ESCI 302 Meta Reflection

Hello and welcome to my ESCI 302 Meta Reflection.  Upon entering this course I understood what Environmental Education was, but I found it difficult explaining what it means to be an ecoliterate person, as Ecoliteracy has so many different meanings.

Throughout the course I gained knowledge on what it means to be ecoliterate. To be ecoliterate, to me means to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and to take care of our environment by cleaning up everything around us. This course has taught me a few ways as to how I can incorporate environmental education in to my future classroom or school. Some ideas that this course gave me is how we can plant mini gardens, vermicompost, or take our students on nature walks as a part of environmental education.

During this course I reflected back on my experiences and connections with the environment around me through the blog posts I created. Some connections that I have with the environment is through the resources I use.

I learned that when using our environments resources we should not be wasteful or careless. We should give back and say thank you.

In the reading “Maple Nation: A Citizen Guide,” Kimmerer states (2013) that  “[w]e’ve  got  a lot to be grateful for, and we all have to do our part to keep it going” (p.169). I agree with this quote as we all need to work together as a community in order to see the positive changes we can have on disrupting climate change.

Our generation is “becoming more ignorant of the things we must know to live well and sustainably on the earth” David Orr.

I believe that any small actions can help to disrupt the global warming that is happening around our world. Some of these actions include saving power, picking up garbage and not polluting, reducing, reusing, and recycling, as well as limiting the amount of single use plastics that we use.

I believe that if everyone does their part our environment can be clean. We need to think about our future, and how we can do something to disrupt climate change.

This course has taught me how I can incorporate environmental education in the classroom. As a future educator I want  to take my students beyond the four walls of a classroom, as I believe that students can learn from their environment. I want to challenge the norms of how students are being taught today. I want my students to understand that “school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration” Richard Louv.

I want my students to have fun while learning, and I believe that they can have fun by exploring the outdoors. Our world provides us with endless learning opportunities, and we as educators should use these opportunities to teach our students about their environment.

 

ECS 210 Summary of Learning

It’s sad to think that this course is coming to an end. I have learnt so much throughout this course as I have covered in my summary of learning video.

Here is the link to my video!

Summary of Learning 

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My Offering to the Environment 

Reflecting back on my previous journals from the beginning of the semester, an offering that I can give to the environment is reducing the amount of water I use and planting trees, by using natural water (lakes) to water plants. My family and I spend a lot of time at Fishing Lake enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

A few years ago there was a flood at Fishing Lake, and it washed out most of the trees at the lake (around our cabin). Our lot looked empty, so my family decided to plant some trees along the edge of our property, and at the front of our cabin.

Every summer my grandma asks me and my sisters to water the trees, and be sure not to step on them. When we water the plants we use the lake water, instead of wasting water out of the taps. The environment provides us with many resources such as lake water and fish, therefore I feel like we should give back to thank the environment. My family and I feel like we should be giving back to the Earth as it gives us so many resources. If the land could only speak it would say; “Ohh here are the ones who know how to say thank you” (Kimmerer, 2013, p.34).

My family planted these trees in hopes of redeveloping the land to its original form. My family and I look after these trees as our environment looks after us. For my creative journal I decided to take a picture of a tree and the creek from our field trip to the eco museum. The tree represents the trees at our cabin and the creek represents the natural water we use to help the tree grow. I believe that small actions/offerings like this, can be a way of saying thank you to our environment.

 

References

Wall Kimmerer, R. (2013). The Offering. In Braiding Sweetgrass (p. 34).

 

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My Experiences at the Lake 

Every summer my family and I go to Fishing Lake. We swim, we have campfires, and most of all we fish. When connecting this to colonization, I connected this to when settlers first arrived and used resources from the environment to survive. Settlers came and used the resources (such as fish), and they never gave anything back in return.

I connected my experience of fishing as an example of colonialization. My family and I go to Fishing Lake and fish (use the resources that our environment provides us with). We fish for our own use (food and enjoyment).

Throughout this course I learnt that when we take we should give back. Looking back at my journal entry #1, I do give back by cleaning up any garbage found around the lake. I pick up any garbage that is lying around or stuck in the rocks by the lake.

My visual represents Fishing Lake. The beautiful lake, and the fish that the environment provides me and my family with. The sand and the rocks I have to cross to get to the lake. I can disrupt the idea of fishing as being a colonizing act, by giving back and thanking the environment for the resources it provides us with.

 

Reading Response #10

Curriculum as Literacy:

1. How has your upbringing/ schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn/work against these biases?

Reflecting back on my school experiences and how I was taught, I would say that most of my teachers are “white Europeans.” I was taught through their stories and perspectives about certain issues (residential schools, The 60’s Scoop, and Treaties). I never did get to hear from the perspective of someone who experienced this. In school I only heard one side of “the story” (European). One thing that has stuck with me is all of the stereotypes and “myths” that I learnt from my teachers and family. Some of the things that I was taught were; the First Nations peoples “gave up their land,” children were taken from their families because their parents were “unfit” to raise them…etc. These were things that came out of some of my teachers’ mouths. Some of the stereotypes that I heard from my family came out of my dad’s mouth (his side of the family as well). Things such as First Nations peoples are lazy, their “drunks,” their no good, etc.

Growing up I tried to ignore all of these stereotypes, but constantly hearing these things it was hard for me to ignore. It was hard for me to ignore these things that were coming from peoples’ mouths; people who I am supposed to look up to.

As I’ve gotten older, I have learnt that some of the things that I was taught were untrue. As a future educator I believe that we need to erase these biases and stereotypes, to have an anti – bias classroom. When teaching lessons about residential schools or treaties, we should get someone with a different lense to come into our classroom and share their perspective on the topic. We can break these biases by finding the good in everyone. As a future educator I want to erase the stereotypes that are in my mind, so that I can treat all of my students equally (with respect and kindness).

 

2. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?

In my school, “stories” were told predominantly by “white educators.” We were taught about residential schools, treaties, The 60’s Scoop, etc., by “white people.” We were taught about colonization through the perspectives of Europeans. I remember learning about colonization in Grade 10 -11 and my teacher saying that the First Nations peoples “gave up their land to the Europeans so that it could be put to good use,” which I have learnt is definitely not true. At my school the Europeans truth mattered (all the teachers at my school were “white,” so we were taught that what they say is the “truth.”). I was only taught about these topics through one perspective (one story).  I believe that I would’ve learnt more or been able to understand these topics better if we had both sides to the story.

As a future educator I want my students to learn about these topics through more than one lense/perspective. I believe that when students are only taught through a certain lense, they are only learning one side of the story. I believe that students should learn through multiple lenses, so that they are learning the whole story.

Reading Response #9

Curriculum as Numeracy

  1. At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews… Typically this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 177). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning mathematics – – were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminatory for you or other students?

Reflecting back on my experiences of learning mathematics, in high school I remember that my mathematics was focused on Eurocentric views. The mathematic problems that we solved were based on Eurocentric views (e.g., Around the holidays, my math teacher would give us math problems based on the Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter; she never took into consideration that not everyone celebrates these holidays). She believed that Christian and European holidays were important to celebrate (by giving us math problems focused on these holidays), yet she never did celebrate any other holidays (Hanukah, Ramadan, etc).

In high school my math teacher had her class favorites, in way I felt discriminated when she refused to help me. My math teacher only helped the students who she felt were “smart/who would succeed” in mathematics. Therefore the ones who needed help struggled and fell behind. My math teacher was horrible for only helping out students who she liked, as it made the ones (including me) feel excluded and unintelligent. Since she would not help us it reflected in our grades. I feel like when having a math teacher like the one I had, mathematics can be discriminatory.

      2. After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community… identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

  • Students learn mathematics in their own language for their first 3 years of schooling.

 

Students learn how to count, and explain their solutions in their mother tongue. Once they are in Grade 4, students begin to learn mathematics in English or French. I found this to be different from how I learnt math, as I learnt math in my own language from K – Grade 12. I was not forced to learn mathematics in a language that was new or different to me. As a future educator I believe that students should be able to continue to learn mathematics in their own language… why confuse them by forcing them to learn another language.

  • “[T]eaching methods… are not based on the ‘natural’ ways of learning…” (Poirier, 2010, p. 55).

 

Students learn from their elders and by listening to enigmas. Elders share stories with children as a way of teaching and learning. In my school our teacher taught us mathematics through the use of our textbooks and problem solving. We never had community members come into our schools and teach us lessons on mathematics.

  • In Inuit mathematics, students learn how to measure using their body parts (measure objects with their palms, fingers, hands, feet, etc.).

 

Another thing that is different in Inuit mathematics is their calendar. They have a “traditional calendar [which] is neither lunar nor solar, since it is based on natural, independently reoccurring yearly events” (Poirier, 2010, p. 60-62). In my school we measured objects and items with rulers and tape measurers, and or calendar has a set number of days in each month (e.g. September has 30 days).

 

These are just a few examples of how Inuit mathematics is challenging Eurocentric views on mathematics. They are challenging that there is more than one way to teach and learn mathematics in schools. After reading this article, I understand how Eurocentric my schooling experiences were, and still are till this day. I enjoyed reading this article and seeing how another culture learns (such as Inuit mathematics).

 

References

Little Bear, L. (2000). Jagged Worldviews Colliding. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from                              https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XgvnbwyV2EoU7Uj9I7U7nrIwBPHyrHwy/view

Poirier, L. (2010). Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community.pdf. Retrieved March 12,         2019, from                                                                                                                                                https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sIDgjwf9qCdqjhNNhV_GOmlxal1d_ZJM/view

 

Reading Response #8

 Citizenship Education

Reflecting back on my experiences with citizenship education, I do not remember learning much about citizenship in elementary school. In elementary school we barely discussed citizenship. I remember my elementary teachers telling us how to be “good citizens” (respect those around you, use manners, be polite, etc.), but that was it. However as I entered high school we had two classes in Grade 10 customized for us to learn about citizenship.

These classes were Health and Wellness 10, and Career Education 10. In Wellness 10 we were taught how to be “good citizens,” relationships, and rights. We were told that good citizens are respectful, responsible, and polite. We learnt about different types of relationships (family, community, and peer relationships). We learnt about that challenges that we may face with relationships. My teacher also touched on the rights that we have as citizens in society.

In Career Education 10, our teacher used an online resource where we were assigned a job. This resource gave us our annual salary, both before and after deductions. With this resource we learnt about finances and budgeting. We were given options in which we got to select a house, vehicle, our family, and then we could add additional items as well (a boat, a cabin, a camper, etc.). Once selecting all of our items the resource would show us how much money we have left, most students were bankrupt. This class taught us how to be responsible adults in society, as well as how to be participants (workers).

The types of citizenships discussed in the reading, “What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy,” by Joel Westheimer (2004) include;

  1. Personally Responsible
  2. Participatory
  3. Justice Oriented (p. 1).

The types of citizenships focused on in my schooling were; personally responsible and participatory. We were taught to be respectful and responsible. In my one class (Career Education 10) we had a field experience where we were treated like adult citizens. We got to choose our field experience, I chose to be at my school (Grade 3 classroom). My role as an adult was similar to the role of an educational assistant. I helped students with their work, I supervised the class, and I corrected work. I got the chance to learn how to control the class on my own (be independent and responsible). I learnt how to be professional, as I had to be a good role model for the students I was working with. As an adult citizen we have so many responsibilities in life, by high school experiences have allowed me to take on some of these responsibilities and challenges that adult citizens face in everyday life.

Learning citizenship education in school has made it possible for me to learn how to be a responsible and respectful adult. I learnt how to deal with situations that we will face as adults in the “real world.” What I found to be a disadvantage is that we were only taught how to be a “good citizen” thought the eyes of one person. We were taught through one person’s perspective of what citizenship is/means.

 

References

Westheimer, J., & Kahne, J. (2004). What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy. Retrieved March 2, 2019, from    http://www.civicsurvey.org/sites/default/files/publications/what_kind_of_citizen.pdf