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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 Twenty: Pros and Cons of a Cosmopolitan Classroom


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Pros AND Cons OF A Cosmopolitan Classroom


Geography University of New Mexico

Because I teach in a university with high percentages of non-white and minority students, there is more attention to culture and diversity on my campus than I have encountered anywhere else during my academic career. Yet in almost a decade of training on how to recognize and respond to the cultural identities that students bring to the classroom, I never considered what cultural identities I myself bring to the classroom. Participation in a yearlong faculty institute on this topic has prompted me to account for the cultural values that underlie my behaviors as an educator and, in so doing, to face difficult questions. What does it mean if some of my value-laden classroom behaviors turn out to have negative impacts on students? Does it mean that my values are inconsistent with my work as an educator? Does it mean that my values are wrong? How can I do a better job of accounting for the inevitable cultural messiness that accompanies the process of education, mitigating potentially negative effects where possible? This essay falls short of answering these questions, but it provides a basis for long-overdue reflection.


My cultural identity is based primarily in the traditions and practices of my nuclear family, in which my parents synthesized their different cultural upbringings to forge a set...

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