This is the blog hub for the teaching and learning reflections of ECS350 students at the University of Regina.
My name is Deborah McCloud.
I am a post-degree student (Bachelor of Education obtained Winter 2017!) currently in the TESM Certificate Program. I got engaged in August of 2016 to my beautiful Amber. I am the “mama” of two handsome little boys [Tyrell, 6, and Kayden, 2 (soon to be 3!!)] that Amber and I took on as, initially a Place of Safety, and now we have PSI (which, if you don’t know, means Person of Sufficient Interest).
My usage of educational technology, in my opinion, is pretty limited. I have used/researched some things very loosely; Edmodo, MooURL, Prezi, Seesaw, PowerSchool, and some others that I can’t think of right now. My knowledge goes about as deep as what each thing is and how to use it to the least (generally speaking) of it’s ability.
Blogging? Well, these images about sum that whole experience up…
Honestly, I suck at blogging. I have trouble committing to writing on something such as WordPress or even Twitter (though, I currently have both). The blogging I have done thus far has been for classes and not so much to build a positive online presence. I am not overly excited to be blogging for class but I now understand the benefit of having an online presence. I also want to have my online profile built for my future employers to look at.
All-in-all, this will be another interesting experience. Maybe I can learn to like it, maybe not.
Prior to beginning this course journey (the pre-course survey), you were asked to define culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) in general and, more specifically, CRP in the mathematics classroom. Considering your learning in this course through the readings, discussions, reflections, and assignments, reflect on 3 key areas of your own personal and/or professional growth with regard to CRP in the mathematics classroom.
I feel like I have learned a lot over the period of this course. With regards to my own personal and/or professional growth in regard to culturally responsive pedagogy in the mathematics classroom, there are key areas I feel have changed.
I didn’t think about how essential culturally responsive pedagogy is in a mathematics classroom before coming into this classroom. Of course, it makes sense to me to be culturally responsive and I think of it more frequently now. But, I also found that there are aspects I consider while teaching but not so much when I am lesson planning. I feel like, especially in mathematics, looking at how culturally responsive your lessons are would help your students a lot. I like the idea of breaking up assignments in the way that Jeremy Sundeen does; he lets students redo their tests three times and provides them with support. I feel like giving students these extra chances to do their tests again provides them with the chance to fully understand the topic and gives them a better chance of success. I feel like this would be especially useful for students with linguistically diverse backgrounds. Looking back at the lesson analysis tool, I don’t think I would use that too often. It definitely opened up my eyes to the fact that my lessons aren’t culturally responsive which has surely curved my thinking.
This course has challenged my thinking. It has taught me to question what we are teaching in mathematics. It is teaching me to consider the questions I use in my mathematics classroom. It has made me think deeper about how to incorporate experiential learning into my lessons. After listening to Tracey McMillan I learned a lot about Nunavut and how different their education system is; I enjoy the fact that their curriculum involves Elders in its creation. Each of the presenters that we had gave some insight to challenge my thinking.
I think the biggest personal/professional growth that I have had is how my mindset has changed. When I first came in the class I didn’t fully grasp what it meant to be culturally responsive. I have gained an interest in looking into how to teach linguistically diverse learners in my mathematics classroom. There isn’t a whole lot of information or resources to use when it comes to teaching linguistically diverse learners which shows the need for development in the area. I enjoyed the book chapters I read by Kersaint, G., Thompson, D. R., Petkova, M. It goes into detail on how to help our students that are linguistically diverse. Using different strategies for helping students to problem solve were useful for me to begin thinking about my teaching; guess and check, make a table, act it out, etc. I am thinking even more now about how I can be culturally responsive in my classroom.
Discuss aspects from Tracey MacMillan’s presentation today that challenged or surprised your current understandings of teaching and learning through culturally responsive pedagogies.
I enjoyed Tracey’s presentation about teaching in the Nunavut. I feel like some of the hardest parts of moving to Nunavut would be learning the language. There is part of me that is highly intrigued with working in the Nunavut but at the same time, I’m not sure if I could do it. The biggest thing for me is that it is a long way from my family.
Something I found very interesting was the way that things are taught in Nunavut. I love the fact that their language and culture is so crucial to their schooling. Nunavut schools, including materials used in the schools, need to reflect education best practices, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. I found it quite interesting that Elders are so highly involved in the curriculum building process. Another thing I found to be interesting was the support the Department of Education has for their teachers in the Nunavut; they provide teachers with language training so they can keep the language going in their schools.
I also found it quite interesting that Nunavut has used curriculum and resources from the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. As a teacher, I would appreciate the fact that the Department of Education in Nunavut shares teaching resources with approved curriculum. I find it interesting that there are strands used; Uqausiliriniq (Communication, Language, Creative & Artistic, Expression, Reflective & Critical Thinking), Iqqaqqaukkaringniq (Mathematics, Innovation & Technology, Analytical & Critical Thinking, and Solution-Seeking), Nunavusiutit (Heritage & Culture, History, Geography, Environmental Science, Civics & Economics), and Aulajaaqtut (Wellness & Safety, Physical, Social, Emotional & Cultural Wellness, Goal Setting, Volunteerism, Survival) (http://www.gov.nu.ca/sites/default/files/2016-17_nunavut_approved_curriculum_and_teaching_resources_0.pdf). I like the strands because it is a different way of looking at education and I can appreciate that.
I really like the idea of experiential learning which I feel Nunavut does a lot. I like that they bring Elders in to their classrooms quite often to show students different things. Tracey showed us a photo of the students working with an Elder to prepare a fish; the Elder even showed all the parts of the fish and what it would be used for. These kinds of lessons are crucial in Nunavut because that is part of peoples’ livelihoods there.
Nunavut puts into perspective the possibility to teach in a more experiential manner that still gets the points we feel are important across. I also like the idea that language and culture is so crucial in their students’ development.
How would you respond to a teacher who asks you why he/she should develop and use Indigenous-based culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) when there are no Indigenous students in his/her classroom (or school)?
If a teacher asked me why they should develop and use Indigenous-based culturally responsive pedagogy when there are no Indigenous students in their classroom (or school), I would tell them to take the time to learn and teach it to their students anyways. My question in return would be, if you didn’t know how to teach any core subject, would you have the choice not to teach it? No. You would likely take the time to learn the curricular content and prepare to teach your students in a meaningful way.
Students benefit from the things their teachers take the time to learn themselves. With Indigenous Education, you may not have Indigenous students in your classroom but it is important for your students to learn about it. The things we learn about Indigenous Education bring to life a lot of the dark times in Canada that are seeming to be hidden. It may not be directly related to your students but at the same time, as Canadians, it is most definitely related. It is important to learn about different events in Canada; even in Saskatchewan, some don’t know very much about Treaty Education. Everyone can value from learning about the history of Saskatchewan and aspects of Indigenous peoples’ as well.
Today’s two Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) topics (social justice and ethnomathematics) resulted in some discussion around the question of: How do we share with others (colleagues and students) that mathematics is actually not value- and culture-free? What are you thoughts on (and response to) this question?
I feel like in order to share with others that mathematics is actually not value- and culture-free, we must have an understanding of that ourselves. As a future educator, I feel it is extremely important to gain an understanding of how mathematics is actually not value- and culture-free. Researching the topic of culturally responsive pedagogy is a good start in understanding the content ourselves. Next, I would likely sit down with my colleagues and have a discussion with them about their beliefs on the matter; whether or not mathematics is value- and culture-free. Then, I would show them examples from our mathematics problems that show that mathematics is, in fact, not value- and culture-free. I would also show them some examples of mathematics that is not value- and culture-free.
At this point in time, I couldn’t do that. I don’t have enough knowledge of the topic in order to teach it to others. I feel the best start is to gain an understanding of the facts and figure out how to show it to others.
What do you feel are some of the advantages and disadvantages to “becoming aware”, in other words, to develop critical awareness (or, what is referred to as a ‘critical consciousness’) about mathematics and mathematics education?
I believe that there are some of the disadvantages to developing critical awareness about mathematics and mathematics education. In Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education, it is said that “What social planners and educators must face is a meshing of a variety of cultural inputs: The ethnic or racial culture of the individual; the influence of the family; their community and neighbourhood (socioeconomic); the school; learning; the classroom; and the national society at large” (Greer, B., Mukhopadhyay, S., Powell, A.B., & Nelsen-Barber, S., 2009) I feel like one of the biggest issues with “becoming aware” is the fact that there are a lot of different cultures who’s mathematics you would need to include in the curriculum; that may become a major issue because if you leave out a culture then are you truly critically conscious? With the past being very much about the “right” way of doing things, I feel as though many teachers would have issues with parents who believe that notion of “the old way worked for me so why change it?”
I feel as though there are advantages to developing critical awareness about mathematics and mathematics education. Providing students with an opportunity to better themselves using their own cultural knowledge allows for students to feel a sense of pride in their work and really allows the students to relate to their assignments/school work. I believe giving students input into their education, by way of culture, allows them to strive for something higher than what they would achieve by doing things the old way. Our education system needs to change for the better and becoming more culturally responsive is a way to do that.
Greer, B., Mukhopadhyay, S., Powell, A.B., & Nelsen-Barber, S. (Eds.) (2009). Culturally
Responsive Mathematics Education. New York: Routledge.
Based on your experience with the lesson analysis tool today, what new ideas/insights do you have for designing and teaching mathematics lessons that are culturally responsive?
After working with the lesson analysis tool today, the biggest realization I came to is that I likely don’t have any lessons that are culturally responsive. Though, I also feel that it would be extremely difficult to ensure that every single lesson we ever made was culturally responsive.
One of the biggest struggles I would have with the lesson analysis tool is ensuring to include, in my lesson specifically, time(s) for students to be able to speak in their own language as a tool for their learning. I definitely see the benefit of it but it isn’t something I ever really thought about including in my lesson plan.
In our class discussions we talked about how difficult using this tool would be. As much as I see how I could struggle, I also see the benefits of using a tool such as this. Though, as I said before, it isn’t always something that is directly on the lesson plan, as an educator I know these are things that we think about. I like the fact that the tool really makes you think about truly how culturally responsive your lessons are. You may at times feel as though your lesson is culturally responsive and this tool, or one similar to it, will show you that your lesson in fact is not.
It’s often said that a goal of education is compassion and care. I personally believe a goal of life should be compassion and care. I’m currently in week 3 of my final internship as an Education, and this morning, the staff was called into the staff room and given grave news about the medical prognosis of one of its staff members. In the midst of this situation, I could sense that every staff member was affected. There were tears, hugs, and offers to cover one another’s workload as we process this news. This staff has become like a family, and cares for one another as such.
I’m really impacted by the depth of care these professionals have for one another, and it inspires me to not just see my work as a “task to get to done” but as a place where you can foster an atmosphere of compassion and care.
You better believe that the students pick up on the way the staff treat one another – from what I’ve heard from the more senior teachers, the morale in the school has never been higher. When the leaders in the school set a healthy tone, the students feel safe, secure, and want to come to school.
Teaching is about modelling lifestyle and relationship, not just delivering information.
For my Summary of Learning, I made a Prezi.
Follow this link to see it! Press play and enjoy.
Best wishes to all you future teachers out there!
As a future teacher, I get excited when I can help other people learn!
Here are some ways I helped others learn throughout this semester of ECMP355:
I tried to be as “present” as possible (which can be difficult in an online course!) and contributed to conversation and the chat feed as often as I could.
I regularly checked the ecmp355.ca blog hub to see if there were any learning projects to which I could contribute. I often contributed to the learning project of Cassidy Oesch, as I am a fellow knitter. Usually once or twice a week I’d find somebody’s project to give suggestions and comment on their progress. I tried to ask questions of them rather than just saying “Great!” or “Wow!”.
Whenever I’d come across a thought provoking article I’d be quick to share it on social media, with my own thoughts added usually. I found it very interesting to see who would grab on to the article – sometimes totally random would comment and share the article and before I knew it it had been re-tweeted a few times!
Often people would post Google forms, or ask questions on Twitter and if I felt I could add something to the conversation, I would reply.
Having previous experience with Google docs, it was fun to show other members of our group how Google docs works. We made a lot of use out of this platform!
In my learning project, I tried to not only showcase my learning but also to make my videos and posts in a way that others could learn Hebrew along with me. I found myself teaching Hebrew at some points!
Click to view slideshow.