I love that we had an opportunity to dig into the Alaska Cultural Curriculum Standards as a cohort. My group discussed Alaska Cultural Curriculum Standard A:
A culturally-responsive curriculum reinforces the integrity of the cultural knowledge that students bring with them. A curriculum that meets this cultural standard:
- recognizes that all knowledge is imbedded in a larger system of cultural beliefs, values and practices, each with its own integrity and interconnectedness;
- insures that students acquire not only the surface knowledge of their culture, but are also well grounded in the deeper aspects of the associated beliefs and practices;
- incorporates contemporary adaptations along with the historical and traditional aspects of the local culture;
- respects and validates knowledge that has been derived from a variety of cultural traditions;
- provides opportunities for students to study all subjects starting from a base in the local knowledge system.
We chose to represent this first, all encompassing, standard visually with Northwest coast formline design ovoids. As the Ovoid in the center is imbedded in a larger system of cultural beliefs, Values and practices, each with its own integrity and interconnectedness.
The hope is through approaching education and curriculum in this way we could be sure that students receive not only the surface knowledge or Concrete representations of culture, but the deeper beliefs, and cultural behaviors, as well connections to the symbolic level of cultures through culturally responsive curriculum and teaching.
Formline is a beautifully analogy also for incorporating contemporary adaptations along with historical and traditional aspects of the local culture. As formline has, as of late become, more contemporary and mainstream in some areas. The best formline however, just like the best cultural knowledge in the classroom, is always firmly rooted in the traditional design and acknowledges the ownership of the local knowledge systems it is derived from.
For those that may not know about formline or ovids. Heres is a fantastic introduction to the Northwest Coast Formline Design: the Ovoid by X’unei Lance Twitchell.