Cultural Perspectives in Education
Cultural Perspectives in Education
The word ‘Culture’ refers to civilization or human activity. It can also refer to universal human capability to categorize skills, and to train and convey them characteristically. Therefore, one can say that Culture evolves over a period of time in response to adaptive challenges. What activities are carried out, who should participate, why they are valued and the rules of interaction are coded into the cultural models. There are different ways to educate, express or reveal knowledge to a student. The student’s education very much depends upon the teacher’s philosophy of education.
This philosophical point of view appears to be true that could bring a negative influence in the classroom, no matter what syllabus is designed for the student. The students possess different qualities and beliefs that teachers should realize and learn to adapt to in the classroom. If teachers are not able to go beyond the boundaries of social class, religion, race, creed, gender, sex, disability or cultural background, then the focus of the students will also turn heavily upon differences and the classification of students as special needs or underachiever, thus building insensitive pre-expectations toward students in the classroom.
“The primary goal of education is to show students different points of view and encourage them to evaluate their own beliefs. The teacher should help the students to appreciate how one’s observations and interpretations are influenced by social identity and background”. Chang, H. (1993). Students should be allowed to feel free to voice an opinion and empowered to defend it. A student is able to focus on and enjoy learning more when the school and classroom make him feel safe-comfortable with himself and with his surrounding.
The learning situation should be made culturally neutral by keeping in mind the potential barriers and obstacles that each student may have. Taking this into account Marda Steffey (2001) suggests a four point motivational framework for culturally open teaching: 1. Establishing inclusion—norms, procedures, and structures woven together to form a learning context in which all learners and teachers feel respected by and connected to one another. 2.
Developing attitude—“norms, procedures and structures that create through relevance and choice a favorable disposition among learners and teachers toward the learning experience or learning goal. 3. Enhancing meaning—norms, procedures, and structures that expand, refine, or increase the complexity of what is learned in a way that matters to learners, includes their values and purposes, and contributes to a critical consciousness. 4. Engendering competence—norms, procedures, and structures that create an understanding for learners of how they are or can be effective in learning something of personal value”.
(Nawang, 1999) The main idea of the four points is that when student and teachers find themselves submerged in a unique world of the classroom, the interaction of culture is invaluable for the success of the learning process. Solomon, B. B. (1991). Teacher should recognize any biases or stereotypes in the class room, “by treating each student as an individual, and respect each student for whom he or she is. Amend any language practices or examples that exclude or degrade any group, should be aware of how students feel about the cultural climate in the classroom”.
(Woolbright, 1989) A productive education must start with an awareness of these issues and some basic schemes for overcoming them. Although a variety of teachings can be fruitful, it seems especially cooperative to offer an atmosphere where students can easily hold an open discussion rather than class session in which a correct answer is required. True open discussion will send a message of authority between equal students who have something substantial to add to a common endeavor.
Sharing the facts and principles of one’s discipline with students is very important as that helps to prepare an environment of comfort, trust and joint respect. Therefore, such an environment makes it possible for people to exchange ideas and thoughts on complex and often terrifying issues. It opens a way for students to carry out a common ground of joint practices and respect which can bind students together and at the same time make it easier for them to understand and observe many differences.
The teacher should not only establish a content of diversity but a procedure that creates and demonstrate appreciation of diversity. It is important to keep in mind that students always observe and learn their teachers’ behavior as well as their expressions. The classroom environment not only represent the fundamental value of appreciation of diversity of cultures nevertheless it also capitulate great rewards in terms of vital thinking skills, especially the aptitude to value sophisticated multiple point of views on complex rational and ethical issues.
The school or college should recognize all of the various types of diversities, whether it is cultural or not. Students should understand when they go their classroom that they will be interacting with many different types of students from all walks all of life. Levinson, B. A. , and Holland, D. (1996). They should understand that they are all in this facility for a reason and that it doesn’t matter what they look like or what language they speak, they need to cooperate to make their class environment more conducive to learning.
It is very unfortunate to say that not much improvement in this has been made around the world except few countries, while in rest there is still school and colleges where cultural factors are given preferences. Every discipline is influenced by the inequity of power that exists across racial and cultural groups, between genders, and among other socially created classes of difference. In spite of advances in race and cultural relations, gender equality, and religious tolerance, significant documented differences continues to exist around the world.
In order to gain a true moderate education, school administration should honor diversity of cultures. It should recognize holidays of other ethnicities and always study new and interesting ways of life. The students of the respective schools and colleges should “love learning about other cultures and how they interact with one another”. (Harold, 2006) The students should be allowed to do arts and projects that are representatives of other cultures and take great pride in the fact that they now have knowledge of their brothers and sisters around the world.
Educators have a responsibility to assist the people who are privileged enough to be students in becoming aware of the inequalities around them. Therefore, each educator should work to infuse each class with the diverse voices that contributed to the knowledge base of the discipline. References Chang, H. (1993) Affirming Children’s Roots: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in Early Care and Education: California Tomorrow. Hodgkinson, Harold L. (2006) Education in Social and Cultural Perspectives: Prentice-Hall Levinson, B. A. , and Holland, D. (1996).
The cultural production of the educated person: An introduction. In B. A. Levinson, D. Foley, and D. Holland (Eds. ), Albany: SUNY Press. Phuntsog, Nawang. Magic of culturally responsive pedagogy: In search of the Genie’s lamp in multicultural education. Teacher Education Quarterly, Summer 1999 Solomon, B. B. (1991) Impediments to Teaching a Culturally Diverse Undergraduate Population: Kendall/Hunt Publishing. Woolbright, C. (Ed. ). (1989) Valuing Diversity on Campus: A Multicultural Approach. Bloomington, Ind. : Association of College Unions-International.