Another Culture/Another World

After reading Father Oleksa’s book Another Culture/Another World, please consider the following prompts:

  1. Oleksa discusses the concept of time/punctuality as one of the “rules of the game” we all learn from our families/early environment. Some of us learn that we should be at least 15 minutes early for any appointment, others learn that “3:00 means exactly 3:00” and others learn that 3:00 means any time after the mid-day meal! What is your “rule” about time? How did you come to learn this rule?
  2. What are some of the other “rules to the game of life as you understand and play it”?
  3. In chapters 2-6, Father Oleksa discusses the Yupik, Tlingít, Athabaskan, Aleut, and Inupiaq worlds; he mentions some aspects of the traditional worldview of each cultural group and shares a traditional story that highlights the worldview. Obviously not all indigenous Alaskans currently live according to the traditional world view, but, are there lessons you can take from Father Michael’s work should you be hired to teach in a community with a significant number of Yupik, Tlingít, Athabaskan, Aleut, or Inupiaq members?

Be ready to discuss the concept of “worldview” as discussed in Another Culture/Another World.

Image Source: Sands of Time. Link.

Preparing for ED 680: Standards and Curriculum

One of your assignments in ED 680 will be to identify topics you will be teaching about during the coming year so you can make some meaningful cultural connections to the content. Therefore, it is important for you to arrive in Juneau with knowledge of the standards and curriculum to be covered in your grade level and discipline.

Please spend some time familiarizing yourself with the concept of academic standards by clicking on this link. Additionally, please study the specific content and performance standards for your grade level and discipline by exploring the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development site: (paste this link in your browser and then navigate around within the site to learn about your standards; it may take some time to locate the most pertinent information so be persistent). While you are looking at the content and performance standards on the DEED website, please explore the Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools as well; focus in on the “curriculum standards” within the booklet.

If possible, contact your host teacher to find out some topics that you might be addressing in the coming year. For example, if you are an aspiring English teacher, and you will be teaching a 9th grade American literature unit, get the novel list from your host teacher. If you are an aspiring biology teacher, ask your host teacher what topics or units you might be expected to teach and get the name of the textbook – better yet, bring a copy of the textbook or get a link to the electronic version. If you are not able to contact your host teacher directly, explore the school district website to see if can locate information about the curriculum.

Image Source: Old Books. Link.

Preparing for ED 680: Your Socio-cultural Identity

Two of the main learning objectives of ED 680 are:

  • Students reflect on their own socio-cultural identities and understand the differential access to power accorded to various social and cultural groups.
  • Students articulate their own cultural assumptions and biases.

We will be talking about the forces that shape you and how your socio-cultural identity develops during the first part of the course. The purpose for exploring your own identity is so that you are better able to understand your students as cultural beings – what motivates and engages them – thus making you a more effective teacher.

Be thinking about your socio-cultural identity in these weeks leading up to our first class. Please bring an object of personal cultural significance (or a photograph of that object if it is too bulky or too precious to bring with you) to share with rest of the class on June 14. The object might be a recipe, a piece of jewelry, regalia, a book, or anything that holds value to you – be ready to explain why you chose to share the object. Please do not bring photographs of people – instead, think about an object.

Image Source: Tlingit basket, spruce roots and grass – Museum of Cultures (Helsinki). Link.