From the article, I find Loris Malaguzzi's quote very inspiring; he states that "The giraffe is an unfortunate animal his heart and his mind are so far apart it takes days before a giraffe knows he is in love because the love needs to travel a long distance from his heart to his mind. Let's not distance knowledge from passion or intelligence from sentiments. There are too many giraffe schools in this world." The quote encourages me to know that the needs of each student, town, teacher, and community are different regardless of their places of origin. In the case of Omar, he is different from other children since apart from the fact that he is only four years old, he is a Syrian refugee. He does not have his parents since they had to leave them behind while fleeing. Apart from that they also live under harsh conditions since their house is congested and more importantly, he cannot speak English. Also, the quote encourages me to know that different children are driven by their interest to understand and know more activities which are happening in their surroundings despite their age. In the case of Omar, he does not know or probably knows very little about what is going on around him. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to help such children to understand their surroundings and what is happening in it.
The second quote that I find inspiring is "You have to have reasons and motivations. You have to be moved by the desire to find out and to know. To work with passion means to keep the head and the heart in contact" (Kashin, 2015). The activity of modeling is what most kids love most, and it increases their creativity as they try to mold shapes they have been imagining. Omar enjoys building blocks; however, he knocks them down aggressively. Therefore, he should be given time to mold whatever shapes he envisions as a way of increasing his creativity.
Quotes That Inspired My Cultural Competency
"There are two ways that people think about walking on or moving forward. Some people think that to walk, that you need to know where you want to go and how to get there. Other people moved by sentiment or passion, by dreams, move towards something that they don't know yet or understand" (Kashin, 2015). Painting can be used here as one of the open-ended activities (Renkl, & Scheiter, 2017). Since it has no rules, kids can paint anything to their heart's content. They may paint anything of their heart's desire with all the passion. However, in the case of Omar, he has a destructive approach to things such that when he paints, he pounds the painting brush on paper thus splashing paint.
In this emergent, some teachers believe that learning occurs when children are deeply engaged in something that interests them. It is therefore upon the teacher to work together with the children to explore the knowledge build upon their understanding. It shows that children can make their own learning and understand themselves and their place through rapid interaction with others. Social collaboration is encouraged so that every child's thoughts and questions are treasured. Therefore, the teacher should first understand the underlying issues that Omar is experiencing since he is aggressive and destructive with everything including building blocks that he enjoys building and painting that most children often enjoy.
"Reggio educators use the term Progettazione to describe curriculum." Progettazione is a metaphorical dance between teacher and child - a spiral of knowledge Carlinas Rinaldi. Dancing between the teacher and the child can corral his energy and at the same time promoting open-ended play. The kid should direct his activities alone, and he should decide how he wants to interact with the music. The child's attitude means that he/she is a real researcher. All human beings are researchers hence the child will want to know more about a theory or an idea. Children are also able to develop their own theories and concepts that can be shared by others. Probably it is this approach that may help Omar since he is not only free to make choices for himself but change his attitude and at the same time learn from the other children.
Thirdly, "Progettazione is very difficult to describe to those looking for concrete answers rather than opportunities for deep thinking about the big idea of how children learn and how that learning can be made visible in their own context." Progettazione is hard to describe using concrete answers rather than how children understand things and how that learning can be simplified for them to understand. Cultural competency works in this case since it shows sets of behaviors and attitudes which allow people from different cultures to work effectively. Probably, if teachers embrace this method, then they may help Omar and other children in similar situation. The approach is not only flexible but also postulates several possible methods of work within the classrooms, towards staff development as well as building relationship with parents for goals that are common to both children and the parents
Examples of Learning Activities
One example of open-ended learning activity that is relevant in this context is the exposing the children to something that is outside their ordinary experiences. For example, the teachers may introduce esoteric topics in the syllabus to capture the interest of the children. Another example of an activity is the introduction of a trip to the nearest shopping mall to teach the children financial discipline. Lastly, the teachers may also choose to engage in community works alongside their students to show the children the spirit of social responsibility. Omar may develop a different attitude towards education if once in a while their teachers take them out of such learning activities.
Diane Kashin (2015). Emergent Curriculum, Reggio, and Inquiry: Coming to Terms with Terms
Technology Rich Inquiry-Based Research. Retrieved 1 April 2018, from https://tecribresearch.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/emergent-curriculum-reggio-and-inquiry-coming-to-terms-with-terms/
Renkl, A., & Scheiter, K. (2017). Studying visual displays: How to instructionally support learning. Educational Psychology Review, 29(3), 599-621.
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