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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 Nine: A Mixed-Up History, a Divided Heart


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A Mixed-Up History, A Divided Heart


Accounting University of New Mexico


I am sitting on the floor with the new Sears and Roebuck catalog. My sister and I are picking out wedding dresses, furniture for our first homes, baby things (cribs, changing tables, diaper bags). All the models in the catalog are White and neatly dressed. They all appear happy. Nearby, my parents are reading the Sunday paper from cover to cover, complaining about the Vietnam War. I am eight years old. We live in Boise, Idaho.

This scenario captures much of my deepest identity or what Bourdieu (1980) would call the habitus, which is White, middle-class, heterosexual, and gendered. We speak English in our house and our community. We watch White people speak English on TV. Our teachers are White Americans of European descent. We have no close extended family and are expected to leave home when we go to college, never to return. We are expected to get an education and have careers, but not take them too seriously (my parents would like us to take careers seriously, but in Boise girls get married and have families). We are expected to vote and keep our yards clean.

We are taught that we are individuals responsible for our own lives and actions. We do not ask for help. We are on time. We work...

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