ERIC Number: EJ1121743
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1745 -7823
"Do They Think We Live in Huts?"--Cultural Essentialism and the Challenges of Facilitating Professional Development in Cross-Cultural Settings
Alvaré, Bretton T.
Ethnography and Education, v12 n1 p33-48 2017
Depending on the particular definition of culture they employ, pedagogical approaches meant to promote integration, inclusion, and empowerment across cultural divides can end up magnifying existing feelings of alienation, exclusion, and disempowerment. This article explores the negative consequences that can arise when "funds of knowledge" approaches are employed to construct "culturally responsive pedagogy" through the case of the Sharing the Environment programme, a situated professional development programme that sought to promote inquiry-based environmental education at the elementary school level. The programme directors' efforts to mediate the cultural differences between the different groups of participating teachers inadvertently engendered a process of "othering" that actually inflamed the ethnocentric opinions participants had of one another. I argue that the reasons their well-intentioned, theoretically grounded efforts failed so spectacularly have to do with their reliance on a particular, essentialised concept of "culture" that entered science education research in the 1950s and remains at the heart of funds of knowledge pedagogical approaches.
Descriptors: Faculty Development, Cultural Differences, Ethnography, Cultural Awareness, Teaching Methods, Culturally Relevant Education, Inquiry, Program Descriptions, Environmental Education, Educational Technology, Technology Integration, Technological Literacy, Elementary School Students, Selective Admission, Urban Schools, Charter Schools, Foreign Countries, Qualitative Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania; Trinidad and Tobago
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A