Summary of Learning

Hello everyone! Here we are the end of the semester. To look back at the time we’ve spent in ECS110, I’ve made a powerpoint with some commentary over it to show how much I’ve learned and changed over the past few months. To see my thought process change so much over just a semester is insane. While you’re learning, it’s hard to see how much the things you’re learning is changing you, but looking at it all at once from start to finish, you can see just how much change there actually was.

Without further ado, I present my ECS110 Summary of Learning!

Works Cited

Sensoy, Ozlem, and Robin DiAngelo. Is Every One Really Equal? Edited by James A. Banks, 2nd ed., Teachers College Press, 2017.

Simpson, Jesse. Jesse Simpson’s Blog. WordPress, 2017, jessejaysimpson.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/treatyedcamp-my-experience/. Accessed 6 December 2017

Advertisements

The Self in Relation: Gender Roles

Part 1:

Reading through my classmates stories about gender, there was one thing that I found that stuck out. Many of the stories were about how they enacted their gender roles that society says is “proper” in an almost perfect way. While this wasn’t exactly shocking, it was a little different to see after just coming out of writing my own blog post about how I had acted against the norm. I think it goes to show how it is seen as kind of rare to not act like our genders are “supposed” to, even if we do it without meaning to. It just happens naturally as that’s how we were raised, to follow these societal norms that have been inflicted upon us from a young age.

An example of this normal narrative can be seen in Brennan’s post. In his post, he talks about a time when he asked a woman on a date. From the time he asked her out, he did everything that society expects out of a proper “gentlemen”. “Throughout the night, I took the lead role in directing the conversation and ensured that I was not at all dominating it. I made her the focus of the evening and of the conversation, as every good gentleman does.” This is just a small portion of the many examples Brennan portrayed of acting as a proper gentlemen. He knew how society expected him to act and acted as such.

Similarly, another example of gendered normal narratives can be found in Hayley’s blog post. In her post, she displays something quite similar to Brennan’s, but with the opposite gender norms. “I had allowed myself to become swept away in the beauty of the ritual. Every year the senior class celebrates their new graduate status. Every year the senior girls will throw special parties themed pink to signify our femininity. As if people had forgotten that the upcoming generation of girls is breaking the glass ceiling of inequality, but don’t forget, we’re pretty too.” While somewhat more self-aware in the moment (going as far as to question the gender norms she is replicating), Hayley’s post reflects the same type of enacting of gender roles that Brennan does.

These posts really show how hard it can be to break from the gender norms. While, generally, people don’t mean to follow these norms on purpose, they have just become so ingrained into our society that it’s hard to break from them.  While it can be hard, it is definitely not impossible. Regardless, it is generally second-nature to follow these gender norms, as it is what we, and most people, understand as “acceptable”.

Part 2

However, not everyone wrote about following these types of normal narratives. Some wrote about the exact opposite – breaking through the narrative, either intentionally or unintentionally. While these stories were rarer than ones that followed normal narratives, I feel like the ones that did had a lot more of an impact on me. This is likely just because they are counter to the norm, so they’re not what you expect, and a piece of work – like a blog post – that betrays your expectations is always a lot more interest than one that goes exactly as you imagine it to.

A post that I thought was really well done was Amy’s post on her experience of playing football in elementary school. She talks about, even though she was an extremely good football player and was able to contribute to the team, people still judged her based on the fact that she was a girl. “Yes, it was true: I was the only girl playing football in that field, and I started to think about why. Was it okay that I was the only girl playing football? Should I be playing on the playground with my other girlfriends? Why does it matter?” The fact that Amy was a person of wonder at the time since ‘Wow, a girl performed really well in a MANLY sport like football!’ is a problem with how society portrays how genders need to act.

Amy’s experiences are quite different than that of either Hayley’s or Brennan’s. In their case, they acted just as society expected them to; Brennan, a perfect gentlemen, being the dominant force in his date with a young woman, and Haley, a prettied-up woman, getting ready for her graduation with an expensive make-over and an expensive dress. Amy, on the other hand, was doing the exact opposite as these two – she was playing a ‘mans’ sport, and excelling at it. Yet, she was judged for it, just because she wanted to play something she found interesting, just because it isn’t seen as something that women are supposed to do.

As Hortense Smith cites from a “The Times” article, “…the brains of boys and girls aren’t really that different after all; it’s the social conditioning they receive that makes them pick up and internalize gender roles”. Knowing what’s ‘manly’ and what’s ‘girly’ isn’t something we’re born with, it’s something we’re taught by society. Knowing that these issues are all caused by an external force is extremely upsetting, as we’ve practically been raised to judge others if they don’t follow what society tells us is ‘appropriate’ for our gender roles. Even though modern society is getting somewhat better at not being as judgmental over these gender roles, it’s still a huge problem that likely isn’t going away anytime soon. The most we can do is make others aware of the issue, why it’s an issue, and encourage them to spread the word. The more people that are educated on the matter, the better.

Smith, Hortense. (2010, June). Girls Are Pink, Boys Are Blue: On Toddlers And Gender Roles. Retrieved from https://jezebel.com/5561837/girls-are-pink-boys-are-blue-on-toddlers-and-gender-roles 

Why Gender Binary is a Problem

Gender binary has always been an underlying issue in our society. This issue, however, has especially become more prevalent in today’s world of media, where ideas and issues are spread all over the world with just a few clicks of a button. Even though gender binary has been a problem for a very long time, it’s just now that people are beginning to realize it exists, let alone realizing it’s an issue. When the problem is brought to light, many people’s first instincts are to resist – “Gender binary isn’t an issue, people are getting too PC, just trying to make a scene,” and the list of excuses goes on and on.

The question is, what is gender binary? To sum it up quickly, it’s basically the understanding that sex and gender are one in the same. The reality of the situation is, however, that your biological sex isn’t necessarily the same as your gender. Sex is what you’re born with, gender is a social construct, something that can be chosen. The problem with this, however, is that most people aren’t aware of this fact. They believe that your sex is gender, and that’s that. This causes quite a few problems, especially with people

What needs to start happening is that people need to be more open to things that may disagree with their current world view. Instead of someone’s first reaction to argue with something that clashes with what they know, they should investigate the issue further and make an informed decision based upon evidence, and not based upon preexisting notions.

I believe an important method that should be utilized more often to dismantle the myth behind gender binary is media. “The media is the message, and the messenger. And increasingly a powerful one,” (Pat Mitchell, “Miss Representation”). Media has become so prevalent in our everyday life with practically every demographic imaginable and it influences each and every one of them. From a study Nielsen Company did in the US, we know that American’s devote more than 10 hours per day to screen time. Exploring methods to get this information about gender binary out into the open would be extremely effective.

Debunking the myth behind gender binary is extremely important for society. So many people are misinformed about the truth behind gender and sex that it’s almost shocking, but it’s not entirely unbelievable – the amount of information out, while at an all time high due to media and other technological methods, does still not scratch the surface of how widely known it should be. The information on gender binary must be spread with a new force, so people are aware of the truths and misconceptions behind gender binary so we can finally leave this old “truth” behind.

#TreatyEdCamp – My Experience

Last Weekend, I attended the Treaty Ed Camp that was held in the Education Building of the University of Regina. At the camp, I attended a keynote, a couple individual sessions, and an open conversation space all in the same day. These different experiences opened up my eyes to a whole new world of Treaty Education. I’ve heard it discussed before, but never to this extent and never has it made me question what I knew about it this much.

The first thing we had in the morning was the keynote given by Charlene Bearhead. One major thing I took away from the keynote was the fact that even though we say “We Are All Treaty People”, do we know what that means?  I can say that I, for one, don’t really understand the implications of what being a “Treaty Person” means. This is something I feel could be explored much further as a teacher, to pass on this knowledge to my students. Understanding what it means to be a “Treaty Person” is the first step to not only understanding the treaties themselves, but being able to empathize with the Aboriginal people who suffered because of these treaties.

One of the individual sessions I went to was “Rethinking Mathematics”. The session was about how to integrate Aboriginal ideas into Mathematics using what was called the “Indigenous Principles of Mathematical Teaching”. These principles involved such things such as respecting Indigenous knowledge and respecting the learner. The principles weren’t far off from what I feel is expected of normal teachings, but it does go a bit deeper into it than that, especially into Indigenous ways. After going over that, we discussed different ways we could integrate Treaty Education into a classroom, and one of the people at the lecture recommended the Office Treaty Commissioner, specifically the Treaty Education part of the website. It was a very nice look into a different way to teach an already established subject.

To close out the day, I attended the open discussion groups. The one I ended up staying at for the majority of the time was the “What does indigenization mean to you?”, run by Anna-Leah King. The discussions we had while, not always being completely on the topic, were EXTREMELY interesting. It was probably the most engrossed I had been in a topic relating to a culture not my own. The time I had in that room flew by as I was engrossed with the stories that Anna was telling.I really enjoyed my time there and I feel like I learned quite a bit about her life and lifestyle that I would have otherwise not been aware of.

All in all, I had a really great time at Treaty Ed Camp. I feel like I learned a lot about the treaties and the Indigenous people that I would have never learned otherwise. I’m really glad that I was able to participate in this camp and I’m excited to further explore my knowledge in Treaty Education.

Writing the Self 4: Painted

[Writing the Self #4]

I’ve always been comfortable with my gender. I’ve never been worried that I may do something that someone would deem as “girly”. I definitely thought that people may think that, for sure, but it was never something that stopped me from doing what I wanted. I always thought, “It’s my life, I can do what I want, and no one can say otherwise”.

One such case I remember quite well – mainly because it was recent – was in the summer of 2015, when a coworker of mine was being very stubborn on wanting to paint my nails. I was against it at first, only for the reason that I figured it would be a pain to get off (I didn’t know about the magic of nail polish remover. It seriously works wonders). Eventually, after enough coaxing, I gave in and agreed to have my nails painted. I met up at her place one day and she showed me her many different varieties of nail polish. There were a LOT. I knew that many different kinds of nail polish existed, but I thought it was similar to shampoo – lots of kinds, but you buy one or two and it’s over with. I didn’t think that people owned this many.

After a bit of pondering, I picked a shade similar to navy blue and she got to work on painting my nails. The hardest part was holding my hand still as to not get the polish all over my hands. One thing I can say about it is that it was a strangely calming experience. The act of someone else painting my nails just felt soothing, but I can’t really explain why. Once it was over, I had to hold my nails up as to not get the wet polish on my clothes or to rub it. After that was done, my coworker laughed and said she had always wanted to “try painting a guy’s nails”. I didn’t really get why it was any different than doing it to a girl, but I thanked her and went home.

When I got home, my mom noticed my nails and asked me what was going on with them. I told her my coworker painted them and she laughed at me.

“What are you, a girl?” She said.

It was weird. Up until that point, the thought people thinking I was “girly” for painting my nails hadn’t occurred to me. It’s not like I had never had that thought, it’s just that in between my coworker asking me to have my nails painted, and me taking to my mom,  it hadn’t ever crossed my mind. I think this is the point where I realized I didn’t really care about being seen as “girly”, though it’s hard to tell. I haven’t really done anything very “girly” since, so I’m really not positive on whether it would still bother me or not.

Regardless, this is probably my most memorable of a time where I preformed my gender contrary to the “norm”.  Instead of acting like a “man”, I did something that society would consider “girly”. However, it didn’t bother me at the time, and the thought it still doesn’t bother me now.

Writing the Self 3: Noticing a Difference

[Writing the Self #3]

My first day of Kindergarten. The thought of it terrified me. Being put into a room with a bunch of other kids who I didn’t know? Nuh-uh, not for me.

“I don’t want to go, mom,” I whined. My mom laughed as she pulled over beside the road.

“Too bad, so sad,” my mom retorted. I pouted. Why was I being made to go here against my will? It didn’t make any sense. As I was pulled out of the car, I realized it was entirely too late to back out. I walked into the school and was taken to my classroom, where the teacher invited me in. My mom waved goodbye as she left, and I waved back sheepishly. I looked around at the other people in the room, some laughing with one another, some sitting at a table keeping to their self. I went and sat at the table with the people minding their own business, and proceeded to also mind my own business.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know anyone, how was I supposed to talk to them? Or more importantly, how was I supposed to play with them?  I pondered these questions so much that I didn’t notice that someone was standing beside me until they poked my side. Startled, I looked up at them. The person smiled.

“Hey!” He said cheerfully. “Wanna come play with us?” I blinked.

“S-sure,” I nearly whispered. That solves that problem, I suppose. I got out of my chair and followed him over to a group of people all sitting in a circle and playing with various toys. I saw trucks and LEGOs splayed all over the floor. I sat down next to a girl who was sitting there, picked up some LEGOs and began to build.

“Hello!” I heard the girl beside me say. I looked up at them, nervous.

“Hi!” I said, maybe a little too loud. I could tell I was scared, but I don’t think the girl did because she just giggled and went back to playing with her toys. I looked at her and noticed something different about her.

She was… tanned?

I knew it wasn’t exactly a tan, though. I’ve been tanned before, and her skin didn’t look quite like that. I stared at her, wondering why she looked so different. I was too nervous to ask her myself, and no one else around me seemed to notice or care. I decided it didn’t really matter enough to try and bring up the courage to ask and went back to playing with my LEGOs. I figured if it mattered, she’d tell me, and if she didn’t, maybe I could ask once I was her friend.

It still confused me though. Up until that point, I hadn’t seen people who didn’t have white skin (or maybe I had, and it just never clued in). Why was she different? It was a question I pondered on for a moment, but forgot as the day went on. By the time I was picked up from school, I had completely forgotten about it. We had talked more that day, and I found out that, regardless of what she looked like, she was still the same as me or anyone else in that classroom. We liked some of the same things, she got along with us the same as everyone else did, and there seemed to be nothing else different between her and us. Regardless of how she looked, she was still the same as us, and that’s all that really mattered.

Writing the Self 2: Parade Day

[Writing the Self #2]

As we stood over by the grain bins on the east side of town, my soccer teammates and I whined over the delay of the start of the parade. It was supposed to start at ten, and it was nearly ten-thirty by this point, and we were getting restless. Not surprising, for a bunch of ten-year-olds, but I’m sure the adults there didn’t appreciate the noise we were making. The head of the soccer committee – my Dad – told us to quiet down for the umpteenth time in the past half hour. He was trying to have a conversation with someone to figure out what the cause of the delay was. None of us really paid much attention to him, however, continuing to cause a ruckus among ourselves. We were excited. We were finally able to participate in the Canada Day parade, how could we not be? Suddenly, we heard a shout from the front of the line and the floats in front of us started moving. We all let out a cheer – it was finally starting!

Eventually, our float made it’s way to the front and we turned on to Grand Avenue, the main street of the parade. Almost out of nowhere, we were bombarded with the sights of red and white. Flags, clothes, decorations, streamers and so much more. It was all decorated to look “Canadian”. It was an incredible sight. Our float made its way down the road, and the audience standing along the road started clapping and making noise as we passed by. We laughed, waved back and, most importantly, threw candy at them. The kids – some young, some older than us – rushed onto the street to collect the scattered candy and to throw it into their bags for later. I knew exactly how they felt – candy truly is the greatest part of the parade, especially for a kid.

Our float eventually reached the end of the street, turned around the corner, and it was over. All of the Canada themed decorations were out of sight, though we could still hear the deafening sound of the cheers for the other floats that remained behind ours. As my teammates and I started cleaning up the float, I felt an intense pride that I had never felt before. I couldn’t place the reasoning behind it at the time, but it was  definitely the pride of being Canadian. Never before had I experienced something like that – a celebration of Canada where I was one of the main focuses. It was exhilarating. I loved every single moment of it.

On that day, I truly felt like I was Canadian.

Writing the Self 1: Home Away from Home

[Writing the Self #1]

 

Most people can’t wait until the end of a work day. When they get to go home, lay back, relax, and spend their free time doing whatever their heart desired. I wasn’t much different, but I didn’t mind work too much. I had probably one of the most comfortable jobs that I could imagine. Coming to work, I was instantly enveloped by the intoxicating smell of fried food, one that I had become very used to. Entering the kitchen, I see my boss, Georgette. The mother of one of my almost-lifelong best friends. She smiles and welcomes me the moment I come in, taking away her time from the multiple food orders she has in front of her to still give me a warm welcome. I greet her back and head over to my area of expertise – the ice cream machines. There, I am greeted by one of my other best friends, Duncan. Duncan and I had been best friends since early elementary school, and we were extremely close with one another. He was extremely funny, always knowing how to brighten someone’s day.

After once again exchanging greetings, I get right into the swing of work. Taking orders, making soft ice cream, mixing milkshakes, or scooping hard ice cream. All of these things – and more – were things I did day in and day out. Yet, I never grew tired of them. I get lost in my work and my environment, enjoying every moment of it. Customers come, they ponder over the menu for a bit, then come to the window to order. We take their order, charge them, then spend the next moments creating their order. Whether it be a simple cone, an intricate banana split, or the middle ground of milkshakes, a great amount of effort was put into each and every item. The item then goes to the customer, and if all goes well, the customer leaves with a smile on their face and their sweet tooth satisfied.  Work was satisfying. It was fun. The fact that I was surrounded by familiar faces, in a familiar town, even serving familiar people, just added to the experience. I loved every moment of it.

The time passes by, and before I know it, the day has come to end. After finishing cleaning and clocking out, I leave the restaurant, satisfied with my work of the day. Even though I do look forward to going home and relaxing, I would say my eagerness to return to work the next day is even greater. After all, work with these people who I consider family felt just like home.