Invisible Knapsacks

Race and The Curriculum is something that applies to every teacher in every classroom. I read an article called “Helping Teachers unpack their Invisible Knapsacks” By Nancy P Gallavan. In the article she explains some assignments/exercises that she does with her class that talk about race and racism. She does this by using some question from an article written by Peggy McIntosh called “White Privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack.” She asks her students questions such as “I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider” or “If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live and I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me” but makes it age related to the students. Then the students give the a number of 1 to 10, 1 being I am unable to do this, and 10 being I have no problem doing this. This opens up the conversation about race and racism with the students.

My next step is to research more articles about race and racism, and be able to have a better understanding about race and the curriculum.


Curriculum and Theory Practice

Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted solely focuses on the content that is in the syllabus and needs to be taught. This can lead to be unclear what is important to be taught. This can also lead for the textbook approach of teaching. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain end in students – product the article quotes that “objectives are set, a plan is drawn up, then applied, and the outcomes measures. This shows that you have to follow this curriculum very precisely and you cannot stray from what is set up to be done. There is a specific beginning and an specific end to what you are learning. This can be a problem because the learners are told this is what you will do and how you will do it, and that is how they will “succeed” with their learning. They are limited and get no choice in learning and doing in a way that works for them. Curriculum as a process is mainly focused on setting behavioural objectives. This curriculum is the interaction of teachers, students and knowledge and the ability to the critically. A positive thing about curriculum as a process is that there is a more fully worked through idea of what will happen in the classroom. Curriculum as a praxis is similar to the process model but instead of only being informed by the process model, it is also committed in the praxis model.

The model that I noticed being used the most in my schooling experience was curriculum as a product. This was prominent in my schooling because many of the teachers, there end goal was to see that we all had “top marks or good enough marks” to go to University even if that was the goal or dream of some of the students, that was still what the teacher wanted the student to achieve.


Common Sense

Kumashiro defines common sense as unsaid rules or unquestioned things that the world has chosen to follow. Kimashiro wants us to re-evaluate the oppressive or common sense based approach to teaching and schooling.
It is so important to pay attention to common sense because as future educators our students are going to have different ideas of what common sense is based on how they grew up, their culture and their life experiences and if we don’t pay attention to common sense we as educators will not realize that students are at a disadvantage, and being discriminated against simply because we think they know “our common sense” and not everyone knows “my/our common sense”. Kumashiro challenges us to not think the same way as everyone around us but to teach in ways that disrupt, challenge, work against and critique what we know to be common sense.