Cultural Lessons

Today offered a few lessons in cultural differences that we all take so for granted. I told my 6th Class students that they needed to keep their homework worksheets to study from because the next test I write for them will consist of questions from those worksheets. So Jeta (my co-teacher) went to get them paper clips to clip their papers together. My students were so cute! No one was really sure how to use a paper clip. Oops–teachable moment. This is how we use a paper clip. One of those things we just totally take for granted. Jeta and I were circling the room helping them fasten their papers together with their paper clips. When did we learn about paper clips? I think I have always known how to use one but surely there must have been a time when I didn’t. Does anyone remember when they learned to use one?

So now  I have some papers to hand out. I have counted out enough for each row and hand it to the first person in each row. They just looked at me with a blank look. What do I do with this? So I took one and handed it to the first person and indicated they should then share them with the rest of the row. So that first person got up and handed each person a worksheet. Take one and pass it back is not a concept with which they are familiar yet. They will be. I don’t want to have to walk around and hand out papers to each student.

The last teachable moment of the day dealt with the discovery of the Foja Mountains in Papua New Guinea in 2005( a reading excerpt for the IX Klase).  The people who discovered it said they had found a “virtual Garden of Eden”. Who knows what the Garden of Eden is? As I suspected, no one knew. Okay brief lesson on Biblical lore to explain what it is. Did I mention that all of my students are Muslim? So I made sure I prefaced the explanation with, “In Christian tradition……….” Oh the fun I have! Hope no one thinks I  was  trying to teach religion. That is the last thing in the world I  would want anyone to  believe! They also didn’t quite understand “virgin forests” . I wasn’t really going there–just a  forest that has never had trees harvested.

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A 60 something woman who has run off to faraway places with the Peace Corps.

4 thoughts on “Cultural Lessons”

  1. Use of paper clips…… Hmmm, probably just one of those things we learned by observation and never thought about it. Trees that have never been harvested is exactly correct. Learning goes both ways.

  2. It’s amazing isn’t it what we take for granted. Fun lesson….same for passing pot papers. The Muslim creation story is almost the same…Adam was taken to abeutiful spot in Paradise– Garden of Eden–similar ….. Did any of the students see the similarity?
    I don’t blame you on virgin explanation. Actually your exlanations sounds perfect to me. Great job!

    1. The Muslim story is the same but the words are something they don’t have in their vocabulary. So I had to give it a contextual setting. And yes virgin as I defined it is correct I just hoped no one in the classroom was going to bring up other definitions. They do look words up in dictionaries!

      1. Teaching is such fun especially those moments….of oh no! I didn’t think of that. Enjoy them.

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