Social Efficiency Ideology

The chapter Social Efficiency Ideology by Schiro (2013) explains that Tyler’s rational views curriculum development from a traditionalist perspective and as what is necessary for each student to learn to be a productive adult. To quote Tyler (as cited in Schiro, 2013), “education is a process of changing the behaviour of people. . . . [E]ducational objectives, then, represent the kinds of changes in behaviour that an educational institution seeks to bring about in its students” (p. 58). This view believes that the goal of education is to change students to be desirable by society and productive in society. Efficiency is another key point to this perspective. Tyler suggests that the process to reaching these objectives need to be effective and efficient. As described in class as well as in Schiro’s (2013) chapter, Social Efficiency Ideology, this perspective suggests the our education system works to meet society needs by trying to make each student into a desired adult, much like how a factory meets the wants of society by taking a raw material and pressing it into a product over and over again.

  1. In my own schooling experience, the traditionalist perspective on curriculum was the basic guidelines for my education. There was a strong focus on subjects that were considered more important like math and science and the methods used to support our learning were supportive of the traditionalist perspective. We were mainly given the information, told to memorize it, and given exams to test our knowledge. I remember asking why we needed to learn something and in response being told that we just had to. Even our dress code was pressuring us to conform to what society expected of us as emerging adults.
  2. I believe some major limitations to Tyler’s rationale is the fact that it limits real life learning, it limits the success of individuals who learn in different ways, and it is oppressive by way of telling the students that this one way is right and appropriate. It fails to look at the advantages of the uniqueness of each student. For example, the student that was told to change the way they dressed and to stop drawing and pay attention to math class, could have been a fashion designer, but instead were pressured to conform to a more “appropriate” career. Another disadvantage of this perspective is that it is very much from a white and colonial perspective. This structure is not the same for other cultures and sets many of our students up for failure. Not every student is going to learn in the same way and be as successful in every area. We must realize that the box that we try to push every student into is a different shape based on the society we live in.
  3. Some potential benefits that may come from utilizing the traditionalist perspective is that it focuses on creating good citizens. The benefit of this is that we are teaching our students right from wrong and giving them the education they need to be able to secure a job in our society.

~Taylor Block

September 18, 2018

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The Problem of Common Sense

How does Kumashiro define ‘commonsense?’ Why is it so important to pay attention to the ‘commonsense’?

I think the concept of ‘common sense’ is very interesting and worth discussing. In fact, two weeks ago my brother and I had this exact discussion. He has just begun his first ‘real’ job where his boss told him that ‘common sense’ does not exist. Kumashiro describes ‘common sense’ as pressure to support societal expectations and maintain what has always been seen as ‘best’. We frequently use the excuse that “it’s just common sense” when we do things that we have always done, but do not have good reasoning to why we do it. It is important to pay attention to ‘common sense’ because it is often oppressive. ‘Common sense’ prevents individuals who do not fit into societal norms from succeeding; it marks them as different or inappropriate. As Kumashiro mentions, ‘common sense’ describes why we teach in a certain way and give privilege to certain subjects. It is difficult to recognize what ‘common sense’ ideas are, but without challenging them we disadvantage some of our students by teaching in ways that do not work for them while paying less attention to subjects that they may need. I appreciate Kumashiro’s mention of two reasons why it is difficult for us to challenge common sense. First, social pressure makes it easy for us to believe that these ideas are best and second, common sense ideas give us a sense of comfort in the actions we take. I believe that common sense is different for everyone it is based on our backgrounds, culture, the society in which we grew up in, and education. We all have a belief that some things are ‘common sense’ but often fail to recognize that these beliefs support societal norms that disadvantage others. As future teachers, we need to look for beliefs within our school systems that are seen as common sense and challenge them. We need to challenge these ideas to prevent practices from remaining in place that disadvantage some of our students just because people see them as ‘common sense’ and best practices.

~Taylor Block

September 9, 2018

Kumashiro’s article on “The Problem of Common Sense” is retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/19qJJP3W5xa_Y1Vezet_H18xVo1NUvGqE/view

Supporting the Principalship in Saskatchewan Schools

3 Things I Learned

  • A major learning objective for myself was the fact that the relationship of the principal to the community and students is crucial to success. I think this is an interesting point because the principal is often the face and voice of a school, so without a good relationship it would be difficult to establish success. Further, if a principal cares for the students, they are more likely to ensure they have the resources and supports they need to succeed.
  • A principal helps develop the climate and culture of the school. In regards to punishment, the principal often has a say in what is best. During the lecture, we discussed punishment such as detentions and how they tend to not really work in decreasing the unwanted behaviour. I believe that a good principal would look into why the student was acting in such a way and address it appropriately to help the student find more suitable actions.
  • I learned that principals have the responsibility in ensuring that teachers get the time and opportunity for professional development. I think this is critical because teachers can never stop learning if they want to stay up to date. This is a large responsibility for principals; making sure that their teachers are able to further their knowledge and growth.

2 Connections I Made

  • When speaking about the role of a principal, it is common to hear a focus on community. The role of the principal has a direct connection to the community. The community may refer to the community within the school or the community that surrounds the school. The surrounding community is crucial in developing a supportive environment and remember it is the tax payers who provide for the school. The principal must develop that relationship with the community, so they can see where their money is going.
  • I have also made the connection that principals should have the experience of teaching themselves, should be master teachers, and are able to support and guide other teachers. A good principal would understand what it is like to be in the classroom and be able to empathize with and help others.

1 Question I Still Have

Is their additional schooling needed to become a teacher, or is it just preferred for principals to have a higher education?

~Taylor Block

April 4th, 2018

Constructions of Teacher Identity

Three Things I Learned

  • This week, during lecture, I furthered my understanding of what discourse is. Discourse is the context in which we discuss something. Discourse changes with time, location, and who we are with. I thought this was an interesting concept to understand because it is important to realize that the words and phrases we use are dependent on who we are with and where we are. For example, I had a teacher who kept using acronyms that people she would work with would understand, but as a student in her class I had yet to learn these acronyms. Understanding this will help us use the right concepts to teach our students and communicate with others.
  • I thought it was also interesting that the changes made to schools both structural and in expectations influence how we teach and what is needed to be taught. Although I like to believe that I will teach how my students need me to teach and what works for me, there are other influences that impact my teaching.
  • A third concept I was able to further consider was resisting the pull of schooling as usual. I thought this was interesting because I think many teachers fall into the trap of teaching how other teachers teach in their school or teaching how they were taught. I think this can be very detrimental as it prevents new ways of teaching and teaching how it works for you and your students.

2 Connections I Made

  • I thought the connection between discourses and relating to our students was interesting. Discourses shape what is acceptable to do and what is not. For example, with friends we may act very differently than with colleagues. This is critical to consider because we need to find that balance between relating to our students but also remaining professional in order to still be respected.
  • The connection between society expectations of teachers and what we are capable of doing is also interesting. Teachers are represented as various stereotypes which encourage the expectations that people have of us. We have to be able to meet certain expectations while ensuring that we do not portray the negative stereotypes that put teaching in a negative light.

1 Question I Still Have

How much can we actually separate our personal identities from our teaching identities? What expectations our held for us in our personal lives?

~Taylor Block

March 21st, 2018

The STF

3 Things I learned

  • This week I learned about the salary of a teacher in Saskatchewan. Since, I will graduate with only one degree, I will start with a salary of approximately $55, 474 with a pay increase every year to $85, 896 in 11 years. I thought this was really interesting because it is good to know what I can expect to make in the future and what I can do to maximize my wages.
  • Additionally, I thought it was really interesting to see that with more education comes a higher pay. For example, with an additional certificate, I can be moved into a higher pay scale to be making more money annually. As per our discussion in class, I also need to consider whether those certificates and extra classes will make me more in demand or put me at a disadvantage (school having to pay me more for a certificate or extra classes they do not need). We came to a common opinion that if the certificate or extra classes is an advantage they would have no problem paying the extra wages.
  • My father was a teacher and the STF was really supportive when he passed away. From personal experience I can say that the benefits, pension plan, and life insurance are a huge advantage in the teaching profession. Another amazing benefit is the teacher well-being area which offer counselling and support to teachers.

2 Connections I made

  • This week I have made the connection between the importance of teachers being on the STF. It is important that teachers make up the majority of the STF so that those who are making major decisions on behalf of all teachers actually have experience and an invested interest into it. The decisions and bargains made by the STF will also affect them. Additionally, they will know what is going on in our schools and what we need to succeed!
  • The STF and their involvement in politics is crucial. The government controls the funding we receive and many other things, so if the STF was not involved they would miss out on crucial opportunities to advocate for what the school, students, and teachers need. On the STF website there was information on politic candidates and their views, helping teachers decide who to vote on based on their platforms and what they plan to do for schools.

1 Question I Still Have

I am still curious about what happens after 11 years of teaching, are you just done getting pay increases or does something else fall in place?

~Taylor Block

March 15th, 2018

Social identity and school systems: Hidden Curriculum and Reproduction Theory

3 Things I Learned

  • Universal education is the idea that every school should have the same resources so that each student can receive the same opportunities. This is the ideal, but we know this is not always the case. For example, federal funding per student is lower which funds schools on First Nation Communities but provincial (public schools) is higher. This means that Indigenous students and students from low income areas will not receive the same resources and opportunities as others.
  • Reproduction theory refers to the theory that the social status someone is born into will be maintained because schools work to replicate and support the status quo. Basically, peole who enter school poor have a higher likely hood of leaving school poor.
  • Anyon suggests that based on who you are and your social status, you will be trained to do different things; we have different expectations for different people even if we do not say it. For example, working class students are expected to follow rules without question, but those with high status are encouraged to be in charge of their own decisions and actions.

2 Connections I Made

  • The relation between hidden curriculum and reproduction theory is an important connection for this week’s lesson. The hidden curriculum promotes the status quo which the reproduction theory states the status people are born into will be maintained. The way schools are set up from the building itself, the staff, the water, and doors, students receive a message of their potential and value. Students who come from a poor neighbourhood will more than likely go to a poor school where the entire school will support the status quo of limiting there worth.
  • Michael Apple states that schools help control meaning. Schools replicate societal expectations and values by deciding what knowledge is important. For example, executive elite students see themselves reflected right back at them where others don’t see themselves and are shown that they aren’t important or don’t belong.

1 Question I Still Have

It was mentioned in lecture that Delpit (1988) suggests that many teachers do not recognize that the way they teach and what they teach is perpetuating these stereotypes, but we must recognize it and educate our classes on it. I am from a small town with a lot of racism. What advice can I follow to navigate these discussions in a way that does not cause resistance of the class or their parents/families?

~Taylor Block

March 7th, 2018

Conceptions of School Systems

3 Things I Learned

  • Although I have learned about Bronfenbrenner’s model before I thought it was interesting to put it into context of the education system. Schooling is a major part of the societal system. Students spend a large amount of time in schools making it a main influencer and schools often represent the norms of the society it is within.
  • We are moving away from the teacher being the sole expert in the classroom and instead being a facilitator to learning. I appreciate what was said in lecture, how can a teacher be an expert when they are required to teach multigrade classrooms and many subjects. By encouraging students to learn instead of claiming to be the expert we are not limiting our students with the knowledge that we possess and we are giving them the freedom and independence to take their learning into their own hands.
  • I have also learned about the battle of whether we should be putting functional learning onto our students or adding learning that they may not ever use. I think this is interesting because I have been in classes where I thought to myself, when am I ever going to use this information. But, sometimes lessons that may not apply to life are beneficial in helping us develop and mature. Like learning Shakespeare, we may never use the information from his plays, but learning this language, history, and about the plays can benefit the student in other ways.

2 Connections I Made

  • This week, I have further enhanced my connection between the school atmosphere and the hidden curriculum. Could it be that the content in our subjects, the dress codes that we encourage, the books we read, and so much more are encouraging a hidden curriculum? So much of what we do at school is encouraging children to full in line of what we have set as ideal citizens, with many of these views being very Eurocentric.
  • I have never been asked what my philosophy of education was, so this was another unique point to consider. Connecting my philosophy to experiences I have had and may have, it can be concluded that it may change with time as I learn new things and have different experiences.

1 Question I Still Have

I am still curious about what is considered the best philosophy of education or if they all have their time and place.

~Taylor Block

February 28th, 2018