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Education: Cultural Hegemony and Critical Consciousness The Lac du Flambeau Curriculum

Culture Shock & Stages of Acculturation

Culture shock occurs when someone is exposed to a culture that varies significantly from theirs. It is the emotions we experience when our familiar cultural markers, like language, have moved.

Stages of Acculturation

These are the stages of acculturation, though they are never linear:

  1. Contact = Elation, euphoria, excitement, hopes, dreams
  2. Disintegration = Increasing confusion, disorientation, sense of loss
  3. Re-integration/Rebellion = Rage, nervousness, hostility, feelings of rejection
  4. Autonomy/Recovery = Feels more relaxed, self control, gaining in confidence
  5. Independence/Adaptation = Trust, humor, feels more self-actualized

Culture Shock at Lac du Flambeau

Natives often experience culture shock in schooling off the reservation, and feel alienated from the “norms” of the dominant U.S. society.

Students often struggle at the high school level because they tend to learn in different ways and have different values so it makes it hard to adjust to their experience off the reservation; 

16% of Native Americans earned a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2017 compared to 42% of white students.

Students transition from their home cultural life to school cultural life so culture shock is dependent on the extent to which students’ home cultures are students’ home cultural backgrounds are culturally compatible with the culture of the schools.

This is more likely in the Lac du Flambeau public school

  • When the native students go from the elementary school to the high school the numbers of peers from similar cultural backgrounds changes considerably (from about 90% Native students to about 30%)
  • Students move from high school to college, workforce, etc. (Native Americans made up about 0.9% of WI population in 2008)

Characteristics of a Culturally Responsive Teacher

  • Ability to respond to the needs of ALL of the students in the classroom
  • Demonstrate caring and empathy (high expectations)
  • Reflective about their beliefs about other cultures (confront the stereotypes we embody)
  • Reflective about own cultural frames of reference (world views)
  • Knowledgeable about other cultures (learning styles, language, everyday practices, historical experiences, etc.)
  • Engage in Scaffolding and working with students in their Zones of Proximal development (ZPDs) – Vygotsky

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