On January 21, 2020, Cultural Navigator Loice Byler was offered the opportunity to give 3 presentations about Swahili culture to 64 teachers at the School District of Lancaster’s Professional Development Day. In her own words, Loice explains;
The focus of my presentation was to help the teachers, who are already doing a great job, understand where their Swahili speaking students are coming from and what kind of barriers are needed to overcome to be successful in their classrooms.
I talked about the view of school that both students and parents have, that their view is very different from American families because of what these students are accustomed to while they lived in the refugee camps in Africa. The culture of education, relationships between parents and teachers, and the differences between American school systems compared to African education were explained. I also talked about hygiene and the differences between the standards of cleanliness in America and the refugee camps. Lastly, I talked about mental health and counseling and the views that refugee families have as opposed to Americans. Understanding the culture of these newcomer families, why they do things the way they do, will greatly enhance the relationships between teachers and students and their parents. The teachers asked great questions and it was my pleasure to make this presentation for our educators.