We take trips to far away places seeking to understand other cultures by witnessing their architecture, listening to their language, and eating their food. But, you – nor our students – need to go to far away places to understand another culture. It’s right outside our front door.
The Latino List is a breath of fresh air I recently stumbled upon while browsing Netflix. The documentary is a series of stories from a number of people coming from numerous disciplines and professions. However, each story’s underlining theme is sharing the perspective of Latinos and Latino Americans living, working, and succeeding in the world.
Young children should be exposed to this types of stories and narratives. First hand. From the source. Imagine a camp fire with everyone gathered around where grandparents tell personal stories and history to the young generations. Too many times we let the media overtake and write the narrative, often with an inexperience, bias, or prejudice that bend, wrongly, or incorrectly represents the story.
Let the people who live the narrative share the narrative with our children. And it would probably not be too bad if adults would listen too. Too often we believe we understand a culture or group of people because of what we see in the media, yet have never had a friend or had a meal with someone from that culture.
How is this understanding? Being among different people while you’re grocery shopping, events, or community functions is not understanding. I’m around automobiles, trains, and airplanes, but I don’t understand how they are built or how they work. Proximity does not equal understanding.
We invite parents, family members, and friends into our classrooms so children can understand and sit in awe of the world they are entering. Firefighters, police officers, and postal workers come to our classrooms. We invite parents to share what they do for a living, in where they are representative of the field they work in. When you’re on Netflix, click the Latino List (1 & 2) and invite the first hand narrative into your living room.
(picture from http://i.lv3.hbo.com/assets/images/homepage/2012/