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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-Four: Developing a Culturally Introspective Practice


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Developing A Culturally Introspective Practice


I accept culture as a part of my teaching because it is the thing that I always wrestle with, and as a scholar, how can one effectively build a home around their ideas while inviting others to be a part of that home as well?


Teaching effectively across cultures requires a variety of developments in our practice. A critical one is developing a culturally introspective practice that will enable us to understand the role of our own cultural influences in our pedagogical choices, interactions with students, and judgments about values, priorities, and student behaviors. Another is going inward on a regular basis to observe our own interpretations of students and then going deeper to understand the meaning of our interpretations followed by considering the influence of our interpretations on our teaching takes courage, persistence, and a developing insight. As faculty develop a culturally introspective practice, this becomes both easier and more challenging. Easier because it becomes a habit of mind, more challenging because we begin to notice things about our own interpretations that can be uncomfortable, that can challenge our sense of self as we realize we are making judgments that may be unequal or unfair to specific populations of students.

I accept culture as a part of my teaching because it is the...

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