Inquiry Project Post #3: Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief

10 Quotes From a Sioux Indian Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society

indian.jpg.pagespeed.ce.4js8v-f9WO As I am continuing research for my inquiry project, I came across an article the other day that I found very intriguing because it had so many meaningful quotes that I really wanted to explore. I would absolutely want to try to implement these ways of knowing in my future classroom. I speak of personal experience when I say that so much of our Canadian history was hidden from me growing up, and only exposed to the typical stereotypes. As an educated adult, I now realize how detrimental this was to my generation because I know that it is a very common issue. Knowledge is power! It is so crucial to be able to teach my students as many aspects of the Aboriginal ways of knowing, instead of the perceived version that they are most likely to be exposed to from home life or frequently found in our society. Again, informing my students about history and how it affects our Canadian background is essential to breaking these harmful prejudices.

 “Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.”

One of the biggest challenges I have been finding lately is one that relates to technology, because it is something that makes conversations and relationships meaningless at certain times. I think this is directly related to the above quote. Isn’t technology the most hurried manner of conversation there is?  I am absolutely guilty of this myself in so many different situations. Being in a classroom daily for the past few weeks I see how much technology has taken over all aspects of adolescent lives. The students are always, constantly on their phones. I haven’t been around young people in that extent for a long time, so I have never realized until recently how intensely students use their phones. Even after warnings and confiscating cellphones/iPads, they are still constantly using their technology. It is an addiction and as if they can’t be without. The only day I watched two students in my class one row over text each other instead of talking to each other. I thought to myself, “How sad is that”. The social skills that this generation will lack are outstanding.

“Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words.”

 Relating to the above paragraph about lack of social skills, I agree with this quote that all actions need to be felt, not just said. There are so many meaningful messages behind this, because so often in our society, there are countless thoughtless actions.  If we were to teach students some of these valuable lessons then maybe we would be able to decrease this and make our country a better place. Something else I have been learning a lot about in our internship is that students really do see us teachers as role models so if we can model compassion, then that can go miles and will hopefully one day make a difference in the challenges that our people of Canada are facing.

“Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery”.

wilderness.jpg.pagespeed.ce.pcqg2xJFT8Respecting the earth is not something that is just a passionate hobby to some people – it is an absolute necessity. So often, the earth and its beautiful nature are not respected, as it should be. I believe this is partly because this necessity is not taught to children as well as it should be. It goes back to the lack of meaningful conversations because of the advancement of technologies. Are we spending enough time appreciating the amazing landscapes we are surrounded with in Canada? Do we take care of our land as well as the land takes care of us? Would we still be alive without the selflessness of Earth?

“It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all”.

One of the most ironic messages from this article is that every one is equal. It seems so obvious right? However, that doesn’t mean it is true, especially in Canada. This quote should be dissected with great detail because it is one of the most important life lessons – everyone and everything is equal. There is no one better and no one beneath you. Everyone deserves love. What an amazing lesson to learn that regardless of race, gender, age, beliefs, that every single human is equal.

All of these quotes make for deeper meaning about almost all aspects of life. It is especially important to know the fact that there are so many different points of view and traditions. We all have our own traditions that we celebrate with our own families and friends, and we need to realize that there are other important aspects to the Aboriginal ways of knowing.  This article is a small aspect of how certain groups of people view their lives and as Canadians we need to be open to all aspects of our historical traditions in order to hopefully one day find reconciliation and some sort of peace in our society.

Inquiry Project Post #2: Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Recently, our cUnknownlass went for a tour of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. I have only been there only a couple times before as I am not originally from Regina, so I don’t have as much information about it as some of my peers did. Something that I gathered from my fellow students, who have been going there since their childhood, is that it has not changed one bit. We went through the First Nations display, and I found it to be very dry.

images-2There was also a huge part missing in this gallery. That part being history or even recognition about Residential schools not only in Canada, but it was left out entirely in our Saskatchewan history. This really surprised me, as Saskatchewan was the grounds for some of the longest standing residential schools in Canada. Something else that really stood out to me is the fact that the language that was used in this exhibition was completely outdated. For example, the term that was used to address this culture was “Indian”. There was no other languageUnknown-1 used, and there was also a very westernized perspective forced. There was a display that was all about the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company that insinuated that European’s came over and really helped and “saved” the First Nations. There was also nothing about the problematic ways that the European’s took over the land. The First Nations people’s were portrayed to have ideal living conditions, with none of their struggles they faced shown in any of the displays. There was also nothing shown about the conflict between the European settlers and the First Nations people that happened and is consequently still happening today.

images-1Although I doubt that the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is intending to portray the history this way, it is very problematic. If these are the types of displays and exhibitions our students and children are viewing, then there should be no surprise that Canadians (such as myself) know absolutely nothing about the real history that happened. There needs to be the truth displayed and taught to children and adults so that the awareness is turned into knowledge regardless of if it is difficult to discuss. There also needs to be this discussion started very early on because then students and children are aware of these issues and are not 20 (like myself) when they first hear about residential schools. Honestly, learning about the residential schools and the treatment of First Nations peoples is very disturbing, especially as an older student because it is shocking that there is hardly any awareness about it. It  did shake my foundations when I became aware of this, because how was I a knowledge university student learning how to shape the minds of young children, when I didn’t even know about one of Canada’s most important historical events? It is so challenging to reflect on this and find solid ground on this because my entire life I had been told (silently, throughout no awareness) one thing, and then finding something out so disturbing made me feel very uneducated and confused.

The visit to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum was a great learning experience for me as a teacher, because it showed me why students have such limited knowledge about First Nations people. As I said in my previous post, it was unbelievable that so many Canadians were obnoxious to the history of the First Nations people, but these types of portrayals in our museums and how our Canadian history is taught could explain why. It also showed me what perspectives I need to be including in my classrooms because it is likely that they are only being told or shown one perspective.

Inquiry Project Post #1: Why I chose Treaty Education

The reason why I wanted to choose Treaty Education for my inquiry project is because I feel like I need to have so much more information  beforeGMCTE Treaty Module FINAL I can incorporate it in an educational and effective way into my classroom on a daily basis.

I believe that one of the reasons that I feel so lost in regards to this topic is because I grew up in a place where Treaty Education was not discussed at all, and my teachers mostly avoided the topic as much as they could. I did not learn about residential schools until I started university, which is something that still makes me upset today that this knowledge was hidden from me for so long. It is unbelievable to me that so many Canadians are so oblivious to this topic.

After attending the Treaty Education Workshop at the beginning of the semester, I felt as if I never received a straightforward answer on HOW to actually incorporate Aboriginal ways of knowing into my daily routines in my classroom. I felt like the workshop was mainly focused on discussing the terms of the treaties in Saskatchewan. Obviously that information is very important, but at the same time it didn’t help me as a teacher trying to include this into my classroom that I am about to enter in.

I crave to learn more because not only do I fully believe that Treaty Education is an essential part of the Canadian learning experience, but I believe that I should know how to bring this into my classroom in a meaningful way. Incorporating Treaty Education is required to pass your internship, however I have heard of previous interns who have had co-op teachers who did not take this part seriously at all, and viewed it more of a chore than anything else. For example, they would incorporate a “sharing circle” into a lesson, and then they checked off the “included Treaty Essential Learning’s” into all of their lessons just so it was checked off. I do not want to view this topic as unimportant and want to ensure that I am incorporating it in a though-provoking and important way.

In an English classroom I can see how this could be easier to do than in other subject areas, however I want to find ways of making this a daily routine in my classroom, instead of just studying specific First Nation’s texts and saying that I am teaching Treaty Education. Treaty Education and incorporating Aboriginal ways of knowing is something I am very interested in further learning and I hope that I can eventually feel confident in teaching Treaty Education in my classroom.

Communication and Evaluating Learning

Chapters 9 & 10 in Making Classroom Assessment Work

Davies starts chapter 9 of Making Classroom Assessment Work out by discussing the importance of having an open communication system not only with your students but also with your student’s parents. She highlights the fact that many parents want to know what is happening with their children and their education, however many teachers struggle to find a successful means of communicating with so many parents with such different and complex schedules.

One suggestion she makes on page 86 is to involve students with the communication. I struggle with this solution because I personally see many challenges that may arise. The first being, what if the student doesn’t want to tell their parents about school? There are many children who leave school at school and don’t want to think about it again. There is also the issue of if there is a newsletter or questions that need to be discussed, there are some very disorganized children who will not have that paper in their hand for more than five minutes before it goes missing. There also is the issue of actually involving the parents. Unfortunately, there is always going to be parents who do not wish to be involved, or don’t have time to be involved. Even if the parents are willing to be involved with their child’s education, there is also the issue of time. What if their dad works out of town and doesn’t have time to talk about that specific topic, or what if the child has hockey right after school until late at night and they don’t get a chance to discuss the topics. Something I wonder about is whether implementing this communication strategy would still work if there were students who will not have any information or discussions at home involving their parents.

Going off of that point, incorporating technology would be a great idea in ensuring parents are involved as much as possible or as little as possible. Having a school website where information is posted, such as upcoming activities and due dates would be a great way of ensuring the parents that want to be kept up to date, can be. Also giving parents your personal email would be a good way of communicating because you can reply whenever you have a chance and vise versa. However, I have heard horror stories about teachers giving out email addresses to parents, so I guess I would need to get to know my students and parents before I went that far.

Davies then moves on to student-parent conferences, which is the best time for parents to see what their child has been doing. I think it is important to prepare for these with your students because it take some pressure off of you as the teacher, and it also gives students some initiative to take their learning into their own hands. During the conference, the parent will give feedback to their child and their child will hopefully feel very proud of accomplished. If needed, perhaps the parents could also set goals with their child involving the teacher to ensure future success as well.

Chapter 10 discusses in depth about evaluating and reporting of the evidence of the learning. On page 95, Davies says: “Evaluation is a process of looking at all the evidence, comparing it to the description and samples of quality and asking: Did this student learn what was to be learned? How well?” and then “To evaluate well, we should look at all the evidence – observations, products, and conversations.” This reiterates the point that you must collect numerous amounts of evidence over the process of learning, not just one because students learn in so many different ways and can accomplish success in more than one just way.

Not only is it so important to involve parents as much as possible, but as discussed previously in the book, it is also crucial to involve the students as well. If we involve students then their learning becomes so much more valuable because they get to learn about things that are important and interesting to them. This also will help in their understanding if they involved in the learning from the very beginning. If students learn how to successfully self-monitor, then they are well on their way of becoming life long learners.

In conclusion, I believe that the more parent involvement you can get in your classroom, the better. It will positively affect your student’s learning if they have a parent actively invested in their education, and it can also give parents a peace of mine because their voice will be heard about what they want their children to be learning.