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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 Eleven: Relearning Inquiry, Unlearning Judgment: The Autobiography of a Curious Girl


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Relearning Inquiry, Unlearning Judgment

The Autobiography of a Curious Girl


Teacher Education University of New Mexico

I was raised driving back and forth between Taos, New Mexico, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 2.5-hour drive. Quite literally, from the time I was four until the time I was about 30, if I was living in New Mexico, I made the drive just about every other weekend, either from Taos to Albuquerque or vice versa. This back-and-forth also meant that I attended many different schools—three elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. I handled the transitions by keeping my nose in a book. Reading was my ultimate escape and comfort. On the one hand, my drives to Taos kept me connected to my grandmother—the matriarch of our family and someone who helped to raise me, especially when my parents’ paths made living with them untenable. On the other hand, I lost my sense of belonging to any one place. There was a constant sense of disequilibrium in my life.

Eventually, in high school, my sister, brother, and I all ended up living in Taos with my grandmother, and we spent less time driving back and forth. My grandmother was a loving, forceful, and private lady. She taught me the power of unconditional love and the power of a look. When I first started teaching, she helped me...

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