Cultural Curriculum Standard A

IMG_0532So here it is, last post, and I’m definitely not surprised that I have avoided this one since I would have to reference the ovoid I drew for our poster.  We had such a good dialogue in the back that I don’t know if it did justice to those words, nor can I really remember what I said – it was the first time where I had a chance to just flow in the zone of who I am, where it was my ancestors – my mother and grandmother and beyond – whose words I was speaking.  Though I have understood that for years, I had never really felt it.  Thankfully my group members gave me the opportunity to speak that day, as my life has been full of missed opportunities like this.  And thankfully my group members remembered them, so I was able to cheat and reference their posts to jog my memory for this post.  I would also recommend reading their posts for a more eloquent look at the details of our standard strands and the conversations we had.

Cultural Curriculum Standard A:
A culturally-responsive curriculum reinforces the integrity of the cultural knowledge that students bring with them.

Drawing the ovoids to represent the cultural standard we were presented is exactly what I hope to get out of my students by the way that I teach.  I want all students to feel what I got to feel for 35 minutes (+7): my culture and my perspective were validated, appreciated, used as the basis for our conversations about the assignment – it wasn’t invisible and it wasn’t just a surface appreciation and acknowledgement.

I remember the conversation we had about what word to put in the middle, bouncing back and forth between ‘acknowledge’ and ‘ownership’ we decided that ‘ownership’ had a deeper level of understanding and respect than ‘acknowledge’.  And really that is a core of delivering culturally-responsive curriculum, we always have to acknowledge the ownership rights of what we are teaching, and validate intellectual property rights.  It’s a way to ground our cultural ways of knowing.

I have thought about how to use an ovoid in a classroom for many years, thinking of how to get it in the classroom.  Being able to explain what it means to a design; it’s weight and it’s importance.  It all lends itself to reminding students about perspective and delving deeper into our understandings of history.  I’d like to create a ‘worksheet’ with these two ovoids where students can analyze or visualize different historical events – the inside represents one perspective, while outside represents another perspective.  I don’t know if that’s really what I want or how to explain it, but something along those lines.  Hopefully I figure it out in the next 2 months…


6 thoughts on “Cultural Curriculum Standard A”

  1. Mischa, I just wanted to say, and I’m not sure that I’ll get another chance in class or in person, but I really, really appreciated your long commentary in class a while ago about how we need to speak honestly about the past and not gloss it over. Just because in the present there are “double Eagle” or “double Raven” marriages and people exist who might wish that the moiety system were different or had been different in the past, it doesn’t give them the right to not learn about it or not speak about it. It certainly doesn’t give them the right to project a fantasy on the past about how they wish it were or about how Eagles were actually able to marry other Eagles in a culturally acceptable way.

    (Please forgive me if I have misunderstood or misinterpreted Tlingit culture in regards to the moieties and what you were saying, as I’m not from here and don’t really know the history, myself.)

    The same can be said about other things. Polygamy is commonly seen as culturally unacceptable in modern American society, but that doesn’t give us the right to say that Yup’ik peoples never practiced it (for fear of offending them in the present). Slavery is unacceptable in modern American culture, but that doesn’t give us the right to say that people in this country never practiced it. We need to hear the past and hear it deeply, even if we disagree with it or think parts of it were morally wrong.

    One of my great-grandfathers was an alcoholic in his 40s who knocked up a teenage girl. What he did was wrong, but I need to be honest about that fact, because it’s the truth. If he didn’t do that wrong thing, I wouldn’t be here. In fact, even the name I bear (Hunter) is a result of him, since my great-grandmother gave my grandfather up for adoption and he was adopted by a family named “Hunter.” It’s a part of my past; a part of my background. Is it a pleasant part? Not really. But what do I gain by living in denial about it?

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your commentary on that issue and your thoughts on David’s comments in general.

  2. I like your ovoid and I think that it gave the poster a grounding point that was culturally relevant. Creating art is also creating a point of vulnerability. Do not be shy.

  3. Mischa,

    I really liked your group’s poster and your presentation. I felt really lucky to be in your group when we did the math trail and you explained some of the design elements of the Eagle-Shark panel to us. I think your ideas on using ovoids in the classroom are great – I wish I could sit in on that lesson, because I’d love to know more.

  4. Hi Mischa,

    Wonderful post. It really gets at the heart of standard a. To meet this standard, teachers have to go beyond just the surface acknowledgment of a culture, which is why it’s so heartwarming when you write that want your students to feel what you felt – that their perspectives are validated and used as the basis for the work they’re doing. You’re going to be a fantastic teacher.

  5. Thanks Mischa, This is what I really appreciate about this class. Each student I believe got the opportunity to reflect on his or her own life. It’s also not one of those classes where your classmates hear one’s story and forget about it ten minutes later. I can tell by each person’s facial expression that every student was interested in everybody else’s story. I’ve never had a class where everyone was as motivated to getting the work done. And thank you for bringing a welcoming character into the character. You certainly made a positive difference. Your students will love your personality.

  6. I like how determined your group was to finish drawing your poster. Now that I’ve read your comments, I know why. Thanks for sharing – you’ve been an inspirational group member, and you have such wonderful things to say!

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