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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 Eighteen: Rage, Courage, Encourage: Citizenship in the College Classroom


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Rage, Courage, Encourage

Citizenship in the College Classroom


Ethnic Studies Northern Arizona University


Who cares about my teaching story? Aren’t autobiographies of unknowns, like myself, narcissistic? Even a well-known voice has shared similar concerns. Cornel West (1999) writes, “I have great suspicion of autobiographical writing. So much of it reeks of self-indulgence and self-absorption, yet any serious engagement with the world includes a questioning of one’s self” (p. 1). West’s words resonate. He continues, “A wholesale critical inventory of ourselves and our communities of struggle is neither self-indulgent autobiography nor self-righteous reminiscence” (p. 3). Accordingly, I think of this essay not as an autobiography, but instead as a critical inventory of self and of community—one that highlights my cultural ambiguities and their connections to teaching and learning. In another reaffirmation, Victor Villanueva Jr. (1993) maintains:

But I can’t just say nothing about how it is I come to know some things … and how I come to think the ways I do about racism and ethnocentricity and the class system … I can’t just say nothing. But there’s Mami and the Latino ways: private things should remain private. So, play out the tension. (p. xi)

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