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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 Five: One Way Interrupted by Two-Eyed Vision


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One Way Interrupted BY Two-Eyed Vision


Teaching and Learning Northern Arizona University

My cultural heritage comes from France, Scotland, and England. My cultural roots are embedded in a small town in eastern Oklahoma. It is these roots in Oklahoma that I describe and relate to my teaching. I am not dismissing the idea that my ancestry influences my values and choices; however, it is through a persistent, clinging fog of a discursive white American privilege that I search for clarity and purpose as a teacher. Students are from diverse walks of life, and to successfully be their teacher, I need to recognize my privilege to embrace their cultural and social contexts. It is within a frame of resistance to oppression and love for understanding that I write about my culture and its effects on my teaching.

I first use the broad brushes of religion and gender roles rooted in Oklahoma to render a sketch of my culture as it related to informing my values through adolescence and young adulthood. The messages I received from school, church, and family about how to be female tethered me to a myopic view of culture. Next, I discuss influences that began to broaden and disrupt my understandings. Finally, I draw from my current teaching position at Northern Arizona University in the College of Education as a way to connect my past with the present...

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