The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching
Edited By Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez
From the beginning of our work with two cohorts of faculty at the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University, we cultivated a strengths-based approach to teaching across cultures—encouraging faculty to reflect on strengths from their own cultures and to also identify, notice, acknowledge, and engage strengths from their students’ cultures in service of learning, in all academic subject areas. Faculty rose to this challenge, moving beyond laments they may have had about students to look candidly at their own assumptions and practices and to grow and develop in their teaching.
Engagement in culture and teaching autobiographies especially meant looking deeply inward and contemplating origins, meaning, and manifestations of cultural values and paradigms and relating these to their teaching. Cultural introspection facilitated many revelations among these cohorts of faculty, enabling strengths-based transformations and innovations to teach more effectively across the diversity of students in their courses.
In this work, we honor Indigenous cultures when we capitalize meaningful words such as Mother, Elder, and Indigenous. We also do not italicize words that do not appear in English, to center the importance of language that has no English translation yet evokes deep elements of the human experience. ← ix | x →
Susan Diana Longerbeam
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