This weekend, with UN Day coming up, I am thinking about culture. An important yet cryptic element in our everyday interactions, the behaviors and expectations engrained in our students’ brains heavily impact their behaviors and expectations in our classrooms.

icebergThere are many definitions of culture, which primarily refer to the arts, beliefs, and customs of a group of people. I once attended a workshop where culture was defined as the “collective programming of the mind” that distinguishes one group of people from another. I like this definition, because I think the word “programming” really evokes an idea of the invisible parts of culture: the mindsets, the attitudes, the values. These are at the core of any culture; they are often so deeply rooted in our upbringing that we don’t even realize they are there. Yet they heavily influence the way our students (and parents) approach school, teachers, community, and learning—and likewise the way we, as teachers, approach students, parents, and curriculum. So as we approach a day where we celebrate an organization that brings together the many peoples of the world, I am taking some time to reflect on what my students bring to the table, and how I use that in my classroom.

How do you see the effects of your own multicultural environment? What challenges and blessings does a heterogeneous classroom present?

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The rest of the iceberg
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26 thoughts on “The rest of the iceberg

  • 18. January 2018 at 08:52
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    Dear Janine.,

    I would love to use your Iceberg model in my bachelor thesis about culture (properly referenced). It summarizes the whole concept perfectly.

    Can I get your pemission?

    Reply
    • Janine
      29. January 2018 at 04:05
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      Dear Mitch,
      That would be fine. Please reference my full name (Janine Slaga) and the website (www.janinesmusicroom.com). I am glad to hear that my iceberg will be helpful.

      Kind regards,
      Janine

      Reply
  • 29. January 2018 at 00:19
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    Dear Janine,

    I would like to use your cultural iceberg image in my teaching of mythology in an online classroom to help students understand their own identity before trying to describe other groups’ identities from myths.

    If you do allow this, and I’d be very appreciative if you did, is there a specific way you would like me to reference it?

    Yours,

    Clover J. Afokpa

    Reply
    • Janine
      29. January 2018 at 04:05
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      Dear Clover,
      That would be fine. Please reference my full name (Janine Slaga) and the website (www.janinesmusicroom.com). I am glad to hear that my iceberg will be helpful.

      Kind regards,
      Janine

      Reply
      • 30. January 2018 at 21:02
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        Dear Janine,

        Thank you so much for the positive and swift reply.

        Yours,

        Clover

        Reply

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