My Pledge

One of the pieces of homework I did this weekend was a life values inventory for my health class. Upon completing this inventory, I observed that the environment section was my lowest scoring category. While I know I’m not always the most environmentally friendly, I didn’t realize how little I valued protection and preservation of the environment. Because of this realization, I am pledging to be more environmentally friendly and consciensious. Reflecting on the habits within my own life, there are a few changes I can make support this pledge. Firstly, I can try to reduce my waste by recycling what I can. Recycling bottles and tins, paper and cardboard, and other miscellaneous items such as old electronics will make an impact on the amount of waste I produce. Next, I plan to reduce the amount of water I use. Taking shorter showers, cutting down on the amount of baths I take, and only running the washer or dishwasher when I have a full load will help me to reduce my water usage. Thirdly, I plan to try to consume products that are more environmentally friendly. This could take the form of organic foods that do not use harsh pesticides in the growing process, or personal products that do not contain chemicals that pollute or harm the environment. The benefit of using more environmentally friendly products is two-fold, as they are better for both the environment and myself. Although I know it will be difficult for me to change my habits in accordance with the pledge, I think I will find satisfaction in doing something small to benefit the environment.

 

Curriculum Connections:

  • RW6.2 – Contribute to initiating and guiding change in local and global communities regarding environmental, social, and economic sustainability.
  • RW8.2 – Assess the implications of personal consumer choices
  • RW8.3 – Critique the approaches of Canada and Canadians to environmental stewardship and sustainability.
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ECS 210 – Digital Summary of Learning

Picture Resources:

Curriculum –> https://www.123rf.com/photo_37918374_curriculum-word-cloud-education-business-concept.html

Saskatchewan Curriculum Screenshot –> https://curriculum.gov.sk.ca/webapps/moe-curriculum-BBLEARN/index.jsp

Teacher with globe –> http://www.slate.com/blogs/schooled/2015/02/05/teaching_time_a_new_study_finds_that_american_teachers_don_t_actually_work.html

“What is Curriculum?” Screenshot –> https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1VHeJv2EBhU4TKmU2Ilw1JNak1ehbxFs95mg_bE26N2U/edit#slide=id.g1bda1c4bfd_0_0

Factory Model of Education –> http://syedirfanhyder.blogspot.ca/2015/08/who-fails-when-student-fails.html

Ralph Tyler –> http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?one=apf1-08408.xml

Against Common Sense –> https://www.amazon.com/Against-Common-Sense-Teaching-Learning/dp/1138788511

Common sense blocks –> https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/common-sense-questions-about-the-common-core-test-specifically-the-sbac/

Venn diagram screenshot –> me

“Common sense is not so common” sign –> http://scottberkun.com/2012/why-common-sense-is-not-common-practice/

People in scales –> http://www.global-economic-symposium.org/knowledgebase/dealing-with-rising-inequalities

Colonialism 150 –> http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-march-16-2017-1.4026463/what-does-canada-150-mean-for-indigenous-communities-1.4027484

Claire Kreuger Twitter screenshot –> https://twitter.com/ClaireKreuger

Pedagogy word cloud –> http://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/peresearch/rise-pedagogy-dr-paul-mcmillan/

Chimimanda Ngozie Ndichie –> https://www.pinterest.com/explore/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-ted/

“This is my story” puzzle –> http://realtymedia.in/MyStory

Iceberg with text –> http://www.salesforlife.com/blog/sales_2-0/why-social-selling-tips-are-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/ (picture), text (me)

Girl with labels and book –> https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-advice-stop-wearing-negative-labels-debbie-dickerson

Students –> https://www.infoplease.com/us/race-population

Teacher with heart –> http://www.aceshowbiz.com/still/00002835/valentine_s_day10.html

Question mark puzzle –> http://www.ministryinsights.com/puzzle-strengths-part-3-missing-puzzle-piece/

Curriculum process and praxis –> https://annwalkerwea.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/praxiscurric.jpg

Saskatchewan Curriculum with X –> https://curriculum.gov.sk.ca/webapps/moe-curriculum-BBLEARN/index.jsp , X (me)

Light bulb with drawing –> http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/writing-pad

Curriculum word cloud –> http://ecs210.wikispaces.com

Curriculum web –> http://clipartix.com/spider-web-clipart-3-image-13282/

(picture), words (me)

Book with curriculum themes –> http://img07.deviantart.net/a329/i/2011/056/5/f/old_book_with_blank_pages_by_dougitdesign-d3adlud.jpg (picture), themes (me)

Raining brains –> http://www.designkit.org/methods/1

Book path –> http://bookriot.com/2013/10/14/reading-as-traveling/

Dear Student Teacher

Dear student teacher,

I am sad to hear of your experiences during your three-week block. Teaching FNMI content to students who reject it is a difficult task, and is made even more difficult without the support of your co-op or other teachers within the school. Understanding why your students and fellow colleagues reject this content can be an important step in helping you choose which strategies to implement in your mission to prove its value to them. One resource that may help you with your difficulties is Cynthia Chambers’ article, “We are all Treaty People” The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies. In the article, Cynthia states that “we show our children what to believe and how to believe when they are very young” (p.26). Your current students and associated faculty may not have been taught FNMI content from a young age, serving as one possible explanation as to why they reject it now. Another resource that may help you is Dwayne Donald’s video, On What Terms Can we Speak?. In the video, Dwayne explains that the disconnect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is a legacy of colonialism. Another local and powerful resource of knowledge, tools, and strategy is grade three teacher Claire Kreuger from Moose Jaw. In a lecture she gave to my ECS 210 class, she responded to this ignorance by stating that “we have trained our ears not to listen and our hearts not to care”.

Even though there may not be FNMI students present in your school, this does not mean that you should not teach FNMI content. As referenced from Claire Kreuger’s lecture, teaching this content can help to “break down barriers” and “get rid of racism”, two concepts that are obviously present within your school. Dwayne Donaldson also explains that we cannot renew the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people without teaching this content. We cannot move forward without looking back. In addition, it is important to remind your students and colleagues that “we are all treaty people” and that there are educational implications that come with that title. As treaty people, we all share in the treaties. Therefore, it is our responsibility to teach about the treaties and other FNMI content present in the curriculum in order to pass down this shared knowledge and responsibility to future generations, so that treaty promises may be fulfilled. Though persuading your students and colleagues to recognize the importance of FNMI content is a challenging task, I commend you for your efforts. You are working with purpose towards a worthy cause, and persistence is key. I hope the resources and advice I have provided you with are helpful to you in your mission.

Best wishes,

Ms. Macdonald

Digital Story Meta-Reflection

 

Script:

Hello, my name is Tianna Macdonald and this is the story of my ESCI 302 learning journey.

Before I entered this class, I thought environmental science was a science-based course designed to promote awareness of and action towards environmental issues. What I didn’t know, was that this four-month course would change my perception of environmental science and impel me on an important learning journey.

The creative journals we completed this semester were a challenge for me, and were not a component of the course that I enjoyed. While I struggled to compose insightful pieces of text and the correlated visual representations, I am grateful for this struggle. Composing these journals challenged me to reflect on my own stories and knowledge regarding various philosophies within environmental education, and enabled me to grow in my thinking. Two journals in particular that aided in my philosophical discoveries regarding environmental education are journals one and five. Journal one uses experiences described in Robin Wall Kimerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass to link with my own experiences of connectedness with the environment, as well as explore the question Why environmental education? In this journal, I wrote “it is vital that we reflect on the significant impact we are having on our environment. This is also what I believe to be the purpose of environmental education. We must educate ourselves and others about our place in the environment, and how our actions affect it, so that we may create change in order to keep the environment healthy and sustainable for all life forms.” Reflecting on this first journal now, I realize the described feeling of connectedness to the environment can be tied back to Deep Ecology. In addition, I realize how my initial conceptions of the purpose of environmental education are situated in dominant narratives of the discipline. In journal five, I use the philosophy of feminist poststructuralism to discuss how dominant discourses reinforce or disrupt my identities as preservice teacher and environmental educator, as referenced from M.J. Barrett’s Making (Some) Sense of Feminist Poststructuralism in Environmental Education Research and Practice. In this journal, I wrote “While the dominant discourses associated with a select term might work for some, they do not work for all. It is this inconsistency that proves the value in taking a feminist poststructural approach to any term.” Here, I actively engage in philosophy to support my thinking, and it is clear I have moved beyond dominant discourses of environmental education.

The meta-reflection I wrote mid-semester has been a helpful halfway point for me in tracking my progress. In it, I acknowledged my neglect to include environmental education philosophies in my journals up to that point, as well as my repetitive ideas about human kind and the environment. Reflecting on my recent journals, my writing has changed. I now include philosophy in my writing (as discussed in my fifth creative journal), and my repetitive ideas concerning human kind and the environment have diminished. In the meta-reflection, I also discussed how I tell my own stories, but neglect to tell the stories of others. While I acknowledged others’ stories in my third creative journal, I continued to tell my own in journals proceeding that. Why do I have the tendency to focus on my own stories? This is something I can still work on throughout my learning journey.

The inquiry planning project we completed this semester was also a challenge for me, and was not one of my favourite assignments. Before this project, I only had the beginnings of knowledge as to what inquiry planning was. Through doing this project, I learned both the challenges and advantages of inquiry learning, which I believe further helped me along my learning journey. This project helped me to see myself as teacher as facilitator, not teacher as lecturer. In addition, I learned the philosophy of inquiry learning as interdisciplinary, as discussed in David Orr’s article The Problem of Disciplines and the Discipline of Problems. Though planning inquiry-based assignments can be challenging for teachers, the results of learning though experience and connecting those learnings to multiple disciplines is rewarding for both teachers and students. Through this project I learned that inquiry based learning is a great way to break the barriers of traditional learning.

The semester long embodying ecoliteracy project was my favourite assignment in this course, and provided me with knowledge and skills I will continue to use in my daily life. My group decided to collectively reduce our carbon footprint, with my individual goal being recycling. While working on this goal throughout the semester, I was able to see how my old actions reinscribed climate change through the production of carbon emissions, while my new actions were disrupting it. While reflecting on our project, my group realized the strong influence of Euro-Western culture and ways of life on our project. While we could not change this aspect, it taught us the philosophy of environmental education as a decolonizing encounter in relation to place, as discussed by Yi Chien Jade Ho in her article, Traveling with a World of Complexity: Critical Pedagogy of Place and My Decolonizing Encounters. Because of this project, I am more conscious as to how my actions affect climate change, and the impact of colonization in relation to the environment.

Throughout this four month long journey, I have come to learn the complexity of environmental education. I have learned, unlearned, and relearned many of the components present within this area of study. This course has disrupted my previous knowledge and challenged me to think in ways I had never considered before. While I have learned a great deal this semester, I feel as though my learning journey regarding environmental education is far from over. Moving forward, I patiently await the lessons I have yet to learn.

 

Picture Resources:

Hands with plants: http://ridasreflections.blogspot.ca/2013/07/saving-environment.html

Writing on page: http://www.praxisuwc.com

Branch coming out of book: http://recyclenation.com/2015/04/-challenges-and-importance-of-environmental-education

Tree reflection: https://montessorimessage.net/2016/10/27/reflection/

Writing on page 2: https://montessorimessage.net/2016/10/27/reflection/

Stories memories histories: http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2013/07/12/find-new-customers-by-telling-your-business-story/

Question mark: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/382806037049444134/

Questions: http://www.strengthspartnership.com/blog/art-inquiry-leadership-essentials-part-1/

Signs: http://research-methodology.net/research-methodology/research-design/conclusive-research/descriptive-research/

Teacher as facilitator: https://www.lakeheadu.ca/academics/departments/education

Sprout coming out of tree stump: http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/breaking-barriers-of-rigidity/

CO2 leaf: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140907231114-19675079-comparing-direct-vs-email-carbon-footprints

Recycle logo and heart: http://www.newaste.org.au/recycle.html

Saskatchewan Science Centre: http://reginainpictures.blogspot.ca/2008/09/saskatchewan-science-center-is-one-of.html

*All other pictures displayed in the video but not listed here were taken by me.

Challenging Dominant Discourses using Feminist Poststructuralism

As I continue on my journey to becoming a teacher, I am gradually becoming more involved in the critical thinking of pedagogy and what the role of teacher entails. One approach to this thinking I had not previously considered is that of feminist poststructuralism, as discussed by M.J. Barrett in the article Making (Some) Sense of Feminist Poststructuralism in Environmental Education Research and Practice. Considering feminist poststructuralism, I examine (and perhaps challenge) my identities (subject positions) as student teacher and environmental educator in relation to dominant discourses.

When I think of myself as a preservice teacher, I usually think of myself in relation to the dominant discourses often associated with the term. As a preservice teacher I am supposed to be young, unexperienced, and most likely female. Because I fit these frameworks, my identity as a preservice teacher is reinforced through the dominant discourses. This may, however, not be the case for all preservice teachers, especially in terms of gender.

When I think of myself as an environmental educator, I also think of myself in relation to the dominant discourses often associated with the term. Dominant discourses imply that as an environmental educator, I should be male (as most scholars in this field are), a teacher, and an environmental activist. While I would consider myself a teacher in the context of environmental educator, others may consider themselves students, constantly learning about the field. I am also not male, nor do I consider myself an environmental activist. In this way, my identity as environmental educator is not reinforced through it’s dominant discourses.

While the dominant discourses associated with a select term might work for some, they do not work for all. It is this inconsistency that proves the value in taking a feminist poststructural approach to any term.

“Discourse and the ways in which it produces subjects, is a central focus of poststructural theorizing, and as such, so is an analysis of power.” – M.J. Barrett, p. 80. My visual representation is a reflection of this quote, showing the discourse scales of preservice teacher and environmental educator. Blue words represent discourses about being a preservice teacher, while green words represent discourses about being an environmental educator. The heavier sides of the scale contain the dominant discourses of that term, which have more power in mainstream society.

Inuit Mathematics in Euro-Western Culture

When I think back on my experiences of teaching and learning mathematics in school, I don’t remember aspects that were particularly oppressive and/or discriminating for me. Looking back with the knowledge I know now, this was probably because I am privileged. I am a white, middle-class female living in a Euro-Western society who identifies with many of the dominant binaries that are valued and existing within my society. The questions I encountered in my experiences of learning math in school reflected these aspects that comprise my identity. The characters from my textbook math problems were usually white, male or female, middle-class, living in a Euro-Western society, and encountering problems that are typical of existing within this demographic. In addition, the types of mathematical knowledge I was taught and tested on reflected the dominant form of mathematical knowledge present within my culture and society. I did not face any contextual challenges in my mathematics learning experiences, so I never thought that some of my classmates could be potentially struggling with the type of mathematical knowledge we were learning. I had a few classmates from other cultures in my classes growing up, and I wonder now if they struggled to learn Euro-Western mathematics because their own cultures may teach mathematics differently. As mentioned in Leroy Little Bear’s article and the prompt for this journal, “One of the problems with colonialism is that it tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, supressing the diversity of human worldviews” (p.77). I think the teaching of Euro-Western mathematics in non-Euro-Western societies and contexts is a prime example of this statement. By teaching Euro-Western forms of mathematics in these places, colonialism is being enacted and diverse worldviews are being silenced. Perhaps one of the most prevalent examples of this on Canadian soil is the teaching of “southern” mathematics to Inuit communities as expressed by professor Gale Russell and in Louise Poirer’s article.

After reading “Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community”, I was able to observe some ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric purposes and learning styles of mathematics. Firstly, the way counting and numbers are conceived and taught challenge Euro-Western ideology. Inuit mathematics are taught in Inuktitut, which relies heavily on oral passing down of knowledge. The Inuit have language for numbers, but not symbols. Even still, this language is complex, with different language being applied to different contexts. Inuit math also works in base 20, instead of the “southern” base 10. None of these approaches to math exist in Euro-Western mathematics. Secondly, Inuit math is based upon Inuit ways of life. Students learn by observing an elder or listening to enigmas, instead of performing pen and paper exercises. The mathematical problems Inuit students encounter relate to their daily lives, unlike that of Euro-Western mathematics. This is one explanation as to why Inuit students are particularly good with spatial relations and geometry – they encounter it in their daily lives. Lastly, units of measurement do not resemble those found and commonly used in Euro-Western societies. For example, body parts (which can have variation) are considered standard units of measurement in Inuit culture as opposed to the unchanging units found in Eurocentric mathematics. In addition, the calendar year is based on “natural independently recurring events” (p.61). This means that the length of any given month (and therefore year) can change depending on the length of these events, unlike Euro-Western months, which remain relatively the same from one year to the next. Differences such as these prove that math is not a universal language, but it does not mean that Inuit mathematics should be marginalized or ignored. Instead, we need to recognize the presence of Inuit math (and other diverse forms of mathematics) so that everyone may thrive in the subject.

My Special Places

Growing up, my family and I moved around a fair amount. Because of this, I found it difficult to identify the special places from my childhood (or otherwise). I experienced the early years of my life in a few different places, and had so many options to choose from. After further reflection, I realized the various locations I had lived growing up were my special places. They contained all of the people, events, and sub-places that shaped my identity, certainly serving as special to me.

I was born in Regina, Saskatchewan where I lived for the first four years of my life. It was here that I said my first words, took my first steps, and experienced a variety of other typical “firsts”. I came to know the cold prairie winters and sunny summer days. Family and culture surrounded me, influencing me as I began to construct the first pieces of my self-identity. Regina was my first home, and continues to hold a special place in my heart.

After my time spent in Regina, my family and I moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa. Over the next three years, I began school, developed friendships, and had my first experiences in organized activities. I became accustomed the mild winters, hot summers, and numerous other changes that accompany moving to the United States. As I continued to grow, I began to understand the juxtaposition of my first home with my current one. My new surroundings challenged and shaped my first constructions of self-identity, providing me with valuable learning experiences along the way. To this day, I still have vivid memories of my foreign home.

When I was seven, my family and I returned home to Canada, moving to Yorkton, Saskatchewan. I adjusted to the new school, made new friends, and continued to grow in my experiences. I was glad to be in a place that felt more like my first home, and settled from the move more easily this time. I became familiar with cold winters once again and grew to know the farm fields. Some of the knowledge and practices I acquired in the states were challenged (mostly in school), and so I revised my identity once again. I picked pieces of my American identity to keep and began growing in my Saskatchewan identity again.

Two years later, my family and I made our final move back home to Regina, where we currently reside. I started at a new school for the second time, and made another new set of friends. I learned more about traditional Saskatchewan landscape and history, appreciating it more throughout the years. In addition, I continued to grow in all aspects of my life, understanding more about myself and my surroundings. Over the next eleven years, I transitioned from elementary school, to high school, and finally to university. I continued to learn, gain experiences (good and bad), and construct my identity, resulting in who I am today. I will always remember my special places and fondly remember how they have shaped me.

My visual representation is inspired by the quote “I am bound to the earth by a web of stories” – Scott Russell Saunders (as found on p. 174 the Community Story Circle reading). The Regina skyline, Iowa state outline, and Yorkton house logo represent my special places, in the cycle which they occurred (starting at the top and moving clockwise). My special places are the locations of my stories, which in my visual are literally bounding me to the earth in a web.

Reasoning and explanation for the stories I have shared are rooted in the article referenced above. As the article mentions, I tell these stories because they are part of me. They are what I value, what I want to share, and how I want you to know me (p. 175). They are part of my personal epistemology. Likewise, sharing my own personal stories as a valid way of knowing can be compared to the personal stories shared throughout the blanket exercise. Those personal stories are also considered to be valid forms of epistemology, and reveal truths about the people’s lives that share them (p. 177). In addition, the stories strongly connect knowledge with place (p.181). They strive to provoke emotion from participants so that they will be remembered, and can potentially change the feelings and behaviours of those who experience them (p.181).