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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 Seven: Education as Our Horse: On the Path to Critical Consciousness


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Education AS Our Horse

On the Path to Critical Consciousness


American Indian Education University of New Mexico

I begin this essay by sharing how I was taught to properly introduce myself whenever I address an audience. This proper way of Diné introduction begins by establishing my relationship (k’é) with the supernatural cosmos as a child of the Holy People or as Ni’hookáá’ Diyin Diné, Five Fingered Earth Surface Spiritual Beings. In acknowledging the Holy People in the four directions, I affirm the sacredness of our language by being mindful about what I say. Next, I greet clan relatives, clan mothers, and other Navajo people who may be related to me through clan affiliations (adoone’é) followed by recognizing other people in my community. This proper way of introduction entails proper cultural protocols about respect, kindness, and goodwill toward others, particularly in how we greet an audience and in how we approach our audience in a proper manner by “stepping” first with our right leg. In Navajo thought, the right side of our body is associated with the Beauty way teachings (hozhóój na’nit’in). Through proper clan introductions, not only do I establish positive harmonious relationships with everyone around me but ← 67 | 68 → I share the core aspects of my Diné spiritual, common, social, and physical image (Aronilth, 1994) that are expressed through k’é and adoon’é.

K’é embodies Diné core...

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