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ERIC Number: ED474059
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Oct-14
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Asking the Right Questions: Helping Mainstream Students Understand Other Cultures.
Taylor, Jefferey H.
Two common tendencies that lead many mainstream students to misinterpret other cultures are the combative response and the exoticizing response. These misinterpretations, however, can be excellent learning moments for helping students understand the constructed nature of culture and the contextual nature of learning. Transformational multicultural education is for everyone because everyone benefits from understanding other ways of constructing the world. Literature studies can help instructors learn about the cultures they are teaching about because creative literature is one of the prime sources of recorded cultural knowledge. Here are some examples of applying theories of cultural perception to available literature in ways that can help students understand the importance of cultural contexts: (1) Isabel Allende's "Walimai," in which it is easy to get students to pick out differences between Walimai's culture and their own, but where they can also see the sense in the things Walimai believes and does; (2) the plot of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" hinges on the extreme difference between male-female relations in Creole versus mainstream society; (3) Chinua Achebe's "Vengeful Creditor" helps students to see class conflict rather than race conflict, since the oppressors and oppressed are all native Nigerians; and (4) Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Left Hand of Darkness" has often been taught with an eye toward the way it interrogates gender roles. Cites 4 works. (Author/NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A