Abridging Cultural Differences in Learning Essay
Abridging Cultural Differences in Learning
The world is not only composed of different races that come from different countries but also comprised of innumerable cultures unique from each other. Races from all around the world are greatly diverse. The diversity includes differences in practices, traditions and other cultural manifestations. Culture is one of the distinguishable characteristics of a group of people living in society. Culture is embedded in the community and is illustrated in various forms. In fact, even architectural design depicts culture of people in a particular place.
Culture shapes and reshapes a person’s individuality. It is influenced by various factors including socio-political, sociological, religion, and historical. Culture continually conform and mold to provide the ever-changing needs of the people in the society. The difference in cultural identity of the people could be attributed to the inherent beliefs, traditions and practices they adhere or grew up with. It is also due to the geographical locations of where we live because culture should match or fit to the geographical and topographical characteristics of the place.
For these characteristics greatly affects some aspects of the culture. Learning Styles Learning plays a big role in the lives of people for it is essential in acquiring knowledge that is utilized in understanding things. Learning is an inherent human ability that is honed by factors that affects this particular human process like parenting, formal schooling, experience etc. The process of learning is never-ending, as people reach old age they still acquire new things like information and knowledge they will be able to utilize in some way.
Learning has biological and sociological aspects or dimensions. These aspects affect learning either in a positive or negative way. Students may have different processes in taking in information and different ways of learning. Teaching strategies and methods also vary among teachers. Whenever teacher-student education style methods and preference are the same, learning is more likely successful. When there is an existing discrepancy in the learning style preferred by both students and teachers, the students tend to get bored and become inattentive to the lessons (Felder).
Every individual have their preferred way of learning things. They are often unaware of this particular preference, they are just aware that they learn more of things that way. People tend to learn more using certain activities and methods than others (Melkman & Trotman, 2005). The learning style preferences determine how people learn and the comfortable way in which they were able to learn more. These preferences exert influence learning efficacy (Melkman & Trotman, 2005).
Some of the biological aspects of learning are sound and light (Shalaway & Beech, 1998), some people could not digest the things they should learn in the presence of loud noise and dim light, while there are some people who understand more of the lesson under that certain circumstances. The perception of an individual also affects the learning process of an individual. State of mental health is also another aspect that affects the learning process in which we determine if a person could easily learn the things being taught to them.
This is where we could separate fast, average and slow learners. Developmental and sociological aspects that affect the cognitive processes include motivation (Shalaway & Beech, 1998), in which some persons need to be motivated in order to digest what is being taught. Being in the in-group also one of the factors that is mostly seen in the school setting where students are more eager to go to school when they are not ostracized by the cliques or social groups. In most classroom settings, noise is not tolerated.
Teachers react negatively whenever students squirm or wriggle in their seats, whenever they tap their desks with their pencils or whenever they show restlessness. However, studies prove that some children need such activities for then to able to concentrate, think and learn (Shalaway & Beech, 1998). Research shows that when the learning preference of the children, either their biological or sociological aspect, there is a notable increase in achievement and behavioral response. Teachers also have individualized learning styles that affect their way of teaching.
When the learning styles of the teacher and students happen to be the same, the more the students will learn (Shalaway & Beech, 1998). Various sources discussed many types of learning style preferences. The three main learning style preferences are the auditory, visual and kinesthetic. The auditory learning style explains that some students learn more using their sense of hearing. They tend to get oral instructions easily. The visual learning style, on the other hand, explains how some students tend to learn more using their sense of sight.
They are the students who frantically take down notes and copy down keywords from visual aids in class. The kinesthetic learning style explains why some students opt to learn on their own. They tend to learn more through experience and discovery (Learning Styles, 2005). Cultural Differences and Learning Culture and learning are two inseparable things (Moore and Anderson, 2003). The innate cultural identity of a person tends to affect their learning capabilities through influencing their learning styles.
Researches find out that cultural groups tend to have unique learning styles that are different from other ethnic groups. But there is also a contrasting finding that members of the family tend to have different learning styles. Instructors and learning facilitators should be aware of three important things. 1. There are existing universally accepted learning principles, 2. Culture greatly influences the learning styles of individuals, 3. Every person has their distinguishable learning style preferences that affect their potential achievement and acquired knowledge (Moore & Anderson, 2003).
Culture could be held responsible in the developed learning style of an individual. Culture determines the preferences and values a person holds. United States is a multiracial and multicultural society in which the normal classroom is composed of people coming from the different ethnic groups (Shalaway & Beech, 1998). Oftentimes, we are having a difficult time understanding people who have dissimilar taste and preference, because we know that there is no commonality or common ground that that two person could talk about. We tend to be biased in some way.
Cultural differences are persons’ strengths, knowing the cultural background of the student will greatly help us to facilitate and induce classroom learning (Shalaway & Beech, 1998). The knowledge in the cultural diversity and how it influences the learning process is very important especially to the course designers because there is an inevitable possibility that a group of individuals have different learning styles preferences (Moore & Anderson, 2003). The negative implication of the culturally diverse classroom setting is composed of individuals with various learning style preferences.
The instructor or learning facilitator have no control over the heterogeneous mixture of learning styles for it is difficult to develop a mixture of training methods and teaching strategies for all the students to learn in class. Conclusion Learning is among the fundamental human process very essential in life. The process of learning occurs in every setting and outside the confines of school and we are unaware that it happens. Culture is the embedded characteristic deeply rooted in society.
It somehow defines the social identity of a person. Culture shapes individuality and influences the different aspects of a person, including tastes and preferences. Variety is the spice of life. The global society is composed of different races and cultures. Cultural differences are reflected in learning style preferences. The negative implication of cultural diversity in a classroom and having too many learning styles is that the teachers do not know what teaching methods they should used in order the students to learn the subject.
Knowledge in this particular matter is very important especially to learning facilitators and course designers to develop a comprehensive and efficient teaching method to be utilized in classrooms in which ever student’s learning style is utilized. In this way we will be able to abridge cultural differences in learning. References Felder, R. Learning Styles. Resources in Science and Engineering Education. Retrieved June 25, 2008 from http://www4. ncsu. edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Learning_Styles. html. Learning Styles. (2005). Student Development Services.
University of Western Ohio. Retrieved June 25, 2008 from http://www. sdc. uwo. ca/learning/index. html? styles. Melkman, A. & Trotman, J. (2005). Training International Managers: Designing, Deploying and Delivering Effective Training for Multi-Cultural Groups. England: Gower Publishing Ltd. Moore, M. G. & Anderson, W. G. (2003). Handbook of Distance Education. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Shalaway, L. & Beech, L. (1998). Learning to Teach: Not Just for Beginners: The Essential Guide for All Teachers. New York: Teaching Resources/ Scholastic Professional Books.