Reflect upon Charlene Bearhead’s statement (module 8) that “those responsible for education are learning beside those they are responsible to educate.” Discuss how this statement disrupts many Western perspectives of education (e.g. that it is the role of the teacher to be the most knowledgeable person in the classroom or a master of knowledge who disseminates that knowledge to students). As part of your response, consider how other Indigenous perspectives of education (mentioned within the modules and bonus videos) also disrupt notions of Western perspectives of education.
Charlene Bearhead’s statement that “those responsible for education are learning beside those they are responsible to educate” challenges western beliefs because historically teachers have been teaching in a direct way (lecturing, providing information). Students generally in this society rely on the teacher to provide all them all the information. It also disrupts because it portrays the teacher as the learner and not the “master of knowledge”. This statement looks at how grade 6-12 students look at their teachers, as an equal. In these grades the rose-coloured glasses shatter and students start to see that their teachers (although they try) are not perfect and do not know the answer to every problem. I loved teaching my grade 4/5 class this year for pre-internship because the students asked me questions that I did not know the answer to and so they took it upon themselves to find the answer and report back to me. It was a refreshing model because it promoted inquiry and self-discovery in students. It also empowered them to be in charge of their own learning.
From this quote for truth and reconciliation it means we are all on equal playing fields of learning. We are all having to take uncomfortable steps and that is part of the process to learning. There are some nasty things in the world’s history and we all have to work together to learn from them. We have to take uncomfortable questions and wonderings and allow ourselves and our students to learn the hard truths because those truths are real and do not need to be silenced.
Truth and reconciliation disrupts western beliefs because in earlier times and still in some classrooms Indigenous knowledge and content is only taught in the social studies curriculum when almost all subject areas can incorporate this content. It is so important to break this narrative and work towards inclusion.
Natural based and self-discovery also disrupts Western beliefs especially in nature/the outdoors. Traditionally the students sit in class and listen to lectures all day while elders that I have heard speak have urged students to take part in learning outdoors because being outside has so many learning opportunities for students. Examples include observations, watching animals, and watching weather patterns.