Children’s participation in education is considerably influenced by several different cultural customs and tendencies. In my opinion, culture signifies a common set of beliefs and values. Different school systems practice what their particular culture believes in and how their culture believes education should take place and be taught. Different cultures have a complete diverse set of expectations for what they believe “normal” school behavior consists of. It is important for teachers to understand and to take into consideration these different cultural tendencies.
One of the strongest roles played on an individual’s disposition of accepting their school’s discipline is the influence of their individual culture and family background (Feinberg & Soltis, 2004). For instance, a teacher who is unaware of the differences between cultures might construe a child’s behavior as disrespectful and misbehaving. However, the child views and considers their behavior as normal.
In many cases, due to the fact that these cultures are hard to recognize, students do not always understand why their teachers are punishing them and categorizing their behavior as ill-mannered and inappropriate.
Once children are placed in their school environments, what happens next? Every child in the world deserves an equal right to education. Unfortunately, today’s world faces a very critical issue. Children are not receiving the adequate and plentiful education in which they deserve. While in third world countries, there is a tremendous amount of children who are not attending school, today’s world faces an even larger issue. In Africa, for instance, attending school can be very dangerous due to the prevalent amount of violence that takes place both in and outside of the school environment.
As author Jonathan Jansen explains, “Opportunity to learn might be less achievable than full enrollment” (Jansen, 2005). That is to say, the more pervasive problem facing the education of today’s developing countries is not quite the access to schools, but the things that occur once the child gets inside those schools. Furthermore, it is imperative that educators truly understand the distinct histories and ideologies concerning the cultural tendencies of groups as well as the education and learning. In America, maintaining eye contact while having a conversation with someone is considered a sign of respect.
In contrary, the cultures of different countries, such as Asia and Africa, view making eye contact with an authority figure or elder as disrespectful and in appropriate. With that being said, we can visualize how easily misinterpretations are made between students and teachers of different backgrounds and cultures (“Non-verbal communication,”). The Japanese teacher’s approach to the students’ disputes, in the article about Japan, certainly surprised me. From past personal experience, whenever I would find myself in the middle of a dispute there was always an adult alongside to help resolve it.
From elementary school to high school, there were constantly authority figures that would intervene as soon as a dispute between students was recognized. In contrary, the Japanese teacher in the reading emphasized that she restrains herself from intervening disputes because she’s afraid of sending the wrong message to the children. She doesn’t want them to think that they can’t handle and take care of themselves in any given situation. By intervening, she stresses that it would interrupt the children’s experience with complex situations and resolving things upon themselves (Tobin, Hsueh & Karasawa, 2009).
Feinberg, W., & Soltis, J. (2004). School and society. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Jansen, J. (2005). Targeting education: The politics of performance and the prospects of ‘Education For All’.
Non-verbal communication. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:JMDMvvI0abkJ:sitemaker.umich.edu/356.kyprianides/non-verbal_communication &cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us Tobin, J., Hsueh, Y., & Karasawa, M. (2009). Preschool in three cultures revisited: China, Japan, and the United States. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.