Who Am I?

IMG_3996 (3)

I’m a third year Education student, pursuing my passions in science and working with children. My other interests include reading, baking, biking and playing with my dog.

Advertisements

Curriculum Development from a Traditionalist Perspective

I have heard the analogy made between schools a factories many times. In Michael Schiro’s Social Efficiency Ideology he words it perfectly by it saying:

“The school is compared to a factory. The child is the raw material. The adult is the finished product. The teacher is an operative, or factory worker. The curriculum is whatever processing the raw material (the child) needs to change him into the finished product (the desired adult). The curriculum developer is a member of the research department who investigates what the consumer market (society) wants in terms of a finished product and finds the most efficient way of producing that finished product.”

Given this explanation I define Tyler’s rationale or social efficiency ideology as being the most straight forward way in which a school can operate.

When I think about the ways in which I encountered Tyler’s rationale in my own schooling I immediately think of mathematics. Since the way I was taught math was very ‘efficient’. We were given a lesson on a topic with some examples for the first 20 minutes of class then we were expected to complete a series of questions out of a textbook. But after learning more about Tyler’s rationale I can see that I encountered it in most of my subjects.

Social efficiency ideology prepares students for a productive adult life, allowing them to perform useful skills and make education more relevant and useful. It makes schooling as efficient as possible, creating less cost on the economy. The problem with that in today’s society is that there are a vast range of job opportunities and school cannot possibly prepare students for all of them. This way of thinking also limits creativity and demotes the importance of music and the arts.

The Problem of Common Sense

How do you define ‘common sense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘common sense’?

Kumashro defines common sense as something we don’t need to learn, rather something that we have already learned. It’s the unspoken assumptions we all have. Its our values, priorities, perspectives and ideologies. Since these things make up who we are it becomes embedded in our ways of teaching and learning.

A quote that surprised me in the reading by Kumashro is: “The lecture-practice-exam approach to teaching had become so ingrained in the practices of Nepali’s schools as to have become a part of ‘common sense.’ Such an approach did not conform to what I had been taught was sound pedagogy.” Even though this practice was considered decades behind our current education system, I remember been taught this exact same way when I was in high school 4 years ago. I think another problem that arises with our ‘common sense’ is that we also assume our education system is way more advanced then those of third world countries. This example proves that we maybe aren’t as far ahead as we think we are.

Given that example I think what also needs to be understood is that a lot of the oppression driven into our way of doing things occurs outside of our classrooms and will not end simply because we change what and how we teach. But there are useful theories that can have a positive influence in the redesigning of the current curriculum.

As teachers I think it’s important to pay attention to our idea of ‘common sense’ because it limits the norms of schooling. We are quick to judge ideas that force us out of our comfort zone. Ideas that challenge the way schools are supposed to be and are often seen as distractions from the real work or nonsensical. We teach only certain materials, organize them into certain disciplines and teach them using only certain methods. Our notions of ‘common sense’ need to be examined and challenged in order to advance our education system.

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

How I’m Making the Leap for Climate Change

My family and I are very aware of the climate change issue, it influences our ranch in a lot of significant ways. Since we rely strongly on perennial pasture land to feed our cattle, the harsh weather conditions impact the future of our ranch and family. The rising concerns regarding climate change caused us to look into what we could do to help with this problem.

After doing extensive scientific research we came to realize that if we were to change the way we were feeding our cattle, not only would it be financially beneficial and produce higher nutritional meat but we could contribute substantially to the carbon crisis.

In the summer of 2017 my family signed a conservation easement that would change the way we thought about cattle and the environment. This easement restricts us to only use our land for perennial pasture grazing.

Its obvious that besides the ocean, the largest carbon storage tank we have is the earth. In order to promote this philosophy we have chosen to undergo the process of rotational grazing, meaning that when we move cattle from pasture to pasture we leave 50% of the grass behind. We are utilizing the photosynthetic process by pulling CO2 into the plants through the roots and into the soil.

When talking about a balanced ecosystem we need to think about the symbiotic relationship occurring between the living organisms below and above the ground. Research shows that if the weight of plants and animals above ground is equal to the weight of microbiota below ground the ecosystem functions at its optimal capacity. We noticed that after a few short weeks of leaving grass behind to pull more carbon into the soil the grass grew quickly and with higher nutritional value then ever before. This happened even though our farm experienced 16 inches less rain then normal.

The process of atmospheric carbon dioxide capture and long-term storage is referred to as carbon sequestration. This is a measurable process in which we can actually determine the rate of carbon capture and storage happening on our land by simply obtaining soil samples.

In Robin Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass she states: “No waste, shared wealth, balance, and reciprocity” are what is required for a sustainable economy. If the general public were to become more knowledgeable and aware of the true problems and solutions of climate change, together we could create a sustainable economy.

Since rotational grazing is a process that is numerically proven and scientifically sound, I have chosen to share it as my leap for climate change.

What is Environmental Education?

When asked about nature I immediately thought of a forest. An area that is densely populated with trees. When I find myself in the middle of a forest I become disoriented with time and direction, my mind begins to wonder. I think about the unimaginable multitude of things going on around me. All the patterns and processes that had been drilled into my head since I was old enough to go to school.

Ideas begin to snowball in my mind, from years of study and memorization. I think about how forests need fire, insects and disease in order to achieve renewed growth. I think about the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles. I think about the large amount of unseen  abiotic and biotic factors all functioning together. I think about all the unseen work that goes into what appears to be a simple task of a single tree growing tall. I think about the trees that built homes for people all over the world and the ones that kept fires going deep into the night.

I thought I had a clear, concise idea of what environmental education was after the numerous environmental engineering classes I took part in. Sustainability and growth within the environment can be driven hundreds of times into a students mind but it is all worthless if they don’t respect the environment in the first place. After reading the chapter: The Sound of Silverbells from Robin Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass,” I stumbled upon this quote:

“The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness. Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving its gifts with open eyes and open hearts” -Robin Kimmerer

It helped me make the connection when it came to what environmental education is truly about. Its about those speechless, unexplainable moments where you gain an appreciation for what truly matters and that is the world we live in.

 

Educational Philosophy

I believe in acting as a role model for students.

I want to serve as a mentor to children that are in need of one. As their mentor I want to share my enthusiasm for learning in a fun and creative environment.  I want to frequently create an engaging learning environment for students. I want to use technology effectively in the classroom. I want to teach students in an environment that engages them in real life situations and problems.

 

I believe in teaching students more than what is expected.

I want my students to learn how to be responsible and accountable for their actions. I want my student to be critical and to always question what they are learning. As a science teacher I want to show them that science is everywhere and is for everyone. However, in any subject I teach I want the subject to promote problem solving and creativity.

 

I believe in measuring my effectiveness and improving.

I will take criticism constructively and I will always be improving and learning from feedback from colleges, parents, and students. I want to authentically reflect on my practises and how effective they are.

Seesaw

Seesaw

Click the link above if you want to learn more about an interactive website called Seesaw. I have witnessed this website being effective in a Grade 1 & 2 classroom. It allows students to express what they know in a variety of different creative ways. This app promotes students to independently document their learning and allows parents and teachers to go over and analyze the students work. Since the parents can also document the students learning, it creates easier communication between the teacher and the parent.