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Going Inward

The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching

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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 Thirteen: Lessons from My Family: Understanding College Teaching Through Cultural Introspection

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Lessons FROM My Family

Understanding College Teaching Through Cultural Introspection

ALICIA FEDELINA CHÁVEZ

Educational Leadership University of New Mexico



I’m not sure of the exact moment I realized college professors taught mostly in ways different from how I learn. Lecturing and multiple-choice tests in most of my courses led me to skip classes, study on my own, and show up only for exams. Because academics come naturally to me, this was not only possible, but I also found most classes confusing and distracting to my learning. Instead, I read widely and incessantly, wrote much on my own, and explored ideas with siblings, cousins, and friends. I became a student peer advisor in part so I could sign my own registration forms and in my senior year did independent study, research, and internships with professors from whom I wanted to learn.

I learn most naturally through applying things in real life, often through trial and error; through visual processes (including observing, reading, models, and images); through reflection; through stories, examples, and metaphor; and through comparing and contrasting my sense of things with others, usually one-on-one. Common lecture modes of teaching in college don’t engage my curiosity or match my natural ways of learning. In college I longed for deeper, more complex, engaged academic learning. Graduate school was somewhat better, yet even in small classes was made up primarily of lecture with...

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