My parents raised me knowing was how to work hard for what I wanted. From an early age, I knew that I had to work hard for the things or for the goals I wanted to aspire in the future. Sports were a big contributor to this and my parents put me in multiple sports and activities to figure out which one I liked best. When I started Track and Field I instantly fell in love with. The track brought my passion and I had goals of becoming a really good and competitive runner. Track and field is ultimately where I learned about the value of determination and how to be motivated each day to pursue something I really wanted. I was very privileged in the sense that my parents spent a lot of time and money on helping me pursue my athletic goals. They would spend hours watching me outside on cold rainy days at track meets and would pay hundreds of dollars for track coaching when I needed it. I grew up in a very privileged household that I always took for granted. Looking back, I am extremely thankful for the type of upbringing and childhood I am able to call mine. In my schooling, I took the lessons of determination and motivation I had in sports into the classroom. This made me appreciate that doing well in schooling meant that I had to study and work hard for good grades. One of the biases I bring to the classroom is the assumption that every student that is unprivileged has the same problems. I was never brought up in an unprivileged family so I don’t know what it feels like to be in those situations. Not every student reacts in the same way that others do when they are struggling. I always assumed that they all came from poor families who had nothing. However, I now know that is not the case and that there are many different forms of unprivileged. This is the mindset that I wish to bring to my future classroom in order to help students. I hope to work towards anti-bias education in my classroom.
I thought that Gail’s presentation was very interesting and she brought up some points that I have never thought about in relation to mathematics. Thinking back to my own experience of schooling, I always hated math. I did not like it and thought that it was the hardest subject that I had taken throughout schooling. However, I do not think that anything I was taught was discriminating against myself or other students. I remember some of the word problems would include First Nations culture or traditions which was a mandatory part of the curriculum. In my experience, mathematics was instructed as being black and white. There was no one correct answer and the process led to answers that were very limited. We were taught each concept as a new unit without any connections being made between the previous lessons.
The main way that Poirier’s article challenges Eurocentric ideas was the concept of mathematics as a universal language. This has been an ongoing perception, that regardless of culture, time or place, the math we use is universally applicable and not subject to change. The Inuit challenge this concept because their worlds are very different and the use of numbers is also different. This influences how they learn math and what concept they can relate to and which ones they can’t. The second way it challenges it is the base 10 vs base 20 systems. The Eurocentric foundation for math is the base 10 system. The Inuit however, have designed their system on a base 20. Where 10 and 100 are most significant for us, 20 and 400 are fundamental in their arithmetic. The third challenge it faces is the difference in language. In mathematics, often times translation can be an issue which could create issues. It is the responsibility of teachers to understand the limitations of our understandings of common sense. We need to be conscious of the gaps between our math understandings and theirs. Instead of assuming that our Eurocentric way is the best way we need to be open to other understandings and other ways of knowing.
- What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?
I think that is it important to teach Treaty Ed because we do live on treaty land and it is important for students to know the history and learn about it. Treaties are not only an important part of Canadians history but they are still part of the present. I think it is a lot important for students to know the history not only around the treaties, but about the traditions, celebrations, dances, and teachings. We are all treaty people and it is very important to acknowledge our past and teach future generations about the past. Treaties have given many of us the privileges such as being able to share the land and creating families and communities. I also believe that it is highly important to learn about residential schools. Many families continue to struggle with the aftermath and with the history of these schools. It is important for students to know this and to understand how much of a negative impact these impacts had. We should be teaching and telling stories that will help future generations rebuild and not make similar mistakes.
I believe we are all treaty people and it is important for students to know about that. Everyone lives on the land that was first the Indigenous peoples land and it was shared with settlers. I have realized that I have to think more deeply when engaging in Treaty Ed and incorporating it into my lessons.
Before I read the article, I had no idea what these words meant. I had no knowledge of these foreign concepts. However, once I read the article I began to understand what these words actually meant. This reading helped me understand that rein habitation requires connection and understanding on one’s surrounding. The article displayed learning from elders which is an excellent way of understanding. This was crucial because it allowed the students to directly participate in decolonization and experience the way their elders might have learned.
Reinhabitation and decolonization would be very difficult to achieve without the support of elders and older people within the community. They are able to offer students with information and knowledge. I believe there are multiple ways I can adapt these ideas into my classroom.
As a future educator, I will try to make treaty education a priority of mine and expose my students to different learning styles. I would also arrange for elders to come and speak with my students or plan field trips around sacred and learning atmospheres. I believe alders would be a great took for teaching indigenous ideologies. Almost all Indigenous ways of learning can be incorporated into any subject whether it can Math, by learning to count beads, to history and learning about the land beneath them.