Culture is sustained through the individual’s efforts to recognize it, understand it, value it, and find its place within a multicultural society. Cultural identity development provides a framework for positive change in that it involves examination of one’s own cultural “roots” in order to gain the self awareness that can enrich and clarify an individual’s sense of identity. This clarified identity can serve as an anchor in a multicultural world. Building upon knowledge of self, each individual becomes empowered to move toward social action with knowledge of the cultural forces (and the previously unexamined biases) that have shaped personal identity.
In these times of worldwide upheaval and change, sustainability of culture is a challenge. To promote sustainability, cultural identity development can and must be taught by educational institutions to prepare youth for success in the ever-changing world. This paper offers specific strategies that educators can use in the classroom to enhance self-understanding and assist their students’ identity development. The author’s experience as a teacher and teacher-trainer in the United States is drawn upon to offer examples of challenges, pitfalls, and workable solutions involved in that process.
|Keywords:||Cultural Sustainability, Cultural Identity Development, Immersion|
Assistant Professor, Education Department, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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