Communication

Cultural Perspectives

By Tim Hazell

Mexico’s ancient theocracies were based upon maxims for understanding and living in symbiosis with the environment. However, the nation’s current status as a resource-compromised country reflects the demise of rustic science as a casualty of the Spanish conquest in 1521. Real progress toward better resource management has been constantly disrupted throughout Mexico’s violent colonial history—long periods of totalitarianism followed by revolution and anarchy. Fresh perspectives, healthy formulations of questions and answers, and a reaffirmation of standards were implemented as new regimes built upon foundations of others. Mexico’s current push towards democracy, equality, and liberated thinking is unprecedented and encouraging, but tenuous at best.

 

Effective communication requires action and reaction, taking into account our differences and abilities to feel comfortable, even energized, through pluri-cultural conversations. The ideal environments for fruitful exchanges at this level are frequently the domains of university campuses. In Mexico there is much to be said for traditional human contact, with few available technological aids, that goes along with a manual, hands-on approach to the art of teaching in workshops, studios, and classrooms.

This intimacy is being replaced with new classroom technologies, rendering much of the personal approach to education obsolete. Students frequently lack manual, conceptual, and linguistic skills, relying instead on interface relationships with their high-tech equipment. A recent trend has been to reintroduce traditional forms of teaching into the school environment, combining them with the advantages of contemporary learning mediums.

Communication as a social phenomenon encompasses all actions and establishes relationships between human collectives and the world at their borders. An active model for students today portrays them as instigators of the education/learning process, infusing procedures with their objectives and bringing their distinctive personalities to bear on problems and solutions.

Sprawling Mexico City is home to some of the world’s most diverse educational institutions. Students sample the best that Latin America has to offer on campus, and discover a cornucopia of street food. This inexpensive recipe for tacos with fideo pasta comes from a Mexico City culinary arts class.

Ingredients:

3 tomatoes, cored

2 tbsp. oil

2¼ cups fideo or angel hair pasta, cut into 1-inch pieces

¼ cup roughly chopped onion

½ tsp. salt

12 corn tortillas, warmed

¼ cup Mexican crema (sour cream)

½ cup queso fresco or mild feta cheese

Chopped coriander

Directions:

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and set aside to cool. Heat oil in a heavy medium-sized skillet, add the fideo or pasta and cook gently until golden brown. Place the cooked tomatoes, onions, and ½ teaspoon salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the skillet and cook with the fideo or pasta on low heat, without stirring, until tender—about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the tortillas with the fideo filling. Drizzle the tacos with crema. Sprinkle with cheese and coriander.

 

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