into for ED 808

The Education 808 class that I am currently taking has a class blog. Check it out if you’d like to keep up with our learning about social justice and globalization in education. I wrote a post regarding my thoughts about social justice for the site and wanted to share it here.

Hi everyone. I’m Cynthia – a second year, full-time grad student. This class, along with ECI 804 this semester are my last classes. I will begin working on my thesis in January focusing literacy education, diverse groups of learners, and using technology as more than an adaptation or modification.

I see social justice in terms of helping those in need and working to create a more just place for all people and all students. Ideally it would be nice if people were treated equally and everyone had enough to cover their basic needs, as well as having their rights to education and health care met; sadly this is not a reality. One thing that bothers me is how much easier it seems to be able to help those in other countries, when here at home, we have people who can use our support and issues that need to be solved. I also think about global education through a social justice lens which involves teaching students about a variety of issues, thinking about others, doing good at home and in the world, and to be empower students to begin to take action to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Students become global citizens when they are able to think about the world and helping others, as well as recognizing that while they may be students here in Saskatchewan, but that they are part of the world, and have the potential to make a difference for all.

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Photo Credit: appratt via Compfight cc

I believe that approaching the curriculum and student engagement from a critical perspective incorporates pedagogy that draws on the life experiences of students, and on community issues. I believe that all students, regardless of class, race or ability (for ex.) should learn about social justice issues that are happening. Topics such as homelessness, struggles in education, cultural diversity, human rights, globalization and LGBTQI issues have a place to be taught in the classroom. All students to some degree, even if an issue doesn’t directly impact them, will know someone who is. It is important to teach about these issues in order for students to be able to think about them and work towards making a difference and taking action, even if that starts locally.

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There are a few social justice topics that I am really interested in and concerned about. As a member of the LGBTQI community, I am concerned about the rights and treatment of LGBTQI people. While progress is being made in the United States, there is still a long way to come in the rest of the world and even in Canada. Acceptance is one area where progress still needs to be made, in order for bullying and suicide rates to decline.

Another area that I am concerned about is how students of different abilities and different ethnicities are included in classrooms here in Saskatchewan and the education they are receiving in relation to their peers. While many schools seek to practice inclusion, often times, this ends up as providing an illusion of being inclusive of all students. Specific teaching moments have led me to rethink what it means when I work to be an inclusive educator, because the very act of identifying those who need to be included, is impacted by power, deficit thinking, the production of societies norms, and stereotypes and labels that are applied to students. I believe that all students are capable of learning that teachers need to hold high expectations for their students. I also think that it is the job of educators to ensure an equitable classroom.

a multicultural quilt…

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Reading today about multiliteracies, technology and teaching culturally diverse students. The following quote resonated with me:

McCarthey and Dressman (2000) imagine future classrooms as a “multicultural quilt created from diverse experiences and backgrounds of children and teachers, stitched together by their contacts with one another within the seams of schools” with the image of the quilt breaking down the hierarchy and “the rhizomatic spread of innovative literacy experience” (p.548)

Rennie, J. (2010). Rethinking Literacy In Culturally Diverse Classrooms. In D. Pullen & D. Cole (Eds.), Multiliteracies and technology enhanced education: Social practice and the global classroom (p. 96). Hershey, PA.

#saskedchat April 30.15

Check out the Storify link below of the chat – most tweets are included.

https://storify.com/schultzcynthia1/saskedchat-april-30-15

I think we began to scratch the surface on discussing FNMI (First Nations, Metis & Inuit) and Multicultural education in the classroom. So many more questions and directions to explore with this topic. While the chat topic focused on both, our conversation primarily focused around FNMI as opposed to responses also including Multicultural content.

It was interesting for me to answer and see other people’s answers to the five questions asked. I also thought the questions asked where interesting, as I wondered what else could have been asked or what is this question getting at. The five  questions were:

  1. What are some resources teachers can use to integrate FNMI ways of knowing as part of their planning and teaching?
  2. How can teachers integrate Treaty Education within their instructional practices?
  3. Who can teachers contact for support as they work to integrate FNMI way of knowing and Treaty Education?
  4. How can teachers address the multicultural dimension of the classroom and the globalization of society?
  5. What are some common apprehensions that teachers have about teaching about treaties and FNMI content?

Well done to everyone who hosted and participated.

I noticed that answers focused on school divisions and what they are doing, talking to Aboriginal consultants, fear about doing it wrong or about offending someone, integrating content cross-curricular across subjects and resources of texts. In my answers, perhaps because I am interested in and just completed a course on culturally responsive pedagogy, I focused on turning to the students, their families and the community as a resource and to learn from and with them. The chat was interesting and informative. I hope we do a follow-up and dive into some more questions around this topic.

Play

Today, there were certain mix-ups and scheduling and that we weren’t allowed to use the gymnasium because someone else had taken our time. So everyone was saying, “just take the kids outside”. Granted, today was a beautiful day and now that winter is now finished, we were able to go outside. We did end up going outside and it worked out fine.

playing outside

The kids had a chance to play. However, I said that they needed to be active and moving during the hour long period. The kids chose three different activities: touch football, basketball and tag. The kids cooperated very well with one another. They included one another and regardless of the varying skill levels, everyone was active and playing the whole time. Basketball and football were continuous activity and the students playing tag also ended up playing on the playground.

It was good to see the kids play. I was supervising the groups but I got to take a step back and observe the kids. Sometimes the school day can be so busy with many things to do and learn. How often do the older kids get to play?