→ #MyReconciliationIncludes my actions to address the past and ongoing colonialism, erasure, and displacement of Indigenous People.
→ ALSO add to teach from a framework of love: I’ve found a number of powerful voices to continue guiding me on my learning journey through this course. Also, I’ve been taking the Mentoring: All About Love sessions offered by the TDSB this year, which was focused on bell hook’s book of the same subtitle name.
My final thoughts on this First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies AQ course are leading me to appreciate the changes happening across education to create more care-based, culturally responsive classrooms.
This passage from Teaching To Transgress (1994), intended for higher education, not intermediary, is significant here because hooks recognizes and names the institutional foundations of violence, repression, and intellect-based learning that are at odds with student holism and care-based practices she used and advocated for:
"Professors rarely speak of the palace of eros or the erotic in our classrooms. Trained in the philosophical context of Western metaphysical dualism, many of us have accepted the notion that there is a split between the body and the mind. Believing this, individuals enter the classroom to teach as though only the mind is present, and not the body. To call attention to the body is to betray the legacy of repression and denial that has been handed down to us by our professorial elders, who have been usually white and male. But our nonwhite elders were just as eager to deny the body. The predominantly black college has always been a bastion of repression. The public world of institutional learning was a site where the body had to be erased, go unnoticed.
…To understand the place of eros and eroticism in the classroom, we must move beyond thinking of those forces solely in terms of the sexual, though the dimension need not be denied [age-appropriate considerations, of course; my note as this is an Intermediary course and not Higher Education].
…Understanding that eros is a force that enhances our overall effort to be self-actualizing, that it can provide an epistemological grounding informing how e know what we know, enables both professors and students to use such energy in a classroom setting in ways that invigorate discussion and excite the critical imagination.
…To allow one’s feeling of care and will to nurture particular individuals in the classroom–to expand and embrace everyone–goes against the notion of privatized passion. Realizing that my students were uncertain about expressions of care and love in the classroom, I found it necessary to teach on the subject.
…There is not much passionate teaching or learning taking place in higher education today. Even when students are desperately yearning to be touched by knowledge, professors still fear the challenge, allow their worries about losing control to override their desires to teach. Concurrently, those of us who teach the same old subjects in the same old ways are often inwardly bored–unable to rekindle passions we may have once felt. If, as Thomas Merton suggests in his essay on Pedagogy “Learning to Live,” the purpose of education is to show students how to define themselves “authentically and spontaneously in relation” to the world, then professors can best teach if we are self-actualized. Merton reminds us that “the original and authentic ‘paradise’ idea, both in the monastery and in the university, implied note simply a celestial store of theoretic ideas to which the Magistri and Doctores held the key, but the inner self of the student” who would discover the ground of their being in relation to themselves, to higher powers, to community. That the “fruit of education…was in the activation of that utmost center.” To restore passion to the classroom or to excite it in classrooms where it has never been, professors must find again the place of eros within ourselves and together allow the mind and body to feel and know desire.
Teaching for this life-long learning is my ultimate goal, I’ve realized, and I’m grateful to everyone here for helping me along this journey of self-actualization. I got a sincere thank you from a parent on Friday, and he talked about my passion that’s obvious and unique and while I’m grateful for the recognition I’m sure that many of us practice our profession from this place of love every day.
When asked What are some current understandings that you have about Indigenous Peoples, I can pinpoint when I realized the extent to which First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples have been erased and displaced: starting my Master in Teaching at OISE in 2015. My understanding of Indigenous Peoples up to that point was a product of that erasure because I had thought that Indigenous Peoples were living on reserves with enough resources to be self-sustaining; I had thought that mainstream society didn’t need to bother them. I’m grateful to have started my teacher training when the TRC's Calls to Action were published because our program developers interwove Indigenous perspectives and speakers into most of our courses. Learning about residential schools from survivors of the genocide was shocking, and it shifted my worldview: I thought I had a good understanding of social justice and that I had come into education with an understanding of the globalized settler colonialism that shaped today's world, but I didn’t have a clue what happened in my own country. I've realized since then much of my current understanding comes from the Western stories I heard, read, and watched, which often left out Indigenous voices all together (distinct were N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, which opened doors for me as I grew my understanding of time and language studying English and History in Boston).
When asked What are some of the "untruths" that society in general hold towards Indigenous Peoples? I remember driving to reserves with my dad in New York when I was young because he wanted less expensive gas and cigarettes, and I remember my lacrosse teammate’s parents talking with apprehension about playing Six Nations of the Grand River teams because they were the best at the sport. I realize now these memories are tips of the iceberg of covert vs. overt white supremacy. I keep calling back to my schooling at OISE because I don’t think I had conscious knowledge of what “untruths” society held towards Indigenous Peoples before watching Wab Kinew’s exploration of them on George Stroumbloulopoulous’s “Soap Box” (2012): alcoholism; the notion that Indigenous Peoples should “get over it” (which is something I recently argued over with a family member, because they held this view in regards to Land Acknowledgments); the “long hair thing”; the tax money spent on Indian Affairs (which, after reading Artuther Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson’s Unsettling Canada, I can see this a huge misinformation piece by the Federal government in which the general public does not understand how Treaty negotiations are circuitous and ineffective and come at the expense of the Nations involved…); and the “tax thing” that reinforces the myth that Indigenous Peoples are getting a “free ride” in Canada (another misconception rooted in misunderstanding of Treaty and the founding documents, including the Two Row Wampum and the 1764 Treaty of Niagara).
When asked, What are the truths that Indigenous Peoples want society to know? I think the legal ramifications of the many Treaties, and the recognition of wampum belts as an Indigenous legal custom and as recognized legal documents, are important truths all Canadians, including myself, need to learn more about. I think that our Civics classes are fertile spaces to better incorporate Indigenous perspectives, especially on politics, economics, and ways of governing, to better reinforce the Two Row Wampum and the need for Indigenous sovereignty. I also think truths about different Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous languages need to be made more clear to the general public, as a form of civic duty. Overall, I think that decolonization happens at personal, local, provincial, and federal levels and that it’s each citizen’s duty to work toward a society that acts for human rights, and that Mother Nature’s rights need to be protected, as corporations’ rights are protected, under law.
We need to start learning from the oppressive events of the past.
Please read Amanda Parris's recent article "Canadian cultural institutions have silenced Black voices for years. Can we write a new chapter?" (8 June 2020).
We are living through historic times in terms of our ability to mobilize principles of collective action to make change in arenas of debate on social justice and the environment. Raising our awareness about specific events and issues that negatively, often mortally, impact other humans is our basic duty as citizens of the world. Technology is capturing the stories and voices the mainstream has always silenced, but it's also being used to silence. Learning about the Algorithmic Justice League has opened my eyes to the urgent need for educating ourselves and our youth about how the world is changing faster than our laws can ensure protection for our most vulnerable citizens. We CAN learn from history, as long as we use this history to inform our future and correct for the racism inherent in our societal systems and procedures.
We need to educate our children about what these systems are and how to correct them. We CAN create an equitable and environmentally-friendly world. This seems daunting in the face of 24-hour news cycles and global unrest, but education and socially-oriented professionals are working just as hard to help make sense of the world for us and our children. Thankfully, Common Sense Media produced a webinar conversation with child development experts titled "Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News." You can watch it through the link here without signing in to Facebook; it's recommended 13+ if you'd like to watch with your children.
After a few years of settling into a new environment, I've organized my digital and print archives! This blast from the past comes from the Creative Writing course I took at Northeastern University during the summer of 2014. This is a short film created collaboratively, and it's meant to be a fun commentary on and reflection of our collective experience as university students. "The Higher You Learn" is attached below to download.
The teaching profession's standards of practice and ethical standards guide teachers throughout their career. Reflect on the importance of these standards and explain how they are shaping your development as a teaching professional.
International education has profoundly impacted my life and my teaching career. I have lived and studied abroad in Australia, China, Germany, the United States and Canada. When I studied in China, I was paired with a “cultural guide/student teacher” from Yunnan University, and I discovered that the teacher and the student become more knowledgeable and grow as individuals from their shared experience. For the first time, I was given the chance to deeply engage with a person whose life experiences were extremely different from mine. This made me realize that to learn about culture, language, traditions, and religions in school is vital to a deeply rewarding education. It also taught me that honesty and genuine interest are necessary for building strong relationships, especially when language is a barrier to communication. I try to instil these ideas in every lesson I teach.
As a Teaching Assistant at the International School of Bremen, Germany, I gained invaluable experience with teaching the International Baccalaureate curriculum to an incredibly diverse student population, including political refugees and students representing over forty countries with different socio-economic backgrounds and numerous first languages. I was able to gain respect and admiration from the students I taught because, I believe, I was able to show that kindness, understanding, and cultural awareness are indispensable traits that lay the foundation for positive student-teacher relationships. I discovered my authenticity and excitement for learning gives me a natural ability to connect with students from across different cultures, and that my type of leadership skills, ranging from the ability to lead productive discussions to conflict resolution, are necessary in teaching. I have worked on developing these skills throughout my practicum and courses as a OISE I/S Master of Teaching Candidate.
Outside of the classroom, I am involved in mentoring, academic research, and Hart House Theatre’s Spotlight Series. As a mentor for the Monk School’s Global Ideas Institute, I was able to provide a safety net in which students could fall and bounce back as they tested out their ideas and learned from their mistakes. I pushed the team of students I worked with to be creative and showed them the importance of taking on new perspectives when exploring solutions to complex problems. Teaching English language and literature to high school students necessitates a deep appreciation for creativity and open-mindedness, two characteristics I have developed, in part, because of my international education experience. My interest in global cultures and perspectives has translated into my academic interests in researching and teaching multicultural literature and Inquiry-Based learning in Ontario secondary schools. I believe that finding a way to express one’s culture and individuality is vital to a student’s success, and traditionally underserved communities and cultures need voices in their schools. As a teacher-researcher, I can use my academic acumen to positively change the education experience of students who are overlooked or unengaged so that they feel confident in their ability to be contributing members of our democratic, globally minded society.
The foundation of every successful classroom is the genuine relationship built between student and teacher. Both must accept the validity of the other's perspective and opinion before entering into meaningful conversation. It's an aspect of classroom management that may go undiscussed if issues like student behaviour or unmet needs are prioritized.
Leslie Means supports creative questioning as a way to open a window for meaningful conversation with her kids. Her blog post offers 50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead Of Asking "How Was Your Day?" In the short interactions teachers have with students, we can dig into a student's daily experiences by asking about events, about emotions, and about interactions with others that occurred. Practicing this type of open-ended dialogue helps students express their needs and expand their understanding of the world around them. The tenets of Restorative Practice tell us that children and adolescents need to feel challenged, supported, cared for and in control of their lives. Breaking down the strictly authoritative instructor role, informal and sincere questions about the students lives can build positive relationships in a classroom.
Developed for the Culminating Assessment for the Teaching ELLs AQ; created by Christina Kompson and Nicole Kipfer. 2017. Jeju, Korea. The purpose of this workshop is to isolate ELL student need in the classroom through a collaborative inquiry approach, facilitated by PD staff and conducted iteratively throughout the year. Please contact Christina Kompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about adapting or facilitating the workshop.
Professional Development Workshop template: ELL Collaborative Inquiry
ELL- Collaborative Inquiry Template.pdf (384.035 KB)
Integrated Grade 10 History Assessments
CHC2D Strand D: This strand looks at Canada between 1945 and 1982. The lesson plan attached is the introduction lesson to the unit, which uses images and video to explore the concepts that will be explored. The assessment for the unit is described as follows: Groups will present their analysis of a newsclip from the CBC online archive. Students must present a clip relevant to any of the topics covered in the unit, identify what the greater context of the newsclip is, and how it relates to the central question of the unit, and assess its value as a historical source.
How you would plan and differentiate assessment for students on STEP 1 and STEP 2 of the ELD program based on specific curriculum expectations that allows for curricular integration.
Given the visual nature of this introduction lesson, I think I can easily integrate the creation of word walls for the ideas and vocabulary introduced. Furthermore, I can ensure the student is paired with a language partner and is given a scaffolded graphic organizer that guides them through the unit (using L1 translations, visuals, and simple sentences). This unit can be easily integrated into business, math, media studies, and art, and after determining if students in my class are taking these courses, I can work on co-creating the assessment to integrate the curriculum assessments.
What would you like to assess?
The three big ideas in this History strand are: 1) Canadian society experienced major changed during this period, as a result of a variety of national and international social, cultural, and political factors; 2) Although this period was marked by conflict and tensions, both nationally and internationally, Canada also participated in cooperative ways in the international community; 3) This was a time of major transformation in Canadian identity. My assessment would provide opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of these ideas. I can also use the ELD curriculum to incorporate accommodations for the ELD students in STEP 1 and 2. Besides language accommodations, the content of this unit is reflected in the Socio-cultural Competence and Media Literacy Strand, so there are plenty of opportunities to adjust their assessments to reflect these expectations and the CHC2D expectations.
How would you assess these students based on a technology tool and/or through dual language strategies.
The assessment product can use technology and dual language strategies effectively. The presentation can be done electronically (for example, they can use a voice-over program, which will allow ELLs to write a script and speak slowly from that, taking away presentation pressures). Students can answer the assessment questions in the L1 and present it as an informational brochure for newcomers to Canada. If the assessment becomes integrated with other courses, there are a number of ways to use both technology and dual language strategies that can address the different course expectations. It will be crucial for us to sit down and discuss these aspects of the assessment prior to the start of the unit, so all teachers can incorporate sufficient scaffolds for our ELD students.
History_LP.docx (4.867 MB)
BIG IDEA: Reflection journals as a school-wide data collection mechanism
Description: Students are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of using reflection journals to track their own progress. As a new school-wide initiative, I would like to systematize this so we can use the extremely valuable information students are providing to improve the school culture and achievements. This gives the chance for all students' voices to be heard, and not just those who have the confidence to speak up. Teachers in every class, at every grade level, will incorporate these journals as part of their course expectations (they can be very brief, and at least take place once every two weeks. I don't think that will be much of an inconvenience for teachers). There will be a Collaborative Inquiry PD session every two months in which grade-level teachers come together and analyze the journals after they have been made anonymous (for student protection): how are students responding to content, activities, language needs? how are they progressing socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? are there persistent problems them describe that can be addressed with instructional strategies? Questions like this help teachers analyze the data in relation to their teaching to better promote change and in relation to student perception of school life to better understand specific areas of improvement. ELLs are encouraged to write a full reflection in the L1 and the school can have them translated prior to the PD session. They are also encouraged to use visuals or any other tool that will help them convey their thoughts. If their oral skills are more proficient than written, they are welcome to audio record their reflections as those can be transcribed for anonymity. After these sessions, the data can be presented in parent/community brainstorming sessions in which the whole school community hears the students' remarks and provides viable solutions and suggestions for improving school culture. This big idea ensures a systematic feedback loop between teachers and students. It also emphasizes the importance of student feedback as a form of agency. Subject teachers can begin to see trends throughout the subjects and grades about writing proficiency, content concerns, and social/environmental factors that are effecting student learning. With multiple uses for these brief and informal student reflection journals, this big idea has the potential to make big change
I am an enthusiastic and conscientious educator. I use my blog to connect my personal experiences and adventures to my pedagogy.