“Culturally sensitive teachers…have a deep sense of connectedness with their own beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and understandings about themselves”, (Gibbs, 2006, p.180). How do we know where we are going if we don’t know where we have been? Every decision we make and everything we go through makes us who we are today and because of this, no two world views are the same. I had to ask myself, how can I interact with my students and their culture when I have little understanding of my own? Gay, (2000) points out that if teachers do not understand or see their own ‘cultural blinders’, they cannot remove the cultural barriers for their students.
I struggled with the concept of my own culture and where I had come from, my whanau (family), my Whanaungatanga (relationships)...
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...to where I am regarding my ‘cultural locatedness’, where I have come from and where I need to go in terms of my culturally responsive pedagogy.
In conclusion, monocultural education is no longer tolerable. I want to be the best teacher I can and this means first looking critically at myself. I am the catalyst for change within myself, my classroom and the wider society. This course has presented challenges regarding where I am positioned with the topic of cultural diversity, especially where my own is concerned, and how it effects my future teaching. For a person to grow, they first need to critically reflect. Associate Minister of Education, Honourable Dr Pita Sharples (2011) says it best, ‘Whaia te iti kahurangi; ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei’ - Pursue the highest ideals; if you must submit, let it be to a lofty mountain, (Ministry of Education, 2011, p.3).
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