ECS 210 Summary of Learning

Hello,

For ECS 210, we were required to make a video that showcased the important things we learnt in ECS 210.

For my project, I worked with Brooklynn Seck and we created a funny YouTube video.

Here is my summary of learning project! I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for watching! Leave a comment below if you enjoyed it!

Ashley Osachoff

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ECS 210 – Gerry Can you Please Grade these Blogs

Hello,

For one of our assignments in ECS 210 we have to hand in four of our blogs to be graded. Here are the links for my four blogs:

Treaty Education

Curriculum as Place

What is a “Good” Student?

Cultural Influences on Mathematics

Thanks for reading my blogs!

Ashley Osachoff

Biases and Truth

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 210, we were asked to think about what biases we learnt when we were in school and what ‘single stories’ did we learn during out schooling.

Thinking back to my upbringing, I grew up in a very forward thinking household. Throughout high school and later elementary school years, I knew it was okay to have discussions about the LGBTQ community with my parents without it becoming a hateful conversation. My parents tried to encourage me to be a person without a lot of biases, but they also tried to prepare me for the real world.

My parents, especially my mom, subtly taught me to cross the road to the other side if I felt uncomfortable with the person that was coming down the sidewalk. This other person was normally a tall, bulky, male with dark clothing on that we did not know. This subtle teaching is something that I know is still in the back of my mind today. I know that I am hyperaware of my surroundings at night and I will still cross the street if there is another larger person walking my way. I know this is a bias that I have and one that I was taught. I know that I was taught this as a good intention because my parents wanted me to be safe in a world that is not always safe for women my size and stature. This bias makes me fearful of anyone walking too close behind me with heavy footsteps and makes me walk faster when I see a larger male walking behind me. I know most of the time that I do not need to be fearful of this other person, but this bias prevents me from fully letting my guard down.

I went to Catholic schools when I was in both elementary and high school. I cannot think of a time in my schooling where a teacher taught me how to ‘read the world’, but I can think of many instances I was influenced by the ideas of other children’s parents that were spoken by their children. When I was in elementary school, many of the children that I went to school with had parents that worked at Evraz or in a labour intensive job. Most of the children had a parent that was part of the ‘working class’. I was one of the few kids that had two parents that worked a desk job. Many of the children that I went to school with vocalized that desk jobs were not real jobs and that those people really did not have to work for their money. This was something that bothered me because I knew that both of my parents worked hard and that their jobs mattered. Even though many of the students did not see the value in desk jobs, the schools pushed for students to do well in school so they could get into university and get a ‘good’ (desk) job. I was subtly taught during school that desk jobs were seen in a better light than hands on jobs. I was also subtly taught that students must go to university to make it anywhere in life and those that do not go into university are somehow seen as less than.

I know that my upbringing and schooling have helped me create biases that I will unintentionally take with me into the classroom. As a classroom teacher, I must strive to be as neutral as possible and not let the biases that I was taught govern my classroom. I must unlearn the bias that desk jobs are superior to hands on jobs. I must also learn to encourage students to see the importance of all jobs in society. Students must learn that the job of a CEO of a company is just as important as the job of a janitor in a school. Society needs different people with different skills to keep running smoothly and everyone’s job is worthy. As a classroom teacher, I must unlearn the notion that all large males are dangerous. This is something that I know I have gotten a lot better with. I am not nervous around large males at the university nor when I am out and about during the day. I still struggle with the bias at night but I do not know if I will ever be able to overcome this bias at night.

As a classroom teacher, the first step to overcoming the negative biases that have been taught to us when we were younger is to first recognize and acknowledge our biases. Once a person has recognized their biases, they must then go out and seek people that disprove their biases to help change their thinking. For example, I have a friend who is quite a big guy. He has helped me see that not every guy that looks like him should be feared, in fact, most guys that look like him SHOULD NOT be feared. Another way teachers can unlearn their biases is to get educated. Teachers can take classes to get informed about things such as the LGBTQ community, racism, and many other topics. Continuing to allow biases rule a classroom will not benefit the students that are negatively affected by the said biases.

As I mentioned above, I went to a Catholic elementary school and high school. Many of the classes were taught with Catholic values in mind. Most, if not all, of the teachers that I had growing up were white. I did not hear a lot about Indigenous perspectives or non-Catholic perspectives on most topics in school. I was taught through the truth of white, catholic people. I did not learn a lot about other religions and their stance on many of the important topics in society, such as family planning, family structure, the LGBTQ community, celebrations, and much more. When I was in school, the truth of white settlers was the truth that was most often taught, and thus I was taught this was the truth that mattered.

Thinking back to my schooling, it is shocking how little I learnt about other perspectives besides white settler knowledge, with a sprinkle of Indigenous knowledge here and there to fulfill curriculum content. I always could tell when teachers were forcing Indigenous knowledge into a lesson because I could tell the teacher was not passionate about it and they had the attitude that they had to teach it.

As a future educator, I want to incorporate more than just white settler knowledge into my classroom. I want to fully integrate Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing into my daily lessons and I do not want students to feel like Indigenous knowledge is being forced into the lesson. I want to be the classroom teacher that has little to no biases that affect my teaching abilities. I know that stating all these things is a lot easier than actually implementing my wants. I know as a classroom teacher, I will have to work hard every day to work against the biases that I have and not allow them to affect my teaching or interactions with students. Being a teacher that strives to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and not allow biases effect my teaching will be difficult at first, but then it will become routine and students will benefit from this.

Did you grow up with similar or different biases? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Cultural Influences on Mathematics

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 210, we had a guest lecturer, Gale, talk to the class about the influence that culture can have on a person’s understanding of mathematics. Now, I was super excited to attend this lecture because I love math, and yes it is my major. I really liked Gale’s lecture because she talked about mathematics in a way that I have not heard before.

Gale went into depth on discussing that people are inheritably mathematical beings. She described two scenarios that showcased children that were not yet in school; in the first case the children were under the age of 2 and in the second case, the children were about 5 years old. In both scenarios, the children were able to comprehend mathematical concepts that are taught to students when they are in elementary school.

Gale also discussed the importance of context in mathematical concepts and the importance of culture on mathematics. One of big topics that she discussed was the importance that language and culture can have on student’s ability to comprehend and understand mathematical concepts. The one example that Gale shared with the class that stuck out to me the most was the example of the Inuit students learning mathematics in traditional Inuit language and then having to take the mathematics test in English. Many of the students did not do well when they were asked to take the test in English, but when the test was taken in the traditional language, students exceeded the average score of non-Inuit students. From thsis example and from reading the articles that were assigned to the class this week, I have learnt a lot about the influence that culture can have on a student’s understanding of mathematics.

This week in ECS 210, we were asked to do two quick readings. The first reading that the class was tasked with reading is by Leroy Little Bear, Jagged Worldviews Colliding. After reading this article, I was tasked with thinking back to my own experiences of being taught and learning mathematics. I was asked to identify if there were aspects of learning mathematics that was oppressive or discriminative to myself or other students.

Mathematics always came easily to me when I was in elementary and high school. All of the math concepts just seemed to click with me in my head. I cannot think of a time that when I was learning mathematics that I felt some aspects were oppressive or discriminative to me. I know that when I was learning mathematics, there was some aspects that I did not like. I remember a time when I was in elementary school, some of the class would learn math with the regular classroom teacher, while a good handful of the class would learn math with the learning resource teacher. I was always frustrated that I did not get this special attention and I was mad that those students were able to learn the ‘easier’ math. Thinking back on this situation now, I can see how this really could have made those students that were pulled out of the classroom feel ostracized and singled out for ‘not being good at math’. Many of these students that were pulled out to do the ‘easier’ mathematics were not the highest achieving students, but I think not pushing the students to learn the same mathematics as the rest of the grade, and instead getting the simplified computational mathematics, was a disservice to them.

In my EMTH 200 class, we have been discussing the importance of teaching student mathematics through problem solving. In EMTH 200, we have also discussed the importance of students having a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts is crucial in mathematics. When students have a deep understanding of a mathematical concept, they actually understand the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of a procedure. When students do not have a deep understanding of a concept or rule, they are simply not plugging in numbers to a formula they do not actually understand how to use; they just know that this is the way that the teacher taught them and they must follow it. Giving students formulas and rules to follow in mathematics is important, but students must understand why, when and how they should use the formula. Simply teaching students how to put numbers into a formula is not really teaching students mathematics, it is instead teaching them memorization and how to pass the test.

After reading the Leory Little Bear’s article, I read Louise Poirier’s article titled Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community. This article focused on ­­how teaching Inuit students mathematics at the Kativik school. After reading this article we were asked to identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

While reading this article, I found many ways that Inuit mathematics is different from Western mathematics. First, Inuit mathematics is in base 20, while Eurocentric mathematics is in base 10. The Inuit use base 20 due to having ten fingers and ten toes. Second, I noticed that the Inuit mathematics requires context. The term line in mathematics is translated to English as the “adopted line”. This translation made me turn my head a bit at first, but after Poirier’s explanation about the situation that in the Inuit environment, there are not a lot of straight lines. In Eurocentric mathematics, a ‘line’ is automatically thought of as a straight line, while in Inuit mathematics a ‘line’ is not automatically thought of as straight. The third thing that I noticed from reading this article is that Inuit calendars are very different from Eurocentric calendars. Eurocentric calendars are solely based upon the twelve months, each with specific numbers of days. In contrast, the Inuit calendar also have twelve ‘months’ but each month is based upon how long it takes a natural event to take place, not a set number of days. This can be problematic when trying to teach students calendars in a Eurocentric sense because it is completely different from the Inuit calendars.

Overall, these articles and the lecture by Gale gave me more insight on how culture can effect a student’s understanding of mathematics. Teachers must consider the cultural influences that students may experience.

What are your thoughts on how culture can effect mathematics? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Citizenship in Schools?

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 210, we were asked to do a quick reading and watch a quick video about citizenship and citizenship in schools.

In the  article by Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne, it discusses three different types of citizens. The three types of citizens are:

  1. The Personally Responsible Citizen – “one who acts responsibly in his/her community” (p.3)
  2. The Participatory Citizen – “those who actively participate in the civic affairs and the social life of the community at local, state and national levels.” (p.4)
  3. The Justice Oriented Citizen – “analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political forces.” (p. 4)

Many people think that schools only teach students about the core curriculum subjects. Schools teach more than the core curriculum. Schools teach students about social norms, about following rules, and about how to be citizens in society. Things such as Food Bank drives, volunteer service and many other community involvement activities all teach students how to be good citizens in society.

When I was in school, I was taught a lot about citizenship, even when I did not know that I was. Most of the time I was taught how to be a Personally Responsible citizen.  I was taught how to pay my taxes in Personal Finance class. Throughout high school, I was taught how to help those in need where I was as big participant in the Food Bank drive. I really pushed myself to give as much food as I possibly could to the Food Bank because I knew I had many blessings that others did not.

When I was in high school, we were required to do volunteer service for a class called Christian Ethics. For four years, I did volunteer service at the Regina Food Bank. Most of the time I helped out sorting the food that was donated on the Annual Food Drive. The Food Bank drive was always important in my high school and I felt that I needed to participate and volunteer as much as I could.

My high school also encouraged students to become Participatory Citizens. The school had an SRC which students in grades 10-12 organized school events such as assemblies, dances, and many other school activities.

My high school encouraged and taught students how to be both Personally-Responsible and Participatory citizens. This approach encouraged all of the students to have desirable qualities, such as being compassionate, honest, and caring. This approach to allow students to learn how to become not only good citizens, but also good leaders and community members.

Unfortunately, as we discussed in the lecture today, this approach does not always allow students, or people that are living in poverty, or who need assistance to be ‘good’ citizens. A personally-responsible citizen is someone who fulfills their civic responsibilities (which can include paying taxes, voting, and helping those in need). If students are those that are in need, it is difficult for them to helps others that are in need. Students that are in need themselves are also able to help others in need, but it might be in different ways from donating things to the Food Bank or giving away clothing to the Salvation Army. Students that are also in need can be compassionate and help others in need in ways of being a good friend or neighbour. Students must be told that they can be a good citizen by listening to their friends when they are in need or by assisting others when they are struggling with homework or assignments.

This approach to teaching students how to be citizens that I experienced in high school did not encourage Justice-Oriented citizenship. Justice-Oriented citizens are needed in society, because they are the ones that question the social justice issues in society. It is important to teach students that it is okay to question the issues in society and want to make changes. As teachers, it is important to teach students and encourage students to be all the types of citizens. Every one of the three types of citizens are required in society. Society needs people to fulfill their civic responsibilities, play active roles in the community, and those to question the cause of social problems. It is important that schools encourage students to be the type of citizen that they fit in.

Citizenship is something that schools will teach students along with the core curriculum that teachers are required to teach. Schools teach students much more than just the core subjects. It is a teacher’s responsibility to encourage students to learn about and feel comfortable being any type of citizen. Citizenship is a crucial aspect of society and it is something that students will learn about in school, explicitly or implicitly.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

Treaty Education

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 210, we did not have class. Instead, we were asked to watch a few videos and read a short article about Treaty Education. For this blog post, we were asked to discuss how to incorporate Treaty Education in a school that does not see the purpose of teaching Treaty Education if there are no First Nations students.

Treaty Education is something that teachers are required to teach, just like every other subject in school, such as math, social studies and science. Even though Treaty Education must be taught in schools, it is often overlooked and not taught. Many people still believe that Treaty Education should be only taught to Indigenous students, but in fact, it is just as important (if not more) that non-Indigenous students are taught Treaty Education as well. Many Indigenous students already have knowledge about Treaty Education and about the Indigenous culture and history in Canada. Many non-Indigenous students do not know about the history of Treaties and the history of the relationships that non-Indigenous settlers had with Indigenous people in Canada.

As Claire states in her introductory video, Treaty Education is mandatory and teachers must teach the Treaty Education curriculum that has been laid out by the government of Saskatchewan. As discussed in Claire’s interview, Treaty Education is not a fad, it is not the flavour of the month. Treaty Education is here to stay and teachers must ensure that they are teaching the Treaty Education curriculum to their students of all grade levels and in all subjects.

As a future educator, I know there is a lot of curriculum to cover throughout the year of teaching, but just like every other subject, Treaty Education is mandatory and must be taught to students. Up until taking Education courses at the University of Regina, I did not know that Treaty Education was mandatory in every grade level and in every subject. I have a hard time thinking about where Treaty Education was in my classes growing up. It was likely in some of the classes, but I really only learnt about Treaties and Indigenous knowledge in Social Studies classes.

As an educator, it is my job and my responsibility to teach Treaty Education. Since I do not have a lot of memory of Treaty Education in my own elementary and high school education, I know it can be daunting to try to teach Treaty Education for the first time. As a future educator, my first place to look for resources and information about Treaty Education is the actual Treaty Education curriculum. After looking at the curriculum, it is always good to look at other teacher’s resources to gain ideas for how to plan lessons that incorporate Treaty Education into the classroom. Treaty Education should not be something that is forcefully stuck into a lesson or once throughout the school year. Treaty Education must be incorporated with other subjects and become part of the daily learning, not something that is just stuck in here and there. As a pre-service teacher, I can also take a Treaty Education course at the University of Regina to gain more knowledge about how to teach Treaty Education.

Living and teaching on Treaty 4 land and coming from a family of settler’s means that I am a Treaty person. Every person living on Treaty land is a Treaty Person. By acknowledging that treaties are part of everyone’s story, we are acknowledging the past and the knowledge that we can learn from one another, as explained in Cynthia Chambers’ article. As people, we must fight back against colonialism, which Dwayne describes in his video as “an extended process of denying relationship”.

Treaty Education is not a fad and it is not something that can be skipped over. As educators it is our job and responsibility to teach ALL students treaty education, regardless of their race.

Thanks for reading my blog post! If you have any thoughts on it leave a comment below!

Ashley Osachoff

Curriculum as Place

Hello everyone!

This week in ECS 210, we were asked to read through an article about a “research project that is dedicated to honouring Mushkegowuk Cree concepts of lands, environments and life in Fort Albany First Nation”.

Prior to reading this article, I had never heard about Fort Albany First Nation before. I had to google where on the map it was to get some sort of context of the setting of this research paper. Below is a picture of the map to outline where Fort Albany First Nation is.

Prior to reading this article, I had no previous knowledge about traditional Mushkegowuk ways of knowing. I have taken some classes to learn more about traditional Indigenous ways of knowing, but I know that there is so much more that I can learn. I know that I am not an expert on Indigenous ways of knowing, but I am eager to expand my knowledge about Indigenous ways of knowing and traditional values and beliefs.

From reading this article, I have learnt a lot about Mushkegowuk ways of knowing and the Fort Albany First Nation. A connection to nature is important for many people, but for Fort Albany First Nation, the connection to nature and land is more significant than just helping improve a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical and spiritual development; it is the cultural identity of the people. For Mushkegowuk, the land is more than just a resource; it is a spiritual and material place that all life springs from.

The author of this article did not pretend to know everything about Fort Albany First Nation or about the perspectives of the Mushkegowuk Cree. The group of researchers ASKED the community about their perspectives on the land and environment. One of the most important aspects of this research article was the project with the river as a theme to bring the youth and the elders together. This project was a ten day river trip with youth, adult and elder participation to learn more about traditional lands and waters. This project’s goal was to “foster development of meaningful space for intergenerational dialogue and community research on social and economic relationships rooted in Mushegowuk conceptions of life and traditional territory”.

While reading this article, we were asked to find examples of reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the article. Reinhabitation is identifying, recovering, and creating material spaces and places that teach people how to live well in the total environment (p.74). Decolonization is identifying and changing the ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (p. 74). In the article is states that reinhabitation and decolonization depend on each other.

I saw many examples of reinhabitation and decolonization in this article, but as a whole, the river trip was a huge example of both of these topics. As the group went on the excursion, they documented the sites of significance to the community. By documenting these sites, the community is taking steps into reinhabitation. As communities and people are able to reclaim the sites and routes that have traditional and historical significance, they are taking steps to reinhabitation. While on the excursion, the essay discusses that the river is a way of life for the people. The river has much more meaning to it other than just a body of water. The river has physical, emotional and spiritual uses and meanings. The river is also used as a cemetery and as a way to remember the people that have passed away. By sharing this information, the author is taking part in decolonizing. When I think of a river, I only think of a body of water. I did not think of other meanings that it could have for different people.

This article gave me a lot of insight and knowledge that I have not previously learnt before. I have never thought about the environment having such an impact on people’s lives. I think from reading this article I must realize that there are different types of knowledge that are important to students. When I am teaching, I must understand that knowledge and curriculum can come from more than just the textbooks and what is given by the government. Knowledge and teachings can come from the community and the environment around the students I am teaching. As a future teacher, I will integrate more Indigenous knowledge into all subjects.

Thank you for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff