Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teaching Cultural Awareness

“Teaching today, more than ever, needs to emphasize cultural awareness. The way we think and act is shaped by culture. It is important that students recognize that they are a part of a greater community filled with many different perspectives.

To help my first year seminar students with this, I have them read A School for My Village: A Promise to the Orphans of Nyaka, and identify all of the similarities and differences they see in Twesigye Jackson Kaguri’s account of his own childhood and work in Uganda as compared to their own culture. With the support of my colleagues, we have also been able to bring Kaguri in to speak to the students and give them the opportunity to ask him questions giving them more direct exposure to Ugandan culture and how it compares to American values and beliefs. As one of my students wrote,

I really enjoyed hearing Kaguri speak. It made what I read more realistic and ‘in my face.’”

Kaguri’s talks have been well received by students and faculty alike and have even inspired some of our students to do more.  

I was an First Year Seminar student last year and was moved by this organization and wanted to do something to help the children in Africa, I aimed for a more individual approach at first but then realized I could do more by drumming up support from the students here at the university.”

Reflecting on the information in Kaguri’s book and his presentations has helped my students apply a more global perspective in their evaluation of different cultural identities and the interactions that occur between them in our increasingly interconnected world.”

Laura Zimmerman
Professor of Psychology
Shenandoah University

Thank you Laura, and your students, for all you do for Nyaka. You are enabling growth for our students and grannies in Uganda!

Check out A School For My Village to learn more about Kaguri’s story and how you can bring a global perspective into the classroom.

Join our National Friends of Nyaka Group on Facebook to learn more about forming your own student led chapter TODAY!