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Kelsey Buettner

Education Blog

Teaching to Educate, Not to Remember

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

-Albert Einstein

This quote really caught my attention because I felt it somewhat described my experience of education. Too often I feel teachers assign rather than educate. Some teachers teach the information to students so that they can repeat it back for a test, but then the students forget everything after the test is written. This is not educating students, this is teaching them to remember. When students are truly educated they can understand and apply the knowledge learned long after they leave school. This quote reflects my experiences in school because when I had a teacher that truly educated me, I understood what I learned and could apply it in real life. In past experiences when I did not have the most invested teacher, I forgot everything I “learned” in their class after I handed in my final. I believe I will remember this quote as I enter the world of teaching because I want my students to feel educated and knowledgeable after they leave my class and not feel like they were only taught to remember.

This quote makes teaching students to be lifelong learners possible because it reminds us that we need to teach and educate meaningfully rather than teach for a student to pass our class and move on without learning. This quote makes it impossible for teachers to neglect their responsibility to educate. When teachers see this quote, it should be a reminder for them to reflect upon their teaching.

This quote shows the responsibility of both the teacher and student. It is the teacher’s job to educate students to be life long learners and educate for a higher level of understanding than just memory. It is also the student’s job to be invested in their learning and want to learn and understand the material to apply to life after they are done school.

This quote relates to the three broad areas of learning in the curriculum. The three broad areas are: building lifelong learners, building engaged citizens, and building a sense of self and community. These broad areas of learning are how the lessons taught in schools are supposed to transform into life outside of school.

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The Tyler Rationale

In 1949, Ralph Tyler introduced four basic questions every educator must answer when creating curriculum or instructional programs. They are:

  • What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
  • What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  • How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
  • How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

The questions posed by Tyler focus on teaching information and meeting the outcomes at the end of the year and follows a transmission view of teaching. The transmission view can be described using the analogy of throwing a baseball. Knowledge is thrown from one person to another, arriving in the same condition in which it began (Smagorinsky 7). For most of us our previous school experience was just that, having material thrown at us only to repeat it back on a piece of paper for a mark. It didn’t really matter if we understood what was being taught. If we could memorize the information given to us and repeat it back the same way it was taught, the teacher could check off on their program that they “taught” the outcome given in the curriculum. The Tyler rationale also represents the factory image that we viewed in lecture. Children enter into the school system, receive the same information taught using one teaching style, and get spit back out the other end.

The Tyler rationale tells teacher to ask, “what do I need to teach?” instead of having teachers ask, “what do my students need to learn?” As future teachers, I believe it’s important to reflect on these previous approaches to teaching and adapt them to benefit our students now. What worked in 1949 should not be the same way of teaching in 2018. Although teachers need to follow the curriculum to know what their students should understand and demonstrate by the end of the year, our teaching styles must be adapted for our students that vary from class to class. Sometimes exams work, other times an open discussion amongst the class will teach you what your students know and understand. It’s all about learning and changing the future of teaching instead of repeating the cycle of information given and repeated.

Common Sense

Kumashiro defines common sense as things that everyone should know (Kumashiro XXIX). He talks about his experience in Nepal and how everything there was different than how he was custom to living. For example, he talked about how he was used to eating three meals a day, but he learned that they serve only two meals at 10:00am and 5:00pm. For us, eating three meals a day seems like common sense to us, but in other parts of the world that would not be common. Common sense primarily focuses on where you live, your religion, and different customs around the world. Kumashiro mentions that his way of teaching did not match the ways of teaching in Nepal and was asked by his students to not to spend time on work that was not in the textbook and told to follow the sequence of what they were “supposed to do” (XXXI). He believed that it “seemed that students and faculty already had clear ideas about what it meant to teach and learn, and that his attempts to teach differently simply did not make sense” (XXXI). I think this relates to education today because even as students in the university, we’re used to the ways we’re taught and how a course is run and we’re reluctant to be taught a different way because to us, the way teachers have taught us is common sense at the U of R. However, our job as future educators is to challenge the common sense and try new innovative ways as knowing because education is always evolving. Kumashiro believes “learning different methods is essential to improving as a teacher” (XXXII). In our own classrooms in the future we will have students from different countries, backgrounds, customs, and religions that will believe different learnings and teachings are “common sense”. It is important to pay attention to common sense because sometimes, common sense isn’t so common so it is our job to teach and learn about different practices that can be considered common sense by a variety of people.

EOE 224 Final Project

ECS Final Project

Here is Quinn and I’s final project video discussing our experience volunteering at the Regina Food Bank!

My Impact (Post #8)

This week I struggled to find time to sit and try place bonding. I realized that we are always making up excuses as to why we can’t stop and take a moment to embrace the environment around us. I ended up sitting out on my deck with my dogs for a few minutes after school one day. I noticed that on Tuesday the weather was quite cold and the snow was frozen, but on Thursday I sat outside because it was nice and noticed the drastic change between the two days. Tuesday was cold and the snow was still there with the temperature in the minus’, but on Thursday the weather was about plus one and the snow was melting. I realized the impact that humans have on the environment and how we’re ruining it. Many people are excited when it gets warm and the snow melts because some prefer warmer weather, but nobody stops to realize how scary it is that our weather can change that much that quickly. While I sat outside and enjoyed the warmer weather, I thought about the impact I have on our environment. I realized that to enjoy the beautiful nature, I also need to take care of it. I can carpool more often and reduce my waste. Although it may be small things that I want to work on, if everyone tried to improve one aspect of their life that affects the environment, we may help to slow down the damage we’re doing.

Blog #11- Kelsey Buettner

Three Things I Learned

  1. Included kids have better communication skills, higher academic achievement, wider social networks, and fewer behaviour problems. 56% of kids with intellectual disabilities spend their entire day segregated in special education classes. We need to advocate for inclusive education because statistics show that it benefits everyone, especially those with disabilities because they will not be segregated.
  2.  Just because someone has a disability does not mean that they are not learning and absorbing everything. We cannot have low expectations for someone with a disability just because they may need modifications to a lesson. People with disabilities can do just as much and learn the same material as an abled bodied person can.
  3. People said that they benefitted more from the social and emotional parts of school than they did from the academic part, but we base school more on academics which is why people think it is beneficial to have segregated classes for people with disabilities. However, inclusion benefits kids without disabilities just as much as it does for people with disabilities. Having all students in one classroom rather than a segregated class helps students to work collaboratively because they are more engaged in the lesson to help each other learn. Students learn social and emotional aspects from working with people who may be different from them in their everyday classroom.

My Connections

  1. In my classes throughout elementary and high school I had not experienced having a student in my class with a disability. I’m not sure how it would have changed my learning if I had the experience of a classmate with a disability. I believe it’s important as mentioned in the TedTalk that students feel included in their classes and not separated from the lessons because they may need modifications.
  2. I have volunteered many times at St. Jerome elementary school in their EFAP classroom. The students begin their day doing a few tasks in their segregated classroom and then move into the “mainstream” classroom for the rest of the day. I think it is beneficial that they have the students begin in their classroom first so that the teachers can see how they’re doing today and can assess if they’ll need any extra help due to their mood or medication. When the students are in the mainstream classroom they participate in all the lessons and activities as usual, and if needed they have help from an instructional assistant. If the student is having some behaviour troubles they can be taken back to their EFAP classroom to calm down and use different stimuli to allow them to re-enter the class. I have witnessed first hand how well the students excel in a classroom that is not segregated because they learn the same lesson and interact with other students that benefits kids with disabilities and without.

My Question

Do you think it is beneficial to have a segregated classroom when needed?

Why? (Post #7)

This week we visited the Regina Indian Industrial School site on Pinkie Road. While we were at the site the question of why kept coming to mind. Why had I never heard of this site? Why were we not brought here in elementary school or high school? Why is this not a proper burial site? Why is there a sign pointing to which way the golf course is, but no sign saying that there is a burial site for those who suffered in residential schools? Why weren’t there proper records kept of children at residential schools? Why does no one care? Why does no one know? These questions rushed through my mind as we walked around the perimeter of the fence and overwhelmed me. I did not know the answers to any of my questions. It was mentioned that people were wanting the site to be marked as a national site, so why has it not happened? The Holocaust was a cultural genocide, just as the residential schools were to Aboriginal Peoples. So why is it that there are sites visited by many for the Holocaust, but there are no sites visited to reflect and learn the history of the residential schools and the impact it had on Aboriginal Peoples. I found the experience to be difficult and a hard pill to swallow. I was able to just think as I walked and sat around the site. I liked the metaphor that was used about the wind. We tried to shield ourselves from the wind, just as we try to shield ourselves from the hard truth. I hope as time goes on we can learn more, and move towards reconciliation so that some of my questions may be answered.

In the video one quote really stood out to me. At the beginning, the man being interviewed said “there is no rest here”, and I really took this into consideration. When you look at other burial sites they have nice fences securing them, the burial spots have headstones, and they are visited and visual to all. Then you look at this burial site. There is no strong fence to protect the people who rest there, there is no headstones, and nobody knows about it. People buried at the site are unknown and aren’t visited by loved ones because there weren’t proper records kept of children at the school. Families cannot rest because they do not know where their loved ones are, and those who suffered from residential schools cannot be laid to rest because there is no justice.

Blog #10- Kelsey Buettner

Three Things I Learned

  1. There were an estimated 20,000-50,000 children that were taken from their homes in the 60’s scoop. People who were affected by the 60’s scoop and residential schools are still developing their identities and learning who they are because they were stripped of their culture and identity when they were taken away to residential schools.
  2.  Although Canada listens to stories of residential schools, there needs to be action after the listening. Too many reserves have running water that is not safe to drink and terrible living conditions, but then a town just past the reserve can have clean drinking water and excellent living conditions. If Canada wants to be a country it needs to include everyone and take care of everybody, not just those who are privileged.
  3.  As a country, we need to move towards reconciliation rather than saying “I didn’t do anything wrong”. Instead of celebrating the last 150 years, we need to start celebrating the next 150 years and move towards a better Canada that reconciles with what was done to the First Nation Peoples.

My Connections

  1. I really enjoyed listening to Gord Downie’s songs tell the story, rather than having to read it. It was a different and more engaging way to learn. He was able to convey the emotion through his voice and lyrics.
  2.  I attended the treaty ed camp held on campus in October and the keynote speaker worked closely with Gord Downie on the secret path project. When she had mentioned it, I had no idea what it was so after watching this video I have a better understanding. She also said something that stayed in my mind and that was, “We are celebrating Canada 150 this year, but shouldn’t it be Canada 150 plus a ten thousand?” At the time I didn’t understand what she meant, and then I did. We celebrate 150 because that’s when the Europeans came over, but we neglect to acknowledge that there were people here long before the settlers came.

My Question?

What can you do in your classroom to promote reconciliation?

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