School Field Placement – Response

[Written on March 19th, 2018]

Over the past few weeks, I have been attending St. Catherine’s Community School for my field placement. At the school, I, along with my partner, Rachel Paterson, have been helping with two classrooms – The grade 1 classroom taught by Sarah Ross, and the grade 1 and 2 classroom taught by Angela La. Usually, the two of us split up and we each help one of the classrooms with whatever they require help with, whether it’s doing one on one with a particular student, helping a variety of students with testing, or just roaming the classroom and making sure all the students are staying on topic. Last week, however, – on March 13th – Rachel and I had to take on a slightly more taxing task.

We had asked if we could lead the classes in doing some sort of craft a couple weeks prior, and with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get some experience leading a class. Sarah and Angela helped us find a craft for the students to do, and Rachel and I planned out how we were going to teach it to all the kids and how we were going to organize it. Planning it out turned out to be the easiest part, as the craft was a simple one. We planned to break the class into two groups, and each group would be doing a different part of the craft, and then the groups would switch and do the other part of the craft. Then at the end, we planned to all come together in one big group and finish up a small part of the craft to finish the craft.

On the day we did the craft, we came into the first class that we were doing it in, – the grad 1 classroom – and Sarah started the class with doing attendance and getting everyone calmed down from recess. Once that was done, we went up to the front of the class and began explaining the craft. For the most part, Rachel led the explanation of the craft. She was able to explain it slowly in a way that all the kids were easily able to understand. When she was done explaining her part, I took over and began explaining my part. It was sort of easy to explain my part, since I had brought up an extra copy of the craft to the front and showed them exactly how to do it. After we were finished explaining, we broke the kids up into two groups and we got to work.

All in all, everything went well. While we couldn’t finish the entire craft, we were able to get all the major parts finished, and all that was left was a small part at the very end. After we were finished in the grade 1 classroom, we went into the grade 1 and 2 classroom and did the craft all over again. After doing it once before, we were able to lead the class a lot more efficiently, as we were both a lot more confident about leading a class than we had been before. Again, we didn’t have enough time to finish everything in the second class, but we were able to get most of it done. Leading a class was new and scary for the both of us, but with a little bit of hard work and some teamwork between the two of us, it all went smoothly and, in the end, turned out to be a rather fun experience.

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Leroy Little Bear: Jagged – Reading Response

[Written on February 26th, 2018]

In this reading, I was able to learn about and explore deeper into aboriginal worldviews that I was previously not very knowledgeable on. One such idea that was new to me was the idea of all things being in ‘constant motion’. The idea at it’s core isn’t particularly new, but the implication behind it is something that I’d never learned up before, that being that when things are constantly moving, you must look at the whole to see patterns and understand how life functions. Another idea that I found incredibly interesting is the foundation of truth in the Aboriginal worldview. Truth is important is practically every worldview, but the emphasis they put on the importance of truth is rather interesting. While truth is important in, for example, my worldview, something like a tiny white lie would likely not affect me or most things in a huge way. In an Aboriginal worldview, however, something like a tiny white lie may greatly affect the harmony and balance in their societies. The contrast between the level of importance in truth between worldviews is extremely interesting.

One thing I found slightly problematic in the reading was the claim about objective knowledge. The author claims that there is no such thing as objective knowledge, “…because anything you claim to know is your knowledge alone,” (11, Bear). To be fair, the author claims that this rejective of objective knowledge is ‘the short answer’, so there may be more to this claim than what is apparent, but I find the claim that there is no such thing as objective knowledge slightly off. I can agree with objective knowledge not pertaining to things such as experiences or opinions, but when it comes to subjects like math’s and science’s, objectivity is key. In math, for example, the answer to the question ‘3×5’ isn’t something that is up for debate. The answer is a firm ‘15’. This is an objective answer and not one that can be changed do to someone’s experiences or worldviews. However, I still see where the author is coming from, as in most circumstances, subjectivity is needed to further explore an idea. You could almost say things like math and science are exceptions to the rule. Regardless, I felt that saying there is no such thing as objective knowledge in any cases is going a little off the deep-end, because while it may be true in a lot of cases, it is not true in all cases.

To counter the aspect of the article I found problematic, I want to leave off with a message from the reading that I found rather profound. It’s simple, but I feel like it sums up a rather large part of the Aboriginal worldview rather well, and while reading this small message won’t give you as deep of an understanding as reading the entire article, this single message is still a great summary that I believe is important.

“If you want to be part of the spider web of relations, speak the truth.”

Muffins for Granny – Reading Response

[Written on February 4th, 2018]

Residential schools aren’t a new concept to me. I have been told about them countless times over the years in classes, on the news, on the internet, and more. However, hearing about the horror stories and seeing how painful it is to recount these events from people who experienced them puts an entirely new perspective on just how real and terrifying residential schools were. It is totally different hearing about residential schools and their impact from people who were impacted personally and how the scars of the schools remain. Leaning from someone who is just relaying information, you can understand that the things that happened really happened, but hearing it from someone who was actually there, you get this emotional connection to the person and the events that happened that isn’t possible otherwise.

One of the people who really sticks out to me is the one gentleman with the long hair with the grey highlights. He sticks out to me because he is always smiling. No matter how the grim the events he’s talking about are, he continues to smile. For example, even when talking about how his father was jailed for trying to protect his children, or when he tried to commit suicide and nearly succeeded, he still has a smile on his face. I have no real evidence for it, but my guess is that his smiling is a coping mechanism to cope with these horrible events that happened throughout his life. As long as he has a smile on his face, he will be able to deal with anything that life may through at him or any event that may try and haunt him. His constant smile sticks out to me as something incredible, as being able to smile so brightly after everything he has been through is extremely inspirational.

In terms of the documentary itself, the way it’s laid out is rather different compared to most documentaries I have seen. It is different in the way that it presents the information that seems important to the documentary at a first glance. The documentary is titled Muffins for Granny, so one may believe that the documentary will focus on the producers/writer’s grandmother and her experiences with life. However, the story of the grandmother is just a set piece for a larger story – the one on residential schools. It is interesting in the way that most documentaries, or at least the ones I have seen, are fairly evident what they will be about just by reading the title. Muffins for Granny, however, isn’t immediately apparent without either seeing the documentary or reading a synopsis. Even though we were told the documentary was going to be about residential schools, I still expected parts about the grandmother to take the main stage. However, they were more a background setting for a much deeper investigation into the story and experiences of residential schools. I think the way that Muffins for Granny lays itself out is rather genius, as it sets up expectations of a story that, while met, also introduces an important story that ends up taking the main stage.