There are at least three dimensions to this theme that emerged for our teachers: teachers see their students’ cultures as an asset; students see each other’s cultures as an asset; students see their own culture as an asset. In which case, students get to experience a positive sense of their own cultural identity within the classroom. In pursuing this provocation teachers are required to thinking about ‘cultural diversity’ in their classrooms without containing it ‘within our own grid’ (Bhabha, 1990, p. 208). In which case, to be acknowledging profoundly different cosmologies, philosophies of place and space, and understandings of self and other.
This rethinking also requires:
- avoiding a binary opposition of non-Indigenous versus Indigenous knowledge that treats cultures as homogenous and as hermetically sealed off from one another;
- demonstrating in class a commitment to a positive sense of Indigenous culture and knowledges;
- setting learning tasks that enabled students to research their own linguistic and cultural backgrounds and building cross-cultural knowing and relationships in class;
- enacting pedagogical strategies borrowed from Indigenous culture such as a ‘yarning circle’; and,
- inviting community members into the classroom to share their cultural knowledges (e.g. Indigenous elders).
Bhabha, H. (1990) The third space. In J. Rutherford (ed.) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. (pp. 207-221). London, Lawrence & Wishart.