My Own Cultural and Linguistic Worldview and Identity
Who am I as a cultural being? What is the story of my becoming who I am as a cultural being? Who I am is never a constant. I will be different at the finish of this paper than I was at its start. I am an accumulation - an incorporation - an assimilation of what I began with and what I have lived through, with everything I have brought along with me from every moment before this moment. I feel overwhelmed by these questions.
I have traveled and lived and worked in several countries. At times, as an expedition traveler, a photojournalist, a political cartoonist, and a local news photographer. These experiences, along with my own intrepid nature, have made me realize that the expectation of ambiguity is one of the most valuable personal qualities to exercise for positive outcomes in life.
Quintessance of awareness comes through a willingness to embrace the unknown - and perhaps the unknowable as well.
By traveling with a dictionary for every country whose language I did not know, asking for help from everyone I met, uninhibitedly using whatever vocabulary I could muster, not only led to a bit of language learning, but to connections with people and culture I could not have had were I to try to find only English speakers. And when vocabulary comprehension was not possible, body language and images helped create enough comprehensible communication.
A major focus in my internship of classes with refugees was to urge them to drop inhibition. I used games (eg., “Simple Simon”) to give them scaffolding through fun. Language teaching must be enjoyable. People learn language for many reasons. But even the most avid student will lose interest if the process becomes dreary.
To soar, to have no limits on my self and and place no limits on my students, is the achievement process. To accurately perceive others’ mores, feelings, intelligence, interests, desires, cravings, wants, needs…that is the path to excellence in teaching (and everything else).