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Thread: Cultural Sensitivity

  1. #1
    anti-semantics Pub Quiz Champion tsurara may be famous one day tsurara may be famous one day tsurara's Avatar
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    Cultural Sensitivity

    I'm a teacher at a Japanese junior high school... and while I adore the kids and generally get along with them swimmingly, every so often one will do something incredibly insensitive in total innocence.


    On Monday, I was teaching a class of 1st Graders (7th in the US) a lesson on Niagra Falls. There's a picture of an observation tower in the textbook on the pages talking about Canada. The kids tend to doodle in their textbooks when bored, and since they own the books: it's usually not a problem if they want to deface their own stuff.

    But this particular day I noticed that a boy in the first row had painstakingly drawn two airplanes crashing into the tower and has written "9-11" in the margin.

    He knows I'm from New York... but when I looked at his book, he didn't react at all. I kept my poker-face, smiled and didn't miss a beat. But, I have to admit, it bugged me.

    I have to spend 2 weeks teaching a lesson on the US bombing of Hiroshima in English class, but none of them have the foggiest about the potential hurt making fun of something like 9-11, the Holocaust or Pearl Harbor might cause...

    I'm not saying American students are necesarily any BETTER in this reguard... (for example. how many times on this board have people used the racial slur "Jap" as an abbreviation for "Japanese"?) or that I think the kid was TRYING to be obnoxious (I know he wasn't). I just wonder if there's anything we can do to make kids in our own cultures slightly less ignorant of the potential misunderstandings and hurt feelings that can come from lack of appropriate knowledge in the context of another culture.

  2. #2
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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    Education is falling bits by bits... I mean... you don't find the same interest on learning... kids on this days are not curious enough... I don't know about other countries but on mine, even thought we go through a rough scan of history and all academics... and most of the time the professors know what they are teaching... not all of the students analize or question the information given.... I mean... right now we just study for a test... and that's it... we don't study to learn something... we don't study anymore to have a little bit more knowledge...
    To make the kids a little more interested on facts, like The 9-11 airplane attack, we actually have to stop talking to them as if it is just a story... we have to find a way to explain to them how does that fact affects them (indirecly or direcly) and actually make them think and let them know "this is not a joke... this was very real, and the people of that country is still affected and sensitive about that fact... make them not only big brains with A's on the tests but make them critical people... that know where we all come from and from there... where we are going.... what can be learned from the past, to work on the present, to improve the future and to avoid these misunderstandings.
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    Newbie WishIcouldlivemore is off to a good start WishIcouldlivemore's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    Hey I'm really sorry I know that stuff related to our own countries tragedies hurts people a great deal. I am a 16 year old Sri Lankan Aethist and whenever I arrive at school the insults about me being a terrorist is never far way it hurts but you have to be stronger than the world that wants to crumble into racial ignorance,be the shining light to that young boy and keep your head up because those people who died in that attack must be given the respect they deserve don't dwell on the sadness of their deaths instead educate people about the problems in the world and maybe they'll educate someone else. Sorry if I droned off but it is a big deal.

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    Otaku Aleister Sithis is off to a good start Aleister Sithis's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    And this is when we lead into a twofold. Run the schools like a facsism or communism. They misbehave or dare to break a rule, BEAT them into submission, and make them regret it. Then anyone 18+ make them take an IQ test, if they get 119 and lower, kill them off, and make the rest mate. We can create a wonderful humanity this way.

    Ok, now on a more serious note: Really, I can say it IS bad. I don't know what to blame...I guess it's just how we progress, is their a solution? Probably - For kids not as curious it's not always them it CAN be the Teacher on occasions, in example my Intro to Pyschology teacher (Funny t hing is I took regular Psychology....) He is...VERY broing, we do NOTHING...and it's sad, sure it's nice talking to my friends,s still I'd like to get something in mind.

    Ehh...yeah the most relavant I can get.

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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    oh man i know exactly how you feel.
    We had to go over all of the genocides in class about 3 weeks ago and this one guy kept saying that jews suck and he like worships hitler. I want to kill him honestly.

    but i dont think thats its just making them less ignorant i also think that we need to teach them to actually care about others.
    Cause thats why alot of kids do what they do. They just dont care.
    Like my teacher said our generation is like the most apathetic generation ever. we just dont care and we think that everything is just going to get handed to us. And i know that not everyone is like that but for majority of em it is true.
    Like nickleback says in his song. "IF everyone cared"

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    Devoted Otaku Defend Your Castle Champion rock on may be famous one day rock on may be famous one day rock on's Avatar
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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    IF you look at it kids today (when i say kids like 7th and 8th graders in USA, so 12 and 13) Only care about having everyone like them and will do what every it takes to get there. I'm a sinor in high school and there isnt really any one who trys to learn. Like in my AP Eourpean history most are taking so when they go in collage they wont have to take it when it is harder. You cant really fix it unless you do what the chiness are doing. Look at them there kids are most likly smarter then most American
    kids. They learn so there country becomes the best. Kids need a goal to learn we need more nationalism.

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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    Most of these kids just don't care about it. Alrite, I'm only 19 so I'm not trying to say I have years of experience. When you were a kid their was atleast one subject you just didn't think you would ever need. I remember never thinking that History was a great subject, but I remember when i was still in 10th grade my 10th grade teacher opened my mind to how exciting History is! She was able to get in touch with me, because of the disasters that happened in my time (9/11.....I live in NC, but I had family in NC at the time) and in the time period of my parents(Vietnam...Dad was military). What I'm trying to say is that these kids haven't realized that its not important because some of them that just don't have the knowledge that, everything happening in their time right now is effecting their future. They don't care about their future right now. They haven't had anything shatter their dreams or scare them to death of their life and freedom. They don't know the fear of losing someone special or the impact of death.

    I might be wrong....I'm just 19, but I do know that ever since I realized that the people I love could die any second and that I might be able to help them with my knowledge of the world and whats happening; also that we all have a hand in what happens in the world to everyone and ourselves, I've been learning and understanding everything I can and I mean EVERYTHING!

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    Re: Cultural Sensitivity

    I used to work in a K-8 grade school and there used to be a lot of cultural insensitivity in the classrooms. I doubt that anything's changed over the last couple years either.

    When I would work as an educational assistant, I would overhear kids talking about their Asian classmates; referring to them as 'Chinese'. This is typical anywhere you go in my town, to be quite honest, and the funny thing is: There are mostly Hmong, Laotian and Japanese people here (out of the Asian populace). I would approach the kids and ask them, "How do you know they're Chinese? Do you know them on a personal level? Did you ask them, 'hey. what nationality are you?' Do you know his/her parents?" I would go on and on and on. My mother did it to me when I was real young. I would call every Asian I seen Japanese, LOL.

    About the 9/11 thing... Wow! I didn't think a student in JAPAN--of all places--would draw something like that! Maybe like one of my brothers, I can picture doin' that but a kid who doesn't even LIVE here? >_< I won't say whether he's right or wrong. It's not my place to. But it is quite strange to me.

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