Reading Response #1: Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan
Residential schools were schools designed to assimilate Indigenous children, by forcefully removing them from their families and communities. These schools were run by churches under the government, where children were taught a whole new language, and punished if they tried speaking or practicing their own. Children were ripped from their parents’ arms, some never seeing their parents again. It must have been terrifying for these children, not knowing what would happen next, once they arrived. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse occurred in almost all residential schools. At these schools children were beaten and treated awfully, and they were also disrespected because they were seen as inferior human beings. Some children died from the trauma and diseases that lurked at these terrible schools. It upsets me knowing that these innocent, young children were treated so terribly at these horrible places.
In “Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan,” I learned about the pain and misery that the parents, families, and communities had gone through. Having their children stripped from their homes and communities, parents wondering if they will ever get to see their child/children again. I won’t be able to fully understand the pain and torture that these children endured while attending residential schools, but I can gain knowledge about what actually occurred at these schools and prevent it from happening in the future. It’s very disgusting knowing that these children were taken into a cold, dark room, not knowing what’s about to happen next, and then being abused and not having any control over the situation that they are put in. I know that the suffering will never end, as survivors, families and communities are continuing to live with these horrible, devastating nightmares. Survivors cannot erase what has happened to them, and most are still haunted by what occurred inside the walls of residential schools. Families and communities remembering their children screaming as they are being taken away to a different place; knowing that they must let their children go. I would like to know why residential schools continue to have a huge affect on the communities and families till this day. What I am puzzled about is why the government isn’t doing more to help. In my opinion I believe that the government could provide support, such as counseling, therapy, etc. for not only the survivors but also the families and communities, in order to help them cope and heal with what happened in the past. As a future educator I feel it is important to learn about residential schools, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes that occurred in the past. Nobody deserves to be treated in such a horrible manner; therefore in schools children need to feel loved and accepted for who they are.
Reading Response #2: “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” – Peggy McIntosh
In society I am noticing the different ways that different races are being treated, being that some have more privileges than others, particularly people who are white. People judge others because of their differences, but then accept those who are of the same race as them. What I am getting at is “white people” don’t treat other races the same way that they would treat their own race. White people are privileged, being that they don’t need to fear being harassed, or discriminated against, because “white ethnicity” is seen as superior among other races.
In “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh tells us some of the white privileges that she witnesses in everyday life, that white people take for granted daily. Some examples include that by being white you can get out of a ticket, you are more likely to find a job and be hired, and you are free from harassment. In my opinion I feel like all races should be treated equally and with the respect that they deserve. People shouldn’t be treated as “higher class” just because of their skin color. In this reading I have learned that “white people” are often unaware of the privileges they have, and they don’t want to admit that they have these advantages that other do not obtain. Peggy McIntosh states, “Whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal…” (1989). I feel like just because someone is white it doesn’t mean that they should be entitled to having these “special privileges.” What I would like to know is why people don’t take a stand when they recognize the way that others are treated differently. White people need to be aware of the ways that others are treated, and help put an end to “white privileges.” I feel like a step in the right direction, as a white person, should be acknowledging or admitting that they have these privileges. What I find disturbing is that people are allowing and not acknowledging “white privileges”, especially when white people think that they are entitled to these privileges.
As a future educator I will make sure that all of my students are treated with equally, as many classrooms are diverse and students deserve to be treated fairly. Inclusion matters in the classroom, by insuring that all students feel like they belong. This is one way we can try to put a stop to “white privileges,” by teaching our younger generations to treat everyone equally and with respect.
Reading Response #3: Muffins for Granny – Nadia McLaren
Muffins for Granny, directed by Nadia McLaren, is a documentary film that shares the stories of residential school survivors and their experiences of being in residential schools. They share their moments of being ripped from their parents arms; not getting a chance to say goodbye. Some of the survivors that spoke said that they were only six when they were taken away from their homes. I couldn’t even imagine the pain that these Indigenous children went through, both physically and mentally. This deeply upsets me because they took innocent children away from their home, where they felt safe, to an area that they were not familiar with.
From watching Muffins for Granny, I learned that past events do stick with you for the rest of your life. These residential school survivors have to live with the haunting memories of residential schools. It disgusts me knowing what happened to some of these survivors; being abused and told that they were “dirty savages.” They were told that they couldn’t speak or practice their culture; otherwise they would be punished for their actions. I cannot believe that the government would come up with such an evil plan in an attempt to destroy Indigenous culture.
I also learnt that residential schools not only affected the victims, but they also affected their families and the communities. Some families never got to see their children, after they were taken away. Famine and diseases were common in residential schools; which resulted in the deaths of innocent children. Children watched their friends or siblings dying, and they knew that they couldn’t help them. It’s sick that the government allowed this to ever happen, and then tell the families that their children died like nothing happened. They showed no remorse when telling the parents that their child or children won’t be coming home because they passed away.
These children were no treated like humans; these children were treated like animals. They were not called by their names, they were given numbers, in which they would respond if their number was called. The way they were treated was beyond horrible. What the government did was disgusting and traumatic. It affected everybody, including the victims, families, and communities everywhere. Some victims turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with their pain, others turned to fighting to release their anger. In society people just assume that First Nations people are “alcoholics,” when actually they just use the alcohol to erase the bad memories and make them feel good again. Residential schools are the reason why they turn to alcohol and drugs.
What I would like to know is why the government would even consider using residential schools as a way to “educate” Indigenous children. It puzzles me to know that residential schools were in effect for such a long period of time. They knew that the children were being mistreated and abused. They also knew that these innocent children were dying, but residential schools continued to be in effect for how many years longer. As future educators I feel like we need to learn about the past history of education so that we can improve it for our students. As teachers we need to respect our students to make their school experiences positive and happy. Children need to feel safe and welcomed at school so that they can get the education they need to pursue their dreams in life.
Reading Response #4: “Jagged Worldviews Colliding”- Leroy Little Bear
A worldview is a way somebody perceives the world and what is happening around them. Different cultures have different views of the world. Cultures choose who they want to believe in, and if there are laws set within their culture, etc. Western Europeans believed in science; “If something is not measureable, then it is not scientific” (Little Bear, pg. 83), and Aboriginal people believe that all things are animate, meaning that everything has a spirit.
In the reading “Jagged Worldviews Colliding” by Leroy Little Bear, the article talks about how worldviews can clash and try to destroy one another. When colonialism occurred the Europeans tried to change the Aboriginal peoples’ worldviews, which caused a huge problem. Colonialism attempted to destroy Aboriginal worldviews and their culture, by forcing them to learn the European ways of living (culture, language, and worldviews). In my opinion what the Europeans did was devastating and unspeakable. They tried to wipe away the Aboriginal peoples’ culture, luckily the Europeans failed.
Aboriginal people have a holistic and cyclical view of the world, meaning that they believe that everything is interconnected and happens in cycles. They believe that the past, present, and future is connected or related to one another, also Aboriginal people believe that everything is animate including: trees, animals, rocks, etc. They believe that humans are not superior to anything else in the world, and that everything is treated equally. I find this very interesting and how everything is sacred to them, such as the land and animals around them. I also find it very interesting that everything is interrelated or connected somehow.
In this reading I learned the difference between Aboriginal and Western worldviews. Aboriginal people believe that everything is animate, interconnected, and in constant motion. While the Western people believed in science and objectivity. The Western people believed that humans are above everything else, meaning they believe that they are superior to everything within nature (animals, plants, rocks, etc.). I also learned about the Aboriginal languages and how they are verb – rich languages that are process – or – action-oriented. The Europeans tried to destroy their languages, culture and worldviews though colonization. The Europeans tried to take over the Aboriginal people and teach them their culture, language and beliefs about the world. What I would like to know is why the Europeans tried to assimilate or change the Aboriginal peoples’ way of living in the first place. As a future educator this reading has taught me about the different worldviews that people have. As teachers we need to take into consideration that our students are going to have different worldviews or perspectives on how they interpret what is happening around them and we need to accept that. We shouldn’t push our worldviews or beliefs onto our students; rather we should listen and respect theirs.
Reading Response #5: “Courage to Teach: The Heart of a Teacher” – Parker J. Palmer
At times the classroom can be a joyful place, while at other times the classroom can be lifeless or painful to be in. The classroom is a very complex and diverse environment to work in. Teachers need to be familiar with their classroom or environment in order to feel comfortable and confident when teaching their students. Teachers also need to get to know their students, in order to understand their students’ needs, and take their needs into consideration when teaching a classroom lesson.
In the reading “Courage to Teach: The Heart of a Teacher” by Parker J. Palmer, I learned about the three important paths: the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual paths, in which we cannot ignore any of them. The intellectual path is the way we think about teaching. The emotional path is the way we as teachers and our students feel about teaching and learning. The spiritual path is the way we connect with our hearts. I found these paths to be very fascinating because I didn’t think that teachers or students connected to their ways of teaching or learning these ways. It’s very interesting to know that some teachers try to connect their knowledge and experiences into their classroom lessons, in order to engage their students in learning.
In this reading I also learned that there is no such thing as a “perfect teacher,” in the eyes of a student. Teachers are human beings, and as human beings we make mistakes in life, but we learn from our mistakes. I learned that teaching isn’t just a technique; it’s also face-to-face conversations with the students and exchanging our education or knowledge with them. Teachers can learn from their students by having these engaging conversations with them. I learned that identity and integrity matters when it comes to teaching. Your identity is what makes you who you are, and what you want your students to see you as. You are in charge of your identity, so you choose how you want people to see you. My question is as a future teacher how can I help my students find their identity. As a teacher you want your students to find out who they really are and not to be afraid to express who they are. As a future teacher I want to have connections with my students so that they can gain my trust and also I want to help them succeed. I am puzzled by how some teachers don’t find the courage to get to know their students and connect with them. In my opinion I feel like a teacher’s job isn’t just to teach, it’s also to make students feel welcome and safe at school, to modify the lessons being taught so that all of the students are understanding the information that is given to them, and to make sure that each and every student is receiving all of the help they need to move on to the next grade and further their education. As a future teacher my goal is build a connection with all of my students so that I can make sure their school experiences are positive and get to know them and let them get to know me so that they can trust me when a problem arises.
Reading Response #6: “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” – Jacques Ranciére
Today in society some teachers (explicators) use explications to pass down their knowledge onto their students, who are seen as unintelligent human beings. These students are taught at schools that they cannot learn without someone there to teach them; such as a teacher (explicator). Explicators are in control of when they want their students to start learning, and when the leaning comes to an end for their students.
In the reading “The Ignorant Schoolmaster” by Jacques Ranciére, the author informs us of a man named Joseph Jacotot. Jacotot was a French professor in the early 18th century who gave his students a French novel and told them to read it, and be able to explain what they read. He did not teach his students how to read in French, they were expected to figure it out on their own. No explications were used to teach the students in order for them to succeed; rather the students figured it out on their own and still accomplished their assignment.
In the reading “The Ignorant Schoolmaster,” I learned that there are some teachers who use their “power” to belittle their students, so that they feel smarter. I feel like this type of teachers gets offended when a student knows more than them, because as a teacher you don’t want to be seen as “dumber” than your students. As a teacher you feel like you need to know more than your students, that way you feel like your teaching them something in which they don’t already know. I also learnt from this reading that explications are not always the best strategy when it comes to teaching because some teachers take advantage and use them to make their students feel unintelligent.
In my opinion, explications can be helpful for students to a certain point. Sometimes students need explications in order to understand the concepts being taught to them. I also believe that students need to learn how to figure out things on their own to. Once students are in high school teachers should explain things once or twice, and students should attempt at solving what they have to do next. Then if a student is still having difficulty comprehending what is being taught the teacher could go over to them and explain until the student fully understands. On the other hand some teachers use explications to make students feel “stupid;” yet making themselves feel intelligent. I don’t like teachers who feel like it is alright to make students feel “stupid” or “inferior,” just to make themselves feel smarter. What I would like to know is why some teachers feel like it is okay to make their students feel “stupid.” Personally I feel like a teacher is supposed to be helping build up their students’ self-esteem not breaking them down. As a future educator I don’t ever want to make my students feel like they are “stupid.” I would be pleased if there were students who knew more than me, that way they can correct me if I make a mistake when teaching a lesson. As a future educator I will make sure that all of my students understand what is being taught, and use explanations when needed, while making sure that I am not making them feel “stupid.”
Reading Response #7: “Oh Canada – Bridges and Barriers to Inclusion” – Laura Sokal and Jennifer Katz
In schools across Canada, educators and students are still continuing to work on inclusive education. Schools can achieve inclusive education by changing policies, changing the curricula, systemic structures, and institutional practices; by doing so students will feel academically and socially included in schools. Educators are the main key to successful inclusive education and they are important partners in the “change process,” therefore educators need to have a positive attitude towards all of their students.
In the reading “Oh Canada – Bridges and Barriers to Inclusion” by Laura Sokal and Jennifer Katz, I learned that Canada is far from its goal of inclusive education, which is very upsetting. I feel that students should not be separated based on their different learning levels. Such as if they have a disability or not, and how that will determine who they will be placed with when it comes to learning. For me it is upsetting knowing that some students are separated from their friends and classmates, and are being taught in a different classroom. I feel like students should not be separated or excluded just because they have a disability, or because teachers feel like they will disrupt other classmates from learning. In this reading I also learned what inclusive education is;
“Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes, and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school” (Inclusive Education Canada, n.d.).
I believe that students should feel accepted for who they are at school and it is our jobs as teachers to make sure that they feel safe and welcomed. Educators need to begin by including and allowing all students to work and learn in one classroom, Inclusion begins with educators, meaning that teachers need to incorporate everyone when teaching their students classroom lessons. What I don’t understand is why inclusive education isn’t installed in all school divisions yet. Children should not be separated based on their learning levels or whether they have a disability or not. I am puzzled that school systems feel that it is alright to separate students who have disabilities from their classmates, just because they see them as distractions to other students. As a future educator I want all of my students to feel accepted and included for being themselves. I want all of my students to be taught in one classroom and not separated from each other. As educators we need to work towards inclusive education in the classroom and school, so that all of our students are receiving the education they deserve to succeed in the future.
Reading Response #8: “Deepening the discussion about sexual diversity in Saskatchewan”
Schools across Saskatchewan are learning how to deal with diversity in the classroom; whether that is sexual diversity, cultural diversity, or gender diversity. The Government of Saskatchewan wants to ensure schools are safe and inclusive environments for all children. Diversity also enriches school culture and increases the students’ knowledge and understanding of similarities and differences within their school and classroom. Students have the right to feel safe at school; therefore families, teachers, community members, and the government need to work together to ensure all students feel welcomed at school.
In the reading “Deepening the discussion about sexual diversity in Saskatchewan,” I learned that students develop; a strong, positive sense of identity, a caring disposition, a respect for human and biological diversity, a commitment to the well-being of others, and a desire and ability to engage in social action for the common, by having diversity in the classroom. I also learned about how students, who experience discrimination, have a legal right to be safe and protected in schools. What I am puzzled about is why discrimination is occurring in schools, when teachers are supposed to be protecting their students from it. I understand that teachers may not always see it happening, but other students do. I feel like as teachers we need to teach our students how to stick up for one another in situations like these.
In this reading I learned about what we can do as educators to prevent and kind of discrimination from happening, whether it’s based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. As educators we need to create safe and caring environments, and continue to learn about different identities in order to make all of our students feel welcomed at school. We need to focus on the issues and solve them, while ensuring that all students feel welcomed and accepted at school. It is our jobs as teachers to teach our students about diversity and inclusive education. If students knew how to include everybody, and be nice to one another bullying might not occur within the school. Diversity is everywhere and as teachers we need to learn how to address it, and teach all of our students how to be respectful of everyone. As a future educator I want to make sure that all of my students feel safe and protected at school from discrimination and bullying. Students have the right to feel safe, and as teachers we have to help make sure that they protected at school.
Reading Response #9: “TV Bullies: How Glee and anti-bullying program miss the mark”- Gerald Watson
Around the world bullying is being portrayed in media as on occurrence that all students go through, throughout their school career. Bullying happens quite often, and it needs to be dealt with before it’s too late. In movies and TV series such as Glee, bullying is definitely understated and portrayed as a something that all students have to deal with. In the TV series Glee, two teenage boys, Kurt Hummel and Finn Hudson are bullied throughout the movie for being “gay.” They are called names such as “fag” or “faggot” and are pushed into lockers almost every day. They are not the only students who are being bullied, as another student gets a slushy thrown in her face during one of the episodes. As viewers we don’t understand what the big deal is with bullying, as almost all of the characters are being teased or bullied.
In the reading “TV Bullies: How Glee and anti-bullying programs miss the mark” by Gerald Watson, bullying is understated, being that it is revealed as something that tons of children and teenagers experience daily in life. Linguistic violence and physical attacks are made to seem less harmful in the TV series Glee. In this reading I learned that Glee permits boys’ behaviors such as sexual harassment of girls and homophobic attacks on other boys. This is absolutely wrong as no one deserves to be bullied or attacked for who they are; nobody deserves to be bullied at all.
Anti-bullying products and programs, such as media, are supposed to help students cope with the violence of bullying, not be permitting bullying. What I don’t understand is why these types of shows are allowed, such as Glee, when it is permitting bullying and basically saying that bullying is okay. I believe that Glee is sending out wrong messages to children and teenagers; therefore I believe that children need to learn about sexual diversity and bullying from their parents and teachers. In doing so they will gain a better understanding of what bullying is and how it is wrong. We can teach them that the way bullying is portrayed in shows like Glee is wrong, and how they need to stick up for one another when bullying is occurring.
As a future educator I will teach my students about bullying, and how they can address situations where bullying is present. I want my students to know how to stick up for one another when teachers are not around; I want my students to protect each other from bullying. Students do not deserve to be bullied; therefore my goal as a future teacher is to ensure that all of my students feel safe and accepted at school.