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Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2nd Grade Teacher at a school in Melbourne, Australia. My job: push kids to think. My passion: helping kids to tackle the life-long skill of searching for meaning, skills, answers and more questions.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What is culture???

Ever asked 4th Graders to tell you what they want to know about culture?  I'd better give them some background info first.  In PYP schools it's called the 'Tuning In' phase...

We gathered some knowledge about what goes in to 'making' a culture.  Su Hart came to visit us and share with us how the Baka people from Cameroon express their culture.  A grandma of one student came to talk to us about Welsh and Celtic culture.  She brought in love spoons, jewelery and we all sang 'Heads, shoulders, knees and toes" together... in Welsh!

The kids were starting to get their heads around culture being comprised of shared values, beliefs, traditions and customs.  Now... what BIG questions were they left wanting to ask?  You'll see that many were inspired to ask some questions about the Baka tribe from Cameroon.  The kids were fascinated!

Unedited.  Unashamedly from the minds of 'little ones'.  Some unusual.  Some unclear.  Some profound!

After the first round of questions came in (with missing capital letters and all...) We had some amazing discussions about what really defined a person's 'culture'.  We discovered that one person could identify with several cultures.  One cherub noted that certain cultures wouldn't allow you to identify with certain others.  We were getting deeper into the 'meaty stuff'.
I decided to pose the following:
We conclude this unit tomorrow... In our 'Taking Action' phase, we decide how the unit has changed who we are.  There will be more questions and possibly some profound answers as part of our concluding activities.  Watch this space.

1 comment:

Zoe said...

Great approach, Richie. I remember coming up against this in a very multicultural school, and one of the (white, minority) kids told me culture was 'the combined achievements and (something else a bit like that) of a group of people.'

It's what his SOSE teacher had told him - they'd all had to memorise it.

This in a school where Somalis rubbed shoulders with Turkish kids and almost no-one but the teachers was white... how was a single definition, let alone that one, going to help anybody?