Micheal Oleksa hit the nail on the head with his quote defining how culture is more of a view than a thing. Culture is the “the way we see our world” but our own culture is invisible to us in so many ways. He states, “Like a car’s headlight, our cultural view does not shine back on itself, but illuminates what is in front of it. He goes on to say looking at our own culture becomes possible only when we leave it.
I have always thought traveling is perhaps the best education anyone can have. I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to Europe, Africa, Mexico, Cuba and live in many different places across throughout the US. It was the only way, I thought, that one could actually see the biases, bigotry, falsehoods and genius of one’s own culture. This class didn’t just shed light on back on to my own culture but was more like shinning my headlights into a mirror. This class reinforced and added to my understanding of Indigenous cultures of Alaska.
- As far as how an understanding of culture and power will impact my teaching I realize, as I did before, that some cultures hold power and influence over others. I want students to know, as David puts it, they are all noble, precious, unique and intelligent. I will do what I can to build them up starting from their strengths, and to create a safe place to learn. Place-based learning is another key to building a culturally responsive plan.
- Privilege: One culture’s opportunity in regards to another’s. As soon as people understand that we can start to find ways to break down the barriers to opportunities. Boot straps: How many times have I heard so many white people say, “I made my way through hard work and effort; they should be able to do it too.” when talking about other minorities. This illustrates the “invisibility” domineering cultures have on others. The problem doesn’t lie in hard work or effort but accessibility of opportunity and education. Transformation: In order to fully understand multi-cultural education one needs to transform their self to think critically about the things that shaped their cultural views and to be an advocate for social change.
- Some of the techniques I will use to teach in a culturally responsive way are: being involved with the community, bringing in community members and elders to speak, lifting students up by their strengths, place-based learning, creating safe spaces with in-class discussions regarding that and letting everyone in class they are noble, intelligent “be-ings”.