The “Perfect” Student

After reading both the required readings for this week I was able to understand more critically about what a “good” student looked like with regards to the commonsensical ideas. After reading the introduction piece of “A History of Education” by Painter, I was able to understand that no two countries hold the same values of their education system and they all have their own common-sense beliefs about what the education system should look like and what the role of both the teachers and the students should be:

“Among no two nations of antiquity have the theory and practice of education been the same. It has varied with the different social, political, and religious conditions of the people and the physical characteristics of the country” (p.5).

With that, Kumarshiro explains the commonsensical ideas around the American curriculum and who these ideas benefit and do not benefit. In this outlook, a “good” student is a student who falls into the status quo. A student that can learn the information in an appropriate way and does not interfere with the teachings. A “good” student in the eyes of common sense is one that can sit in an individual desk and be completely invested in the content being taught on the whiteboard. In the reading “Preparing Teachers for Crisis: What it Means to Be a Student” Kumarshiro describes a “good” student as an individual who would always complete “certain assignments and repeating on exams the correct definitions or themes or analysis in a strong essay format, and the closer a student got to saying the right things in the right ways, the higher that student’s grade would be” (p.21). A “good” student was one who conformed to the ideas that were implemented by the higher up people in the education system and their perspectives. A “good” student came into the classroom with no pre-existing knowledge and left with a brain full of knowledge that the dominant culture believed was the most beneficial to a student’s cognitive development. “Good” students were ones who succeeded on the standardized examinations and did not challenge the status quo of learning or society.

The students as mentioned above who were privileged by this common sense understanding of education were the individuals who conformed to the perspectives and teachings. The students who showed up to class ready to learn, who did not misbehavior or spoke out of turn were considered “good” students. Students who were in the dominant culture (white, middle-class individuals) often fit these common-sense ideas the best because the information that was deemed important often reflected off the values of this specific culture. Individuals who did not fit these commonsensical ideas were often individuals who did not fit the status quo. Individuals who maybe acted out, could not sit still for long periods of time, individuals of different cultural backgrounds who held different values and beliefs, and lastly, individuals who could not conform to the one-answer learning all did not benefit from these ideas of a “good” student. Individuals who did not succeed on exams or assignments also did not benefit from these commonsensical ideas of learning and what makes a “good student.”

Through these commonsensical ideas, the possibilities for some students turn into the impossible. These preconceived ideas silence different cultural beliefs and values that students bring into their classrooms, which then silences a huge part of their identity. Individualism between students is also absent, due to the strict standardized testing and curriculum that makes all students learn the same and think the same, this also hinders one’s creativity extremely. This can be seen in Kumarshiro’s examples of both M and N, they both showed no interest in the strict layout of the class, but once they were able to do assignments and activities on their own terms they opened up to their ideas about the content. These commonsensical ideas also conform individuals into the same perspectives of those who formed the curriculum and decided what information was important and not important. With that, these students did not learn any different and no social action would occur to change the educational system for the better. Overall, these commonsensical ideas of what makes a “good” student hinder one’s ability to break out of their shell and shoot for their dreams and aspirations in life.

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Is technology all that it is cracked up to be?

This week in EDTC400 we focused on some issues surrounding the tech world, and how these issues affect us individuals in society. We can understand that there are problems with technology when former Facebook executives are admitting to “ripping society apart.” So what are some of the problems society is seeing due to technological advancements?

Technology was first created to allow people to connect with the world in more manageable ways than ever before. The use of technology was also supposed to bring equality to all individuals but as the Verge stated in an article, The FCC just killed net neutrality. This meaning that now people can pay to get people to their sites faster, for example, Netflix can pay money to allow people to zoom to their site, which in turn slows the process for people who are trying to get to an individual blog, for example, my blog. From this, people who can afford to pay this fee will benefit from the advancement, and the people who are unable to pay the fee will not get the same results as when they started.  Neil Postman also does a good job of explaining these inequalities online. He states that yes, there are advantages as technology advances, however, with those advantages someone else also sees disadvantages. The way I visualize this is with new phones. New phones are always being released and people always want the fresh new phone on the market so they go and buy it, this is an advantage for the people who can afford the new phones because they are getting the latest software and advancements. For the people who can not afford a new phone, they stick with their trusty old one, which is perfectly fine until the phone companies start making software updates and other updates that these older phones cannot obtain, forcing an individual to get a new phone when their 2-year-old phone is in perfectly good condition minus the software issues. Check out Postman’s article for a more in-depth analysis of these inequalities.

Photo Credit: vagueonthehow Flickr via Compfight cc

The next problem or concern I would like to address with regards to technology is thinking about multitasking. Sherry Turkle states:

“Technology promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible”

~Sherry Turkle~

Technology has allowed so many people to learn to multitask and evidently get more things done. However, multitasking can also be very overwhelming as Turkle states. She acknowledges that yes now with technology individuals can get so much more done, however, they may now feel obligated to get more things done than ever expected before. This can be seen in the old example of the invention of technology-driven cleaning products brought into the home around the years of the 1960s. The technological cleaning supplies allowed for the homemaker to get their work done more efficiently, however, now with these new advancements the quality and amount they got done in the day rose much higher than before. This places a lot of stress on the individuals in this predicament. A study was done on university students that banned laptops in the classroom also show that since students are able to multitask so much on their laptops in class, they don’t retain as much information from class lectures because they are preoccupied with other apps on their devices such as Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Here is a short article that shares the risk of multitasking on your brain, they state as did the study that doing more than one thing at once puts a lot of strain on your brain and results in less knowledge being gained.

The last issue I want to talk about is what Eli Pariser defines as “filter bubbles” which he essentially describes as what an individual sees on their social media accounts. Companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google filter what we as consumers see because they believe it is what we want to be seeing. These companies leave out topics we do not search and grasp at the topics we search and work with that. They take our online personality and find articles, posts, pictures, etc. to shape our news feed. With this process, everything becomes interconnected. I search something on google, and the next day my whole Facebook account will show me ads and posts that reflect that google search (creepy, I know). This is not just on my laptop either, I search something on my laptop (which my Facebook is not even logged into), and I see ads for that google search on my phone within my Facebook account! I personally do not like this filtering technology at all, I now barely use my accounts because I no longer truly know what I am seeing. Many of my friends on Facebook post something, that I will not see unless somebody else shows me the post. Not only do I not get to see my friends and families posts, but it also does not allow me to see much of the news releases or other topics I am interested in because they have the algorithms decide for me that I do not care about those issues. It makes me uneasy that with the technological advancements being introduced these days, they have so much control over what we can see, and ultimately what we believe in or value. Invasion of privacy can also be seen throughout people being open to bringing Google homes or Alexa’s into their house. Many people love these tools that allow them to talk to this small device that will then direct it to their house, however, I believe it could cause some problems in the long run. Check out this article on how people are responding to their Google Homes.

What’s next?

Now that I laid out some of the problems the technological world is facing I thought it would be a good idea to see if there are any moves towards changing or recognizing these problems. For net neutrality, some say the fight is not over and people are trying to get the old rules back. For more information on what people are doing check out this article! Looking at multitasking and using technology we can look into how these tools can be integrated into the classroom properly. Educators must understand the concerns around technology in the classroom and look at ways in which they can teach about how to properly integrate technology into students learning by following models such as TPACK or the SAMR models. Both of these models are used to not only use technology in the classroom but use technology in the classroom in a way that benefits the individuals learning that previous models such as pen and paper could not do. This will help students not only concentrate on their work but help them effectively incorporate technology in the classroom. As for the last topic of my discussion, I am unsure of the status of if large corporations and companies plan to change their algorithms so they do not impact what we see and do not see on our social media accounts. I now open the question to you: Have you heard of any headway with this issue being resolved? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: davidstewartgets Flickr via Compfight cc

The words of Elliot W. Eisner

“The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.”

~Elliot W. Eisner~

Elliot Eisner was a professor of art and education at Stanford University. Eisner is well known for his contributions to the arts curriculum and the overall American curriculum. Eisner has “dedicated his career to advancing the role of the arts in American education and in using the arts as models for improving educational practice in other fields” for more information about Eisner continue reading this article! Eisner focused on bringing recognition to arts education and the importance of art for children’s development and wellbeing.

I chose this quote because I think it is a really good quote that represents Eisner’s goal to bring recognition towards the importance of the arts in the education system. When I read this quote I instantly relate the words to how in a school and classroom we have so many diverse learners that all learn and think differently. This quote explains the importance of children understanding that there is not just one solution to a problem and that there is always opportunities to expand on answers and look at a question in a new light. When I think of arts, I think of creativity and individualism, art allows children to express their thoughts and opinions in their own way, which then allows for more diverse conversations in the classroom. This quote moves away from the standardized testing that the curriculum has laid out, and moves toward individual learning that allows children to find their identity through the knowledge they are gaining. This quote makes individual human beings full of creativity and inspiration, human beings that will finish schooling and become the voices of social change, artists, educators, or anything they aspire to be. This quote makes the old way of schooling, the way in which produces students to all be the same impossible. Overall, this quote allows society to see education in a new light, a light that I hope can be produced as I continue my journey as an educator.

This quote would vision teachers as a leader, someone who leads students in the right path but also allows students to go through the path on their own terms and making their own decisions on how they wish to proceed through the path. Teachers would be seen as life long learners, continuously learning from their students and working alongside them to make their program better as the students bring new ideas to the table. Teachers would no longer be expected to teach straight from worksheets, textbooks, and then assess through standardized testing. They would now have more input in the activities they want to teach and how they wish to reach those goals using a creative mindset that will benefit all of their individual students. Students would no longer be seen as being incompetent if they do not succeed in an exam. They would now have the freedom to show their knowledge through their personal skills and talents that shine through. Students would now be seen as individual learners and not learners that must conform.

With my understanding of the current curriculum, I believe we have a long way to go before we reach a place that signifies the goals I have stated above. This quote I think represents a place in the education system that people are fighting to move towards, however, looking at the curriculum as it is, we are nowhere near reaching this place where learners are not expected to all think the same. This quote represents that no two individuals are the same, that differences are welcomed and embraced, and frankly, society and the education system have a long road ahead of them if they ever want to reach a system that embraces creativity over memorization. To this day, the arts are still undervalued compared to the core classes such as math and science. To move forward, one must understand the importance of the arts and all the benefits that will help a child prosper and become a responsible, individualistic member of society. Through this quote, we can reach a place that recognizes that not all answers are the same, that through different experiences our answers, values, and beliefs are shaped differently, and that is okay. The world is full of brilliant minds, we just need to let individuals see the brilliance inside themselves.

Curriculum as a Product: Beneficial or Detrimental?

Although there are many new and creative alternatives to the curriculum, most school institutions still follow a traditionalist perspective when it comes to the curriculum and teachings in the classroom. Not many individuals understand why the schools follow traditional viewpoints, maybe because that is what they are comfortable with, all they were ever taught so why change it, or maybe simply because they are scared to make a change. With that, traditional techniques of the curriculum see the curriculum as a syllabus to be transmitted, or the curriculum as a product. After reviewing the article, “Curriculum Theory and Practice” written by Mark K. Smith (1996, 2000), I now want to do a further analysis of the section that discusses curriculum as a product, specifically the Tyler Rationale. Through this analysis, I will make connections towards the major limitations of this concept, some contributions that can be taken from the rationale, and lastly my personal school experiences related to Tyler’s Rationale.

To begin, the Tyler Rationale was formed by Ralph W. Tyler and behavioral psychologist who was the father of assessment and evaluation. According to Smith the work of “Ralph W. Tyler, […], has made a lasting impression on curriculum theory and practice.” Tyler focused his theory on “rationality and relative simplicity.” His theory focused around organization and the end goal of behavioral objectives that will allow for “a clear notion of outcome so that content and method may be organized and the results evaluated.” There were four main processes of the Tyler Rationale that would be followed to reach the final goal of the topic. In short, the four steps Tyler formed proceeded in the order as follows: aims and objectives of the subject, content to support these objectives, how the content would be delivered to the learners, and lastly how the learner would be assessed or evaluated. The Tyler Rationale was closely related to Franklin Bobbitt’s theory on the curriculum as the main idea was to form young individuals to all be the same with no independent thought. Reflecting on this, one can see many problematic areas with these theories.

Although organization is key in a classroom, too much structure and organization can lead to some serious problems and conflicts. The first problem defined by Smith with regards to Tyler’s rationale was that his view on the curriculum was to be constructed with assignments that the students “are told what they must learn and how they will do it.” This did not allow for children to further their creativity or have a say in their learning. We also understand now that all students learn and retain information in different ways, having one way that the students must learn is very detrimental to the students who do not learn effectively by the common pen and paper assignments and examinations. A second problem stated by Smith was that “behavior can be objectively, mechanistically measured.” That is, students are taught to think, feel and learn in the exact same ways as their peers, and with that teachers never have to think past the measured criteria of what their individual students could have taken away from that specific experience. This second problem limits students to be the same and does not allow teachers to critically think about how their students are different and think differently from one another. In this case, it is often the students who are blamed for not succeeding, because as stated by Tyler, the curriculum is something that “can rise above context (social, cultural, and historical differences).” Another problem that Smith acknowledged states this rationale is the “problem of unanticipated results.” Because of the large structure and organization that comes with this rationale, students and teachers often only have one goal in mind; the final goal. All of the learning opportunities throughout the process of reaching the end goal are seen unimportant by both the learner and the teacher, which then can harm a student’s capacity to learn as much as possible from an activity or assignment. To list a few more complications with this rationale are: the rationale focuses less on the learning and more on the memorizing, it is not interconnected learning, we are teaching students to learn to take tests, context isn’t seen as important, the rationale is very predictable; meaning the curriculums serve the dominant group and does not teach activism in fear of the dominant group will lose their “status.” The last major problem with this rationale I want to point out is that the students and the teachers are the ones being blamed for their failures, where it should be the people making the curriculum being blamed for not adequately accounting for individual learners needs and wants.

After pointing out the problems of Tyler’s Rationale, one must understand that there are ways in which this rationale along with all of the perspectives of the curriculum before Tyler all contributed to finding new ways to approach the curriculum, and in general the school system. Specifically looking at Tyler’s rationale, this perspective allowed for more organization and structure that allows educators to have a starting point. This type of approach allows teachers to stay on task to their outcomes and keep their students organized and on task as well. Smith also stated that “[t]he apparent simplicity and rationality of this approach to curriculum theory and practice, and the way in which it mimics industrial management have been powerful factors in its success.” After reading the other theories that evolve around curriculum, I believe that Tyler’s organization would help a lot of teachers reach their goals, however, modifications would be needed to ensure the problems stated above were accounted for. This rationale or theory about curriculum is also a good theory to critique and then improved. Without this theory being formed, individual’s would not see the problems that have risen in the school system and started brainstorming ideas to improve the program to benefit all learners.

After reading the article and learning more critically about the Tyler Rationale, I was able to analyze my school experiences throughout grade school. I grew up in a very small town and spent most of my younger years in a triple graded classroom, with that the teacher and teaching assistant needed a very structured atmosphere to keep the grades aligned and to ensure that the content and objectives were met for all grade levels. At the time, I would not have known school any different than being taught in ten minutes of class and then the rest of the class you sat in your desk and worked through assignments while the other grades were being taught. Now looking back on my school experiences after gaining the knowledge about the curriculum from Smith’s reading, I realize that my education was severely limited because of the triple graded classrooms and the lack of diversity we had throughout our students. After communicating with friends I have made throughout university thus far, their elementary experiences were enrichened with field trips, outdoor activities, projects, etc. that allowed them to meet certain objectives while learning in creative and explorative ways. However, for myself, I never got those opportunities because year in and year out we followed a certain outline to ensure that all three grades were able to cover the curriculum in the year.  As I progressed through grade school, my experiences did not change that much. Now being in a split classroom, with two grades being taught, I followed the same routine of being taught for one half of the class and working on assignments at my desk for the other half of the class. We did the worksheets that the teachers taught every year to learn the content, once the worksheets were completed, we waited to be taught the next lesson and the cycle repeated. We also had very low numbers in the school, which resulted in a major focus on the core classes with a limited emphasis on the more creative and individual classes such as the arts. Modifications were not made to fit the needs of the different learners in the classroom, and the students had little opportunity to have choice within their learning. My school experiences heavily relate to Tyler’s Rationale and did not leave room for creativity or enriched experiences like my fellow university peers had throughout their grade school years.

So why are school systems still teaching from a traditional perspective? It is hard to know the exact reasons why we have not seen change, however, one can hypothesize it is because we have not seen any dramatic social changes in society to do so. Having the understanding that there are other theories that allow for more involvement and acknowledge differences between individuals seems to be a more suitable choice, so why are we stuck in a time of worksheets and lectures?

What the world can see…

This week in EDTC400 it is expected of us to scan our social media accounts to see what the world can see about us. I have never been big into social media, however, I am on many social media platforms such as WordPress, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. All of these different social media platforms all serve one common function, and that is to stay in contact with people that I do not have the luxury of seeing or talking to every day. Although I do not post often, as a future educator I still need to be conscious and aware of what I am posting and being tagged in because my future students and employers can one day search me on the internet and find information I maybe did not want them to find. After reviewing the Professionalism in a digital world website created by the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, I decided, it is best to go through all my social media platforms and investigate at this moment to see what I deem as professional and not professional.

Let the investigating begin…

To start simply, I will first investigate my blog. I created this blog in my first year in the education program. It is intended to build my professional portfolio that one day I will be able to show my future employers instead of a resume that does not give as much detail to who I am and my accomplishments I have made that will be shown on my blog. If you need more evidence to why a digital portfolio is more beneficial then a resume please check out these two articles:

  1. Forget the resume: Online profiles the tool of young job seekers
  2. 5 Reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years 

Now back to my blog. My blog is designed to be simple for anyone to guide there way through it (I know I got my grandma to go throughout it), and to be appealing to the eye to make people want to continue reading. My menu bar allows visitors to find exactly what they are looking for without scrolling through the whole blog and my side widgets also allow for people to see who I am, my recent posts, and connect with my twitter account as well. When people first open my blog they instantly get a description of myself and then can move on from there if they wish to continue reading. Right now my cover photo is a picture of my grad dress and shoes, however, I think it is time to change that picture to be a little more professional, I am just waiting to find a picture that fits before I change it (because I truly do love those shoes)!

Understanding that I am still pretty early into my program, I will continue to upgrade and embellish my blog as I gain more content to add. As I continue on throughout my years, the areas I want to focus my time on is: developing a strong personal philosophy, continue adding content from my classes, begin creating my lesson plan section, and furthering my teaching resources section. I think my blog gives off a very professional and positive identity for myself. My blog portrays my hard work, beliefs, values, and my personality which allows visitors to get a sense of who I am as an individual and my goals as a future educator as well. At this moment, I am very happy with how my blog is coming along and I am excited to see where it will go as I continue to move forward in this amazing program!

The world of Twitter…

I think of myself as still being very new to the Twitter world, however, I think I have a good grasp on how to run the platform as well as what I get out of the app. I made my Twitter this spring specifically for the purpose of building my PLN. Twitter is a great place to learn from others in the profession and to lend and receive resources, I mean just look at all the educators you have access to through twitter and this is just in Saskatchewan! Here are even more worldwide!  To start, let’s investigate my Twitter account:

I keep my Twitter account public to allow myself to receive more connections with other educators and allow other educators to connect with me. My profile picture is just a headshot of myself so visitors can see who they are connecting with, and then my cover photo is a picture of a sunset on my farm, the place I hold close to my heart, I believe that this picture also allows my viewers to see a part of me and my interests. A part of my Twitter that needs some improvement is my bio, I feel it is lacking in content and connections and with that people may be uninterested in following my account due to the dry bio I have created. I plan to embellish this section of my account throughout the semester after looking at other educators bios and gaining a grasp of how I want to portray myself on this platform.

As for my twitter activity and tweets, I need to do some serious improving. As Katia said in class the more tweets somebody does throughout their day, the more connections they will be able to make, which will then help you in the long run. After I completed EDTC300, I used my Twitter account at a bare minimum. Now that I am back at it with EDTC400, I want to set a goal of posting at least 5 tweets a day, whether it be original tweets, replies, or retweets! I also want to start participating in Twitter chats to build connections with educators around the world.

Overall, I believe I have a good start on my Twitter profile and now just need to continue making connections with others and building my PLN. If you want to help me continue to build my PLN go give my Twitter account a follow! Both my Twitter and WordPress accounts are open to the public eye, however, I believe these accounts give a positive and professional digital identity to my name and allow visitors to see my true passion which is education.

The world of endless videos… YouTube

Out of all my social media accounts, my YouTube account is used the least amount. The main purpose for my YouTube account is to upload videos that I can then transfer to my blog. I have never used YouTube for watching tutorials or any kind of videos other than “how to” videos of course. As for my account, it is extremely underdeveloped and could use some work to make myself appear present on the platform, maybe even be a good role model to my future students who are interested in making a YouTube account to showcase their talents or as a hobby.

Most of the videos I post on my account are categorized as unlisted, meaning that people need to have the link to access the videos, however, if a person was to look through my blog they would be able to access all the links from that source. Overall, I realize my YouTube channel is pretty bare, with that being said I took it upon myself to look up the benefits of YouTube in the classroom and there are many benefits and uses that I never knew about! If you don’t know the benefits of YouTube check out this article! After learning this new information I am now intrigued to build my account on YouTube and learn more about it so I can successfully implement this tool in my future classrooms.

“I wonder who’s birthday it is today”

You guessed it right, Facebook is the next social media platform I will be investigating in this blog post. To begin, I have my Facebook account as private just for personal preference, however, I still use my first and last name and have a picture of myself and family on my profile and cover photo that anyone can see. Interesting enough, however, when I do a quick google search to find my Facebook account it doesn’t show up! I am not sure if that is good or bad, and I am still undecided if I should have my privacy settings on. I know the STF states it is important to have your privacy settings maxed out, however, I have nothing to hide in my account, so why should I hide a positive and professional digital identity from my future students and employers? We are taught that it is important to lead by example with our digital identities so should I be hiding this platform? If you too are conflicted about what to do with your privacy settings, check out this article that gives you some insight on how to be professional teachers online!

The main purpose I use Facebook for is simply to stay in touch with my friends and family that I do not have the opportunity to see all that often! It is a great platform to communicate with people, and of course, keep up with all the birthday wishes! With that, I believe I have a positive Facebook account that allows individuals to see what is going on in my everyday life!

Last but not least… Instagram

The last social media platform I will be discussing is Instagram. I have been on Instagram for quite a few years now. When I first got my account, my mom ensured I had all of the privacy settings maxed out, and that is how my account stayed ever since. I am not sure if this overly matters, but just like Facebook I can’t help but feel torn between if I should or should not have my accounts private or public.

My Instagram account consists of posting pictures with my family, partner, and friends to let people see what I have been doing or anything exciting going on in my life. It is not like I have anything to hide, I just simply allow my friends and family to see my posts!

 

Overall, I believe I have a very positive and professional digital identity that does not include anything I wouldn’t want my future employers or students to find. As I continue throughout my education program and my career, I hope to continue building a PLN by using the templates listed above as places I can connect with others. I have listed some specific areas above that I see fit for improvement, however, overall I just wish to continue updating my social media accounts as I move along and gain new knowledge. I still am unsure of how I wish to perceive all of my social media accounts on the internet, knowing that people of different generations and understandings will have different opinions no matter what I choose and how I choose to portray my accounts. For now, I am happy with my platforms and am excited to see how they change as I continue using them.

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s just common sense”

All throughout childhood, the teenage years, and as an adult, many individuals hear the saying “well it’s just common sense” or “do you have any common sense?” It is a saying that people use when communicating a process or event that should just come naturally, without any formal instruction. However, have you ever thought about how this widely used saying could be problematic in many different situations, including the educational institution? In the book chapter, The Problem of Common Sense; Kevin Kumashiro (2009) looks into the many problems that have risen in the education system because of the commonsensical ideas created and evolved by the individuals with the power of decision making.

To begin, let’s look at how Kumashiro defines common sense throughout the chapter. In simple terms, Kumashiro defined common sense as “what everyone should know” (2009, p.29). Meaning that people should just understand these events without having any instruction from a more knowledgeable individual. However, Kumashiro learned very quickly throughout her experience in Nepal that what he thought was common sense, was not considered common sense to different cultures, and what the culture saw as common sense, Kumashiro did not. This can be seen when Kumashiro entered the school in Nepal and wished to seat children by intermingling the genders, but the students reacted differently and were uncomfortable with that certain seating arrangement. Kumashiro (2009) also defined common sense specifically to an educational context; he stated: “common sense does not tell us that this is what schools could be doing; it tells us that this and only this is what schools should be doing” (p.35). To continue with Kumashiro’s (2009) definition, he emphasized that common sense or the ways in which schools should be running is decided by the “perspectives, experiences, and values of only certain people in society, especially those who have traditionally been privileged or currently wield political influence” (p.34). With that, one can understand that these values do not fully meet the needs and beliefs of all cultures who attend the school, or in society in general.

So why should individuals of society pay attention to the “common sense?” When thinking about common sense, one can compare that definition to a normative narrative, that is like mentioned above, a process where certain groups get to decide on these norms or rituals for the society that may not always benefit all groups in society but will benefit their particular group. With that being said, individuals need to be conscious of events or situations that may seem common sense to that particular individual, may be easily understood by other individuals who do not share the same culture or beliefs of those who formed these norms. As stated by Kumashiro (2009), these “norms of society, privilege and benefit some groups and identities while marginalizing and subordinating others on the basis of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, language, age, and other social markers” (p.36). As future educators, we need to understand these norms and commonsensical ideas and challenge them to allow for equality in the classroom as well as in society. Understanding that these commonsensical ideas enhance oppression throughout society, one must recognize this and form change. If we can not put a stop to these norms and ideas, we will continue to allow for inequalities among individuals both in the classroom and throughout society.

To conclude, even though commonsensical ideas and norms allow individuals to feel comfortable, individuals of society need to move aware from these perspectives and move more towards anti-oppressive education, which will then allow for more equality and relationships throughout the world.

The start of something new!

I am very excited to be starting my new journey throughout EDTC400 this semester! After doing EDTC300 with Katia over the spring semester, I am eager to start furthering my knowledge around the topic of educational technology!

Now, a little bit about myself. I am Sydney McGrath, a second-year elementary education student here at the University of Regina. I grew up in LeRoy Saskatchewan, a small town with a population of 500 people. Throughout high school, I took part in many extracurricular activities such as dance, volleyball, and curling. I also was involved in school committees such as the Students Against Drinking and Driving (SADD) as well as our student leadership group. All throughout grade school I loved attending school and was involved in as many programs as possible. My inspiration for becoming a teacher started in high school when I became an assistant dance teacher at my local dance studio. I knew for sure I was on the right career path when I began teaching at the dance studio as the main choreographer. I also did volunteer work in the younger classes in my school and fell in love with the joy those young individuals brought to me everytime I stepped into their classroom. From those moments, I knew that I wanted to become an educator to inspire young individuals to shoot for their dreams! Now that I am in Regina I spend most of my time doing school work, volunteering with Sports for All, and spending time with new friends and family. Through my volunteer position, I have grown a very strong interest and love for working with individuals with varying abilities. I began volunteering my first semester of university, and now am looking forward to finishing my degree a semester early and moving on to complete my after degree program in inclusive education. My love for school has led me through this amazing journey and I hope one day I can spread my love for learning to my students.

As mentioned previously, I took EDTC300 with Katia and absolutely loved the experience! I learned so many valuable tools and gadgets that I can incorporate into my classroom and my life in general. Going into EDTC400 I believe I have a well-grounded understanding of how to use most technologies and gadgets. Having that previous knowledge of educational technologies, there are a few goals I want to work on throughout this semester. The first goal I want to accomplish is continuing to build my PLN and making more connections with educators all over the world. To kick start that goal here is my twitter account if you would like to follow it, it would be awesome to make connections and share resources through this media source! My second goal with regards to this class is to take the different technologies and programs that I learned in EDTC300 and learn how to successfully apply these sources into the classroom, I hope this goal will be accomplished throughout the sharing of our mini-lectures that my fellow classmates will complete throughout the semester. This goal will allow me to become confident and competent in incorporating technology into my future classrooms. The final goal I would like to gain from this course is how to successfully teach my future students about creating a safe and positive online presence. We began talking about this in EDTC300, but I was somewhat confused about how I would do that in such young grades. Overall, I want to take my previous knowledge around EDTC300 and gain a larger understanding of the topic of educational technology in general.


Photo Credit: marcoverch Flickr via Compfight cc

I am super excited for what this course and semester have to offer, and I am eager to be working with amazing pre-service teachers doing great work!