Curriculum is…

Below is my digital story about my learning from ECS 210. I have learned a lot and look forward to keep on learning!

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Who is a “Good” Student?

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Every student in school has their own set of strength, weakness, and habits. According to Kumashiro’s stories, in his textbook Against Common Sense, a common sense “good’ student only considers certain characteristics as positive. This “good” students described conforms to the authority of the teacher and only speaks up to participate in class discussion. The “good” student poses no behavior issues and sits quietly. He/she is very respectful and does not speak out unless called upon. This student is dedicated to their studies and always submits his/her assignments on time. A “good” student takes much interest in everything that’s taught and finds nothing boring or pointless.

This image of a “good” student may sound great to some, but really restricts certain students. This image really privileges students who are exactly like this. A teacher who only see’s this as a “good” student will miss the creativity, energy, and originality that comes with non-“good’ students. Not only does this impact the students but also the methods and techniques used for teaching. A “good” students takes away chances of experiencing the random, yet very effective, discussions and questions that lead to crucial learning. If students never speak up and add their own opinion, many opinions and viewpoints that make up our world, both cultural and individual, are never heard. Having this idea of a “good” student, does more restricting and oppressing than it does good. This idea of the “good” student doesn’t allow students’ strengths and uniqueness to benefit the classroom. If every student was a “good” student, the world would be a very boring, unsuccessful place.

Curriculum as Productive of Teachers and Learners

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After reading Kumashiro’s textbook “Against Common Sense” Part 1 and Chapter 1, I was introduced to 3 different types of teachers education programs produce:

1. Learned Practitioners- are taught about their students and how they learn, they major of study, and how to teach

2. Researcher- ongoing learners, always continuing to grow

3. Professionals- study and learn to make teaching a professional career

As I reflect on my pre-service teaching experience and the learning I’m acquiring while at the University of Regina I have concluded I am a mixture of all 3. Based on my experience and teaching program I understand and value the teachings related to the learned practitioner. To teach your students, it is very crucial to know them, how they learn, and feel confident in the classroom as well as with your material. Also, the program I’m in teaches about the benefits of professional development (which corresponds to the idea of the researcher). Knowledge is always changing and, because of this, it’s important to always stay on top of new research and studies that will help in the learning of students. With regards to the idea of a professional teacher, I do believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to follow the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation because teacher’s have such strong influence on today’s youth.

An important note from doing these readings is that no matter what type of teacher you are, you will always have oppressive and anti-oppressive techniques present. Kumashiro explains that the important thing is to always be reflecting on one’s teaching practice and understand where oppression takes place. The goal in my teaching career is to understand and continue to learn about oppressive practices as well as work towards limiting the amount of oppression that takes place

Common Sense Not so Common

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 In response to the writing prompt:

“How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense’. Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?”

Kumashiro has a very interesting background that has given him insight to knowledge he may not have found otherwise. Kumashiro suggests the idea that common sense isn’t as well known as what was previously thought. Kumashiro defines ‘common sense’  as something a specific group of people have known, believed, and/or followed for a long enough period of time that it just becomes the norm. What a certain group or region of people may think is common sense may not be common sense to others. Because everyone’s idea of common sense will be different, it’s important to pay attention to everyone’s opinion especially involving education. Some students may be left behind because they didn’t have the knowledge the teacher thought was common sense. A life experience that helps me relate to this topic is when I was doing a Quebec/Saskatchewan student exchange program. The girl from Quebec I was paired with had a conversation with me about how their schools run. When I had found out Quebec’s school system did not include a Grade 12 year, but is replaced with CEGEP which is an in between year between high school and Post Secondary. I had made the comment “that’s weird”, for which she replied, “it’s not weird, it’s just different”. Relating this to Kumashiro and his ideologies on ‘common sense’, I understand that what I viewed as common sense and common knowledge was not the same as my Quebec exchange student. We lived in the same country and yet still had different opinions on common sense and what was our norm. This experience, along with this reading, has helped me as a teacher to reflect on my practices and remind myself to consider that my idea of common sense might not be as common for my students.