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Going Inward

The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching


Edited By Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez

Going Inward is a pragmatic text for faculty in all disciplines who desire to deepen their reflection on teaching. Through the culturally introspective writings of faculty in a variety of academic disciplines, readers will gain a deeper understanding of faculty cultural influences on college teaching and student learning. This book introduces readers to cultural self-reflection as a powerful tool for insight into how our values and beliefs from our cultural and familial upbringing influence our teaching practice. Cultural self-reflection is a process for generating insights and empathy toward serving students from backgrounds and cultures both similar to and different from one’s own. The integrated design of the book’s three parts – cultural introspection, faculty culture and teaching autobiographies, and developing a culturally introspective practice – makes this book helpful to teaching faculty and academic administrators.
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Chapter One: From Cultural Story to Teaching Insight


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From Cultural Story TO Teaching Insight


We each have a story to tell and a purpose in life to help positively impact our communities.


The culture and teaching autobiographies in this book emerged out of a faculty development program on culture and college teaching at two universities in the Southwest, Northern Arizona University and the University of New Mexico. Several years ago, we identified a shared sense of urgency about college success among underserved students, particularly for resident populations in Arizona and New Mexico, our home states. Teaching effectiveness across cultures is critical in a time of rapidly diversifying higher education environments. The faculty who chose to join us in exploring teaching across cultural strengths worked with us over several years, and most who began with us also chose to publish their culture and teaching autobiographies. Faculty wrote these essays within the larger context of the faculty development project on culture in college teaching, detailed extensively in our earlier work, Teaching Across Cultural Strengths (Chávez & Longerbeam, 2016).

Over several years, we have explored strengths-based and culturally resonant teaching to benefit student learning. We wrote of the need to draw on strengths from our cultural origins as faculty, in combination with the cultural strengths of students, and thereby balance our teaching to increase the possibility that all will succeed in...

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