In the article “Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushekegowuk Ways of Knowing” by Jean-Paul Restoule and his colleagues, the concept of critical pedagogy is discussed. They detail a research project dedicated to honouring the Mushekegowuk Cree concepts of land, environment, and life. The article suggests that the critical pedagogy of place aims to do two main things:
identify, recover, and create material spaces and places that teach us how to live well in our total environments (reinhabitation)
identify and change ways of thinking that injure and exploit other people and places (decolonization)
These concepts can be seen throughout the article in many places. Restoule et al details a 10-day river trip that was designed to share and use deeper knowledge in order to bring awareness to the importance of intergenerational cooperation. The elders were able to partake in the sharing of elders knowledge and understand their point of view. This project also allows students and adults alike to change their ways of thinking to recognize our wrong-doings. Some other instances of reinhabitation and decolonization include naming places in one’s native tongue, the understanding of the importance of water and the land, and deepening intergenerational relationships between community members, and others.
I think that all of these ideas can be adapted into something that can be used in my future classroom. Overall, they simply aim to include everyone and use the concept of our place in the world to teach us how to live in unison. I already believe that it is important to utilize the resources (including people) that are readily available to you. For example, in high school, instead of just reading about Health Science from a textbook, our teacher had a nurse come in to talk to us about blood pressure, how to read it, and what the readings meant. I remember this distinctly because it was an experience that got us out of our desks and moving. As a future teacher, I think I would like to use community resources, such as firefighters, police, etc to allow my students to gain a better understanding of what these people do.
Having grown up on a farm, I think it is also very important to get out of the classroom and see what the world has to offer. While budgets limit field trips, I think that it would be interesting too instead of simply telling students about soil and our land, to actually take them outside and walk through the territory that we study. Finally, the idea of forming connections and relationships is something I find very interesting. I find that lots of students often lack relationships and true friends in their class. It’s one thing in elementary school, but once students get older, they seem so focused on themselves and achieving “success” that they forget about those around them. I think it would be interesting to see how students react to learning about each other and having more individuality in studies. Overall, I think place-based education is very applicable in a classroom and there is tons of potential to what could be done with such a concept.