Julie Bishop once said, “Our cultural diversity has most certainly shaped our national character.” I believe this, and I know that at Westlake, I’m not alone. There has been a cultural appreciation trend in this school for as long as anyone can remember, and one of these beautiful traditions is the Cultural Reports of third grade. What began with the long-loved (and still missed) Mrs. Jackson, has continued with the delightful and insightful Miss Betori!
Students are assigned a country to research, create a report on, and speak about. From France to Greece, Italy to Japan … sea to shining sea is covered in this delightful dip into cultural and ethnic awareness. Miss Betori literally drapes her room with lively artistic representations of the globe, and her children are immersed in the worlds that exist within our world, but that we so rarely are able to see.
In speaking with Miss Betori, I think the most exciting part of it all is being able to give her students opportunities to shine … to be the star presenter and allow them each the honor to show how knowledgeable they are. Any time teachers give their students the chance to take ownership of their own learning, authentic engagement will take place, and true connections will be had!
According to Cesar Chavez, “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community – and this nation.” I think it is evident, given the current state of unrest in our own country, that the more we can direct our focus on others, using the love and example of Christ, the better chance we have of healing. One thing is sure, I feel blessed to have my own children at Westlake, to gain the insight and perspective to be able to appreciate the diverse world we are a part of. We are called to be ambassadors to Christ, and that can only happen when we learn to care with intention about all of God’s globe … not just our small corner of it.