Reading Response #6

Reading Response #6

Moving Towards Environmental Education

After reading the article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing” by Jean – Paul Restoule, Sheila Gruner, and Edmund Metatawabin, I learnt that teaching and learning does not have to occur in a “classroom” environment. This article reveals how the Mushkegowuk Cree people honor and learn from the land and nature. Restoule, Gruner, and Metatawabin share how children and elders (community members) would gather and share their experiences and connections with the land. According to Restoule, Gruner, & Metatawabin (2013); “Learning from land and place beyond institutional walls is a return to traditional Mushkegowuk modes of teaching and learning” (p.82). In the past the Mushkegowuk people were forced to learn within institutional walls (residential schools), but now they are allows to learn from their elders and the land. They are moving away from the past to ensure that their children learn about their land, culture, and history.

I believe that the land can teach many lessons to students; therefore as educators we should take our students outside to connect and learn through their explorations with nature and the land. We should stray away from the idea that subjects can only be taught within a classroom, because that ideology is not true.

After reading this narrative, I took into consideration the lessons that students can learn from elders and community members. Educators are not the only people who can teach valuable lessons. There are people within our community who can teach our students lessons by sharing their knowledge and experiences. As a future educator I want to take my students outside to learn and connect with the environment. I am currently in ESCI 302 (Environmental Education), and have learnt that some children have better learning experiences by being outside.

I enjoy the thought of having elders and community members coming into classrooms and sharing their stories and experiences. As a future educator I want to have an open classroom where everyone is welcome (parents, students, elders, community members, etc.). I have learnt from this reading “that connection to nature is important to children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual development” (Kellert, 2005, p. 70). By allowing children to explore and learn outside you are helping them develop physical and emotionally. As a future educator I want to take my students outside and allow them to learn and explore our environment. I want to hopefully help other educators understand that lessons can be taught amongst four institutional walls, we just have to provide our students with the opportunities to explore beyond those walls.



Restoule, J., Gruner, S., & Metatawabin, E. (2013). Learning from place.pdf. Retrieved February 10, 2019,   from


Reading Response #5

How is Curriculum Made?

Reflecting back on what I have learnt so far about the curriculum, I believe that the curriculum is created by the “dominant” race (white people), and people who are seen as higher up in the status quo. I believe that the curriculum is created by higher authorities; predominantly white males. These males have a background education; they are seen as intelligent. I also believe that some curriculum designers have a background in teaching, which helps them when creating the curriculum.

After reading the article “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should be Learned in Schools” by Ben Levin, I learnt that school curricula is developed and implemented by a group of people. According to Levin (2007), “Curriculum politics involve a wide range of participants” (p.15). Governments have a person in the cabinet whose responsibility is education. School curriculum is mostly developed by the government, with very little input from the districts and schools themselves. According to Levin (2007); “Curriculum decision processes depend on governance systems” (p.17). The final decisions on school curricula rest with the government.

School curriculum is implemented by school divisions, principals, and educators. Educators follow the curriculum when teaching, to ensure that their students are learning what they need to know. School curriculum is “an official statement of what students are expected to know and be able to do” (Levin, 2007, p. 8). Courses taught in school have objectives that students should achieve by the end of the school year, and it is our jobs as educators to makes sure those objectives are being met.

Some new information that I learnt about the curriculum is the different roles that people play in creating and implementing school curricula. Curriculum policies are developed by the government and then implemented by school divisions, and taught by educators. One thing that surprised me at the beginning of the article was how the “Ontario curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 contains more than 3700 specific and general expectations for teachers and students to cover” (Levin, 2007, p. 7). I was shocked when I read this cause that is a large number of objectives to cover in such a short period of time. As educators we need to understand that the curriculum is a guide to follow, and in a case like this all of the course objectives will not always be met. As educators we should not stress if not all the course objectives are met, we should rather focus on making sure that our students are understating all of the content being taught rather than rushing what we need to teach, just to meet all of the course objectives.



Levin, B. (2007, September 19). Curriculum policy and the politics of what should be taught in    schools. Retrieved February 2, 2019, from

Reading Response #4

What does it mean to be a “good” student according to the commonsense? Which students are privileged by this definition of the good student? What is made impossible to see/understand/believe because of these commonsense ideas?

After reading “Chapter 2: Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson” in Kumashiro’s book Against Common Sense, I have learnt what a “good” student is according to schools and society. In this chapter Kumashiro discusses that a “good” student behaves well in class, listens and asks questions, and is able to think and learn in the way the educator teaches. The ways in which educators are supposed to teach and students are supposed to learn are set out by the curriculum and society. According to Kumashiro; “Mainstream society often places values on certain kinds of behaviors, knowledge and skills” (2010). Society believes that if all educators teach the same way, then all students are learning the same way, which will allow for a similar end result (passing a class).

The students who are privileged according to the definition of what a “good student” is, are the children who come into the classroom with prior knowledge. They bring what they have previously learned to the classroom environment. A “good” learner can be compared to a “full glass,” in which the student has knowledge to contribute upon entering the classroom. Students who are not privileged are the ones whose minds are considered “empty,” as they have no knowledge prior to arriving in the classroom. Another example of students who are privileged are students who can learn from a certain teaching method. Students who can sit still and not disrupt class are considered “good” learners.

What is problematic is that not all students learn the same way. Students are individual people who have their own way of learning information. Therefore we must not assume that all students will do well by being taught the same way. Students need to learn in comforting ways in order to do well in the class. As educators we need to take into consideration that students learn differently. When teaching we should explain what is being taught in more ways than one, so that all of our students understand the information that they need to know.

As a future educator I will ensure that all of my students are succeeding in class, and that they all understand the material being taught to them. As educators we need understand that this definition of what a “good” student is, is wrong. All students behave differently (not all students can sit still and be quiet) while learning. As educators we should not try to change the way a student learns, we should change the way teach.



Kumashiro, K. (2 April 2010). Chapter 2: Preparing Teachers for Crisis: A Sample Lesson. In Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice. Taylor & Francis.

Reading Response #3: Educational Quote

john dewey quote


John Dewey argued that children need to be active in the classroom during learning. Dewey believed that “students thrive in an environment where they are allowed to experience and interact with the curriculum…” (Talebi, 2015, p. 4). The quote that I found explains Dewey’s theory of how children should be taught. If children were provided with hands on experiences/activities as a way of learning, it would allow them to learn visually as opposed to sitting in a desk and listening to the teacher speak. I agree with Dewey’s quote, and believe that children should be allowed to move around while learning, instead of being restricted to sitting in their desks all day. Educators should plan 1 or 2 lessons where students are able to learn hands on, and use their creativity while learning. For example in elementary mathematics, teachers could provide students with marbles, and let them move the marbles around while learning to count, add and subtract these objects.

A few things that might be impossible with this method is how educators should evaluate their students, and making sure that all students are staying on task (especially in a larger classroom). Students might get distracted easily or be encouraged to goof off when given a task that is hands on. As educators it is hard to pay attention to every student in making sure that they are doing the assigned activity. Also as educators we are not able to always see a student’s process of how they solve an activity, usually we just see the end result. Students might have different ways of solving the activity, but all of the students could wind up with the correct answer. When assigning your students a hands on activity, it can be difficult on deciding how to evaluate them, as you only see their solution.

According to this quote the role of the teacher is provide the students with a hands on activity, and allow them to solve it and learn through their mistakes. The role of the teacher is to allow for hands on experiences in the classroom. The role of the student is to use whatever methods they want to solve the activity. The students can be creative and choose how they will solve the activity.

I believe that hands on activities can be useful in the classroom, as a fun way of learning. Students today are constantly restricted to their desks, where they listen to their teachers teach the curriculum. I believe that not all student learn well when they confined to their desks. There are students who need to move or see something visually to learn. I remember in my elementary years use blocks to count by 1’s, 5’s, 10’s and 100’s. I enjoyed being able to move the blocks around and visualize what each number would look like. I believe that more teachers should follow Dewey’s method, and give students hands on experiences as a way of learning. I know that some educator’s might be afraid to stray away from the curriculum when it comes to teach class material, but as educators we should modify course lessons to make learning fun for our students.



Talebi, K. (2015, September). John Dewey Philosopher and Educational Reformer. Retrieved  January 21, 2019, from



Reading Response #2: Tyler Rationale

Reading Response #2: Tyler Rationale

In the reading “Curriculum Theory and Practice” by Smith, the Tyler rationale asks four fundamental questions;

  1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
  2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
  4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained? (Tyler, 1949, p.1).

The Tyler rationale is used when teaching the curriculum in schools. The curriculum has specific objectives that students should achieve, these objectives are the educational purposes in the Tyler rationale. In my high school and university courses, my instructors would give me a syllabus outlining the course objectives, and assignments. My instructors provided us with these syllabuses so that we could refer back to them, and understand what was expected of us so that we could succeed in their classes.

I remember that if students were unclear about an assignment in a course, sometimes the instructor would provide us with sample questions on how to solve a problem (in Math) or an explanation of what they wanted us to do (for a project). Sample questions could be a way in which an instructor provides an experience for students to learn. Allowing and showing your students how to solve problems, for example in Math, will help them for when they are faced with the same or a similar problem in the future.

In high school I remember that certain teachers would ask me to try out a question on my own, before showing me how to solve it. Although if the whole class was stuck on a particular question then my teacher would guide us through the question or provide us with a question that is similar to the one we are trying to solve. The teacher would organize whether the student(s) should try out the question first or if he/she would help/show us how to solve the problem.

In my schooling some teachers would provide us with rubrics on how we would be evaluated in their course. These rubrics were very helpful as they showed us what we needed to do in order to succeed in the class. Rubrics are an example of how teachers can evaluate if the course objectives are being attained in a class.

The limitations of the Tyler rationale is that it limits to how and what educators can teach. The Tyler rationale focuses on the curriculum and course objectives; therefore if educators follow the Tyler rationale they feel like they are forced to teach the curriculum in that way (following the course objectives, providing experiences, organizing those experiences, and evaluating). Educators may feel that they must only focus on the course objectives in order for their students to succeed. With the Tyler rationale model, teachers are focused on making sure that their students achieve the course objectives, so when they teach they are afraid to stray away from those course objectives (curriculum). Teachers who use the Tyler rationale model, only focus on the subjects/topics that fall under the curriculum. They do not allow their students to explore other topics, as they believe that they must only follow the curriculum in order for their students to achieve the course goals.

A benefit of the Tyler rationale is that it is easy to follow when creating lesson plans for courses. The Tyler rationale model can be used as a guide for teachers when they are creating lessons. They can follow the 4 simple steps: identify the course objectives, provide educational experiences, organize those experiences, and evaluate. Students do need to be taught certain subjects in school (objectives) and evaluated on what they learnt. Another benefit is that the Tyler rationale model enforces teachers to follow the curriculum in school. It ensures that teachers are teaching what they are supposed to, and that students are learning what they need to know according to the curriculum.


Smith, M. K. (2000). Curriculum theory and practice. Retrieved January 15, 2019, from

Reading Response #1

How does Kumashiro define “commonsense?” Why is it so important to pay attention to the “commonsense?”

In the reading “The Problem of Common Sense,” the author Kumashiro defines common sense as the knowledge that we have about how things should be done, such as when it comes to schooling and education, and the norms we have established in society. Kumashiro (2009) defines common sense as “what everyone should know” (p. 24). Kumashiro gained an understanding of what common sense is during his experience as a teacher in Nepal. Kumashiro learnt that the ways that the teachers taught in Nepal were “common/common sense” to them, but to him teaching in those ways did not make sense at all. According to Kumashiro (2009), “students and faculty [members] already had clear ideas about what it meant to teach and learn… [T]o teach differently simply did not make sense” (p. 21). Kumashiro’s ways of teaching were not common in Nepal, as his students were confused and upset when he used his method of teaching. Common sense limits how we may teach our students, as what is considered as normal in one place may be something completely new in another place. Issue can arise when not everyone is doing everything the same way. For example if Kumashiro were to continue to use his ways/ methods of teaching in Nepal, students might not learn as they are used to being taught in a different way.

It is important to have an understanding of what “common sense” is, especially as educators, because what I might think of as common sense could be something completely new to another person. An example of this is the teachers’ ways of teaching are common in Nepal, but new to Kumashiro. He learns there ways of teaching, so that his students are learning the content and concepts being taught in a way that is consistent with how they are learning other subjects or material. Kumashiro learnt that what he thought was common ways of teaching, is different from those who teach in Nepal. As educators we need to understand that everyone has different ideas of how to teach their students. Understanding what “common sense” is to other people will allow us to develop knowledge on what people know.


Kumashiro. (2009). Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, pp. XXIX – XLI