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“What a child can do today with assistance, she will be able to do by herself tomorrow”

“What a child can do today with assistance, she will be able to do by herself tomorrow” is a quote by Lev Vygotsky. He was known for his work as a psychologist in Soviet Russia. He was considered the founder of an unfinished theory of human social and bio-cultural development. This quote speaks to me and stood out to me as I was searching the abyss of the internet in search of an inspiring, powerful quote for this weeks’ blog. This quote speaks to me on many different levels. For one, this quote outlines the idea of children and their level of independence and power that we may not always recognize. Children are very quick learners and, when interested in the subject, can practically follow exactly what is being taught to perfection.

Secondly, I know that as a child once, (and admittedly, still am) knowledge and learning independent things, such as jobs I could do myself, or lessons I could explain to my friends or anything of that sort made me interested right away. Of course, no one is perfect and needs assistance to learn how to properly accomplish a task of any varying degree. Once the task, whatever it is, is sufficiently taught, the student or pupil no longer is in need of the instructor. Hence the second half of the quote; “she will be able to do by herself tomorrow”. This speaks to how society functions. Society cannot succeed if the future generations are incorrectly taught. The role of a teacher to me is super important because of this aspect. I have always looked up to my educators and have gained a lot of respect for the profession ever since beginning my university journey.

This quote contains many hidden meanings such as stated above about needing a good teacher in order to create good independent students. The main takeaway for me is simply that students are more capable and knowledgeable than we give credit. Children will always have a unique interest in learning and growing how to succeed. Children will always rely on us as educators to ensure that they receive the absolute best education that we can possibly give them. Because if we succeed in that, not only will children be able to learn how to do it today, they will do it by themselves tomorrow, and they will create the days following that all on their own. Our students are the future. The future we want to see.

Hopefully, all of this makes sense. Thank you for reading!

Cheers, Levi

The Tyler Rationale

This weeks’ reading focused heavily on the Tyler Rationale. Firstly, the “Tyler Rationale” is a practical approach to curriculum development. Within the article, the “Tyler Rationale” appears to be a very straight-forward and conservative approach to delivering curriculum to students. This definition definitely fit into my small town school.

A) My small-town-farming-community-style education definitely fit in with the “Tyler Rationale”. Many of my teachers were older and brought in traditionalist views with how they delivered education. In fact, we may have only had one or two teachers that were under the age of 40. This created a strict and straightforward learning environment. One in which students would often rebel against. The lessons we received were cut and dry in high school. Most of the time, it was note taking from slides on powerpoint or lecture-style presentations from our teachers. Our math and science classes also followed a lot of this lecture style approach. Minimal questions were asked or brought up and we did our work after our teacher was done delivering the criteria for the lesson of that day. Personally, there was nothing wrong with this style of teaching or learning, however, it was simplistic and non-engaging.

B) The “Tyler Rationale” as stated above, appears very simplistic and straightforward. One of the big things that I noticed throughout the article was that this rationale is very vague and has no mention of students. We as teachers today are so focused on the students rather than the material, however, the “Tyler Rationale” seems to hone the idea of curriculum and how to deliver it rather than focus on student success. This was the major problem that I noticed with the Tyler Rationale. I found this quote from the article to fit with this section. “Curriculum workers thus, have two tasks: they must determine what the consumer market wants in terms of a finished product, and they must determine the most efficient way of producing that product” (Bobbitt, 1913). This message proves that the student approach to teaching is disregarded.

C) The “Tyler Rationale” is a very straightforward approach to curriculum education and I believe that is what makes it so popular and internationally accepted. It is simple and easy to follow. The four key questions to the theory also outline what the “Tyler Rationale” is. These include:

  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 be effectively organized?
  4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

Are there some benefits? Yes, I think so. This rationale helps teachers by giving them a simplistic and easy-to-follow way of providing curriculum to students. However, it seems to lack depth and context. More student influence would definitely make this a way better way of teaching and with the direction that we as a society are moving, I feel that the  “Tyler Rationale” will begin to dissipate and eventually be replaced. Thank you for reading!

 

Levi Harvey

 

Common sense and Oppression

Within Kumashiro’s article; Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, Kumashiro discusses two different forms of common sense. He calls them the “American way” and the “Nepali way”. Both of these forms of common sense are radically different and are considered the “way” in which things are run in each country’s school system. For instance, Kumashiro was sent to Nepal to integrate “American common sense”, which he describes as “consist of more than just lectures, rote memorization, textbooks and tests.” Kumashiro talks about how common sense means the set of guidelines and rules that are followed in the schools. He talks about how the students strictly learn from the teacher and only work alone and how standardized tests are the only way students advance to the next grade level. It is a very dry and strict way of educating in Nepal but that is their commons sense way of doing things. 

Kumashiro also discusses how important common sense is as it can drastically shape how schools teach and students learn. Common sense is quite literally the foundation and guidelines of how we do something. It is usually attached to our culture and way of living and has been that way for quite a long time. That said, with this definition in mind, common sense can be incredibly hard to change as it will be met with a lot of resistance.
“Unfortunately, research findings and schooling practices that run counter to commonsensical ideas of what schools are supposed to be doing are often dismissed as biased, as a distraction from the real work of schools, as inappropriate for schools, or simply nonsensical”. This proves that we as teachers have a lot of work to do if we are to change stereotypes, biases, gender roles, discrimination, racism, and oppression. Common sense is very important as it is literally our guide to basic rules and regulations, however, that does not mean it is perfect. I truly believe that teachers can and will change the world with the way we influence our children and this article shows that it all starts with the school. 

“If He wants to Play Ball, He’ll Play Ball”

This weeks’ TedTalk by Dan Habib focused on the advocating for inclusivity in our classrooms. Mr. Habib brought up three main points that show the benefits of an inclusive setting. Out of numerous studies, science has proven that an inclusive classroom helps disabled kids with communication skills, better social skills, higher academic achievement, and lead to fewer behavioural issues. Not only that, but he discussed the benefits to the “typical students” (as they are referred to in the video). The main benefit is there is a typical increase of 15 points in grade levels for children within an inclusive setting. Another big positive for these children is they get to experience the life of someone with a disability giving them a different view of life and better educate them on the matters of disabilities in general. A sad statistic that Dan brings up is that 56 percent of students with disabilities are segregated from their regular classrooms while 44 percent are included. This 56 percent is a big number and segregation only leads to negative impacts on these young children.

One of the connections I made was when Dan discussed the moment his son wanted to go into the fastball league program in his town. Dan was initially worried about his chances of success and that his son, Sam would become discouraged. The president of the league spoke to Dan and told him simply that: “If a kid wants to play baseball, he will play baseball”. I found that so touching and it really stands out to my own beliefs as a future teacher. Students of any background or from any walk of life should be given the chance to compete in whatever passion they choose.

Another big connection for me was that I work at Chip and Dale homes. A business that deals with direct care to disabled clients. I love my job and the gentlemen I work with give me constant joy, happiness and memories. They are the kindest, most inspirational people you could ever hope to meet and the perspectives they give are often shattering. These people deserve every opportunity they can get to achieve any dream they have.

My question this week relates to the topic of disabled children within the school system. Did you have any student with a disability in your classroom? If so tell your initial impressions and how those perceptions change as they grew with you! Let me know! I really enjoyed this weeks’ blog!

Thank you, Levi.

The Secret Path

The Secret Path is a documentary- style film that tells the story of a young boy named Charlie Wenjack who unfortunately went to a residential school. He escapes one day and starts his journey home. Along the way, he is guided by his father’s smiling face that is what keeps Charlie going. The voyage from the school to his home in Ogoki Post, Ontario was a 600-kilometre journey. One that Charlie did not complete. The story is animated and is thoroughly told through Gord Downie’s music. Along the way home, Charlie is given visions. This shows just how spiritual the journey is for Charlie. He is met by a Raven which takes him through horrific memories of the Residential school that he was forced into. Gord’s music that accompanies it is both beautiful and haunting. The story of Charlie is such an emotional one. On one hand, there is so much hope for him to make it home, the other is the factual evidence that he may not make it. Charlie endures brutal weather including heavy rains, cold nights, and thick snowstorms to which consume him in the end. Gord honours Charlie’s life and legacy of his music which is wonderful beyond words. One thing I did not know about Gord was how he was so connected with First Nations peoples. He spent so much of his life and music career honouring First Nations peoples and speaking out about issues that First Nations peoples face around Canada. Another thing that I learned was how First Nations only want this sad Canadian history recognized. As Charlie’s relatives agree that they just want this story to be told and known throughout Canada. I think I connected with this story very strongly as I have spent a lot of my school career having the opportunity to learn about First Nations culture and history. Yet, this story has never been told to me which I was quite ashamed that I did not know it. Seeing the story now, I find myself realizing that so many First Nations people have gone through so many things throughout their history and sadly, we do not recognize it as we should. I think this film seeks to break the silence on Residential schools, and specifically brings out the personal aspects towards it. Bringing a face to a name. There are so many issues within this country that this documentary brings to life and we need to recognize these issues. I feel that we always seem to run and hide when these issues come up and become defensive and ignorant. We need to look and see stories like this to realize that these are human beings. We all need to work together in this. I wish I could go on and on but I should cut it there.

For my question this week, what was your reaction to this video? Do you have any big takeaways? Let me know!

Cheers, Levi.

Gender and Sexual Diversity

The two readings contained a lot of critical ideas and information that I found very useful. One of the first things that struck me was the idea of the game “Smear the Queer”. This brutal and savage game revolved around throwing a ball and once someone caught the ball that was “weird” or an “outcast” the children would yell “smear the queer” which would cause all the children playing to tackle the child holding the ball. This resulted in a lot of abuse for that certain child. The issues at hand were that children just put the word queer into the category of othering. Making queer a term that would outcast people or segregate. Another thing I learned along with that was the idea of “piling on”. Within the text, Loutzenheiser describes this term as “taking the form of verbal and physical abuse as well as isolation and segregation”. This effect is the bottling up of these situations and ultimately allowing it to consume you in depression and suicidal thoughts. Another thing I learned was that there are not a whole lot of queer role models and in fact, they are rarely discussed within the classroom setting. Teachers often disregard teaching about LGBT people as role models though there are many out there. Loutzenheiser brings up Elen Degeneres which I agree is not only a great LGBT role model but just a great role model in general. The fact is, a lot of teachers find themselves hard-pressed to teach about LGBT people within their classrooms.

One connection I made was with that exact point. My teachers within my small town school were not very good with explaining LGBT peoples issues or history. So, unfortunately, we as students were pretty ignorant. Though, we did have a few teachers that were definitely intellectuals of the subject. Another connection I made was the idea that is brought out within both texts of prejudice. “Prejudice is prejudice” this couldn’t be truer. Having a preconceived idea of anything is really bad. Everyone deserves a fair chance, and though that is hard, we can only improve on this by teaching our students to the best of our abilities. We are all people, we need to start treating each other and ourselves better. That, I believe, starts with teachers.

My question this week is related to one of my connections. Did you have a good teacher throughout your school career thus far who really opened your eyes toward LGBT peoples and their issues within history?

Thanks!

A Reflection on my Placement

Wow. I learned so much from my placement. It is almost funny looking back at my initial reactions of how I thought my placement would be and how it really turned out. First off, I learned a variety of developmental skills on how to help understand what exactly people need help with, and more importantly, help them with whatever it is they need.

Another big takeaway for me was the art projects that I had the privilege to witness. Some of our clients were so talented in their art it was so mind-blowing. We would draw faces and shapes and we would use shading techniques it was an eye-opening experience. Another cool aspect of the painting was when they could free paint whatever they wanted. The clients would draw anything from Pikachu to a dragon to cake! It was so humbling to witness. I really was able to realize how intelligent, funny, kind, loving, caring, and witty these people were. Always smiling, and laughing and positive! It was a great place to be if your day was not going to well because those people would cheer you right up!

Though I remember being nervous my first time going, I quickly found with going every week that it was such a fun time and I really connected with the people who participated there and who worked there. I honestly can admit I have never met kinder and more honest and good people then I did there. I am so happy and honoured to have experienced my CBSL placement there and there are many connections that I will keep in my mind throughout the rest of my life. Words cannot describe the great work that everyone does there and the hard work of the clients even more.

This placement gave me a totally different outlook on life. To really witness a different perspective which has left me with a different view or lens on the world. Thank you for the experience and knowledge that was shared. It cannot be replaced. Thank you for reading!

Cheers, Levi!