Friday, March 09, 2012
What's Culture Anyway?
I'm lying in bed unable to sleep or even be soothed by a book, so what better to do than post? Yesterday morning, the ESL teacher asked us to get our students to fill in a sheet about themselves, their heritage and how they felt about it, for Harmony Day, which is an annual event we celebrate in our mini-UN of a school. My Year 8 features young men and women from various African and Asian countries, Turkey, Chile, Europe...But for some reason, some of those with an Anglo-Celtic background felt left out. Two boys insisted they had no culture! If we'd been able to start a little earlier I might have been able to convince them otherwise. I would do the research and the flags and finding the information to show them there's a rich culture there. As it was, all I could do was point out to them that Tolkien, at least, had felt differently and had written a whole BOOK to prove it. And if even so very English a thing as fish and chips(as made by Sam Gamgee)began with Russian-Jewish immigrants, all it says is that England is a melting-pot like anywhere else and richer for it. The very language is a melting-pot! But that doesn't say there's no culture. I must do something afterwards while we learn research skills. With books in it somewhere. Pity my oven is still broken or I'd bake some very English things out of The Hobbit for my class. Thanks to a friend in the US I have a wonderful article he found in a magazine years before the Internet, with recipes from "An Unexpected Party". The seed cake is especially nice. You can't get much more English than The Hobbit! Must get that stupid oven fixed these holidays!