Sunday, June 28, 2009

Learning new ways...without forgetting your culture

Educator Canisius T. Filibert likes to tell students relocating to the mainland United States from Pacific Islands in Micronesia that they don't have to forget their island culture to prosper under the public school system.

(Watch him explain the meaning of his name, because there is always a history, a family, a tradition, old or new, reflected in each of our names.)

"Learning new ways doesn't mean forgetting your old culture," says Filibert, speaking to the 1,000-plus attendees of the 2009 NEA Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women. "It means adding on."

Filibert is the program director of the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning in Honolulu, Hawaii. A native of the Republic of Palau, one of the Freely Associated States of Micronesia, Filibert has developed standards and curriculum materials for educational projects in Hawaii and in the Micronesian Islands.

"There is a cultural mismatch between Micronesians and (some) teachers," he told conferees. "One solution is (developing) an awareness of cultural attitudes."

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