This summer I am taking the Summer Institute at the University of Regina. In my EC&I 804 class, we have been asked to do a self-reflection of our own lived curriculum. I have to admit that it took me a while to understand what this entailed because curriculum to me has always stood for what we need to teach in school according to what the government has assigned for various grade levels. The following is the Voicethread that I chose to do in order to represent my personal story of lived curriculum.
Here is also a copy of what I said in case the audio does not work correctly.
According to Wikipedia the definition of curriculum refers to the course of deeds and experiences through which children grow to become mature adults. This definition is very different than the definition that I have been using the past eight years as an education. When I thing of curriculum I think of outcomes and indicators and prescribed subjects for different grade levels. Looking at the definition of curriculum according to Wikipedia, I will attempt to describe the deeds and experiences that helped to shape me and have allowed me to be the person that I am.
The first experience and probably most important experience that has shaped my growth into that of an adult is my family life. I am the second eldest child in a family of eight children. There are seven girls and one boy within an eleven year age span. My parents were famers and my father worked a second job at a sodium sulphate mine to support the family. We grew up on a farm and used the land and our livestock to support the family.
My formal education began in a small town school, Cabri School. It was a small school with just over 200 students when I began in Kindergarten. My class remained relatively the same from Kindergarten through to Grade 12. Most of us began Kindergarten together and the last child to join our group joined us in Grade 2. One little interesting tidbit of information: my family was the same size as the number of students in my class.
I would consider my schooling to have followed the traditional or technocratic education style. I learned by sitting in a desk for most of the day and doing what I was told by my teacher. We had very little opportunities to discover information on our own. My memories of school involved me taking in information from the teacher, who knew everything, and answering questions with the answers that I knew the teacher expected. We were not encouraged to investigate new ideas or concepts.
My first experience with autonomy was in Grade 8 when a new science teacher, just out of university, arrived at our school. He challenged our way of thinking and encouraged us to take risks. He allowed us to try out new ideas and to find solutions to problems on our own. It took a while to understand what a teacher like this expected of us because he didn’t seem willing to give us explicit directions. For a learner who liked black and white instructions, like myself, this was very difficult.
Outside of my formal education, sports also played a very important role in my life as a learner and this was where I was allowed to let my creativity free. When I looked back at how I behaved while playing sports it is apparent that I was a rule followers. I was very careful to follow the rules of the game and to make sure that those around me did the same. However, in the aspect of the game where you were allowed to be freer, like how to hold a ringette stick, I did things how I wanted to do things. As a right handed person, I was instructed how to hold the stick properly. This did not feel “right” for me so I developed the habit of holding the stick with my left hand. This had transferred into all sports where I need to hold something. I have been told often that I do things “backwards”.
Music also played an important role in my curriculum of life. I had a number of teachers over the years but most of my memories revolve around the fact that I cannot sight read music, well that is to say that I find it very difficult. I however have great skills when it comes to memorization so if you give me a piece to learn and the time to do so, I will do it. I have noticed that these skills transfer to my formal education also. If you expected me to do something immediately without time to process the information I feel nervous and get flustered, however, if I have the time to look over the information, I seem to be able to internalize it quickly and I feel much more comfortable with whatever is expected of me.
Graduation marked the end of my life on the farm and with my family. At the age of 18, I moved away from my parents and began my university career at the University of Regina.