“One world, Many voices.”

Thanks to Siromani for this tweet that gave me such a great opening for this post.

Last night I was privileged to host a #GlobalClassroom chat session with Julia Skinner.

Our topic was inspired by a blog post from Edna SacksonEdna wrote about culture and used the analogy of an iceberg.

The discussion was fast paced over the hour and I was thankful to Michael Graffin for creating a list of questions to help guide the discussion.

I was particularly interested in hosting the session as I wanted to clarify my own thoughts about culture as this is our topic for Newmarket School. The first step in teaching a new topic is to define the term with the children. I already had two sessions with the children and we had begun to make links with what they knew about culture. As my own knowledge was not as clear as it could be I was excited to learn from the discussion. I took time to ponder the various statements by going back over the chat via the storify created by Marnel. So this is what I have created for my definition. Thanks to all of you who took part as I have taken parts of the discussion to help frame my thoughts. Thanks to to Clive Elsmore who creates an archive of all the chats as it was great to trawl the following chats for their gems too.

My definition of culture.
Culture is an iceberg. Above the water we can see national costumes, physical appearances, tattoos and body adornments, food and hairstyles. We can hear language and music. We can smell scents such as spices, food smells and nature smells including the different flower scents. We can taste foods that are sweet, spicy, salty, hard and soft. Below the surface we can feel joy, sadness, excitement, love and respect.

Above the surface is the difference between us all. Below the surface is what joins us together as part of the  human race. Our feelings is what makes us human. It is our treatment of the differences above the surface. Culture is our way of living. It is the beliefs and values of a group of people. It is the beliefs, values and traditions that we practise and celebrate in our daily lives. It is the core values that we all have in common such as respect, trust. beliefs, kindness and love. I think as families and individuals we evolve our own cultural practice to reflect how we are validated or what we learn. Learning about culture is important to accept the reality. “One world, Many voices.” It is about treating those differences that above the iceberg with actions of dignity and respect. It is about communication and being transparent with communication.

Where to next, this week I will be reworking our class draft definition and I can see how I am moving to creating a definition of culture from our school perspective. So again, I can see how I would use the above the iceberg to what we can see in schools as a difference between schools and what happens below the iceberg as a commonality we have with all our children in schools.

Finally, when I frame learning using SOLO taxonomy I use my SOLO mentor Ginny who I go to for feedback. Ginny has suggested I include way of life too and how culture is passed between generations. Therefore the idea from Siromani of ‘One world, many voices’ surmises this. Again Ginny’s feedback suggests turning my thinking upside down and begin with whats under the iceberg and use that to give examples of what is above the iceberg. Those of you who were with us last night, what definition of culture did you come up with?

Follow up, I was interested to see Dr Kofoed, my school principal include this statement as part of our teacher appraisal.
‘To enhance the relevance of new learning, in 2014 teachers will include:
developing classrooms as high-trust environments, where the teacher affirms and validates the culture and identity of each student.’ Love it.

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