What We can Learn from Curacao: A Lesson in Cross-Cultural Dialogue
Lessons from Curacao
Keywords:Diversity, Papiamentu, Cross-cultural awareness, Freirean theory
Despite implied support for greater cross-cultural discussions in Canadian post-secondary classrooms, teaching institutions continue to focus less on engaging in necessary difficult discussions that address diversity and far more on a Eurocentric, westernized education concentrating on the application of dominant cultural values. This is especially seen in areas such as Indigenous issues which, despite touching all aspects of Canadian life, are too often relegated to courses that focus solely on this subject. I suggest that a more effective approach would be the inclusion of diversity-focused work within the regular curriculum. In this essay, I use a discussion of the influence and crucial role played by the creole language Papiamentu in the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao as a jumping-off point to suggest, through an interpretation involving the philosophical lenses of Freire, Foucault and Marcuse, that Canadian learning institutions need to do more to support, promote and engage in cross-cultural dialogues, building these discussions into the regular curriculum.
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