Deepening the Discussion Response

There are many issues brought up in this document pertaining to gender and sexual diversity. Canada values equality and human rights and that is evident within legal documents and aspirational documents. One thing that was surprising to me is that in Saskatchewan, it is illegal to discriminate because of sexual orientation or sexual identity. This happens all the time and up until I read this article, I did not know it was illegal. That says something about the awareness in schools because it was not handled in the right ways and it still happens, especially in schools. It is disappointing to know that schools are not aware of this and it leads to overlooking this issue which can be problematic. Another thing that caught my attention is the fact that people still do not understand the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation. Gender identity is a persons’ sense of being (female, male, neither, etc.) and sexual identity is what type of person they are attracted to. Although I do not know everything about these two topics, I think it would be important to talk about this more and pronouns and everything that is involved with these issues. These are heavy issues containing a lot of matter that people are not aware of and educators should be taught first hand. There are many reasons why people should understand this is schools and communities. The first is for student safety. This is a major point because children should be allowed to feel safe at schools and in communities and to not be harassed or bullied. Other reasons include school culture, physical and emotional health, student engagement and academic success, and diversity and equity. Another thing I learned is the meaning two-spirited. This term comes from the language of First Nations and it describes a person to embody the characteristics of both genders and this was highly valued in the communities. This term has been stigmatized because of the impact of the European influence. One thing I still question is that why do schools not enforce the law on sexual orientation and identity. Upcoming educators should be taught these issues in order to have save environments in the school. One thing I still find problematic is the stigmatized terms the Europeans influenced on us. Today, there are numerous terms tuned negatively and that is because of society and what people have been teaching.

Document found here.

TV Bullies: How Glee and Anti-Bullying Programs Miss the Mark Response

I found this reading quite interesting because there is the debate about the line between bullying and sexual harassment that causes discrepancies in schools. By using a highly watched TV show and demonstrating the ways in which bullying is presented challenges viewers to think about the difference between bullying and sexual harassment. Glee was a show I only knew about a few years ago and it never caught my attention until I read this article. I agree and just learned that some incidents of violence in schools is identified as “bullying” when, in fact, it is defined as sexual harassment. I know when I was growing up there was absolutely no talk about homophobia which would lead to students standing up for themselves rather than relying on teachers in the school or anyone else. Learning about these issues in classes today, makes me feel like we are doing something right as we become future educators. It is also a way for the general public to be educated as well and to know what things are changing. In addition, it is upsetting to learn that some magazines feature bullying in schools when it leads to homicides, suicides, or law suits to get more money from the public. Social media is a huge influence when it comes to subjects like this. Instead, the magazines and other social media platforms can easily promote the awareness of bullying and sexual harassment. It is interesting to also learn that some U.S schools that have organized a student-led club called gay/straight alliances (GSAs), which works well when there is strong staff and administrative support, as well as the student body. One question I still have is one the article stated as well. It said, “why do so many school administrators and teachers, real and fictional ones in shows such as Glee, claim their schools are safe for children while homophobic harassment remains prominent and obvious?” I think with the new generation of teachers, it is important to talk and learn about this issue to help those who seek a safe place to talk to someone outside of the home or any situation. What I still find problematic is that why has it taken so long for issues like this to be taught in classes. Now that I am in university I have only learned about this subject in my education classes and that’s it. When I was in high school it was not talked about either. Looking back, I find it disappointing because my high school had some mandatory presentations that included drugs and alcohol. Although that subject is important, throughout my four years there, the presentations had been the same. There was only the casual new one once in a while with guest speakers and their personal journey. I think it is time that people go to schools to present about sexual harassment because it was evident in my school and because teachers were not educated about it, they classified it as bullying.

Bridges and Barriers to Inclusion Response

It is great to know that Canada is creating many ways for inclusiveness to happen. Although we not near the goal of inclusive education, provinces are making progress on their own. I learned that students are included physically, however, many classrooms do not have the necessary assets for then to be included with peers or socially and academically successful. During my field experience, I was in a classroom with an autistic student and he was not in the classroom that often because he did learn differently so his teaching assistant would take him out of the class and help him. There were times where he would be included in groups to read and write, but other times it was spent outside of the classroom. In addition, there are many universities and other school institutions that have accommodations towards students such as the Three-Block Model and student leadership. The Three-Block Model is a program that involves “students’ self-concept, valuing diversity, belonging and social inclusion, in addition to instructional practices that support academic inclusion” (47). At Queen’s University, students are working on programs to welcome and create a sense of belonging and inclusion for all new students to promote social well-being. It is important that school environments are able to meet the academic needs these students need to involve them in the school and to succeed. There are areas that do need more attention and I learned that teacher education is one of them. I completely agree with this because there are no courses on how to teach students with diverse needs and I think this is something all teachers need to help their classrooms be more inclusive. I think learning about students with diverse needs is crucial in order to have an inclusive classroom. Not only should upcoming teachers be taught, but students as well so that they know how to interact with diverse kids. It is also a way for the diverse kids to be more interactive with peers. Another moment during my field experience, the TA was not there and it was a sub that day also. My partner and I did not know what to do and we were not sure how to interact with him, but thankfully a fellow student new how. She took him under her wing and was letting him learn with her and made sure he was not left out. One question I still have is that why is each province and territory responsible for their own education curriculum and policy? One thing I still find problematic is that is has been thirty years since the promise of equal rights and benefits for the students. It may not be a long time, but studies show we are nowhere near that as a reality. The curriculum needs to change in order for these changes to occur.

Leroy Little Bear: Jagged Response

This article explained they ways in which Indigenous people live and how their philosophy of life. Learning about their worldviews was interesting and I think if people take the time to recognize their culture, reconciliation would be able to place today. We often forget about how things used to be before colonization, however, what I learned from this article is that the Indigenous people lost their worldviews and they also, did not adopt the Eurocentric worldviews. So, they were left with a confused mindset as they did not know what to do. I do remember learning about this in my grade twelve year, however, it not as in depth as I thought it was. I think that the curriculum is starting to get better at adding in the history of Indigenous people because it is important to know how society was back then. In addition, their philosophy consists of energy, meaning everything is animated and it has a spirit and it is also a holistic and cyclical based philosophy. They are able to appreciate the small things in life such as inanimate objects. Personally, I do take things for granted sometimes, especially when things don’t go my way. For example, I’ll get mad when the Wi-Fi is slow or when I do not get filtered water. I think I over react sometimes because some people in the world do not have easy access to these types of things. I can sometimes be a little over dramatic, but I think we can learn a lot from their philosophy because I sure have. Another thing I learned is the analogy that wholeness is like a flower with four petals (each petal represents strength, sharing, honesty, and kindness) and together they represent balance, harmony, and beauty. If a person is not balanced, that person cannot fulfill their responsibilities. This relates to myself because I have many things to balance out such as school, family, my job, etc. When I do not take some time to myself to relax I can get stressed and I will not finish my responsibilities. One question I still have is why do people still neglect the Indigenous culture? It is something people can look at as a worldview to know of rather than one forced. It is also a good way to see how their culture works and the many ways others can see it. One thing I find problematic is the underappreciation of their world views. It is very different from the Eurocentric view, but it is a view that has not been learned about because it is like it has been forgotten. There needs to be more education on the Indigenous people in general, but I think the upcoming educators are getting a grasp on it and I hope it is something I can teach one day as well.

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack Response

This article had a few things that related to me in the list. I found this article true in the aspects of white privilege being generalized as it is not seen like a problem to the “white” race or that it is not really something they pay attention to. There are some people who do not think they have white privilege, but when looking at the list, there are a few conditions that people do not look at. I liked the analogy between working men and women to white privilege because it talked about how “males are taught to not recognise male privilege” (1). I learned that white privilege is like that too and that people do not mean to overlook white privilege, meaning it was like their “oppressiveness was unconscious” (1). Looking at the list, there are a few conditions that I can definitely relate to. Also, condition number three is one of the positives on this list that relates to me. I have moved only once in my life, but I moved from the central area to the south area and my neighbours are nothing but welcoming and inviting. The community is very friendly and my family has made friends with the surrounding neighbours. In addition, “privilege” can be misleading. People usually think of it can something earned or a special right. It is that, however, some of the conditions outlined would suggest that it is to over empower certain groups as well. One thing on the list that is relative to me but is a negative is number fourteen. Since I am Asian I do heal the saying “she’s smart because she’s Asian” at least a few times in my high school years. The type of race I am does not define my academic standings. That is something I had to live up to because the education system in Canada is nothing compared to the education system my father went through. I am smart because I work hard, not because I’m Asian. One question I still have is that why is privilege looked upon in a negative way? Personally, I think I am privileged because I am able to go to school and get a job. However, I think it depends on the type of privilege people were raised upon. I think I am privileged because my parents did not find a job easily or that my mom was not able to go to school, so I think privilege depends on where you come from as well. When I look at it this way, I am thankful that I have these types of opportunities my parents were not able to have and I think that is a privilege for me. One thing I am puzzled about is why privilege is not brought up in schools. Like it said in this article, “white privilege” is something that is overlooked and that some people do not understand what it is or that they think they do not have it.

Article found here.

Muffins for Granny Response

Muffins for Granny was an interesting documentary that included a few individuals who were affected by residential schools. It is disappointing to know that this was part of Canada’s history and for the many years residential schools have been in action. I learned that for these individuals speaking out was hard for them to do. It was traumatizing for them and I think it is something they will never forget. As I was listening to their stories it reminded me of the movie “We Were Children”. I watched this movie last year in my native studies class and it was a good movie to watch because it does not shy away from what the children had to go through. There were dramatizations of the abuse mentally, physically, and emotionally. I think the impact of “We Were Children” is bigger because it is all acted out compared to listening to someone speak. In addition, I learned the living conditions were horrible. I remember one individual saying something along the lines of the conditions being not good, but good enough to survive. There has been a lot of talk about bringing peace and reconciliation for the Indigenous people, however, I do not think we are doing our best. It is important to educate others about what happened and to reconcile with them, however, I personally think there needs to be more with our actions and not just our words. Furthermore, this documentary is a good example of always being kind to others because you do not know what they have been through. It came to my attention that the people involved in the residential schools, like the government and churches, are responsible for why Indigenous people are called alcoholics or drug addicts, etc. The trauma and abuse lead them to drugs and alcohol. Also, I think documentaries like this have a huge impact on those who are not aware of this issue. I think the best way to learn about residential school is to get those who were affected to speak out. One question I still have is why did it take so long for residential schools to close? I believe they closed in 1996 and that was not too long ago. It is also interesting to know how long they have been going in for, but it blows my mind to see that something so horrible has been happening for many years and this is probably the darkest part of Canada’s history; this is what I am puzzled about. Overall, this documentary is educational and people can learn from this video. I believe we can be better and do more things to help. I know the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are doing everything they can, but I also think that Canada and the government need to step up with more actions.

Shattering the Silence Response

This reading demonstrated three sides as if I was in their position. It has opened my eyes to see the reckless actions Canada, the government, and churches have caused. These perspectives gave me a new way to look at how Indigenous people were affected. When I first started learning about residential schools and what children had to go through, it has come to my attention that there have not been many stories from a parents’ perspective. This reading taught me that not only did the children suffer, but the parents of the children taken away. The pain of seeing your child taken away and the fear of never seeing them again is heart breaking. In addition, if their children returned home the connection they had before would be lost. Another thing I learned was that eventually, the buffalo were hunted to extinction which cut off the Indigenous peoples’ main source of life. This lead them to trade with the Europeans and conform to their rules. Basically, they did it on purpose to take advantage of them and use them to get their land. I think it is important that people are also educated in this are because it was the newcomers back then that led the Indigenous people sick and fighting for their lives. As I read this reading, I was reminded that I did learn about this part in history in grade 12, but I forgot about it because no one seems to know about it. One last thing I learned was that in the reading it said that sometimes older angry children in the residential schools would threaten or hurt the younger kids. However, they only act that way because they learned that from the people who took care of them. I found this shocking because I did not think someone who is going through the same situations would do such a thing. In a similar way, the article also mentioned those who went through intergenerational trauma understood why their families had abuse or addictions. Also, why there was sexual abuse between relatives and physical too. It all has to do with what had happened to them in residential schools. Stereotypes are a huge problem and one of the main reason why Indigenous people always seem to be drunks or addicts. One question that has been on my mind is why haven’t these stereotypes stopped? I think part of that is because no one is really paying attention to the fact that the residential schools made children learn the abuse and anger that was put onto them. Now that I am becoming an educator, I do believe that stereotypes are a huge problem in our society and not just when it comes to Indigenous people, but anything the public can get their hands on. One last thing I am puzzled about is that no one can understand what the Indigenous children had to face. So, in order for healing and reconciliation to occur, shouldn’t there be more Indigenous people speaking out and telling us the things they want or need, including the survivors’ parents?

Article found here.