So then, who am I as a curriclum maker?

12 04 2010

This post will serve as the final reflection for my Reflective Inquiry project for ECE 445, which has prompted me to examine who I am as a curriculum maker alongside children, families and colleagues.

The five artifacts (representing myself, place, a memory of joy, a connection to a living being, and tension) I looked closely at were:

(click on the first, fourth and fifth to learn more)

From my geometric self-portrait, I learned that: Maybe, honouring identity is one way to ensure that all those who have a stake in educational practice (children, families, communities, teachers, etc) are respected as curriculum makers in their own right. Our distinct outlines shape not only who we are, but how we learn, what we learn, and why we learn, based on what we bring to the table as curriculum makers.

From the cottage in the Qu'Appelle Valley, I learned that: Maybe, relationships we have with and within places are as deeply rooted as the relationships we have with people in our lives.

From Froggy, my childhood friend, I learned that: Maybe, children create relationships in places where most adults don't even think to look, and that those relationships should be honoured and respected as they build the capacities of children just as much as most things. Froggy represents so many moments of joy in my childhood. As a curriculum maker, I see that joy experienced in childhood should be celebrated and treasured, because it will be remembered and it will shape a person for a long time.

From The May Tree, I learned that: Maybe, when we think about relationships in teaching, it’s important that we don’t put boundaries on what those relationships mean. Who is to say one can’t have a close relationships with a pet, stuffed animal, rock, river, imaginary friend, or a special tree? To me, the elements of the natural world can be as comforting and valuable as the special people in my life, so long as I’ve developed a relationship there. My love of trees began with my first love of one tree, and it has carried me to new and more critical perspectives about nature, my place within it, and how it changes.

From the School Community BBQ, I learned that: As a curriculum maker I want to focus on a pedagogy of community and relationship-making. As a teacher, I see all members of the learning community as curriculum makers who come with important and valuable, differing capacities. Teachers should be advocates for families. Next time in the staff room, I will stand up for families I believe in and make sure they are getting the respect they deserve. As a curriculum maker, I will respect people for who they are as individuals and not what ‘group’ they belong to, avoiding assumptions and stereotypes to create an environment of respect and listening. Reciprocity is important to me in the relationships I seek with children, families and communities.

It is easy to spot the common thread between the learning that came from honouring these five important artifacts in my life.  From every single artifact, I learned about relationship-making in a different capacity.  I learned about the importance of making relationships with people, places, objects, memories, and other living beings.  I also learned about the contexts in which we build these relationships, be it in school, at home, with family or friends, ‘alone’, inside or outside.

So maybe, as a curriculum maker, I want to honour the relationships that are built at every moment, in every capacity, in every context.  The importance of every moment is determined by the people whom it is important to.  Relationships are relative to those who hold stake in them, and as such, the capacity of people and things to build strong and meaningful relationships should never be stereotyped or assumed.  Evidence of strong relationships within schools and communities are demonstrations that show that each person who has a stake in educational practice (i.e. children, families, community members, teachers…) is respected and valued as a curriculum maker.  Everything and everyone in our environment brings equally valuable and differing capacities to the community.  As one of so many curriculum makers, I want to practice a pedagogy of respect, listening and reciprocity.

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