Friday, May 8, 2015

A to Z: Cultural Perspectives in Education

Vaughan M. Blaney
BSc(UNB,Canada), BEd(UNB,Canada), TEFLA(University of Cambridge), MEd(HKU, Hong Kong)

Book: "A to Z: Cultural Perspectives in Education"

The Letter 'M'...

Metical, euro, rial, frane
Tughrik, pound, krona, rupee
The world has almost 200 currencies
And during show-and-tell they're fun to see

Many of us are very different, but still we all: 
  • enjoy beautiful music
  • know the importance of medicine
  • like getting a letter in the mail
  • try to be polite and show our manners
  • like wearing a mask in drama
  • mature with each passing day
  • recognize our class as a mosaic of cultures
  • enjoy the world of magic
  • like to make new friends
  • know how to print the letter M

The power of encountering diverse views of reality through shared stories remains in today's world but it is discovered in a different setting. A fascinating aspect is that not only has the context changed it has also expanded. Today, readers encounter cultures and people they rarely have the opportunity to meet face-to-face (Miller & McCaskill, 1993; Rosenblatt, 1938). Gutenberg's printing press changed the communication settings of the world. People can now encounter diverse perspectives simply by accessing what is now a vast repertoire of books, in a range of media from vellum to pixels on a computer screen.

Through print, the reader is drawn into new worlds where characters give each of us a new lens to use in viewing reality. Characters for whom we feel empathy can generate the development of broader perspectives of our worlds, including the recognition that nor everyone perceives in precisely the same way. Such a recognition could lead the reader to an epiphany of self-discovery grounded in the understanding of just how one's own culture has shaped and molded one's attitudes, values and beliefs (Carlson, 1992; Hansen-Krening, 1992). From this initial awareness of self, the process of ethnic identity development is sparked (Christensen, 1989; Helms, 1993; Sue & Morishima, 1982; Uba, 1994).

Mizokawa, Donald, Nancy Hansen-Krening and Zhongming Wu

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