Showing posts from June, 2013

Do No Harm Part III: Don’t Joke about the Bible

Do Not presumeI hope I have made it clear that I have not lived up to my own recommendation that teachers should avoid irony.The best I have been able to do, and I suspect this will be true for most teachers, is to be careful and to be wary of the pitfalls of irony.In recent years I saw a dramatic increase in the multicultural mix in my classes:students from Africa, the Caribbean, the former Yugoslavia, Iran, China, Japan and various Arab countries.Over the years, I had learned from lecturing on feminism and what used to be called “women’s liberation” not to presume to know what individual women want or, worse still, should want.Even though, I was supposed to be the expert on “culture” and “intercultural communication,” I think I knew enough not to presume that I understood my students' lives, and to recognize that I had a lot to learn from them.In general, I was in awe of their openness and resilience.H.G. Wells’ short story “The Country of the Blind” provided a perfect framework…