Canada’s History of Education

Canada’s history of education is one that often gets told in tiny pieces with its faults sugar coated and the effects present in today’s society ignored. For this week I was given a wide array of resources that pieced together Canada’s entire educational history. These resources opened my eyes to the true history of Canada’s education system.

The first thing I learned was from the Schooling in Saskatchewan document. I had always wondered how English and French immersion schools came about, and this article covered the entire evolution of such schools. I had not known that twenty short years after Manitoba joined confederation that they had abolished separate denominational schools and French as an official language. I also learned that it took the implementation of the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Saskatchewan to create a Francophone School board.

Next I read the truly heart-wrenching stories from Shattering the Silence: History of Residential Schools in Saskatchewan which was written by Shuana Niessen. There were three stories written that depicted the lives of a parent who was left behind as their child was carted away to attend an Indian Residential School, then of the child in question and their experiences at these schools, and lastly, an intergenerational trauma survivor. For myself throughout my education I was typically exposed to the stories of the student. These stories were the easiest to comprehend and connect to. This was my first time considering the parents of the students. The story managed to encompass more than the separation and anxiety that crippled the parents of these children. It included

Teepee in the middle of a modern street
Fibonacci Blue Flickr via Compfight cc

the pressures that came along with providing for their community in a new world where challenges such as colonization were never experienced. The final story brought me to the present where I read of the deep cut that colonization and residential schools inflicted in First Nation, Metis, and Inuit family lineage. I learned of the intergenerational violence that the survivors become entrapped in and of the challenges that the survivors and their families are currently facing because of residential schools.

After taking all of this new knowledge in, I am left with many questions. Where do we go from here? Is it right to keep expecting students to succeed in such a flawed system? How do we, as educators, incorporate the vastly changing needs of our students into a curriculum that hasn’t been updated. Most importantly, how do we deal with the flaws of our education system and provide adequate education for the twenty-first century student?

The above question leads my train of thought to analyse how far schools have come. On the surface it is easy to point out that we no longer remove children from the influence of their families and communities, but we are not fostering that experience appropriately in the classroom. We no longer use physical punishment and tolerate sexual abuse, but our expectations of children are oftentimes unattainable (hence the use of prescription drugs to alter their behaviour).

Canada’s history of education bleeds into the present and well into the future. We cannot continue to ignore the impacts of our past mistakes as it impacts of society today.

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Grit and Determination – The Tell-Tale Signs of Success

Albert Bandura is a psychologist who has created a theory, known as the Social Cognitive Theory, that basically analyzes grit and determination. Having heard very little other than that simple explanation, I was surprised to learn that the social cognitive theory is comprised of two elements – observational learning and self-efficacy. This then had me reflecting on my own life, specifically in regards to self-efficacy, which is your belief that you can succeed in specific situations. I had high self-confidence for in school performance, but I had low self-efficacy in regards to math. I walked myself back mentally to my junior year of high school in and created the following mental picture for myself.

My confusion over this math lesson has forgone any state of help and my feelings wane into hopelessness. My brain just wasn’t built for math. The teacher asks for any last questions. I can’t even describe what I don’t know. I shrug to myself and hold back my frustration at the size of the homework assignment that I needed to complete for tomorrow. I won’t be able to do the assignment, why bother trying?

via GIPHY

I can see that my low self-efficacy caused my grades to suffer because I had no belief that I was capable of completing the assignment.

I also learned that teachers need to work with their self-efficacy. It is hard to picture an adult learning well into their careers, but I learned and now believe that in all stages of life we are constantly learning – especially for educators who are embedded in an academic lifestyle. I was also able to connect because as a teacher in training it is easy to assume that self-regulation and organization will come naturally the day I enter the classroom in the role of a teacher. As I am now learning, that is not the case. I will need to keep learning.

Lastly I learned how to successfully encourage self-efficacy in the classroom. On the list, I connected to the suggestion that I feel will work best with my teaching personality, and that is to set learning goals for the students and model a mastery orientation for them. This will not only encourage the students to learn self-efficacy, but it will drive me to continue refining my own self-efficacy.

One question I still have: At what point does high self-efficacy lead to burnout?

Feeding My ‘Feedly’ Addiction

Feedly Logo
AJC1 Flickr via Compfight cc

Feedly has changed my life in the best way possible. It has all the blogs, articles, news, and information that I could ever ask for, and I can tailor it to my specific taste – yes please! I had no idea that apps like Feedly, which bring together all the sources on the internet into one convenient space, even existed.

My Feedly Homepage
My Feedly Homepage

I used to begin my mornings reading the likely fake news I managed to find on Facebook, but now I turn to Feedly where it houses the articles I want to read. Not only does it replace my morning and night social media cruises that I would take daily, but the low data usage allows me to browse through articles on the bus.

The first few days with this amazing app were spent with strictly education and technology based blogs and articles filling my news feed. I was scared to venture out into the endless possibilities that were just waiting to be read, but with a very small selection of articles on my home screen I decided I needed to include my other interests in life on this app in order to have a better experience. Once I discovered LaineyGossip could be available at the simple opening of an app I fell down the Feedly rabbit hole.

One of the first blogs I followed, partly because of the name, was Cool Cat Teacher Blog. The title was quirky and the articles were relevant to a future teacher who would be in a regular classroom one day. The articles are both optimistic and obtainable, and also realistic. The problem I have with many teacher blogs is that they get so personal on the classroom and the resources available to the teacher that the tips and ideas given are often not applicable to my life as a future educator. What’s great about Cool Cat Teacher Blog is that the ideas and theories presented are not complicated and can easily be modified to fit different age groups and schools.

Another source that I find very useful to follow was Buzzfeed. This one was more for personal entertainment, but I believe that it is important to peak all your interests in as many ways possible. I enjoy Buzzfeed videos, I love taking Buzzfeed quizzes, so why not add reading their entertaining mind candy articles to the list. Staying relevant in the world of pop culture is just as important as reading educational material. After all, just because I’m becoming a teacher doesn’t mean my personal life has to die.

Unearned Privilege

White privilege is a heavy topic. Although my ECS110 class covered this topic and allowed me to feel much more comfortable speaking on this issue, I do not get a free pass from discussing thing and I am certainly not an expert. I am still exploring my white privilege in relation to the other forms of privilege in my life and in the relationships I have with those around me. I feel that acknowledging your privilege is the first step to productive change, but I have a long road ahead of me before privilege and systemic racism are factors of the past.

Girl Standing with Backpack
The eclectic Oneironaut Flickr via Compfight cc

Through Peggy Mcintosh’s insightful article “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” I learned that my privileges are “invisible packages of unearned assets”. This is an interesting way of looking at privilege. Thinking about it in a physical sense where there is in fact a backpack which has assets to aid me in life is an interesting concept that I can add to my growing arsenal of knowledge.

I also learned about a defense mechanism that many white people tend to use in conversation about white privilege. That is where it is interlocked with racism, sexism, and heterosexualism in order to ‘spread the target’ or ‘soften the blow’. As Peggy McIntosh states in her article since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same.” Which in turn makes them uncomparable in a discussion about white privilege.

Lastly the entire list that McIntosh was able to create opened my eyes to the privilege I have. The twenty-six scenarios she posses are only the tip of the privilege iceberg, yet they change the way I move about my everyday life. It has drawn attention to the unfair actions that society seems to constantly dismiss as optional. I am specifically astounded by the act of presenters who are asked to speak on behalf of their race. In this very class we applauded Anna-Leah King as she stood before us and generalized the genocide of her people for our learning experience.

This entire article leaves a coil of guilt in my stomach. I realize that guilt and shame was not the purpose, and that my time is better spent on finding solutions to the issue of white privilege, specifically my white privilege. The question I will be asking myself is how do I lessen the unearned assets in my invisible knapsack? How do I go about ridding myself of my privilege, and ending this unfair privilege for all white people? I find the solution problematic and uncertain. The direction that I need to be going in is vague and I am not sure where to begin this journey of shedding my privilege. I don’t wish to renounce my whiteness or pretend I don’t belong to my own race. I believe that ending the privilege is possible and needs to be obtained for the benefits of those who do not have this privilege and for those who do. White privilege is not about guilt, it is about action.

Muffins for Granny

This week class was spent learning about the importance of Aboriginal identity through the stories of Anna-Leah King and from the film Muffins for Granny. King spoke about her parents’ experiences going to residential school. It wasn’t until I looked up from my note taking that I saw her face mid-story. Gloss coated her eyes thick beneath her lashes and with each word she said a wave of emotion followed, as if it pained her to speak so openly about her parents, herself, and her people. Allowing myself to accept the stories spilling out from between her lips and into my open and supporting heart is one thing, but to metaphorically cut herself open and bleed the truth to a receptive audience is absolutely astonishing.

Then came the film. I have watched many films on the subject of Residential school, but had yet to watch Muffins for Granny made by Nadia Mclaren. The film is dedicated to her Grandmother who shared her tragic experiences in Residential school. The film showcased 7 others who’s stories continue to haunt me well passed the end of the documentary.

From the presentation and film viewing I learned a lot. I had never bothered to think about a presenters feelings before. Whether the topic be very personal or standardized facts with no personal connection, I never stopped to wonder what effects these topics actually had on the speaker. This causes me to reflect back on other presentations I had sat through mindlessly absorbing the words without empathy. Even one week before when I had the privilege of listening to Christian speak about his experience with gender identity while growing up, I was so focused on how I would apply the new lessons I learned from his presentations into my own life in a positive way that I lacked the empathetic nature that I have now. It was as if with Anna-Leah King that my eyes had been opened to a whole new world of listening with an empathetic ear. I would like to thank Ms. King for the insightful presentation and for recommending the heart-touching film Muffins for Granny. If you have not seen the film I encourage you to watch the trailer below.

Reflecting back on her presentation along with the film that followed moves me to tears. As a way to express my feelings about this presentation I have written the poem below.

 

For You

For the lives that go unlived and the dreams that go undreamt,

For children that ’re not taught and the land that wasn’t leant.

The valiant and the brave fought for the innocent.

This is for the children, families, communities,

For the ones who had to suffer with no opportunities.

The continued negligence reveals the truth of our species.

This is for the food, plates uneaten and unserved,

They made it sound important as if the people they deserved.

A population in starvation, yet their cries will go unheard.

This is for the bodies buried, burned, and all forgotten,

Will the families hear the words if their ears are filled with cotton?

Darkened hearts that keep on beating, taking orders they are rotten.

For the children stuck in past, present, future it’s unsure,

We need to work together wading through the truth obscured.

Teach me in your language let your voices sound secure,

Of the hurtful kind of suffering that your people must endure.

What is ASL?

ASL stands for American Sign Language. it is a language of its own that a deaf or hearing impaired person may use to communicate. I have had encounters with learning ASL before, but never to this extent that I am committing to learning it. In church I learned songs in sign language, but never truly understood that the formation that my hands were moving were the equivalent to the words being sung verbally.

In the last year I have found myself becoming more and more interested in communication – both verbal and non-verbal. I enjoy learning about body language, different spoken languages such as English which is my first language French which I am currently working on learning, and of course Sign Language and even Braille. My hope for the future is to become multilingual in English, French, and Sign Language.

I realize that I have a long way to go before I meet that goal. What better way to begin my journey in Sign Language than to learn it intensively over a 10 week period for class. I’m not planning on becoming a master of the language by April, but I hope to build a foundation that I can continue to work from after the assignment is complete.

I will be making weekly videos to showcase my progress in learning ASL. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up to date and learn along with me Hayley Hodson

 

The Self, Social, and Moral Development

From birth to death our self, social, and moral development are constantly growing and adapting to the world around us. This is especially true throughout childhood and adolescence where they go through many trial and errors to become their most authentic or desired person.

This development comes in many forms. The first form that greatly affects adolescent self-esteem is physical development. While many people understand that children and teens develop at drastically rates than their peers, It is a difficult concept for young people to understand, and thus results in teasing and bullying. Angela oswalt says it best in her article Early Childhood Emotional and Social Development: Identity and Self-Esteem, External factors, such as messages from other people, also color how children view themselves.” Her article goes on to expand on how emotional and social development affects the later development of identity and overall self-esteem. My question from this new piece of information I have learned is what is more important and/or realistic – attempting to put a stop to bullying or building up the resiliency in the victims of bullying?

Two paths in the woods
RyanBSchultz Flickr via Compfight cc

The next development comes in the form of identity and self-concept. This is where I learned of Erik Erikson’s eight Stages of Psychosocial Development, and that even for those in the same age range they could be at different stages. Upon evaluating each of the stages, I reflected on myself. I was able to connect to Erikson’s research on social development by identifying where I felt that I was at, which happened to be Identity v. Role Confusion. For myself, I found it difficult enough to choose a career path and focused much of my energy on planning and applying for post secondary. I have not yet explored the world of politics nor chosen an identity that would stick with me for the rest of my life.

One of my personal criticisms that I can’t seem to stop thinking about in regards to Erikson’s stages would be the importance of completing a stage before moving to the next one. I don’t feel particularly drawn to keeping the same identity and persona forever, and feel that time will change my orientation on life.

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is one I had yet to learn about. His three stages split into two parts made sense and weren’t exclusive for different age groups; meaning that the idea that everyone develops at different rates is applicable. I enjoyed watching the video demonstrations of the children presented with moral dilemmas so much that I decided to present the same scenarios to the the children that I look after at work. Although I did not have a large test group, many of them fit into the categories that Kohlberg had predicted, while the youngest ones couldn’t comprehend the multi-part story. Something about watching the gears turn so fast inside the young childrens’ heads was very cute!

Whether a theory has flaws on the surface or seem near perfect, learning about each one will aid in my future as an educator. Being able to take parts of multiple theories and blend them together to make personal beliefs and theories that fit the schemas of the classroom environment is very important. I will be able to apply my learning from this week’s topic on self, social and moral development to improve the learning experience of my future students by presenting curricula ideas at a level that matches their developmental understanding.