The Pedagogy of Place

In the article, Restoule talks about the interaction between researchers and the Mushkegowuk people, a First Nation community in Northern Ontario. The main story portrayed in this paper is about how the researchers, with large involvement of the Mushkegowuk people, worked to learn more about the geography. There was a focus on the youth learning from elders, and a focus on the idea of reclaiming the significance of the land within the opinions of the youth.

Reinhabitation occurred during this. The elders taught the youth and the researchers about the importance of the lands, and especially that of the rivers. They explained how the river connects the living with the dead, how it connects the people with the animals, and how every nook and cranny of the river has significance in some format. This is reinhabitation because the lessons surrounding the river taught everyone involved about how they are constantly part of that enviroment and ecosystem. It showed how the moose will come to you when you need food, not the other way around. These small details that explain the indigenous way of connecting with nature and living well in our enviroment, all highlight the idea of reinhabitation.

The decolonization portion works to change the thought patterns of those outside of the knowledge circle. There are certain ways of thinking which might dominate culture outside of the reserve, even as simple as capitalism and the need to drill for resources. The researchers of this project most likely walked into the indigenous culture partially in this harmful mindset. While the teaching of youth was the reinhabitation of culture and land, teaching this to the researchers doubled as a form of decolonization. Those researchers understand the indigenous reasoning a lot better than most people now, and that in itself might be enough to change the ways of thinking that were originally manifested in the researchers minds.

I always find it a struggle to incorporate this type of idea into mathematics, especially because the study of math is deeply routed in British ways of life. The linearity and specificness of math can be a culture clash for those cultures who understand math and science as constantly changing, how x=5 in their cultures could have potential to become x=4 depending on variables in their situation. However, this idea of including place in subject areas can be an interesting way to implement diversified education. Maybe instead of the urban or classical examples, you will include examples for movement on the river. With that example, ensure your children know what they are learning and why they are learning it.. Explain the setting decently well, and then continue on with the math portion. This brings in an aspect of intercurricular learning, because the students will problem solve within the space of the first nation’s river, teaching them the concepts of both the logic and the social studies content, if done correctly. If you were teaching your class using problem-first methods and problem-based learning, this puts indigenous content in the forefront of your lesson. While the students might be learning math, the problem solving might feel more like exploring cultures and places, with the last part of class used to clear any misconceptions about the discovered math skill. Aside from this though, I am kind of lost on how to do this within math. I know with music you can include traditional pieces, sciences you can explore indigenous medicine, but with math I always feel a bit lost on how to bring this content to the forefront.

With the incorporation of the indigenous content, it is important to actually do a miniature lesson on the content itself, before moving into the problem solving, This is a form of decolonization because you are effectively changing the way your students think, you are improving their views surrounding topics you discuss. And in cases like the river, it encourages the improves treatment of our enviroment, and explains how to live within your means in total harmony with the enviroment. Some students love interest in indigenous content from social studies, and this is partially because of repetition from poor implementation, When we are teaching other subjects, we have an ability to bring this content in creatively. If the students enter the class with interest, and we have a discussion about the content we are using for the example, chances are they will absorb and understand the content a bit better. You might even get a proper discussion out of it, meaning they are listening and deciphering, a good sign that the ultimate goal of decolonization is active and working within the minds of your students.

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