Shared Identity & Traditions

It is so important today that we all remember our roots. These days, people use knowledge of who a person is and where they come from as negative attacks against them. However, who we are as people, where we come from and the traditions that our lineage has provided for us should be celebrated. I was enlightened this week with reading numerous poems from Leopold Sedar Senghor, Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, Chike’s School Days by Chinua Achebe and The Deep River: A Story of Ancient Tribal Migration by Bessie Head. All of them were based on the theme of identity and sharing numerous nationalities while entertaining many traditions.

I have always stood by my way of thinking that movies are a great way to teach subjects to the most unwilling of students. In one movie example, In My Country is an amazing illustration of living with two identities simply because one of the main characters is a white American, born and raised in Africa. Her story is a great one. However, this theme of identity should not be a new subject for the generations of the 21st Century. We see daily the consequences of being different in the ways of racism and ignorance. It is a subject that hits home with anyone. Finding someone who is only one ethnicity, one race, follows only one race’s traditions is a hard feat these days because we have become so intertwined as humans. That is a way I would incorporate this theme into teaching is simply by using pathos.

A possible group activity one could do in a teaching situation would be to set aside groups of students and have them discuss their origins. Of course, if someone did not want to participate then I would have them research either movies and/or books that show a theme of shared identity. The group activity would hopefully give a sense of togetherness and open discussion about the homework and in-class reading for this topic.

Finding movies that the majority have seen could be brought up and intertwined into the theme discussion. Keeping the students engaged in an ongoing conversation is key. That is another way to bring pop culture into teaching methods to keep students excited to learn.

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