We all have a culture that we learn about through the lifelong process of socialization. Enculturation is the process of acquiring the characteristics of a certain culture. Socialization is the process through which we learn social norms of the culture. Through these processes we internalize social and cultural norms, so that they become a part of our self. The sources of socialization are clear – the family, the church, the school, peers, the media, etc. As a part of a cultural group, we share customs, language, dialects, ideas, faith, and beliefs about our own culture, as well as beliefs about other cultures. Our own culture is a lens through which we view the world. This is only natural, but we must be careful that we do not use our culture as the standard by which we measure up and judge the value of other cultures.
Sometimes, culture is so intertwined with our feelings that there is a fine line between subjectivity and objectivity. As a teacher, you must be aware of your cultural lens – your learned attitudes as well as learned feelings – about the microcultures to which some of your students may belong.
Your cultural lens is made up of attitudes and opinions and feelings. Your attitudes and opinions are essentially judgments that you may pass from your cultural perspective about the rightness or wrongness of things. Attitudes and opinions are explainable. You can intellectually reason and rationally explain why you believe something is right or wrong, moral or immoral, good or bad. Attitudes and opinions are learned in the socialization process, and may even be so strong that are perceived as feelings. Feelings, however, are different. Your feelings emerge quickly and may be harder for you to explain or understand than your attitudes. There may be some attitudes, opinions and feelings you want to change, or you may be completely comfortable as you are. Either way, in a multicultural teaching environment, you must be keenly aware of your culture, and the cultural lens through which you consciously and/or unconsciously view your students.
In this assignment, reflect on your own cultural lens and think critically about your attitudes and feelings about certain microcultures. Your cultural lens is how you view the rest of the world from the vantage point of your own culture. It is your learned and socially shared set of attitudes, opinions and feelings about other microcultures. You will also assess the Educational Impact (positive or negative) of your feelings and attitudes.
Using the list of microcultures below, respond to the following questions for five (5) microcultures that are listed:
Indicate your personal feelings. Remember that feelings cannot be right or wrong – they are only feelings. List the first three “feeling words” (not adjectives to describe the microculture) that come to mind. How does it make you feel when you think about that microculture? Do not describe how you think members of that microculture feels or should feel. If you are not sure if a word is a “feeling word,” try it in the sentence, “I feel ______.” For example, you may feel sad or frustrated or angry or empathetic when you think about poor people because…….
Indicate your attitudes and opinions about the microculture. Remember, attitudes and opinions are reasoned, intellectual positions. If asked, you could rationally explain and defend (though others may disagree) your position without describing your feelings. If you are not sure if a word is a “thinking word,” try it in the sentence, “I think ________.” For example, you may think that rich people are snobby or shallow or high achievers or intelligent because…….
Reflect on where your feelings, attitudes and opinions come from. What are the sources of your cultural lens? What socialization forces in your life contribute to your cultural lens? Church, media, friends, family, personal experiences, personal observations?
Reflect on how you think your cultural lens could impact your students. How could your feelings and attitudes about this microculture impact your classroom positively or negatively?
Finally, reflect on your comfort level with you own cultural lens, and how it views other microcultures. Do you think that you need to change some aspect of your cultural lens to be an effective teacher? If you think you need to change, indicate the first three things (be specific) that you could do to begin the process of effecting change.
In order for this exercise to be effective and useful, you must be honest with yourself. Your answers will not be shared with other students. You will not be graded on the “rightness or wrongness” of your answers. However, you must answer each of the questions honestly and completely.
Microculture List – Choose 5 groups of which you are not a member.
African American people
Native American people
Persons who participate in the New Age movement (Wicca, Paganism, Earth-based spirituality)
Persons with disabilities
Students who are labeled as “gifted and talented”
Persons residing in the U.S. who do not speak English
Add another microculture that is not listed above
This assignment should be a minimum of 3-5 double-spaced pages in length, with no more than a one-inch margin, and 10 or 12 pt. font.
Complete this assignment in essay style with a separate paragraph (or more) for each microculture.
Save the document in Word, HTM, or Rich Text format. Do not use Works or WordPad.
Please use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Include your full name, date, course, reference number, and title of assignment at the top of the first page.
Please review the Grading Rubrics for grading reflective writing found in the Field Experience Handbook before beginning your assignment.
Please submit using the Reflection Exercise 2 Assignment Drop Box. Please do NOT submit via email.