The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching
Edited By Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez
Chapter Five: One Way Interrupted by Two-Eyed Vision
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One Way Interrupted BY Two-Eyed Vision
JEAN ANN FOLEY
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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