Bigham uses cultural exposure as key to intellectual growth

For her students who haven’t yet experienced world travel first-hand, Melody Bigham is using her curriculum to bring the world to them.
The Ripley High School Family and Consumer Science teacher uses her nutrition and wellness class to introduce the students to other countries and peoples.
“Our school believes in global education and exposing our students to different cultures,” she said.
In the years since Toyota has become a part of Northeast Mississippi the company has sought to introduce Mississippians to Japanese business culture, social culture and food culture.
Many local residents work at the Toyota manufacturing plant, and also at other companies that are part of the company’s manufacturing stream.
Since those companies not only employ local people but also bring managers and their families from Japan to Mississippi, it is important that everyone gain more understanding of each other as the two cultures interact.
“Our curriculum was revised in 2007, and this semester we had a Japanese culture class to demonstrate proper social etiquette with table settings, table service and table manners,” Bigham said.
The students in grades 9-12 enjoyed green tea and sweets with presenter Naomi Yamakawa, the coordinator of Japanese Outreach Programs and Continuing Education at the University of Mississippi.
“The students really liked it and want her to come back,” Bigham said. “They were asking a lot of questions and she had a lot of visuals.”

For the rest of the story, see the Jan. 30 edition of the Southern Sentinel.

About Beth Thomas

Beth Thomas Harmon is the news editor for the Southern Sentinel. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2011 with a degree in journalism. Beth is a New Albany native, and she began working at the Sentinel in 2013.