To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET to envision cultural bumps rather than conflicts. This was helpful because I could picture speed bumps. Luckily, when we drive, there are signs that speed bumps are ahead so we can slow down and not hit them so hard that we break an axle. That’s true of cultural bumps too—once you recognize they exist, you can learn to watch for them, slow down, and negotiate them suc- cessfully. I was starting to use an approach that could work with the kinds of conflicts that occur between teachers and families (and sometimes among staff or between staff and administration). I should add that these conflicts can occur within families as well. I know that from my experience living in a cross-cultural family. Then Isaura introduced me to the term third space. I already understood the concept, but I didn’t have terminology to talk about it. Isaura helped me see that a third space perspective involves moving from dualistic (two spaces) thinking to holistic (third space) thinking in the face of what seems to be a contradiction or paradox. For example, say I am a teacher and I disagree with something a parent is doing with her child; it’s possible that I have a blind spot. Let me stop and talk about blind spots for a minute. Another friend of mine has tunnel vision. One day I was trying to understand what tunnel vision means, so I said to him, “I guess it’s like looking through two toilet paper tubes and the rest of what you see is black.” He laughed and said, “Janet, what I see out of the sides of my eyes is just what you see out of the back of your head. It has nothing to do with being black.” I was surprised. I never thought about that before. There’s nothing to give us a clue that a blind spot exists. I have discovered that it’s easy to have a blind spot when it comes to understanding what parents do with their children. I think of examples I have encountered: toilet training a baby earlier than I agree with, spoon-feeding a child long after he should be able to do it himself, babying a preschooler who is fully capable of many things the parent is still doing for him. If I have a blind spot and don’t realize it, I am likely to consider our differing views to be a problem. In that case, what do I do? By now, I’ve learned what to do—not that I always do it—but looking back, I can analyze where I went wrong and do better next time. First, I must change the word problem to bump. It may be a cultural bump or just a regular one. That doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to suspend judgment and seek to understand the parent’s perspective on the matter. I have to put aside ideas about determining the one right way. This doesn’t mean that all ways are fine (Rogoff 2003), but it does mean that I need to open up my mind and remind myself that there is always more to learn. Phillips and Cooper (1992) write about how child-rearing practices have patterns of meaning that are shared by and embodied in the lifestyles of a larger group. It is important COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL OU R WAY TO SIN CER ITY 3