Through Global Learning (and/or education in general) we must encourage, demonstrate, model, teach, and empower students and educators alike, to be mindful and respectful of other cultures. While connecting with other classrooms and/or educators, it is essential to pay mind to cultural values, opinions, social cues, cultural influences, economic situations, physical surroundings as well as politics throughout your entire connection and beyond.
Allow your students and yourself to delve into the culture of the connected classroom and/or educator. Becoming familiar with such items as mentioned above, will allow for a smoother “connection” and will facilitate the learning process for all. Cultural awareness is key in becoming a globally connected classroom.
Cultural Awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions (Culturosity).
I recently viewed a Turkish t.v. series (1 episode) on Netflix, with English subtitles, with hopes to expand my personal cultural awareness. Throughout the episode I kept a few things in mind …
- What social cues are they displaying?
- What are the physical surroundings?
- What are the cultural influences?
- What is the economic situation?
- Politics involved?
- What are the difference and similarities to my own culture?
I must point out that I was afforded the opportunity to replay the episode. Therefore, I was able to re-view or get a better look at what was occurring. This will NOT be able to take place in the real-world.
WARNING: This t.v. series is not intend for children
Şubat is about an orphaned boy and the horrific tragedy that unfolded at the orphanage and its connections to his present day (adult) life. It is a drama driven, sci-fi flinging, suspense motivated t.v. series that grasps the viewers attention within moments of the title. Though this t.v. series does not “scream” culture, it does not elude from it either.
Based off of this fictional piece, the economic stance of the country being represented (Istanbul) does not seem to differ from that of the U.S. culture, too much. My conclusion of this came from viewing the attire (not surprisingly different, street/comparable attire), physical surroundings (well established city), as well as the way in which they spoke (educated, they spoke in the same manner and tones in which we would speak here in the U.S.).
Politically speaking, I did not pin point any political undertones or references. However, there was an incident in the very beginning of the episode where Şubat was confronted by a mall security guard. He is hit repeatedly and ordered to leave as he is scaring away customers (Şubat was staring at a t.v. screen that was playing the news; SPOILER ALERT he falls in love with the news reporter). If this were to occur in the U.S., the security guard would be arrested for assault since loitering is not a crime punishable by beating.
I could not decipher between cultural influences, not to say that there were none. The writers of this series did a fantastic job making the story not culturally driven and more vastly relatable on the context. **edited** Having gone back through the episode several more times in hopes to find cultural influences, at last, I was able to pin point something. During the very tale end, the camera flows through people playing music and it radiates with culture; how I did not pick up on this before is a mystery! The music seemed to have no lyrics just seemingly historical instruments coming to life. (Its a stretch, a giant stretch but you get the idea.) This choice of music humbles the characters, in my opinion. It is saying to the viewer that the character(s) are grounded with their culture. Whereas as if this t.v. series were made in the U.S. I could imagine music playing that would not be of words found in any dictionary.
Overall, the episode seemed relatable, culturally to the U.S. I believe this was most likely intentional on the writers/producers/directors part to make the t.v. series more marketable. They did a fantastic job if that is the case.
Delving into a culture before connecting with a student/class/educator is essential in facilitating the learning process and experience for all. By becoming culturally aware and connected, allows for the mind to become more open to other’s views and opinions. Ultimately giving way to a greater, positive impact on the world in which we live. Because cultural awareness is the foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions (culturosity).