Whether you’re teaching in a fairly homogenous community or in a school that boasts a large amount of diversity, it’s essential to teach students the value of cultural appreciation. Culture encompasses so many areas of our lives, and kids of all ages can learn so much by studying people with different belief systems from their own—and by examining their own belief systems to see where their traditions and practices originate.
In these new journal prompts on cultural appreciation, your students will have the chance to study different cultures, to explore their own traditions, and to consider the many benefits of exchanging ideas and practices with others. As they write about topics like the evolution of a familiar cultural celebration, the difference between joining a culture and being born into a culture, and the value of diversity, they’ll gain a deeper appreciation for all that culture offers and a greater awareness of how other people live.
As you share these cultural appreciation journal prompts with your class, you may even consider asking your students to share their writing with one another. Chances are good that your students’ answers will be as diverse and rich as some of the very cultures they’ve been studying!
Cultural Appreciation Journaling Prompt Ideas
Why are cultural celebrations such an important part of society?
Research a cultural celebration from a culture other than your own. Write about what you learned and compare it with a celebration from your own culture.
What cultural celebrations does your family participate in?
Which cultural celebration is your favorite? What do you like about it?
The word “culture” is often used to describe a number of different things (including a group of people’s beliefs, customs, or shared interests). Discuss some of the different uses of this word and how they are connected.
Consider the different uses of the word “culture” that you described in the previous question. Then, list some of the different cultures you belong to and how you identify with them.
How did you become a part of the different cultures you are involved in? Were you born into them, or did you choose to belong to them? Which culture is most important to you?
Is it more meaningful to be born into a culture than to join it—or is it more significant to join the culture by choice? Does the answer differ based on what type of culture it is? Why?
Do cultures define who we are as people—or do our shared experiences define culture? Why?
Why do we study other cultures? What can we learn from them?
Choose another culture from around the world and research it. Then, write about the most surprising thing you learned.
What does it mean to have a diverse environment? Do you think our school has a diverse environment? Why or why not?
Why is diversity important?
What is affirmative action? Define the concept and give three examples of places where it might occur.
Do you think it is okay for colleges and workplaces to give preferential treatment to some candidates in the interest of diversity? Why or why not?
Think about a time when you were the only person with a given characteristic in the entire room (such as the only girl or boy, the only person wearing jeans when everyone else was dressed up, or the only child in a room full of adults). Did people treat you differently from how they treated others? Did you experience any discomfort at not fitting in? Write about your experience.
Think again about the experience you wrote about in the previous question. Then, write about the similarities and differences between your experience and what someone who is a member of a racial or cultural minority might experience when they are the only person of their race or culture in a particular situation.
Choose a cultural celebration from your own culture and explain how it has changed and evolved throughout history. Then, write about the impact of those changes.
Choose a cultural celebration from another culture and research how it has changed and evolved throughout history. Then, write about the impact of those changes.
Write about the first time you remember meeting someone from a culture other than your own. Did your parents or a teacher explain the other culture to you? Discuss your experience and how you felt.
What kinds of things can we learn by studying other cultures? Why are these lessons so important?
Choose a work of art (such as a painting, play, book, or song) from another culture that you admire. Then, compare and contrast it to similar works of art from your own culture.
How do the clothes we wear and the way we present ourselves reflect our cultures?
Think of a cultural celebration that you regularly participate in. Then, write a brief informative essay explaining the meaning behind the tradition to someone who has never seen it practiced before.
If you could regularly participate in another culture’s celebration, which would you choose? Why?
What is cultural appropriation? Define the word and explain why it is a problem for so many cultures.
Think of a time when you saw someone (either in person or in the media) appropriating another culture. What did the person do? Were his or her actions appropriate or inappropriate? Why?
What culture do you most admire? What do you appreciate about it?
Write a poem about what culture means to you.
Write a short story about a world with no diversity. What would people be like? How would society function? How would people make decisions?
Write about a time when a friend or classmate was unfamiliar with a cultural celebration or tradition that your family participates in. How did you explain your family’s tradition? Was the other person interested in learning about your culture?