School curriculum needs to be organized around knowledge of communities, cultures, and traditions that give students a sense of history, identity, and place.
Where We Are From: Becoming Multicultural Educators:
In this project, preservice teachers experience a transformative multicultural learning experience as they create digital stories to combat stereotypes about Appalachia. As a result, preservice teachers begin to understand the importance of drawing on students cultural "funds of knowledge" to engage them in meaningful literacy learning activities.
Pre-service teacher reflection on the project:
Creating a digital story was a good way for me to understand how to structure a “culturally responsive teaching” exercise.
Before this activity I didn't understand how important it was to make our cultural heritages (and heritages of our students) part of the curriculum, now I realize that it is very important in establishing teacher student relationships as well as student to student relationships.
As I was writing my digital story I found myself calling upon information that I had not thought about in quite some time. I began thinking about what was really important to me and how past experiences have shaped my life. I think that having my own students do this exercise someday would be a great opportunity for them to learn more about themselves (just as I did). I also found myself creating my story with a great deal of pride. I believe that it is always important for students to be proud and confident about who they are and where they come from. The whole project seems to help students build a positive self-awareness.