How will you present cultural practices that differ from our own, such as human sacrifice, as practised by the Maya? Are you guilty of cultural chauvinism?

While human sacrifice appears barbaric to our eyes, was it worse that what was happening in England at the same time? Think Viking blood eagles!

So it’s all about context. What did it mean to Mayan people AT THE TIME and why was it so important to them?

Ideas of bloodletting to strengthen the land are found in ALMOST ALL CULTURES, though perhaps not ritualised to the Mayan degree.

Focussing too much on human sacrifice can lead to giving the false impression or even of reinforcing pupils’ stereotypical views.

This doesn’t prevent us having our own moral views as 21st century teachers, but as Hilary Claire once wrote:

‘it does avoid pointing a judgemental finger at another civilization and ignoring the sins of our own’.

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