Blog post #7
Growing up in a home-schooled household, my citizen education was limited to the beliefs of my parents. The stereotypical religious household where most of what we were taught was based of the Bible and what we were told how God wanted us to live our lives. Even when entering high-school in the 10thgrade, I still never learn much about what was expected of an everyday citizen other than morals and getting a degree after school. I didn’t even know what the different beliefs of political parties were which made voting almost impossible. My high-school had also never taught us anything about eco-literacy which, up until taking my environmental education class, meant that all I knew was the basic things like recycle and reuse.
Educators that do try to teach students personally responsible citizenship, usually focus on the acts that students individually make, focus mostly on the traits that help the students make good choices in life (which is also good for kids to incorporate in their everyday lives) but also make their jobs easier. Traits like respecting those in authority, listening to other, being respectful, being kind to one another, being and completing things on time, and working diligently. These are important things that people should aim to apply to their everyday lives but there is also much left out like collective social action and pursuit of social justice. I was taught the individual traits, mostly through my religious parent’s teachings, at a young age. But, I (and other students I’m sure) never learnt about residential schools or the shared land that we live on. All of this was never taught in my high-school which is what I believe should be much more common knowledge then what it is today.
After what was experienced in the lecture, learning about what those students had to experience. My thoughts are the same as those children. Why? As much as I think about why that needed to happen. In the back of my mind I know the answer. Racism is, and has been for a long time, a problem. Schools will have talks about equality but all we can do as future teachers is guide our students. One of the first things I learnt in an education class is that “kids are not born racist”. If you can teach children to be accepting towards everyone as a child then they will soak that up and believe that whole heartedly. Factors that can negatively affect this comes from students’ lives outside of class. That is where the teaching of personal responsibility is needed because if a child is taught in school to be accepting of everyone regardless of race, religion, statues, or personal responsibility, but goes home to a family where their parents may view anything not like them as lesser or below them, the student still has the choice to believe the lies they are told from their family or friends or they can make the personal choice to ignore the negative, degrading comments and make the choice to see all as equal.