Creating a cultural dialogue with students and encouraging each student in every level to engage in material with his or her own personal experiences is helpful in achieving results that are not standard, but socially diverse and encompassed in personal “truth”. This is especially interesting from my own teaching perspective, as the author specifies, teaching should be fun and engaging and driven by the teacher’s own morals and values. This is something that is rarely discussed from teachers and administrators in academic works, morality in teaching rather than going by a strict curriculum to either further one’s own agenda (i. e. becoming a dean or department head) or to adhere to testing or research standards that will guarantee grant money.
Encouraging students to, also, feel comfortable in their own ethnicities and to share “ownership” of their own culture is a wonderful idea and helpful to both the student and the entire class. Overcoming barriers to talking openly about one’s heritage and the heritage of others is a break-though for many students, as it is infrequently requested or required in classrooms. This is a strong idea and approach, though, there may be students, who feel this type of inquiry is intrusive.
This may create a climate of distrust and suspicion if all students do not engage in opening up to this idea and enjoy it. Although, it would be worth a “pilot session” to test out its viability and success in my own teaching. Similarly, balancing the benefits of sharing personal dialogues in a story-telling form, rather than an analytical form may be a weakness to this approach. For students that are willing to share cultural stories, it should come easy to explain and describe events and feelings, but to analyze them in a specific context may be more complicated.
It requires a great deal of self-awareness to analyze oneself objectively. This would definitely be a part of this process, helping students to but their stories into a “bigger picture” as it may relate to social inequalities, gender differences, etc… I would have to research a positive method of teaching these social problems and unique issues and only then could morally feel that the students were learning from experiences and helping others to learn, as well.
Along those same lines, the possibility of the formation of distrustful relationships versus cooperative learning may surface when certain students feel inferior or superior to one another and it may become extremely difficult to overcome. But for a moral experience for all involved, this may be the most important piece of this type of approach. Students can then take this feeling of equality (if this model is used successfully) into the world with them in later classes and experiences.
Overall, I like the idea of being a moral teacher, who is more embedded in what should be taught to create a culturally peaceful existence and understanding in the classroom. There are many snares that a teacher may become caught up in if students are not totally receptive to the practices outlined in the model, but can be successful with practice, trial, and error. I will take all of these ideas into perspective and apply them in teaching, but I feel that morally I must be self-aware and able to discuss my own culture initially. I must be able to literally “practice what I preach”.