I made this video ⬆︎ with Rhandi Turton and we reflected on everything that we have learned this semester.
I have learned so much this semester, what common-sense is, what treaty ed is, what the curriculum is and so much more. I hope this video demonstrates all of what I was feeling this semester and what really resonated with me! Enjoy 🙂
I have been in the elementary education for two years now and I have learned so much but there is always this one thought in the back of my mind. I am always afraid to say something as I am afraid it may be hurtful but this week I was asked to share something that I am thinking about so here goes nothing.
Every single class I take I learn about cultural differences and gender equality. We talk about how there are many different cultures and an array of students that we will be teaching one day. We talk about different ways to be fair and to treat every student equal. Don’t get me wrong, I think that is great but is seams like we are making these children weak. Maybe weak isn’t the right word. But it is like we have to be so careful of what we say because we might hurt someone’s feelings. We can’t celebrate mothers day because not everyone has a mother, we can’t mention halloween because not everyone celebrates it. I do get it, we don’t want anyone feeling left out or uncomfortable but that’s life. These children are going to grow up thinking that they will never be bullied but unfortunately there are mean people in the world. They are going to be walking down the street and someone might judge them but they will not know how to handle it. Of course I am not suggesting we bully these small children all throughout elementary school but I think that we should be teaching them that life isn’t always fair. We should be careful and try to incorporate all religions/ cultures and gender differences but without treating these children like they are delicate flowers. I know that some children will need that extra support and will need to be treated gently but not every child, especially the older students. These are just my thoughts, hopefully I am not the only one who thinks this way.
The curriculum is a very powerful thing as it shapes people without them even knowing about it. The curriculum is in control of what things we learn and don’t learn. As a teacher, it controls our lesson plans as well as everything that we should be teaching. I always thought that I could teach my students anything that I wanted, with some guidelines of course, but as I learn more through my educational classes I know that it is defiantly not the case. There are so many outcomes that have to be achieved by the end of the year and if you stray away and teach something else, it is simply a waste of time as it could be used to teach something from the actual curriculum.
There is also the hidden curriculum which I believe is more important. It is all about teaching the students manners, how to be a good citizen as well as other life skills. This allows me to put my own personal spin on lesson plans and stray away from the curriculum for just a moment. It allows me to build relationships with my students which I have always strived for.
Although the curriculum is important and children should be learning all about animals and how to add and subtract, I believe learning life skills is way more important. I have learned many things from my own education and the things that I can remember are the field trips and taking home a stuffed bear so I can treat it like my own child. I do not remember the day I learnt how to add two numbers but I still know how to do it.
I am going to teach the curriculum to my students, because I have to, but I will put my own personal touch on it. I am going to strive to teach my students life skills and hopefully I will be able to incorporate such things into the curriculum. It may not be the easiest but being a teacher never is!
“Educating the mind mind without educating the heart is no education at all”
What does this quote mean to you? To me, it means that what is taught in a classroom is much more than just numbers and words. It means that education is also about creating a caring and nurturing person. A child learns so many things in school such as how to read and write but they also learn life skills without even knowing it. They learn how to share and be polite, they learn how to clean up for themselves and they may even learn how to set a table. All of which are not in any curriculum but yet are core areas to be learnt within a classroom setting.
Is this possible to achieve? Why yes it is. Although teachers have to follow a curriculum, it is very possible to incorporate other things into a lesson plan. For example if the lesson is about counting money, the teacher could explain the meaning behind money and show his/her that money is only but a number. I see no reason why education can’t be more than just educating the mind!
A teacher that cares about his/her students and strives to teach them more than what the curriculum is telling them to do is a great and caring teacher. That is the teacher that I want to be! I know not every child is loved and nurtured at home. It is a sad reality but for these children, school is a place where they can have that love. I want to be there for my students in every possible way that I can. I do not just want to teach, but I want my students to become people and learn life skills that they will need for the future!
What even is a curriculum? Well it refers to the lessons and academic content taught in a school or in a specific course or program. But it is much more than that! Curriculum controls the futures of the children around the world. If the curriculum is based solely on testing, many students would not be getting the marks they deserve. Well tell that to Mr. Ralph Tyler.
Ralph Tyler was the man who saw curriculum as only a product. Therefore, he created the Tyler rationale which asks:
- What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
- What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
- How can educational experiences be effectively organized?
- How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
Basically Tyler was trying to think of a way that he could know if his students all learnt what they were supposed to. So at the end of the year he would evaluate his students to see what they have learnt. He wanted to see what his students knew and do not know. This rationale maybe was possible back then but not now. Our schools in Canada are so diverse now that every student is on their own learning journey. How can you expect a new student who speaks very little English to be on the same page as a child who has been in Canada their whole life.
I was thinking back to when I was in elementary school and asked myself: Did I experience the Tyler rationale? I automatically thought no but I kept thinking and I did, in fact I think it is still going on today. I did assignments as well as participate in classroom activities but by the end of the year we would either have RAD tests or just tests in general and be evaluated.
Now what are the limitations of Tyler’s rationale? Well as I stated earlier, not every student has lived in Canada their whole life. And even if they have not every student has had “proper” schooling. Basically students are all diverse and they are not all going to be at the same levels in their education journey. It is unfair for a teacher or some test to determine if a student is “smart enough” for their age.
The only benefit that I can see is that it would be a lot easier to teach a classroom if they were all at the same level. With that said, this is unrealistic and it is unfair to push children to be as “smart” as all the others. Everyone has potential and is intelligent, it may just take a little bit longer for some people and that is okay!
I was asked how does Kumashiro define ‘common sense’?” and the answer is simple. Kumashiro defines common sense as a term used to state that something should be a certain way and that is the only possible way. As opposed to stating that something could be a certain way. Should is defined as a term used to indicate what is probable; whereas, could is a term used to indicate possibilities.
The other question that was asked was “why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?” Well the answer to this is not so simple. The phrase “common sense” means a variety of things to so many different people. In Canada it is “common sense” that we teach students a variety of subjects and have assignments. It Nepali it is “common sense” to be taught the basic four subjects and only have tests. People all around the world live so differently and have a different way of living and teaching depending on where they are from or the culture that they have lived throughout their life. We as people and soon to be teachers need to know the meaning of common sense and know that it is different to everyone. If we do not know this, we start oppressing people even when we do not mean to. Assuming something out of a particular student is not good because we have no idea what is happening or what has happened in his or her life. There is no such thing as common sense in a classroom because a classroom is full of possibilities.