Abril, C. R. & Kelly-McHale, J. (2016). Thinking about and responding to culture in general music. In C. R. Abril & B. M. Gault (Eds.), Teaching General Music: Approaches, Issues, and Viewpoints (pp. 241-263). New York: Oxford University Press.
In Abril and Gault's book visible culture is "the aspects of culture that we most readily notice when traveling to an unfamiliar country" (243). This can be clothing, food, hair, etc. Invisible culture "includes values, attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns" (243). In my personal life the visible culture is what I let everyone see. For example, my favorite foods, clothes I wear often, and basic knowledge about what movies and music I like. My invisible culture is everything beneath the surface. It's my struggles and everything I have been through that not everyone can see. Lastly, I think within my own cultural there's many things we don't notice about other people. There are some things that we don't notice about other people within our own culture, like their beliefs, or what they might be going through in their own personal life.
In this chapter the authors describe what culture guiding pedagogy means. This means that no student's culture is inaccessible to a teacher. This can mean "Reinventing curriculum, aligning with students experiences and knowledge" (10). By acknowledging and taking the time to learn and understand the student's cultures you can be more informed as a teacher. In addition you can gear your instruction and lesson towards the students in your classes. Something else this chapter describes is how curriculum follows culture. "Instead of asking what song or what culture to teach, we might ask, what does the culture need and what educational goals will help to meet those needs?" (15). This approach focuses on the culture and backgrounds of students. One way you can do this is to have students create their own musical projects because then they are able to share their own culture with the rest of the class. The third thing we learned about in this chapter is called Multicultural learning space. The "teacher provides the information or knowledge to students in an efficient and effective sequence for the majority of students" (17). With this concept students are able to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns to the teacher. If the teacher plans a lesson with music that makes students uncomfortable then they are able to voice that opinion to the teacher.
This chapter also mentions cultural competency. Cultural competency is important for several reasons. I think it's important to learn and understand other cultures so that we can be more informed when we teach and interact with different students. We can incorporate the different cultures of our students into our lessons so everyone is able to become invested in what we're learning. I think it is also important to be informed of everything you're teaching so you know why you're doing something instead of just picking something you think is culturally relevant, but not why it is relevant.
After reading this chapter, I believe there are several ways we can respond to culture in our own class. One way is to have a discussion about it. I think if we are aware of differences in culture, and have an open mind, we become more aware of different cultures and where we all come from. I think we can also consider and discuss how to incorporate other cultures into our classes when we teach. That way when we teach we can incorporate students and their backgrounds/cultures when we have our own classes.
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