Curriculum as Place

The article suggests that a “critical pedagogy of place” aims to:

(a) identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation); and (b) identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization) (p.74)

1. List some of the ways that you see reinhabitation and decolonization happening throughout the narrative.

For many students on this trip, they do not have a connection to their culture so allowing students to see the land and the community to make connections, including emotional, spiritual and social connections. Students being able to have skill building workshops can help them learn about different cultures as well as learn life skills that they can use. Some life skills will be common within a European culture, such as how to build a fire,

I loved the idea of making audio documentaries were both the youth and elders get to seek. Students can develop a pride for their own culture through the interviews and will take pride in the final project especially because it will be shared with so many people. This idea also helps keep the tradition oral teaching alive by the elders passing their information and stories to a new generation.

From my Indigenous studies course, I have found that younger generations of indigenous people are not connected to their culture show giving them a chance to talk to educated people could tell them more about their culture. An example of this would be “the significance of the river and knowledge of the social, cultural, economic, and spiritual meanings of the river among community members” (Restoule, Grunder, Metatawabin, p.75). Students are then able to learn though the environment and understand that Indigenous people have contracts with the animals and mother nature.

2. How might you adapt these ideas towards considering place in your own subject areas and teaching?

From my own experience learning information from someone who lived through an event or is a part of a culture is more impactful then learning from a textbook. Though it may not be practical to take a ten-day river trip, maybe having a culture day or having a new person come in to give an introduction to a unit would help students understand that people were and still are impacted by what they are learning. This can also teach students to treat everyone with respect, especially those who come to the classroom to teach.

When doing projects of their own identity or cultures students may take more responsibility and pride in the end result. In grade 12, I did an assignment called ‘My Canadian Identity’, which involved students researching and interviewing people to find out how their family came to Canada. From this assignment I was able to learn how my family impacted Saskatchewan, such as naming the town of Marsden. From this assignment I was proud to share my story and learn about others’ histories.

I would also like to ask my students to have some choice in what they want to learn from whatever experience is available.  Students may not be in a place where they are comfortable learning about residential schools, but they may prefer learning a different language, such as Cree, or learn to make bannock. Students may not be fulfilling a social or history outcome but they may be successful in a language, science or PAA outcome. Allowing students to make real world connection can help them become interested in the information being taught in the classroom. Another option could be that each student researches or is taught about on area of Indigenous culture and history, then teaches that area to the class. This allows students to become educated and comfortable in one area but still learn about other areas.


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