Category Archives: ECS 200

Week 12

Three Things I Learnt:

  • We learnt today about what it means to be an affective principal. The principal is at the heart of the school, and they are the one that establishes the effective learning environment in the school. We defined a good principal as someone who is “supportive, trustworthy, engaged, and attentive”. We would see a good principal as someone who makes decisions with the teachers, and communicates with the teachers at least once a day
  • We learnt today the relationship between the principal and the school community is a critical element of the success of the students.
  • We learnt today that the role of the principal is an increasingly multifaceted and complex role. This means that principals need to constantly set and adapt goals, and reflect on the needs of the school and community. The goals of the teachers influence the goals and values of the entire school.

Two Connection I Made:

  • In high school, my principal would fit the description of an effective principle to a “T”. She was incredibly friendly, focused, determined, hard working, compassionate, caring, and professional. We enjoyed spending time with her as students, but we also respected her authority. Being from a small town, it was not uncommon to see her car at the school until 10:00PM at night on weekdays and weekends. She worked hard to organize events for the community, and she worked hard at being transparent. Not only did she run the school, but she was engaged in extra-curricular events as well. Lastly, she was the type of person that set personal goals, and she brought those into her workplace in order to show other students and teachers that she’s always adapting and changing for the better.
  • On the contrary, I had a principal for a brief time that was well known as a poor principal. Not only was he perceived as cold and “rough”, we changed the culture of the school against the student’s wants. To be more specific, he cancelled field trips and changed the values of the school without consoling other teachers or students, and he was never forgiven. As a result he actually changed school’s values. This to me is an example of how a principal sets the tone for the school environment and the people who work and learn within it.

One Question I Have

1) What is appropriate to ask of your principal, and how much can you “lean on” them?

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Week 10

Three Things I Learnt:

  1. Being a teacher is part of a person’s identity. This means that a person is a teacher even when they are not teaching. 
  1. What the term “discourse” means… There are three types of discourse: professional discourse, academic discourse, and local discourse. To me, discourse is what is spoken and communicated. James Paul Gee defines a discourse as “a socially accepted association among ways of using language, of thinking, and of acting that can be used to identify oneself as a member of a socially meaningful group or ‘social network’” (Shannon, 1992, 21). Discourse in many ways shapes identity and teacher identity.

Discourse also shapes people’s perception. This can happen through commercials, books, TV shows, or social media. The way a profession or individual is portrayed reflects how other think of them in “real life”.

  1. I learnt about factors that shape teacher’s identities in the classroom:
  • Past experiences
  • Curriculum
  • Architecture
  • Students
  • Other teachers
  • Administration

Two Connections I Made: 

  1. For my own identity: I’ve reflected quite a bit on who I am as a person and who I will be as a teacher. I find that my teaching philosophies are made up of experiences I’ve had in my past, and how I feel the world “should be”. I feel like everyone should be included and that no child is “stupid”. This makes me think that past experiences and how I was raised will have the biggest impact on my teacher identity.
  2. If I were to create an identity circle chart like Stacey had, I would say that my identifiers would be: future teacher, Canadian, female, traveller.
    When I was talking with my boyfriend about these identifiers he said, “you should put ‘caring’ in yours as well”. I replied that being caring isn’t an identifier, it’s a trait. This brought us to discuss the difference between the two. At the same time I felt like being caring was already said when I identified as being a future teacher… Isn’t that interesting? I have assumptions about teachers myself without realizing it.

One Question I Have:

Would having students realize how they identify at an early age help them understand themselves more, it is it confusing?

Week 9

Three Things I Learnt:

  1. McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching: 

            I learnt that the McDowell Foundation is a charitable foundation, created to provide support for research that would directly impact teaching and learning in the province. According to the STF, “Prior to the creation of the McDowell Foundation, educational research primarily had an academic, commercial or policy-creation focus” (https://www.stf.sk.ca/about-stf/news/mcdowell-foundation-plans-celebrate-25-years-supporting-teacher-research). More specifically, the organization funds research done for K-12 classrooms in the public sector. They believe in teacher-led and practical-based research.

  1. Stewart Resources Centre:           

            I learnt that the Stewart Resource Centre is a center for teachers to use as a “library”. This online database runs 24/7 and has over 125 print and online resources for teachers to use. The database is also staffed in case a teacher needs assistance.

  1. International Opportunities:

            I learnt that the STF provides International Volunteer Opportunities for teachers who have taught in Saskatchewan for at least five years. Teachers can apply for these positions as long as they are a Canadian citizen, hold a valid teacher’s certificate, and are able to work in developing countries. To me, the fact that teachers are required to work in Saskatchewan before applying would be tough to commit to. However, the opportunities are in the Caribbean and parts of Africa. The Canadian Teacher’s Federation would cover the travel and living costs of the teacher while away, but the teacher would not receive a salary (volunteer).

2 Connections I Made:

  1. Salary: 

Before coming into the education department, I had spent almost three years in the Arts department. I decided to transfer into education with the plan to finish my economics and business degree later in life, rising myself up on the pay scale. After reviewing the salary determinants with my class, I’ve connected that it might not be relevant to upgrade my classes in economics and business. I would be better off getting additional certification or training in a teaching-related field to improve my chance of being hired. As well, my salary would go up if the job I’m applying into would value this additional education.  

  1. Saskatchewan Professional Development Unit:

            Being a part of the Education Student’s Society at the University of Regina, I’ve come across many areas that I never considered were a part of a teacher’s life, before. I am the vice-president of the Professional Development committee on the ESS so I connected that this is a field that I will continue to benefit from until I retire. I’ve always loved learning about areas that teachers want to grow and learn in University, but I was unaware that this continued into our professions.

One Question I Have:

  1. If I wanted to go and teach in British Columbia, do I have to take any classes to transfer my credits over? Also, why is it that BC needs so many teachers, recently?

 

 

Week 8

3 Things I Learnt:

  1. Reproduction (or Correspondence) Theory:

This theory is rooted in Marx’s work, and criticizes liberal notions that schools create equal opportunities for all students. This theory believes that schools work to reproduce status quo power structures. This theory shows up in the conversation of a “hidden curriculum” in the sense that we teach children to look to authority for guidance and leadership. This is an example of the theory’s status quo power structure.  

  1. Theories From Michael Apple: 

Apple believes that schools not only control people, they also help control meaning. This approach sees schools as part of other institutions that are unequal. Schools are related to other institutions that are political, economic, and cultural. This approach also sees schools as playing a role in preserving these inequalities between institutions.

  1. Theories from Lisa Delpit on Power and Pedagogy:

Delpit’s research and advocacy work focuses on the best ways to provide educational access for African-America students. She does not advocate for “basic skills” approaches for children, instead she suggests that schools must provide these children the content that other families from other cultural practices provide at home. She believes that classrooms should be equipped with strategies and resources appropriate for the children it confines.

2 Connections I Make:

  1. Delpit states, “I am also suggesting that appropriate education for poor children and children of color can only be devised in consultation with adults who share their culture. Black parents, teachers of color, and members of poor communities must be allowed to participate fully in the discussion of what kind of instruction is in their children’s best interest. Good liberal intentions are not enough”. To me, this means that we need to empower out minority classes in our communities to teach the young of the same culture so that all can be more successful. This problem with African-America students in the United States reminds me of the issue that Canada has with empowering First Nations people. After reading this, I’ve connected that one way we can empower First Nations students in Canada is by employing and utilizing First Nations teachers.

  2. “School to prison pipeline” refers to policies that push students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. This effects racialized students and students with disabilities. This could be policies like, “zero tolerance, punishments that lead to out of class time including suspension, and expulsion, or police officers in the school”. This connection made me think about suspension in general. For the students who are regularly getting suspended, being out of school for a few days is most likely not what they need to change their behaviour. That has been a study done on the benefits of making a “mindful” room instead of a suspension area for students who are misbehaving. This has made a large difference in the lives and education of students who act out.

1 Question I Have: 

I’m wondering if I could make a mindful room/meditation area in my school to replace suspensions? Would this be affective in my career? Would my principal be supportive?

 

Week 7

3 Things I’ve learnt:

  1. The four philosophies of education: perennialism (the oldest and most conservative view on education, essentialism (focuses on the basics and not the classics), progressivism (believes that knowledge is constructed through experience), and reconstructionism (believes that the purpose of education is to challenge inequity and create a better society)
  2. The idea of the “hidden curriculum”. This is the idea that schooling is not only about subjects and performance, but it’s also about teaching students to be good citizens. The risk is that the culture being taught might not be the right culture to be learnt… Are we risking losing other cultures by teaching the “hidden curriculum”?
  3. We can recite the names of influential Canadian white men before we can recite any names of influential Canadian First Nation leaders, or influential Canadian women. To me, this is a reflection of our education system, how we were taught, and the priorities and perspectives of the people writing our curriculum. This has made me consider the importance of having a diverse set of people influencing the Canadian curriculum.

2 Connections I’ve Made:

  1. Uniforms in school – I am an advocate for allowing students to represent themselves and their identity through their clothes, and therefor for the most part I am for having students wear hats, diverse clothing, and various colours. However, this conversation reminded me of some time I spent in Mother Theresa Middle School. On the days that the students were required to wear the same thing, a polo shirt and kakis, the principle always mentioned that the behavior was better than the day before when they could wear whatever they wanted. This connection made me reconsider my idea of freedom of dress… A dress code should reflect the needs of the students.
  2. Is education political? I connected this with my understanding of how the government influences educational funding and objectives. At the same time, I feel like the government will influence the actual curriculum, and in that case the curriculum is very much political.

1 Question I Have:

  1. If I were to push for a classroom/teaching philosophy that reduced grading and heightened experiences rather than assignments, would I be at risk of being criticized by my employer?

Week 6

3 Things I Learnt:

  1. What it means to be a good student, our perception.

We see the “good student” as being someone who is responsive, passive, and well mannered. We see a good student as some who agrees with us, follows rules, and helps others. But is that really what a good student is? Should we put a student in a box like this? No, a student comes in all shapes and forms. Those that are excluded in this description of a good student are those that chat a lot, those that are outgoing, those that enjoy the arts, and many times—minority groups.

  1. The term, “grand narratives”

In early childhood education, a grand narrative describes the “universal child” and normalizes some ways of being, growing, and learning. A grand narrative is a general description, and takes historical events and explains a comprehensive account of it.

  1. How do report cards produce the “developing child” or the “good student”?            

            Report Cards grade generally on skills that are valued by the school, but might not be valuable in the workforce that is best suited for the child. Therefor, report cards can unintentionally create low self-esteem in children. Report Cards also sometimes grade on personal development skills, like focusing, which vary child to child. As a result children are given a false perception of what they can do and how smart they are. Truly, children’s intelligence is incredibly varied and report cards cannot grade on everything. However, students are also given false confidence when they get higher grades than their peers.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. How can we open ourselves up to diverse narratives that may at times challenge and contradict dominant understandings – as well as our own narratives?     

            I feel like by not only reading but also practicing alternative ideas we can be more progressive in our classrooms. Teachers should especially research different ways of teaching across the world to better understand the learning processes that international students in their classroom might be used to. This is also a great way to try out various methods with experienced learners to grasp on to them!

  1. Raising a Reader

Reading should be seen as a gift, not an expectation or a requirement. If reading is seen as exciting and fresh, children will be more likely to grab onto it. Students should receive praise whether they are strong readers or not, they should be loved for their skills regardless. Children should not be pressured to read. I personally was pressured to learn to read when I was younger, and my grade two teacher was persistent on holding me back a grade because of it. My mother was adamant about keeping me in my class, so I stayed put. Today I am a very strong reader and I often read for pleasure. In my opinion, reading is very much a developmental skill that not all children are ready for at the same time. Reading should be seen as a ceremony, and the ritual of reading is key to success. I believe that by having children read for fun, reading in front of children, and reading before nap or lunch is a great way to make reading a habit and as a result share the joy of learning to read.  

One question I have:

  1. How can we teach children to avoid seeing their marks on report cards as negatives to their ability?

 

 

Week 5 Blog Reflection

Three Things I Learnt:

  1. How to accommodate students with low socioeconomic status

Socioeconomic Status (SES) is a term used to describe wealth, power, and control over resources. This is determined by more than just income. A student’s socioeconomic status correlates with their academic achievement, and as a teacher this would be something that I would need to be aware of. Students with low SES stay in school for less time than those with high SES, and they have worse test scores. Lastly, low SES are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and mental health issues.

  1. The difference between a gender identity and sexual identity

Gender identity is a person’s self-identification as male or female. Gender-role behaviours are the behaviours that society finds acceptable and normal, related to your gender identity. Sexual orientation is the choice of what gender your sexual partner is. Sexual identity is a combination of the three above. This is a complicated issue, but worth being talked about as early as possible with students to avoid them feeling like they are alone. Society can put pressures on young people to be a certain way, and I believe that this is a huge reason for mental illness issues.

  1. The five dimensions of multicultural education

    1. Integrating content
    2. Helping students understand how knowledge is influenced by beliefs
    3. Reducing prejudice
    4. Creating social structures in schools that support learning and development for all students
    5. Using teaching methods that reach all students

Bringing previous knowledge and experiences into the classroom is a great way to make learning more engaging and relevant for a multi-cultural student body. Dimension #3 would be in particularly important for students with different religious beliefs than the majority. I would encourage my class to share their personal beliefs in school and celebrate them. Also, some cultures teach differently than Western teachers, and we need to be aware that a student coming into a Western classroom might not be ready to learn that way. In that sense, we need to be accommodating to help the child the best we can.

Two Connections I Made:

  1. Generational Poverty

    When learning about generational poverty, poverty for two generations or longer, I connected this information with the long lasting effects of residential schools. When there is a child in your classroom who is poor because of the generational affects of residential schools, he/she is not given the same opportunity as someone who is first generation poor. This is because there is a culture that comes from poverty, as we went over in class. There are different values, eating habits, routines, and expectations. If a student is raised in a poor environment by someone who was raised in a poor environment, that environment is all they will ever know whether they are rich or not—and this is a large problem with poverty because it means that it is on some level psychological.

  2. Poverty Values

           When I was growing up, I was a middle-low class student. I found that because of our place in the socioeconomic ladder, we had values from both ends of the spectrum. My mother put a large significance on buying nutritious food, and also preparing it to look nice. When we couldn’t afford time for it to look nice, it was at least healthy. We absolutely valued people as possessions, my mother always out an extra seat at the table for random guests to join. We also valued new clothing and toys when we could afford it. For clothing, we absolutely dressed to represent our personal styles. My mother valued buying clothes that were acceptable for a business setting. Labels were important to her but we never, ever, but luxury brands. For time, our family made decisions rather spontaneously, and I often felt that my mother was surviving paycheck to paycheck. She rarely thought about the far away future, and we went on trips with only a few days notice. She also hardly ever had a “rainy day”  account, something that I think is taught from wealth. Lastly, our family is/was matriarchal, my mother being a single parent and leading woman. These qualities put us in the middle of poverty and the middle class, and it’s an interesting way to analyze your status.

One Question I Have:

How can I know a student’s status in the future, and lead them to do better for themselves while still honouring, respecting, and appreciating what their family has done for them?