Understanding Cross-Cultural Identity through Exploring the African-American Journey Stacie Miller, Associate Professor & ESOL Coordinator, CCBC Michael Walsh, Associate Professor & Communication Studies Coordinator, CCBC Culturally Responsive Instruction (CRI) 1) 2) 3) Goals To develop faculty understanding of the nature of race and culture, including expressions of race and culture of the students with whom they work. To positively affect faculty’s interaction with students by training faculty to manage racial and cultural elements of classroom exchange. To improve student success by developing faculty’s ability to respond to cultural and racial needs and expectations of students But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy—Ladson-Billings Culturally relevant pedagogy rests on three criteria or propositions: 1) Students must experience academic success 2) Students must develop and/or maintain cultural competence 3) Students must develop a critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order Ladson-Billings continued… 1) Academic success “ The trick of culturally relevant teaching is to get students to ‘choose’ academic success.” 2) Cultural competence “Culturally relevant teachers utilize students’ culture as a vehicle for learning.” 3) Critical consciousness “If school is about preparing students for active citizenship, what better citizenship tool than the ability to critically analyze the society?” What the assignment accomplishes 1. Scaffolding of skills – common themes presented in these readings provide a continuity that allows students to build on ideas and skills covered in previous lessons. What the assignment accomplishes 2. Weaving literature and personal experience – encourages higher level thinking skills such as comparison and contrast, and analysis and problem solving. What the assignment accomplishes 3. Learning vocabulary through literature – students learn terms that are embedded in a rich context that provides information about nuances in meaning, use, and social register. The Literature Angelou Hurston Mathabane I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings “Wouldn’t they be surprised when one day I woke out of my black ugly dream, and my real hair, which was long and blond, would take the place of the kinky mass the Momma wouldn’t let me straighten? My light blue eyes were going to hypnotize them, after all the things they said about ‘my daddy must have been a Chinaman’ because my eyes were so small and squinty.” – Maya Angelou Kaffir Boy “And the more I read black literature in the year 1982-1983 and became familiar with the history of black life in America, the deeper my identification with their suffering and experiences became. I began to see that, in a way, their struggle was harder, more baffling, more frustrating, because they lived in a society where they were told daily that everyone is free and equal, that the American dream is within grasp of everyone who tries.” – Mark Mathabane How it Feels to Be Colored Me “Among the thousand white persons, I am a dark rock surged upon, and overswept, but through it all, I remain myself.” “Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me” – Zora Neale Hurston Lesson Objectives 1) Through their readings, students will discover different perceptions of identity. Students will have the opportunity to analyze, synthesize, and apply the information to their own life experience. Lesson Objectives 2) Students will gain exposure to African American voices, increase their understanding of the African American experience, and relate it to their own experiences. Lesson Objectives 3) This lesson will give students the opportunity to embark on a journey of self- exploration by encouraging them to define meaningfully their own identity, learn how identity can be shaped by our personal experiences, and compare these experiences to those of the African American writers. Procedures Students will discuss the concept of identity as a class. 2) Teacher will prompt discussion with questions such as: What is identity? What influences or shapes identity? How would you have described your own identity in your home country? Has this changed since you arrived in the United States? If yes, how? Have you observed any type of identity necessary for success? 1) Procedures 3) Teacher will conduct a pre-reading discussion of the writers students will be exposed to and will also provide a brief outline of African American history. (www.enchantedlearning.com). New vocabulary will also be discussed as necessary. Procedures 4) For homework, students will read excerpts from Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Mark Mathabane's Kaffir Boy in America, and Zora Neale Hurston's essay How it Feels to Be Colored Me. Students will also be asked to bring in a bag of any kind for class activity. Procedures 5) Students will discuss each of the readings. Possible approaches could be comparing/contrasting Angelou and Hurston excerpts, underlining and sharing meaningful sentences, and discussing similarities and differences between the “ghetto” experiences in the United States and South Africa. A graphic organizer could be used to help frame the discussion and prepare students for the at-home assessment. Procedures 6) Teacher will synthesize feedback on the board as a visual technique for sharing ideas on Angelou, Mathabane, Hurston, and Me. Procedures 7) Discussion prompt: Which of the writers do you identify with the most? 8) Discussion prompt: What are some obstacles that can hold people back? Teacher elicits responses and writes them on board. Students do a freewrite on possible obstacles in their own lives and how to overcome them. Procedures 9) Bag Activity: Re-read Hurston paragraph on the brown bag of miscellany. 10) Teacher demonstrates activity. 11) Teacher will distribute index cards and ask students to write words/phrases that describe their identity and place them in the bag. Procedures 12) Students will share their bags with the class/small groups. 13) Teacher will make connection between Hurston excerpt and the results from the bag. Assessment For homework, students write a short paper where they answer the following questions: Which reading can you relate to the most? What have you learned about how your identity has been shaped? Has living in another country changed your identity? If yes, how? Modifications Read Newsweek article, “An Immigrant’s Silent Struggle” Watch youtube clips depicting different stages of African American history (Roots, The Color Purple, and The Pursuit of Happyness) Play Cultural Connections Maya Angelou reading “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman” on youtube.com Use enchantedlearning.com for African American history timeline Works Cited Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1969. Hurston, Zora Neale. “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.” http://www.jjuriaan.com/How_It_Feels_to_be_Colored_Me.pdf Ladson-Billings, Gloria. “But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.” Theory into Practice 34.3 (1995): 159-65. Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy in America. New York: New Millennium, 1998.