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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 Fifteen: Transformed by the Learners


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Transformed BY THE Learners


Academic Professional and Organizational Learning University of New Mexico

On the first day out of Cape Town, South Africa, my father looked toward me across the sedan roof and said, “If we were in the United States, we’d probably get back in the car and keep on driving, wouldn’t we?”

What prompted his statement? We had not seen another White person since we entered the town. The sidewalks were crowded with people, mostly Black men sitting against the building walls and carrying on conversations—mostly with jovial gesturing, touching, laughing. My father was not racist. He possessed, and instilled in my brother and me, a Christian sense of fairness and a strong regret for how African Americans and other minorities are treated in America. However, his disdain for inequity didn’t keep my father from associating the view on that South African street with the anxiety he would feel if driving into and parking in an all-Black neighborhood in the United States—very unlike his European-descendent farming community hometown or the affluent and virtually all-White Cincinnati suburb where I grew up.

And, yet, this thought that my father voiced was not in my mind. What I saw was a lively group of people who, while clearly different from me in at least one obvious way, posed no threat to me. I was simply enjoying the experience...

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