Brief educational autobiography: Awareness of and insights into our...

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Brief educational autobiography: Awareness of and insights into our own social locations are important for effective engagement as educators. Education is an “Institution of Power”, and teaching is inherently political. The purpose of this assignment is to reflect on your social/political location and how your background, values, tastes and dispositions inform your role as an emerging educator. To this end, this reflective paper will allow you to examine and express your understanding about the political categories to which you were born (race, class and sex), and what other conditions and experiences shaped and influenced you.

Consider your relative location in the Class Layer Cake activity, and your emotional and intellectual responses to your experience of that exercise. Refer to the readings we have completed in class and other relevant resources, and use this assignment to locate yourself within social structures of class, sex, race. Some guiding questions you might address include: How did your parents and grandparents live? What work did/do they do? How many generations has your family been in Canada? What is your first language? Is it different from your grandparents or parents? What was your experience of public school like? How long did it take you to finish your Bachelor degree?

Your paper should cover the following:

• A description of your social locations – race, social class, sex – include family history/makeup/migration patterns and any other aspects of your locations you would like to include;

• Provide a description of a few key ‘informal’ learning moments from your life that made you aware of inequity or difference. What impact did this have on you?

• How have your social locations and any accompanying experiences informed your desire to be a teacher? How do you think it will impact your approach to teaching?

• Drawing on the course material up to this point (two references), in what ways have you become more aware of your social locations?

Pass: You engage with the above points, the ideas are well developed and supported with reference to course material, evidence that you have begun integrating a political analysis into your thinking, provide specific examples, clearly written with few diction, spelling, grammar, or organization errors.

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Of Germany, a Teacher in Training
Given our national history, and given our current position as de facto but reluctant leaders of Europe, (most) Germans grapple with a very particular and troubled sense of social, political, and historical location. There is the ever-present, immense tension between, on one hand, a national sense of guilt and the need to atone, and, on the other, a sense of responsibility for how Europe—and thereby a set of liberal democratic values—move forward. However, it is vital that the following is clear: These central elements of our national consciousness are felt intensely personally by (most) Germans – these are not abstractions to us but are, rather, critical threads in the fabrics of our lives. Consider, then, the peculiar nature of...

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