Getting a Taste for Research and Culture

Each term, our 5th grade students have a different topic for Critical Thinking lessons. The aim of these topics is to introduce the point of resources, research, note-taking, and presentation skills. More than those objectives, project lessons are engaging and exciting for our young learners because we are introducing them to academic independence gradually.

The research topic for the second term is titled “Food and Culture.” The students are taught about aspects of culture with guided research questions and resources. At the end of the term, the students present their findings to the class and together we share a tasty treat from the culture we learned about. When students get a bite of the culture in their lessons, they stay hungry for cultural knowledge and love classes full of research.

I use every chance I get to talk to my students about culture, archaeology, and various things I have tried throughout my travels. Luckily, many of our students have had the opportunity to visit foreign countries, and they have had the exposure to another culture at a young age. This early introduction to different cultures piques their interest and allows them to appreciate diversity. Diversity appreciation is a pillar in my philosophy as an educator.

So, if many of our students have exposure to another culture at a young age, what do they need from me? First, I can give them vocabulary to use while exploring other cultures and illustrate how to categorize these cultural aspects academically in the classroom. This vocal and intellectual equipment will illuminate what fascinates them while they travel abroad or explore their own culture. My educational goal in this case is that our classroom projects and discussions will have impact on their continued interest in different cultures and encourage them to learn more on their own. Additionally, since I grew up in the USA and traveled mostly through non-western countries, my aim is to introduce students to other cultures they might not be familiar with or have interest in otherwise. I also want the students to know my own excitement for exploring Turkish culture and see the cultural wealth of their home country.

With students this age, a classic academic approach has the potential to dampen their enthusiasm for this subject. Projects are one of the best ways to integrate learning objectives in a unique and entertaining way. Thankfully, our curriculum has included project lessons for the 5th grade that incorporates independent learning, class lead discussions, and group collaboration. In the lessons, the project objectives enable them to think critically, research, and present their research to the rest of the class. Throughout their research last year, the students took it upon themselves to learn another culture’s dance, wear cultural clothing, and try cooking some different dishes not only for their presentation but for their own curiosity as well.

As an educator and anthropologist, the gratification of seeing these students light up when I mention culture and research is infinite! Moreover, passing down some of my most precious academic values to my students is a blessing. Finally, watching their excitement for these topics grow with each lesson is rewarding beyond measure.

Yazar Hakkında

Yazarın Adı: Stacey Ivey
Unvan: İngilizce Öğretmeni

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Getting a Taste for Research and Culture