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Author Topic: An Unusual Teaching Challenge  (Read 13049 times)
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Last Login:February 13, 2010, 04:43:29 pm
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« Reply #2: September 18, 2007, 08:21:43 am »

      My first little own post.......yeesh people duck and cover!  At any rate I'm as some of you know over here in Japan, and I'm in fact teaching!  Now as part of my nifty-difty lesson plan structure (passed down upon the ages from Master ALT to Apprentice ALT  Roll Eyes ) I have been asked to teach about both Christmas and Halloween.  Which I'm completely happy to do!

      My challenge comes in that my supervisor's would like me to present the topics in a way that is personally and culturally relevant to me.  They feel that the students will have a stronger connection, and greater interest in Western culture if they can make it through personal knowledge of me.  I am all for sharing cultural information, but I tend to go a wee bit over board (  Grin ) on Yule and Samhain, they are for me very important days of the year.

I'll gently suggest that, unless you are completely out of the closet and your supervisors are aware that you are a pagan and thus a member of a VERY small minority subset of western religious tradition, that you discard all your actual current personal associations and that you teach the mainstream American popular/secular versions of both, with the religious basis included, of course.

Depending on how old your students are, of course, it sounds as if they want your students to get a taste of what they'd experience if they were visiting the US at those times of year, with a bit of the cultural and religious origins of what they'll see.

Yep, I agree that what the lesson seems to be about is mainstream culture in the U.S. Personally, I wouldn't "go pagan" on them. If you teach them your pagan traditions, well, if they ever get to the U.S., they will be surprised Chrsitmas wasn't exaclty what they thought it was.  Grin

A nice touch though might be to add ONE of your pagan traditions, one that is really meaningful to you. Just make sure they know it is Yule not Christmas.

Since you didn't say the age of your students, I don't know if you are teaching pre-school or college, so I can't recommend any activities. 

I think you might do well to think of it as a "what to expect to see in the U.S. at these times of year" kind of assignment. Imagine your students stepping off an airplane, and all the question they might have about what they would be seeing;
Christmas; What's that big pine tree with the decorations for? Who is the man in the red suit with a white beard? Why is he ringing a bell? Why so much red and green?
Halloween; Why are people wearing costumes? Why is that pumpkin carved with a face? What are the colors and foods associated with the holiday? Why so many monster faces?

That would be what I would want to know if the assignment were reversed, that is if I were to be told what a major holiday in another country was all about.

You can explain that not all Americans believe this way, but the majority do, without trying to give equal time to all other religions (spare yourself the aggravation) Remember, not even all pagans believe the same things.

Have fun with it, this could be a fun assignment for all, depending on the ages of your students, they may already have some (not so correct) ideas about American holidays anyway.

Let us know how it turns out!


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