Reflexive Paper: Week Four

RUNNING HEAD: Reflexive Paper – Week Four

HGED 615C: Reflexive Paper

Week Four

Laura Bestler-Wilcox
Iowa State University

February 7, 2008


  • Hierarchal dynamic relations exist in the global perspectives to control the local structures of comprehension and way of living (Ng, 2003; Shiva, 1993).
  • Western culture is viewed as the universal culture thereby excluding any past existence of the non-western way of life (Ng, 2003; Shiva, 1993).
  • The universal culture will determine that the local culture is invalid by nullifying the knowledge and only allowing the superior perspectives (Shiva, 1993; Tuhiwai-Smith, 1999).
  • The utilization of the forestation and deforestation represents how knowledge is either shared or destroyed; the interaction may or may not exist, thus creating a falsehood of knowledge and culture (Shiva, 1993).
  • If we are not talking about it, it does not exist. If we do not acknowledge it does not exist. The discourse may or may not take place and if it does not take place then education will suffer the consequences of being exclusive and not inclusive (Regan, 2000).
  • Last week we reflected with our personal experiences of not being allowed to discuss knowledge that was important to us on a local level, instead we had to conform to what society as a whole would be comfortable with in respect to the subject matter (Shiva, 1993).
  • If it is not part of the hegemony it is not considered useful knowledge (Shiva, 1993; Tuhiwai-Smith, 1999).


I can honestly say, I had no idea why we were reading the Shiva chapter, as I did not consider biodiversity and biotechnology something that would impact our profession. Instead, it did quite the opposite. It validated our perspectives from the discussion on January 31, 2008 in regards to how we have been taught via the dominant western culture.

When it comes to how we teach and educate, how do we know which culture base of knowledge we are utilizing in the classroom? How do we know we are including all of the multiple perspectives (Regan, 2000)? The utilization of the forestation and deforestation to represent how knowledge is either shared or destroyed; how that interaction that may or may not exist is shared with the broader base of people helped bring additional understanding of the perspectives for me (Shiva, 1993). It is frightening to recognize how much knowledge and culture has disappeared due to the repeated offenses of the western world, and how the western world thrusts values, morals and knowledge as the only truth (Regan, 2000).

How do we help to create an inclusive environment to nurture unconventional discussions? How can we ensure that we do not lose our perspectives and our local knowledge base (Shiva, 1993) to the dominant culture, now that we are starting to learn about it again?


Ng, R. (2003). Toward an integrative approach to equity in education. In P. Trifonas (Ed.), Pedagogies of difference: Rethinking education for social change(pp. 206-213). New York: Routledge Falmer.

Tuhiwai-Smith, L. (1999).Colonizing knowledges. In Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (pp. 58-77). London: Zed Books.

Rains, F. (1999). Indigenous knowledge, historical amnesia and intellectual authority: Deconstructing hegemony and the social and political implications of the curricular “other.” In L.M. Semali & Kincheloe (Eds.), What is indigenous knowledge? Voices from the academy (pp. 317-331). New York: Falmer Press.

Regan, T. (200). An introduction to the study of non-western educational traditions: A philosophical starting point. In Non-western educational traditions: A philosophical starting point (pp. 1-23). Mahwah, N.J: Lawerence Erlbaum Associates, Publish

Shiva, V. (1993). Monocultures of the mind. In Monocultures of the Mind: Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology (pp. 9-39). London: Zed Books.