In class, we examined the Alaskan Cultural Standards for Curriculum, focusing on our goal of creating a culturally responsive space for our students. My group focused specifically on Standard B, and our aim was to come up with potential lessons in our respective content area that meet these standards:
A culturally-responsive curriculum recognizes cultural knowledge as part of a living and constantly adapting system that is grounded in the past, but continues to grow through the present and into the future.
1. Recognizes the contemporary validity of much of the traditional cultural knowledge, values and beliefs, and grounds students learning in the principles and practices associated with that knowledge
2. Provides students with an understanding of the dynamics of cultural systems as they change over time, and as they are impacted by external forces
3. Incorporates the in-depth study of unique elements of contemporary life in Native communities in Alaska, such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, subsistence, sovereignty and self-determination.
My content area is Social Studies, and I want to focus on two things:
1. In today’s classrooms, why do we teach (insert content area) in the way that we do? Why is there a belief that a standardized way to teach Algebra, Life cycles, and even Grammar, is the “correct way”?
2. Are there other similar cultural knowledge of the content we teach? What were/are they? Is one way better than the other?
A potential lesson plan could be to have students research the ways that various cultures in the world apply to a specific problem such as financial transactions (bartering, currency exchange) or building waterproof homes (mudbrick, plastic, clay, etc…) and see if they can complete a task using the multiple methods. I think a neat idea, although a tangent, could be to have students see which government structure works best for their classroom. Would we actually all agree on Democracy? What if for our specific classroom, an oligarchy worked better? I think it would be important for students to see the validity of other cultures’ ways of understanding the world.