Words from the Wise


What advice did you hear that resonated with you?

What implications might this have for you as a teacher?

From the Elder forum, a multitude of advise and wisdom was shared with us. One story I noted stuck with me more than the others as quite relevant to my subject matter of foreign language.

During a Celebration past, a tribe of Maori visited and performed a dance for the group, and the locals were shocked to see them sticking their tongues out at them as part of their routine. One might be offended by this   if unfamiliar with the Maori culture, though this gesture is part of a war chant, or haka, to show strength or to intimidate an enemy.

Though the Maori’s certainly were not trying to scare the attendees of Celebration, it is none-the-less important to look through other cultures with a different pair of “lenses” than one’s own; one could easily apply the American “lenses” over the Maori action and take offense by an out-stuck tongue.

The lesson here being to respect other cultures. 

In my own future French classroom, students will be exposed to numerous cultures in the francophone world from Europe, the Americas, and Africa. Some things, especially food, may be easy for Americans to ridicule or revolt from, but they should be exposed to these things and taught that the way other peoples live their lives, on a cultural level, is no thing for outsiders to ridicule without full understanding of the complexities and intricacies of the host environment.

Source for Maori culture

Photo Credit.

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