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ERIC Number: EJ916848
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-1068-3844
The Lifenet View: Fostering Contextual Understanding in the Professional Education Curriculum
Armstrong, Jan
Multicultural Education, v18 n1 p55-59 Fall 2010
The work described in this article represents an effort to foster a contextual understanding of human development in culturally and developmentally diverse classrooms through autobiographical reflection and reflexive inquiry. The author's goal is to use the exercise to foster "deep learning" about human development and to develop a classroom environment that values and fosters classroom community. This means establishing a classroom environment that reduces barriers to meaningful collaboration and intergroup friendship formation. By encouraging students to learn from each other, classroom communities provide a powerful venue for intellectual, social and emotional growth. A first step in establishing such communities involves creating the conditions necessary for students to begin to trust and learn from one another. The author developed the Lifenet View exercise to help post-secondary and graduate students better understand abstract theoretical perspectives on culture, context, and individual differences, and to explore with them the relevance of these principles for their future work as professional educators, counselors, and social service providers. Lifenets are visual images that portray one's relationships to people, places, and things. As students draw and share their lifenets, they learn about themselves and their classmates. Thus, the exercise provides a way for students of all ages in racially and culturally diverse classrooms to get to know each other and to examine differences as well as similarities in their life experiences. It also affords college instructors an opportunity to become better acquainted with students. The author begins with a brief review of some of the theoretical ideas that have informed this work. After describing the exercise in detail, the author summarizes what she has learned from looking at and reflecting on her students' lifenets and commentaries. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A