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Welcome to ece205 the class wiki for Orientation to Teaching. This site is for the use of the 83 students enrolled in this class plus the 3 co-instructors. This is an "experiment" of sorts to see how we can engage in a "process oriented" activity to think about, discover, explore and create around the broad course title; Orientation to Teaching, using Web 2.0and more.
In our first class Patrick Lewis "oriented" us toward some interesting statistics about new teachers, beginning teachers and career teachers. It is reported that in some areas almost 50% of new teachers leave the profession after two to five years of teaching, citing the same five reasons. He also shared some interesting data about the demographics of Saskatchewan and the K-12 education system; "it is expected that by 2016 approximately 45% of the children entering kindergarten will be of First Nations or Métis ancestry. We were also oriented to the idea of teaching as a vocation and teaching the Whole Child and/or whole child education.

We also looked at the idea of teaching as a vocation; it is not just a job, but rather a calling. Patrick drew on the ideas of Dwayne Huebner (1999) who suggested "teaching is a vocation, not a profession or a job with long vacations and inadequate pay.
Nor is teaching a technology dependent upon science" (p. 379). In answering the call to become a teacher is in fact to "answer the call of children and young people "(p. 380). In light of this idea Patrick had us create signs, and encouraged us to keep them with us for several years until we are quite certain of the answer!


In our second class we began with the Digital Ethnography YouTube piece A Vision of Students Today by professor Michael Wesch and his Cultural Anthropology class from Spring 2007. Then Dr. Lewis asked, Who in this Culture Speaks for Children and Youth?, suggesting that teachers, because of their living together with children in the place called school, might be best positioned to speak out for children and youth. However, to do so teachers must acknowledge and act within the four stories that they live.These four stories; the teacher’s personal story or autobiography, the story of the institution, the story of ideas and the story of the student/child are inextricably entwined in the complexity and messiness that is the life of teaching. Teachers, if we are to live and speak out with children and youth, must negotiate and hold the tension amongst these competing stories. It is important to acknowledge that there may be fear in these spaces of tension as they cause us to see anew. Such fear may in turn bring about the desire to return to safe, familiar, tidy spaces of curriculum as planned. Our stories become predictable. How may we come to see that transformation is made possible through the experience of tension? How might we live into a new story if we are unable or unwilling to recognize the story that we are situated in?
But to know these stories we must look to the past, not just the present and the future. In looking to the past we may understand why things are the way the are in the present and then enable us to explore possibilities for the future informed by the past but not necessarily enslaved to it.

So, why are schools, curriculum, teaching, teachers the way they are?
Just about everyone who has received an education has at least once or twice
wondered why he or she was being told to learn this rather than that.
Jane Roland Martin, 1996.


Who, where, what, how and why?


In our third class we watched two different films, one titled "The Waldorf Promise" and the other "Introduction to Montessori Philosophy and Materials". Both films provided an overview to the two different approaches to early childhood education which complemented the two chapters we read. After watching the Montessori film we were able to explore some of the didactic materials that are used in Montessori preschool programs. Have a look at the page showing some members of our class trying out some of the Montessori Learning materials used in the four basic curricular areas with 3, 4, 5 and 6 year old children; practical life, sensorial; language; and mathematics.


Here is a good online article that discusses the three approaches; Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio. http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/edwards.html

Quotidian Study
At Friday October 23rd's class Patrick introduced the Quotidian Study project by way of an example he constructed. He then showed us a of some other possible objects we might consider studying. He also showed us his own completed example of a Quotidian Study. You can view it here below.

In our class on Friday October 30th we explored the anti-bias curriculum of Louise Derman-Sparks and her colleagues. We also took a look at the short history of racism in Canada, the Implicit Association Test, the Youtube video: A Girl Like Me and Peggy McIntosh's piece, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. In our smaller group classes we took up a discussion around the five approaches that Derman-Sparks outlined in her chapter. We had three questions to guide us:
Three questions to guide you in discussing the 5 approaches:

1. Which of these approaches seems to be practiced in Canada?
2. Which of the approaches would benefit children, parents, teachers and society? Why?
3. As pre-service teachers, what are some of the first steps you can take to be an anti-bias educator?

After that we explored the ABC in more detail looking at ways one might begin to implement such a curriculum
Anti bias curriculum (ABC) is:

"an active/activist approach that challenges interlocking systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, ableism/disablism, ageism, homophobia, and all the other –isms."

but in order to do that requires a great deal of work on oneself as well as the curriculum and teaching practice.

"Anti-bias education takes an active, problem solving approach that is integrated into all aspects of an existing curriculum and a school’s environment" [1]
"A successful implementation of the anti-bias curriculum is applied in both the formal curriculum (also referred to as the core curriculum) and the hidden curriculum. The formal curriculum consists of the educational content, expectations, course materials (e.g. textbooks), evaluation, and instruction.The hidden curriculum encompasses all the values passed on by teachers and educators, and from the school or educational milieu For instance, the hidden curriculum teaches children and students about punctuality amongst other things and transmits dominant culture (e.g. chosen holiday celebration).
Since education is both an institution and an agent of socialization, it plays a momentous role in perpetuating existing forms of social oppression. The anti-bias approach of teaching urges educators to be aware of these social limitations and eliminate them to create social justice for all. Education should be at the forefront in learning about acceptance, tolerance and respect".
Question:
How might you go about implementing an anti-bias curriculum? Use these areas to organize your responses.

1. The Visual/Aesthetic Environment
2. Toys and Materials
3. Books
4. Dramatic Play and all Play
5. Language
6. Music
7. Art Materials and Projects
8. Dolls
9. Manipulative Materials
Groups of students worked on generating ideas on chart paper in both words and graphic forms. Here are images of some of the work.