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Celebrating Culture

Kirstie is a Canadian secondary teacher in Milton Keynes who blogs for Protocol Education regularly. She believes that incorporating celebrations of culture into her lessons can be invaluable for her students.

As a teacher and an Aboriginal woman, every chance I get, I like to think about how I can incorporate other cultures into my lessons and use every moment as a teachable one. In my culture, elders are very important as they  are the true teachers. Their wisdom, stories and knowledge is passed down to generations to listen and learn. This past summer, I worked with elders in my summer teaching post. I learned so much from them and found it to be such an enriching experience.

I had an elder, Adoni, come into my class to talk about her culture. As she is Metis, she shared her knowledge on her cultural traditions: jigging, finger weaving and trapping. She came in traditional regalia to show the students the importance of keeping the culture alive. She sat in her chair, the children quietly listening, and educated us about traditional herbs and medicines and about how important they were and still are to her family. She brought with her several herbs to pass around and explain their healing powers, telling stories about how they really helped her family survive.

Knowing how this experience was for me, and how important it is to get to know elders in your community and hear their stories and wisdom, I can see why this would be an important part of a curriculum, to have students' history books come to life and have them really understand the meaning of being Aboriginal and having traditional knowledge. This would be so useful and interesting to students. This could be done with all cultures, focusing on an important community member or text that could be celebrated in the classroom. This is an easy way to make all students feel important and show other students understanding and empathy.

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Tags: Kirsten, Culture, Secondary Supply Teacher, Aboriginal, Classroom Visitor, History, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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