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?

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

  • 17. March 2019 at 12:24

    Dear Janine Slaga

    I would like to post your diagram on our notice board (social work University of Suffolk, UK) and share it in relevant lectures.

    I will make sure to use your full name and include the website address. Is the date of publication (for referencing purposes) 2014?
    Many thanks for your good work.

    Nora (social work course lead)

    • Janine
      16. June 2019 at 14:04

      Hi Nora,
      Yes, as long as it is fully credited, you may use it on the notice board and in lectures at the university. Cheers

  • 10. April 2019 at 12:39

    Hi Janine,

    I tried sending a comment a few weeks ago but I think maybe I did it wrong. If you received it already, I’m sorry, please ignore this one.

    I work for francophone cultural non-profit. We would like to present your Iceberg model, translated in French, to our audience and our members. Recently, we have many multicultural projects and we think your model would be useful and insightful for them.

    We will give you credit (your full name as the author of the model and the link to your website – if there’s anything else, let us know).

    Can I have your authorization for this?

    Feel free to send me an answer to my email address as well.

    • Janine
      16. June 2019 at 13:54

      Hi Camille, yes, as long as it is credited, you may use a translated version for your non-profit. I hope it is very useful in your projects!


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