What is a good student?

According to ‘commonsense’ a good student is quiet, well behaved, and does exactly what they are told without challenging or asking questions. A student who engages appropriately with the teacher and peers and who can learn through the teaching style the teacher uses without complaint or confusion.

Reading the Kumashiro article I connected strongly to their experience with the student “M”, I run a after school daycare program and experienced a shockingly similar situation with a child last year. While reading the article I not only connected my student to “M”, but I myself related strongly with Kumashiro as well. I had so many problems trying to engage him, combat his challenging and sometimes violent behaviors and to instill healthy habits and routine. I would consistently speak to their teacher, parents, the principal, my peers and site staff, boss and try and find anything that I could use to get through to this six year old. I would question myself and reflect on my interactions with them, I would go home and read articles and sub-reddits about teaching and challenging behaviors and nothing seemed to help. Reading Kumashiros article I was so anxious to reach the end and find the solution to ‘fix’ this child, and others that I had worked with that had some of the same challenges. But as you all know there was not an answer and there is no answer to how to ‘fix’ these children, because they are not broken. I have been thinking and reflecting on my interactions and experiences with him and what I should have done differently, just because he does not engage or learn the way that is easiest for me does not mean that he is wrong or bad. This article has honestly changed my outlook on some of my children and of myself and even though I have not quite yet figured out how to change or what to change at least I am growing.

Critical summary

For my critical summary I have chosen the subject of disability and the curriculum, my article being “Implementing Disability Sports in the General Physical Education Curriculum”. The authors discuss in this article about how including disability sports such as wheelchair basketball can influence the self image and confidence in students of all abilities. The article begins with short personal story about the impact of an inclusive physical education class, then the authors move through what an inclusive classroom could look like and walks the reader through how to implement these ideas. The authors focus on the positive consequences that come from including disability sport instruction in the classroom, specifically with relationships between students.

There are specific steps given to help successfully put into practice disability sports in the curriculum, an ABC model of steps and what the teacher needs to research and consider before adding this to their gym. The authors provide tools and references to get started with an inclusive phys ed curriculum, including a table of what sports have a referenced disabled sport league, assessment rubrics on what to look for in students, and Paralympic specific sports such as goal-ball. Overall the authors of this article were making a collective guide to how to include all sport just as to include all students.

My plans moving forward is to find a couple other articles to supplement my paper, staying with the topic of an inclusive physical education classroom. To make an outline of my main points, specifying what the authors of the articles agree on and what is different from work to work. I also plan on bringing in the aspect of some financial limitations that will arise in elementary schools while carrying out these plans.

Tyler Rationale

Reflecting on my elementary and high school years of education I can absolutely see how the Tyler rationale has had in impact on my learning and interactions with teachers over then years. Not only was testing a huge part of school but we would have multiple tests and assignments a year coming from the school district that were used to test our reading and writing comprehension. Not only in evaluations but in the teaching styles and expectations we as students were expected to meet. I can very clearly remember absolutely hating my physics 20 course because the teacher would teach directly from the book in the order it said and if you did not understand the books method that was too bad for you and your average, if you used formulas instead of what the book said she would mark your answer wrong even if it was correct. This did not facilitate my learning and because I did not think and act the way the told me I should.

I think there are some definite limitations to the Tyler rationale, one big one being that the weight and importance placed on evaluations can hold a lot of students back. Some students do not test well, or experience test anxiety and this does not mean that students are not attentive or intelligent but due to the system of how most teachers grade that is what ends up being reflected in their grades. This rationale limits inclusion of the students interests in their education, as well as restricts critical thinking because this method teaches students exactly step by step what to do and what to think about it not how to come up with your own ideas, thoughts, ways of learning.

A positive aspect to this way of teaching is that this gives a guideline for teachers and students to follow and use throughout the year, even if they do not follow it exactly you can draw ideas or examples from it. The testing portion of this rationale can be useful to get a relative idea of how well the students are understanding and following the concepts you are teaching, although I do not believe so much importance should be put on the results.

Kumashiro response

In the book “The Problem of Commonsense” written by Kumashiro, Kumashiro discusses how the concept of ‘commonsense’ is problematic. The author believes that commonsense is not only an issue in general but specifically in the education system. Through life experiences Kumashiro came to realize that basic routines and knowledge known as commonsense were proven not so common at all if you strayed from your community

It is important to recognize and challenge the idea of commonsense, especially in schools because the assumption of adequacy in how and what we teach children is leading to oppression and exclusion. We as an educational system and society need to be critical of what is being taught or not spoken about but is assumed, Kumashiro discusses in the article how educators need to challenge and change the pre-instilled stereotypes, thoughts and assumptions students have about different groups and communities rather than failing to address these ‘sensitive’ topics.

Disabled or Dis/human?

Growing up, the term ‘dis’ was never associated with good things discipline, dislike, disrespect even dis by itself means to insult someone. So why are we pairing such a negative prefix with a group or community of people? Is being disabled always a negative identity? Does disabled mean dishuman?

In the article ” Becoming dishuman, thinking about the human through dis/ability” Daniel Goodley and Katherine Runswick-Cole, the authors attempt to argue against the word disabled by inserting a slash. Using dis/ability versus disability shows disrupts the normative narrative that disabled people are broken, unable to care for themselves or need to be fixed, when in reality many dis/abled people welcome their differences and everyone seeks to be treated equal. Before I read this article I had not thought of the troubling label disabled could have on the identities of anyone who did not have the societal accepted normal body. Eli Clare speaks of this in their article Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed bodies: Disability and Queerness: They write ” Early on, I understood my body to be irrevocably different from those of my neighbors, playmates, siblings. Shaky; off-balance; speech hard to understand; a body that moved slow, wrists cocked at odd angles, muscles knotted with tremors. But really I am telling a kind of lie, a half-truth. “Irrevocably different” would have meant one thing. Instead, I heard: “wrong, broken, in need of repair, unacceptably queer” every day, as my classmates called out cripple, retard, monkey; as people I met gawked at me; “.

Having a dis/ability does not equate to being broken, needing or even wanting to be ‘fixed’. Many people, for example those in the deaf community are proud to be part of it and having others tell them that they are wrong for accepting who they are or how they were born is wrong. Being deaf is a part of their identity just as being hearing is a part of mine, but just because we are different does not make one identity moe valid than the other.

Clare, E. (2001). Stolen bodies, reclaimed bodies: Disability and queerness. Public Culture, 13(3), 359-365.

Goodley, D. & Runswick-Cole, K. (2016). Becoming dishuman: Thinking about the human through dis/ability. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 37(1), 1-15.

Self analysis

i) Growing up I was completely surrounded by white people, on my mothers side was a long line of white religious leaders and on my Fathers side was all farmers which were once again all white. So white that my great great great grandpa on my dads side was unfortunately part of the leadership in the KKK in southern Saskatchewan. My Dad and his side of the family is absolutely horrible for the comments and views they have of people of color. I grew up listening to racist and sexist comments constantly and honestly I didn’t think much of them, I did not have any reason to disagree as I did not have any personal or meaningful relationships with any of the people my family would describe as “lazy worthless bums.”. I never necessarily agreed or repeated these harsh untrue words my Dad often expressed but to this day I struggle with trying to explain to him that these are not valid or acceptable things to say.

Comments such as these are prevalent in Robyns second self story. Robyn wrote:
” “You know they pay lower rent in that house right? I freeze inside willing them to go into their own house. They have made it more then apparent in the past that they don’t approve of Indigenous housing or of me. “I guess we shouldn’t complain. There are no needles this time.” That is the wife. Should I be thankful for her comment? “Government handouts!” the man grunts. “O.k. for them I guess.” I back away from the window and the summers’ sun falls from the sky. ” . The neighbors in Robyns story express similar views to the ones people around me have expressed, and while in some what more private conversations saying these things and even having opinions such as indigenous people all use drugs, or get free handouts and housing is racist against Indigenous peoples. Common rebuttals such as these can really harshly effect the identities of aboriginal people, such as Robyns eldest daughter who later in the self story reflects
” “I don’t want to be an Indian anymore”. ” which is heartbreaking.

ii) Disrupting these normative narratives can tough, especially when people are uneducated and have no willingness to learn about the topics and people that they have these awful, nonfactual and racist views of. Sometimes it takes a personal connection to overcome these normative narratives such as Suzanna states ”
I have heard many negative things about every race, as far back as I can remember.  But being immersed in First Nations culture helped avoid connecting skin colour to the stereotypes people give them. ” . Obviously not everyone can have family ties or spend time growing up around other cultures but that does not mean that you cannot learn now. Take Emily Hs self story for example, her family friends took the time to learn and appreciate South African culture to create a deeper connection to their new daughter. ”
“Emily! Meet our new daughter Mikela, she is dying for another girl to play with!” My parents friend says to me as I walk into their house to meet the newest addition to their family. The house is freshly decorated with traditional South African decor and I can smell the scent of chicken nuggets in the oven. Mikela is two and was just adopted from South Africa and was, well, black”. So instead of assuming peoples character and ways of life soley based on the colour of their skin, people need to think more critically of why they have these assumptions and what is wrong about them. Personally I plan to work on disrupting these problematic normative narratives in my own home, and use this course to help educate.

Self Story no. 4

I stood alone in the large green field as all of the boys grouped up together for the game we were about to play, as per the instructions we were just given. As I look around I notice that every single one of my peers had a group except for myself, and that all of them were staring right at me.
“Okay guys Jessica still needs a group, who’s going to take her?” only silence followed. Our cub scout leader named ‘wolf’ just sighed and pointed for a group for me to be forced into, but the ten year old boys were not having it.
“No way!” “Not fair” “We don’t want her! She’s a girl!” They all screamed as I held back tears.

I was fairly used to this by now, it was my third week of boy scouts and the first two weeks had been in no way easier than tonight. I had decided to join because I did not overly care for girl guides, all of my friends were boys and I didn’t really like typical ‘girl activities’. So my mom thought that I would like boy scouts and I could just join the same meetings as my brother.

The leader standing on the side by a large tree calls me over to come talk to him while the rest of the kids started the game, and no longer able to control myself I walk up to him wiping tears off my face as I stare at my feet. He begins to explain to me that the rest of the cubs just aren’t used to seeing a girl here and that they will warm up to me. But I can’t help but to get more upset, even at ten years old I knew that how I was being treated was not okay. I told him about how they would refuse to talk to me, and how they told me to leave them alone. Of all of the times they told me I could not possibly do what they were doing because ‘ I was a girl’ and I should go braid hair and go back to girl guides.
Unsure of what to tell me, my leader just asks me to take a deep breath and that the boys would accept me eventually.