies, I am still left wondering how do teachers choose the right philosophy to follow for their school and classroom?

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

References

Edmunds, A. (2015). Educational foundations in canada. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press Canada.

Culture and Diversity

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 200, the class was asked to read the sixth chapter in our textbook, “Culture and Diversity”. Canadian classrooms are becoming more and more diverse, so this chapter will be very useful when I begin teaching.

One of the first things that caught my eye while reading through this chapter was the illustration of an iceberg. The text used an iceberg as a way to describe culture. When many people, including myself, think about culture they are thinking about the food, the language and the holidays which only account for one-third of the culture. Below the surface, like an iceberg, are all the unseen aspects of a culture, such as gender roles, facial expressions and communication. A person’s culture is more than what is visible.

While reading, I found myself realizing that when I was younger I felt a stereotype threat when I was in school. I was a high achiever and did not like to be “bad” at math or sciences. I never wanted to be the ‘airhead girl’ that could not answer basic math problems and I felt (and still feel) pressured to correctly answer math questions. I did not realize that stereotypes were fueling my anxiety that was associated with poor math marks on quizzes or tests. I only knew that I did not want to be like the airhead girls on television.

I have seen a few commercials motivating girls to participate in science and math classes and break out of the gender norm roles. These commercials are attempting to break the stereotype of girls that they have to work in more ‘feminine’ jobs. Without having the stereotype that all girls are bad at maths and sciences, hopefully young girls will feel less stereotype threats.

The text discussed some ways that schooling is not fitting the way that boys learn. It discussed that smaller class and men in the schools will benefit boys (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2013, p. 212). In elementary school, I noticed that the boys responded better to male teachers and respected them more. In the school that I am in for my ECS 100 placement, there are more female teachers. I am wondering what the schools are doing in Regina to have more male elementary teachers?

The final thing that really stood out to me that I learnt and will take into my future classroom is how to teach a diverse classroom; know, respect and teach my students. Respect is very important and I hope that I will not unintentionally offend parents or students during my career.

Thanks for reading my post!

Ashley Osachoff

References

Woolfolk, A. & Winne, P. & Perry, N. (2013). In O’Donnell C. (Ed.), Educational psychology (Sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education Inc.

Diverse Perspectives on Development and Learning

This week in ECS 200, we were tasked with reading two articles that focused on the main topic of our class this week, “Diverse perspectives on Development and Learning”, instead of a chapter in our textbook.  While reading through the articles, I found myself thinking about previous university classes and some of my current placements.

The first article focused on Reconceptualists. I learnt that reconceptualists are challenging the way that prior theories are Euro-American and ignore the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic factors that effect a child’s development. Many of the previous theories that we have learnt in class are centered on European values and they forget factors such as cultural and ethnic values that influence a child’s development. While reading this article, I thought about the Place-Based Education which I learnt about in my Indigenous Studies 100 class. I found that this type of education was linked to reconceptualists because it incorporates culture, environment and curriculum into the education of students of all different backgrounds.

The second article focused on Indigenous Education in Canada. While reading this article, I found that I learnt about the way that residential schools effected Indigenous people in a different way. The author of the article described the trauma and forced assimilation of Indigenous people as an “erosion of spirit”. This “erosion of the spirit” made my previous learnings about the long term effects of residential schools make more sense. The cross-generational trauma that Indigenous people are still facing today is because of the erosion of their families spirits. It had never clearly sunk in how much residential schools have effected people in today’s time so much until I read that statement. In my placement for my ECS 100 class, I was told that the schools have the goal of lessening the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. I did not realize the gap was so large, until I read in this article that it will take 28 years for Indigenous students to catch up to the Canadian average. I fully understood why the school board as well as the school that I am at are trying so hard to improve the statistics. In my ECS 110 class, we were tasked with coming to terms with our privilege and from this article I understood that realizing that my privilege was built upon a racist society will help me better understand and teach Indigenous students.

These articles were interesting to read, but I am still wondering what steps I can take to improve the education of all my students from minority backgrounds?

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Social Cognitive Views of Learning and Motivation

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 200, we were asked to read chapter eleven of our textbook. This chapter was about social cognitive views of learning and motivation. While reading this chapter, I noticed that I was reading a lot of new information and I had not previously learnt some of the concepts taught in this chapter.

One of the first things that intrigued me was the triarchic reciprocal causality system. This big, complex name for a system is really just a fancy name for how personal, environmental and behavioural influences effect a person’s behaviour and how each factor influences the other in some way (Woolfolk, Winne & Perry, 2013, p. 370). I found this system very interesting because it showed that people are influenced by a number of things that shape behaviour.

Observational learning also stood out to me. Observational learning is watching someone or something do a task to learn how to do it. Observational learning has a few elements to it; which include attention, retention, production, motivation and reinforcement (Woolfolk, et al., 2013, p. 372). Observational learning is very important in the classroom as students must pay attention and retain information, but with technology and internet, it is changing. In the past, in order for students to learn something, they had to pay attention and remember the information given to them in the class. Now, with the assistance of technology, students are able to watch videos over and over again to learn a task. I have used technology in university as a way to learn how to solve a math problem. I watched a “how to” video online multiple times until I understood the concept I did not previously understand in class. Another great example of observational learning is the young girl in the video below that learnt how to dance from watching YouTube videos.

Volition was a term that I was not familiar with prior to this chapter. Simply put, volition is willpower. It is “planning for and protecting opportunities to reach goals” (Woolfolk, et al., 2013, p. 382). I have been using volition a lot in the past month to ensure that I am getting my homework done by going to coffee shops that have no distractions to get my work done on time. I have built this willpower through being busy in high school, but how do teachers teach students to have willpower to finish assignments?

Thank you for reading my blog post! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

Ashley Osachoff

References

Woolfolk, A. & Winne, P. & Perry, N. (2013). In O’Donnell C. (Ed.), Educational psychology (Sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education Inc.