1. How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
I grew up in a big city. In my elementary school and my middle school, I needed to compete with other students and get high marks in the exams because if I could get higher marks, the teachers would think I am smart and they would pay more attention to me, the students in the class would respect me more and my parents would be proud of me. But if I did not get high marks, my teachers would think that I am not as good as the people who got high mark and therefore they would not treat me the same as the “good students”; my classmates would not like to play with me because I am considered as a “bad” student and my parents would blame me for not studying hard. I had been struggling a lot and it forced me to be mature at the early age. At that time, the only two ways students could achieve success is either enroll in a good university and get an undergrad degree in the university, or make a lot of money. My life seemed scheduled already. Until I come to Canada, I felt more relieved because I felt lesser pressure in the Canadian high school, and I did not need to stick with the same old education system in China.
2. Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
I have received two ways of teaching: the Asian way of teaching and the European way of teaching. When I was seeing the world from Asian’s perspective, I could only see the broad picture of the First Nations. In my middle school history classes, my teachers only taught the important wars in the world and Chinese history, they did not talk about Indigenous history, instead, they talked about Indigenous culture and clothing, so I thought North America is always a peaceful continent with few civil wars. The first time I got to know about the First Nations was in my history 30 class in grade 12, when I knew what the white settlers had done on North America, I was shocked. I would never know so much detail of indigenous history if I have never learnt it in the high school history class. While I am writing this article, I am searching if the Chinese high school history textbook covered some Indigenous history, and I found out that the teaching curriculum does cover the colonialism and the fur trade. I am disappointed because the residential school system is not mentioned. It is not possible to let everyone in the world to know about the whole Indigenous history in the world, but at least the people who are living in Canada should know something about it. I am not sure whose truth mattered, but we cannot change history and therefore the history will always tell the truth.