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Blog #9 – Case Study

This week in seminar we talked about three different case studies in small groups, and then discussed as a larger group afterwards.

Three things that I learned were:

  1.  Unexpected things will happen while we are teaching, and sometimes there is nothing that we can do about it. These case studies really opened my eyes to the kinds of issues that really can exist within schools, as well as how we might address them.
  2.  That teachers will address problems in different ways. Based on the conversation that we had we could all agree that each case study posed a specific problem, but couldn’t all agree on how to deal with the problems.
  3.  The importance of making sure that students aren’t on their phones during lockdown drills. I’d never thought of cell phones being the one dead giveaway that students are in a classroom.

Two connections that I made were:

  1. When we were talking about accessibility and how people who are differently- abled are treated, it reminded me of this summer when my boyfriend was in a wheelchair and how he was treated, and how inaccessible many places in our community are.
  2.  The idea of a teacher’s personal life affecting their professional life and how students see them. In one case study a teacher was put on the news for drinking and driving. This reminded me of when I worked at a restaurant next to my high school, and how after school often times a whole group of my teachers would come and drink in front of me while I was working directly after school, and how it impacted my own opinion of them as professionals.

One question that I still have is:

In all of the recent mass/school active-shooter situations I have heard of and read about, most people used their cell phones to text loved ones and keep them updated, and even used their phones to say final goodbyes to family. How do I, as a teacher, tell a student they are not allowed to update their family, knowing that if things turn bad it could very well be their last chance to speak to their family?

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Blog #8 – Teacher Identity

This week we talked about the idea of teacher identity.

Three things that I learned were:

  1. The STF Teacher’s Project. This project showcases teachers in Saskatchewan and how they are making a difference in their schools and communities through a documentary-style video. These can be used as resources for teachers who are looking for new ways to help their students and communities.
  2. The different components that make up teacher identity in relation to policy discourses, including how we are trained as teachers, funding, curriculum, funding, and accountability policies.
  3. The idea of “teaching in the undertow”. I thought as a teacher that teaching only from curriculum was something that was not only expected of me but the best way to do it to avoid any issues. However, its clear that teaching off-curriculum (as long as curriculum is still covered) and engaging with my students in ways that aren’t all about testing and assessment are going to be the more meaningful classroom experiences for them.

 

Two connections that I made were:

  1. Miss Yerkes’ notion of “feeling like a teacher”. I agree that when I dress a certain way, usually with heels I feel more like a teacher than if I was wearing something less professional or where my heels didn’t click down the hallway, and that this in turn contributes to how I act as a teacher.
  2.  Teachers in the media. In my own life I can say absolutely that my own teaching style sometimes reflects that of teachers I’ve seen in the media or teachers I’ve had before. Everyone wants to strive to be the exciting, Jack Black-type of teacher and avoid being the Severus Snape type, but I think that in the way that the character themselves are portrayed, it takes away from the real lessons that they are teaching and we don’t see their planning or curriculum.

One question that I still have is: As we grow as teachers, how much do we need to focus on separating our personal identity from our teaching identity, and when is it okay to let those two merge?

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Blog # 7 – the STF

This week in lecture we spoke about the STF and what it does for teachers, and in seminar we talked about the prison to school pipeline.

Three things that I learned were:

  1.  That the STF Executive is comprised completely of teachers and former teachers. I think that this is really important because people who have taught or are teaching have the kind of insight into the lives of teachers that can’t be found elsewhere. These teachers make decisions for all teachers in Saskatchewan.
  2. The Code of Collective Interests. I didn’t know that it existed or what it was comprised of, but now I know what are and aren’t considered to be respectful actions towards the Federation.
  3. Resisting the criminalization of school behaviour. I have never really seen this as a concept itself, but it makes sense to me to be 100% conscious of how, if at all I am punishing students as a teacher and how my behaviour might directly affect that student in a way that sets them up to be sent through the school to prison pipeline.

 

Two connections that I made were:

  1. The school to prison pipeline. I learned about this in an English class and learned about the ways in which our educational systems in North America contribute to incarceration. We had a guest speaker come in who was a part of that pipeline who had been released from prison and returned back to university later on, and this reminded me of his story.
  2. The STF’s Code of Professional Ethics. I learned about this in ECS 100 where we talked about what would be expected of us as future teachers

One question that I still have is:

How do we as teachers strike ethically, knowing that it results in the sacrifice of some students’ education?

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Blog #6 – Hidden Curriculum and Reproduction Theory

This week in lecture we talked about hidden curriculum and reproduction theory.

Three things that I learned were:

  1. The idea of Reproduction Theory. This is a theory that argues against the ideas of schools providing equal opportunity, but rather schools seek to reproduce the “status quo” like a factory.
  2. The idea of the “culture of power”. This is the notion that those in the dominant culture are the ones who have power.
  3. Anyon’s idea of connections between types of schools, the type of work that is done and the control that the students have over themselves. I never thought of he differences between these types of schools and the connection that has to the expectations that exist within the school.

Two connections I made were:

  1. When we were talking about the culture of power, it made me think of white privilege, especially when it was mentioned that those with the power are usually those who are unaware of it. A lot of white people that I know are upset at the notion of white privilege because they don’t feel as though they hold any power because of their race.
  2. Correspondence theory and the idea that schools don’t provide equal opportunities for all students and continues to push the status quo, that students who start out poor often end up poor. This reminds me of students that I have known since kindergarten and where they are now. Those who were affluent then remain affluent and have more opportunities as adults than those who started school with a lower SES.

One question I still have is:

How can we make classrooms equitable for all?

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Blog #6 – History of Education in Saskatchewan

This week we talked about the history of education in Saskatchewan, as well as the constructions of school systems.

Three things that I learned are:

  1. The idea of teachers and schools being behind one of four Philosophies of Education: perennialism, essentialism, progressivism and reconstructivism. I thought that this was an interesting concept because it made me think about teachers I’ve had and what their own educational philosophies were, as well as what my own might be. I learned that these four philosophies can be merged and each teacher can have a strong mix of any of the four as their own philosophies.
  2. The idea of Normal Schools. I had no idea that these had existed as the first kind of professional teacher training in Saskatchewan and that prior to their opening, teachers had no kind of teacher-training.
  3. That the first ever teacher-strike in Saskatchewan occurred in 1921 in Moose Jaw.  Despite the strike being short, the victory was felt by the teachers to be a victory because it allowed them to represent themselves.

Two connections I made are:

  1.  Education as a political act. I have seen this time and time again in my own education. I strongly believe this is because of the changing political and social climate in North America in the past fifteen years. I was in the sixth grade when Barack Obama was inaugurated and  our entire elementary school sat in the gym and watched on the big projector screen as he became president. Throughout high school many political topics were spoken about, and as the LGBTQ+ discourse began to really open up such as with the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, so too did the opportunity open in our classrooms to learn about that community specifically and diversity. This can be said about LGBTQ rights, All Lives Matter, gun control and mass shootings and so much more. As our world changes, certainly the burden is on us as teachers to educate our students about our changing world.
  2. Hidden curriculum. This I think goes hand-in-hand with the politicizing of the classroom. We encourage schools to have gender-neutral bathrooms and rooms for smudging, and these things (though both are very positive) suggest acceptance of specific communities within the school, and therefore the school must have a positive feeling about these communities to include them, in turn influencing the way students think about things. Today we might have arguments about gender-neutral washrooms because they are new to us, but in the future they’ll be the norm and students won’t think twice about them.

One question I still have is:

Is hidden curriculum ethical, and where should the line be drawn?

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Blog #5 – Diverse Perspectives

This week we talked about diverse perspectives on development and learning in class. We looked at both the idea of the learning spirit as well as the reconceptionalist theory.

Three things that I learned are:

  1. The idea of the Indigenous Renaissance, as described by Marie Batiste in her article ‘Nourishing the Learning spirit: Living our way to new thinking’. This is the idea that there is a “resurgence of Indigenous knowledge”, which began with the first generation of Indigenous peoples to obtain University Degrees in the 1960’s.
  2.  That the idea of reconceptualization when looking at different learning theories is a theory in itself. This is the idea that no one theory should or can be applied to all children.
  3. Canella’s Assumptions in Educational discourse, which include focusing on the necessity of learning, movement towards logic and advancement, certain knowledge as more important or legitimate and the inferiority of people within education.

Two Connections I made were:

  1. The assumption that there are certain types of knowledge which are more legitimate. In high school I remember certain subjects being requirements for graduation such as a math, a science and an English requirement, but subjects like woodshop, physical education and law were not requirements. This gives the suggestion of some classes being more important, or “basic” knowledge.
  2.  The Reconceptualist’s theory. I connect to this because I also strongly believe that there is no one theory that can blanket every child and their way of thinking. In my own journey as a teacher one of my main takeaways has always been that students learn and develop differently from one another and in many different ways.

One question I still have is:

How can we challenge the assumptions put forth by Canella and perhaps look to provide a discourse that is more inclusive?

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Blog #4 – Culture and Diversity

This past two classes we  have talked about social and emotional well-being, as well as culture and diversity in classrooms. In seminar, we did the jigsaw activity which allowed us all to hear different stories about mental health and have a conversation about it. In lecture we talked about culture and diversity, which opened up good conversations about “what would you do” moments featured in the text books.

Three things that I learned were:

  1. That there is a strong correlation between socioeconomic status and cortisol levels in the brain, which in turn can also affect grades. I thought it was interesting and made a lot of sense because children from low SES households often have more stress than other students, and often compare themselves to others in all kinds of ways.
  2. Banks’ Five Dimensions of Multicultural Education. This includes content integration, an equity pedagogy, prejudice and bias reduction and awareness, a process of knowledge construction and the empowerment of social structure and school culture. I never thought of multicultural education as a system, but the dimensions all connect in different ways and balance each other.
  3. The idea of tracking students and it’s effect on their socialization. This is when low SES students are placed in specific classes based on assumed ability and are taught differently. This could also happen for high SES students who are expected to do better.

 

Two connections I made were:

  1. Tracking. This happened to me and a few other girls at my elementary school often, because it was assumed we were affluent and smarter than others in our grade. ( I was a low SES student at a very high SES school, most students were assumed to be affluent). We were often put in a different English class or math groups (I was really bad at math, I don’t know why I was ever put in an advanced math group), and this continued into 7th and 8th grade. In 7th grade I moved schools and was placed in a class with about ten others from two classes that met once a week to do independent study. In grade 8 I moved again and was placed in advanced English, but also advanced math because it was presumed I was very good at both ( again I was really bad at math). This pulled me out of my regular class and those of us in the groups were questioned by the other students because they didn’t think we were any smarter than them, and it created some tension in the higher grades. Luckily my high school had no AP classes so I was never singled out.
  2.  When we spoke about students in class who come from a low SES household. This hit home because when I was in third grade my mom went back to  school, and it was just her and my two sisters and I. I went to an elementary school which was located in a prestigious neighborhood and many of my classmates had parents over 40 who were affluent, and my mother was in her late twenties as full-time student, working part time as a bartender. Needless to say I did not have the same kind of home life as my friends, and I often had to watch my sisters. However, contrary to what we learned this week, and despite having both high cortisol levels displayed through mental health issues and coming from a low SES household, I was able to control one thing and that was my grades. So by watching my mother go through school I think that helped me push myself to get the same kinds of grades as my friends and excel.

One question I still have is  if I was able to push myself to succeed despite my low SES standing and correlating mental health issues, why don’t other student have that same drive, and what can I do as a teacher to support students who may be feeling as I did, but don’t have that drive?

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Blog #3 – Social and Cognitive Views

This week we talked about social and cognitive views of learning and motivation. Three things that I learned are:

  1.  The different perspectives of learning and their correlating theorists. This includes B.F. Skinner’s behaviourist perspective which talks about rewards and punishments in learning, J. Anderson’s Cognitivist perspective which talks about memory and reactivating information previously learned, and Piaget and Vygotsky’s constructivist perspectives which says that learning should be scaffolded, whether it be individual or collaborative.
  2.  The meaning of self efficacy, which is the belief in one’s self to succeed at a task, and it’s connection to learning.
  3. The importance of self-regulation in learning and the positive effects it can have on grades.

Two connections which I made were:

  1.  The ability for students to succeed more when they are self regulating. I found this very interesting and connected to it because I’ve always felt as though “doing my own thing” when it comes to studying or taking notes has taken me farther in my understanding of concepts than suggestions or regulations.
  2.  Bandura’s idea that the greater the self-efficacy the greater task initiation, and persistence the greater the likelihood of success. When I have multiple things to do such as study for different tests or complete multiple assignments, I will always begin with what I know I will understand more, and what I know I can complete with no problem. These are often tasks that I don’t procrastinate, but tasks which I believe are harder or that I’m unable to complete I will push off to avoid the feeling of struggling through it.

One question I still have:

My sister’s and I grew up in the same household, with the same family, and often the same teachers and peers. While I am often confident in my work and know I can succeed, my youngest sister often doesn’t.  If these are influences for self-efficacy, why is it that us three sisters seem to have different levels of self-efficacy?

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Blog #2, Strength and Resilience

This week we talked about  social and moral development in students. Three thing that I learned are that girls are generally bigger than boys during middle years, that there is a difference between authoritative and authoritative parenting styles as well as how to report suspected neglect or abuse.

Two connections I made are:

  1. The definitions of parenting styles. These definitions helped me to understand and connect to my own parents and how I was raised, reflecting on their values and how their parenting has effected me throughout my life beyond them.
  2. The idea of body image in classrooms as an intimidating topic. As we were speaking about students who lose weight rapidly, I thought of myself and how this often occurs and how I felt in high school about it. I also reflected on what was taught in my high school about body image and healthy lifestyles.

One thing I still would like to know is how a teacher can fit in in the parenting role, and where the line is in that respect between teacher and parent, and how far to go beyond that line.

Blog #1 – Cognitive Development

This week we read and talked about cognitive development in class. We also spoke about Bronfenbrenner and his Social Context of Development, which is the total setting or situation that surrounds and interacts with students. It includes internal and external pressures that interact with the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions to shape development and learning. I thought that looking at this model was important for helping us as future teachers to understand the context in which a child develops, and how that has an effect on the way that they learn and cognitive development. I thought that the chapter about cognitive development in the textbook was very interesting as well. My partner has an acquired brain injury, and its personally very interesting to read about the way in which the brain adapts an learns in that context. It also helps us as future teachers to understand exactly why a student may not be understanding something that others do. This ability to look at cognitive function is a tool which we can use to help students by tailoring our teaching style to meet their needs. However, as teachers we can not be so focused on the brain-based aspect of learning, as we will lose the big picture running around trying to understand the exact cognitive processes of each student. For example, if a student is falling behind because their dog keeps eating their homework and they think its funny and continue to let it happen without telling anyone, we as teachers might believe that the student just isn’t understanding the information and focus on the cognitive aspect, where we just needed to ask a few more questions to find the answer. Therefore, these tools are useful as insight, but might not be looked at as the sole resource for understanding why a student might be behind.