Prior to reading Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, our class was split up into groups of four and presented with the task of researching and discussing some different topics that were to come up in the novel. My group was assigned with the topic of cultural appropriation. Our job was to research different aspects of cultural appropriation and put our findings into a PowerPoint presentation that we would present to the class.
Communication and Collaboration:
1. I use digital spaces to plan and execute collaborative projects with my peers.
As I explained, our task was to create a PowerPoint presentation to share with the class. First, my group created a Word online document so we could have a collective space to write down the notes we were gathering. Once this was complete, we went to work on PowerPoint to create a short presentation that clearly discussed what we had learned. These digital spaces provided a much easier way to work as a group.
4. I constructively build upon or synthesize the ideas of my peers.
As this was a group project, I obviously had to use teamwork and cooperation skills. As the topic our group was researching was quite controversial in some aspects (see below), it was necessary to have frequent discussions with my group members about what we were learning. This allowed me to share my ideas with others and to gain other ideas from my peers to better my understanding of cultural appropriation.
Research and Information Literacy:
12. I look at controversial issues or topics from opposed perspectives to gain a more complete understanding.
Cultural Appropriation is a highly controversial subject in terms of defining the line between appropriating a culture and appreciating one. Part of our job as a group was to help lead a discussion with the class to gain others’ ideas and opinions on this issue. This allowed for everyone to view more than one perspective and turned out to be quite beneficial.
15. My work demonstrates a positive, productive, and empathetic worldview.
Since cultural appropriation is, in a way, a slightly fragile subject, especially when discussed in a short amount of time at school, my group had to be careful to be positive and empathetic in our presentation. It was necessary to listen to everyone’s ideas and opinions so that nothing went unheard. This is not the sort of topic that you want to have sitting unmentioned in a person’s mind if they feel they want to share their opinions.