Learning With the Community

(blog six)

This week we discussed curriculum as place. To me this means either applying the curriculum to your place, or better yet, creating curriculum within your place. Place being your community and school. I believe that where you are teaching definitely has an impact on how and what you are teaching, most importantly the how. How are you addressing specific topics? How will certain outcomes affect your students? How can you engage your students without hurting or exploiting anyone? How can you bring in community members or experiences?

After reading about the project done at Fort Albany First Nation, that honoured the Mushkegowuk Cree peoples, I learned about the importance of learning from community members to help keep community culture alive. Reinhabitation was occurring in this project through a 10 day river trip and interviews between elders, community members, and youth (students). All the people learned from each other, the land, and their outdoor environment as a whole. Decolonization was constantly taking place throughout the process of this project. For example,the youth learned from the elders and community members that “many more place names existed than the English ones that appeared on printed maps” and the youth further learned that “every curve in the river has a name” (p77). This example shows how the youth were losing some of their language and history by not having learned something so important to their culture.

It is, and always has been, important to me that schools and youth are involved in their community. When I become a teacher I want to embrace and recognize our community’s ways of living and knowledge of the world/ environment around us. For example, we are fortunate to have a grain elevator in our community (South West Terminal), and they are very welcoming to community members coming in to learn about grain production and have very interactive “workshops” for people to learn about agriculture- which is the majority of community members lifestyles. I think all types of little pieces of history and knowledge that can be embraced outside of the classroom help provide better understandings and often are better remembered. Beyond that I think it is important to recognize and explore other ways of knowing beyond the community as well. For example how farming be differ in China for example, they are more likely to grow rice, whereas here we do not. These conversations would be especially helpful and engaging if your could speak to different ways of knowing with students from various cultures or backgrounds. We need to learn from each other, the young, the old and all the in between to help continue the community’s culture and ways of knowing and understanding.  

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