“The fish becomes aware of the water in which it swims”: revealing the power of culture in shaping teaching identity

Abstract

“The fish becomes aware of the water in which it swims” is a metaphor that represents Yuli’s revelatory journey about the hidden power of culture in her personal identity and professional teaching practice. While engaging in a critical auto/ethnographic inquiry into her lived experience as a science teacher in Indonesian and Australian schools, she came to understand the powerful role of culture in shaping her teaching identity. Yuli realised that she is a product of cultural hybridity resulting from interactions of very different cultures—Javanese, Bimanese, Indonesian and Australian. Traditionally, Javanese and Indonesian cultures do not permit direct criticism of others. This influenced strongly the way she had learned to interact with students and caused her to be very sensitive to others. During this inquiry she learned the value of engaging students in open discourse and overt caring, and came to realise that teachers bringing their own cultures to the classroom can be both a source of power and a problem. In this journey, Yuli came to understand the hegemonic power of culture in her teaching identity, and envisioned how to empower herself as a good teacher educator of pre-service science teachers.

Abstrak

“Ketika ikan tidak menyadari air sebagai tempat ia berenang” adalah metafora yang mewakili peranan identitas budaya sebagai kekuatan yang tersembunyi dalam identitas personal dan professional saya sebagai seorang pendidik. Arts-based critical auto/ethnographic inquiry membantu saya dalam memahami pengalaman saya di sekolah-sekolah di Indonesia dan Australia. Saya menyadari kekuatan peranan budaya dalam identitas saya sebagai pendidik. Saya juga menyadari bahwa saya merupakan identitas hibrid dari berbagai budaya berbeda - Jawa, Bima, Indonesia dan Australia. Dalam sudut pandang tradisional Jawa dan Indonesia, saya tidak dapat mengkritik langsung orang lain. Hal ini sangat mempengaruhi cara saya berinteraksi dengan murid-murid dan menyebabkan saya menjadi sangat sensitif terhadap orang lain. Ketika berinteraksi dengan budaya Australia, saya belajar nilai dari siswa dalam hal keterbukaan. Saya juga menyadari bahwa guru memiliki budaya sendiri yang dapat menjadi potensi sumber kekuatan sekaligus sumber masalah. Saya semakin memahami kekuatan budaya dalam identitas saya sebagai seorang pendidik yang mendorong saya untuk menjadi pendidik calon guru sains yang baik.

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Correspondence to Yuli Rahmawati.

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Lead editor: M. Reiss

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Rahmawati, Y., Taylor, P.C. “The fish becomes aware of the water in which it swims”: revealing the power of culture in shaping teaching identity. Cult Stud of Sci Educ 13, 525–537 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-016-9801-1

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Keywords

  • Teaching identity
  • Cultural identity
  • Religion
  • Auto/ethnography
  • Transformative research

Kata kunci

  • Identitas pendidik
  • Identitas budaya
  • Agama
  • Auto/ etnografi
  • Penelitian transformatif