How Does Culture Impact on Education
Culture is the thing that makes everyone feels special and unique because of his or her nationality and surrounding. Certain beliefs, ways of life that are shared and agreed in the particular area mean the culture. Again and again, people prove themselves that one big nation, the only culture, is like an army, because there easily can be seen person’s development and attitudes towards others. That is why each individual is the perfect example of a particular culture, as by specific clothes, manner of speech, gestures, and so on. Human shows his or her nature by simply opening the soul to the others.
Middle class families
There is a big difference between upper-middle, middle-class and working-class families. According to Lareau “middle-class families use a parenting strategy that she calls “concerted cultivation” (163). What does it mean? It means that such type of families try to fulfill their child’s life with all the possible activities: sport, music lessons, the philosophical understanding of life and others. In a word, they live for their child, which means they want to satisfy their needs and favors. What is more, it can be mentioned that middle-class children are weaker than other their peers. As an example, they easily can have a fight and be rude to their parents, be free of duties, as they simply do not know what to do, not accept proposed food, as it is too run-of-the-mill. Moreover, feud between siblings is not a piece of news nowadays, it is a reality. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and her team researched children based on their social and economic status and came to the following conclusion: “children from more well-off homes tend to experience parental attitudes that are more sensitive, more encouraging, less intrusive and less detached — all of which, they found, serve to increase IQ and school-readiness” (Notes).
Poor class families
Talking about another type of families, poor class, it can be said that this kind of people behave and bring up their children in a different way. They have simpler attitude to things, and that is the reason they teach others variously. For example, parents can be on cloud nine just because their kids are healthy, well-attended, go to school, and help them about the house. Briefly, that is all what makes usual parent feel hilarious and safe about the child. However, they wish them to have the best and be the best and just; being in extremity, men understood that simple needs are the most important. Thus, children learn how to deal with various challenges, such as different class-groups at school. In addition, they are interested in such important things as how to use strategy for doing something. It is evident, that they are thankful for what they have, and have the courage to do everything possible they can to achieve success. So, influence from the parent’s side is clearly seen, though they dream only about the happy future for their children. The psychologist Martha Farah states that the more child-centered attitude of better-off parents results in a faster and more efficient intellectual development. She discovered that “the “parental nurturance” that middle-class parents use with their children is more likely to stimulate the brain’s medial temporal lobe, which in turn aids the development of memory skills” (Notes).
Both approaches have pluses and minuses, but, unfortunately, society accepts and greets the quantity and quality of skills person can propose, whether skills taught by the fulfillment of natural growth.
Furthermore, Lareau says that “a middle class hears more than three times as many words per hour as a child in a family receiving welfare, and almost twice as many as a child in a working class family” (243). So, as a result of such a statement, it can be claimed that because of the parent’s status in the society, children, in a vast majority, behave and understand the world according to their surroundings, to what they hear and see.
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Advantages of middle and poor classes
“Middle-class children become used to adults taking their concerns seriously, and so, they grow up with a sense of entitlement, which gives them confidence in the classroom and elsewhere, that less-wealthy children lack” (Lareau 127). It is a big advantage for them; having such an assurance can be the decisive reason in concrete situations in life. Everything that they have inside them, their principles, main beliefs, ideas and thoughts, is shown to the public and, by and large, accepted. Moreover, it will be a big advantage for them at school, university or work place. It is a pity that it cannot be said the same about the kids brought up in poor families. The good point here is that pupils from poor families do not suffer from materialistic goods; they are thankful for every new book at their house, every nutritious food on the table. Simple things make them feel happier. An interested notice that many scholars make is that while middle-class children are more family-centered even though they might be in open confrontation with their parents, children from poorer families tend to stick to group of friends who share the same values: “Working-class and poor children, by contrast, “learn how to be members of informal peer groups. They learn how to manage their own time. They learn how to strategize.” These children were more susceptible to succumb to negative peer pressure that the middle class children” (Notes).
Lareau generally agrees that much depends from the parents’ language, and its use. For example, their ability to control stress and all the difficulties that may appear with peers, and attitude to life they lead. It should be added in this connection that “kids from poor families might be nicer, they might be happier, they might be more polite — but in countless ways, the manner in which they are raised puts them at a disadvantage in the measures that count in contemporary US society” (Lareau 253). Unfortunately, it is an unfair verdict in the common society, and people should deal with it, seeing it as the following challenge they should meet.
Culture is the excellent representation of common experiences of a particular part of people or a group, its way of thinking, behavior, the same with religion, political views, language, technology, art and other significant fields of life. That is why, it may be said that each culture will always uphold its principles and rights. It is a well-known fact that the United States is a unique example of a whole range of cultures. This makes it a special place but causes some difficulties in communication as well making some people live on the borderline and try to balance the emerging contradictions. This happens because “in the United States, the society is more heterogeneous than most other societies, therefore, the issues we face are more difficult to resolve” (Notes).
According to Penny Lee, “language becomes incorporated into cognition and mediates understanding of the world, advancing the development of certain kinds of cognitive processes that have their origins in particular ways of talking” (432). Really, it is an absolute truth. Thanks to the language, person can easily express emotions, show feelings, open the soul to others. It is the unique gift people have given from God. Namely, with the help of the language, children can show their level of intelligence, their tolerance, and, in a few words, how they are educated. For instance, when a man tries to open his mouth to speak, the public’s attention immediately raises. Why? Well, because they in a moment expect special kind of speech. And, when public hears long-expected speech, it immediately summarizes the information and makes certain conclusions. Thus, it can be argued, that the language and how person uses it reflects the inner world of every human. The way an individual communicates makes him or her one, who can be the mediator between society and things everyone can do for others.
One of the most prominent authors that showed the differences in communication styles and behavior is Deborah Tannen. In her book, called You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, she talks about the following: “For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and talking” (75). A conclusion can be made that for men, talking in public is more important for their status. They feel so easy and comfortable when they communicate in the group of three or more people. Moreover, usual conversations are about politics, achievements in sport, business and other similar fields of life. Women in turn have another view of the good conversation. For example, they are more intended to converse with their husbands’ tête-à-tête, as this makes them feel more essential for men. What is more, women, while having a talk with someone, want to show how close they can be, open and sincere. That is why they prefer private small talks rather than some big meeting where husband will surely focus more attention on his gender.
The next example can be shown to compare the above supposition. A couple is coming back home; suddenly a woman proposes to go to the café that is so closed to them. A husband cannot really understand the point of this. At the result, both feel uncomfortable and a little bit irritated. What were the real intentions for the woman, and what could not understand the man? First of all, knowing that at home there would hardly be a talk about romantic, news, life and about major events of the day, woman tries to use her charm and beauty to make her husband accept the suggestion. Accepting the proposal, the man will make his wife feel happier. Of course, it could possibly be the home conversation, but, getting back from the work, everything that wishes the man is supper and the rest, no talking. Thus, it should be made the following conclusion that men and women have different approaches to life, another way of speaking; their communication is the thing that the most distinguishes them.
It can be drawn a parallel between adults and children. Do children communicate the same as adults in the meaning of using the language? We can take a closer look at this question. Boys are mainly interested in the activities, doing things collectively. Simple sitting and having a conversation is not regarded as a friendship. They find it boring and useless. Girls think vice versa; they are assured that such way of spending time helps them to chat, discuss their problems and simply talking about little nothings of life. It can be concluded that children, having different styles of talking, are related to the various cultures. Being more precisely, it can be said that two genders are two different cultures. And, it is not strange in the modern world. So, here, can be made the conclusion that two people, boy and girl, are clear representatives of two cultures that are the oldest in the world. Gender is the main factor that in a moment shows the culture of the person, beginning from the sex of person, and ending his or her way of communication.
Influence of the society
Special surroundings predict the future principles and beliefs of a person. These facts give rise to essential conclusions. Firstly, every person that surrounds an individual gives him or her some information, news and things ordinary child will be grateful for. Secondly, it is so easy to make a simple observation on how teachers at school are divided, namely, what subjects they choose to teach. After having managed this cognitive investigation, people would see interesting results. For example, the vast majority of teachers who teach mathematics, physical training, mechanics and physics are men, and most of teachers who give lessons at primary schools, teach literature, psychology and some other subjects are women. All this allows concluding that from the early childhood kids have been influenced by what they have seen the most, and what they have heard the most. As an example, if a boy is bringing up in the family where a mother is a nurse, and a father is a police officer, in most cases, he would probably choose the profession where he could defend others, believing in justice and the dominant position of a man, rather than giving injections in hospital. The same with girls, having naturally developed communicative skills and a need to help other people enables them to choose the appropriate professions, for example, a teacher, a nurse, a presenter of TV program and other similar.
Language – aspect of cultural identity
Therefore, it is also different for middle, lower and higher classes. As Atheron points out, the language that lower classes used is more practical and clear about the situation, as well as has the following characteristics: “Conveys a vast amount of meaning with a few words, each of which has a complex set of connotations; acts like an index, pointing the hearer to a lot more information which remains unsaid” ( Notes). On the basis of the work carried out, Deborah Tannen has come to the following conclusions: “But it is not only on the affective plan that language influences our thinking processes, it also does it on the social plan as well. A great deal of cross-cultural misunderstanding occurs when the “meanings” of words used or translated into two different languages are assumed to be the same, but actually reflect different cultural patterns” (117). Really, very often people are confused because of misunderstandings that occur due to the different notions of the same object or a subject. For example, neighboring countries always cannot get the true insight form the first time, that is why, citizens of towns and little villages of one country, which are bordering with the people of cities from another country, get used to understand each other easier than others, who live in central parts of the country. So, learning the language of a neighboring can be helpful.
Sociolinguist Deborah Tannen adds: “as Native Americans gave up their children for adoption in the mid-1850s to the mission schools, they expected these children to be returned to them at the end of the school year. TESOL students may have difficulties reading the sport pages of an American newspaper, even after they have become fluent in English” (58). This fact proves one more time that the area where the person was taught is one of the things that make a pupil behave and understand the world to some extent where he or she was brought up. So, it is reasonable to conclude that, no matter how perfectly man can know a foreign language and how easy and fluently speak it, he will never be as quick-witted as the native people. It is the home truth.
One more author who was interested in the studies of culture and its impact on education is Mary Schleppergrell. She argues that “The variety of language expected at school often differs from the interactional language that students use for social purposes outside of school, particularly for non-native speakers of English, speakers of non-standard dialects and sociolects, students who have little exposure to academic language outside of schools, members of the subcultures, and the acculturated students” (37). From these words there can be made a conclusion that it does not really matter what kind of language is taught at school, everything depends on the society. For instance, America is a multicultural country where people from numerous cultures and generations can be found. Time and time again, huge majority of people was choosing namely this country to immigrate and start living, taking a new lease of life. It is the major reason for so many multiple cultures that still exist in America. Moreover, owing to the amount of different cultures in America, there are so many native speakers of other countries that it is very confusing to use only English, forgetting the mother tongue. So, there should be no doubts that outside the school pupils use their own language, not necessarily English, and not only mother tongue, but also fixed clichés or special slang.
Mary Schleppergrell continues proving that “as such, learning difficulties may not always be a function of intelligence, but instead, may be related to inexperience with the linguistic demands of the tasks of schooling and unfamiliarity with ways of structuring the discourses that are expected in school” (16). Here, can be made the conclusion that preparation before school plays the crucial role for the child. Many people make an assumption that pupils, who from the beginning of attending the school have low grades, are bad in learning new subjects and activities, but, is it really the truth? Undoubtedly, the reasons are quite different. Now, it is clear that prepared pupils and students will always seem stronger and study much better than those who were not asked to take lessons and revising all the needed material from dawn till dusk. So, it is not a reason to complain on pupils who study bad from the beginning and bring worse results than others. In addition, good preparation defines how well will the child study in the future.
People had always despised others for the things that were at least a little bit different than everything else. What does it mean? Well, first of all, the vast majority of society tends to reject those who are different. Other way of skin, hair, thing whether a person is the better or the worst at some group… Fortunately, now, in the 21st century, there is less aggression towards others. But, what was a few centuries ago? Horrors… People could hardly lead normal way of life, as humans with black color of skin were equal to the garbage. At that time, it was very hard to have a good education, especially for those whose parents had another political view; children of divorced parents were called bastards, and discrimination had reached its highest level. Those days were full of injustice and numerous deaths all around the world. Hopefully, now, people can make a good choice, what to do, and how to do. They can choose which kindergarten will be the best for their child, which school will be the second home for their kid… It is so pleasant to realize that education is totally free for everybody, and everyone has access to it.
Discrimination of people with black color of skin
At the same time, though an issue of racism does not look as burning as it used to be several decades ago, it still affects the social reality today. For instance, “in majority-white schools, bad teachers are rare: just 11 percent of the teachers are in the lowest quartile; in schools with practically no white students, 88 percent of the teachers are in the worst quartile. The same disturbing pattern holds true in terms of poverty” (Notes). Thus, this statistics is quite concerning because it demonstrates that there is a close connection between the cultural and the social aspects. So, black-majority schools are not so successful not because of racial discrimination but because there is a cultural legacy behind the lifestyle, economic and educational conditions of the African American community. It takes years and decades to change them, which is a normal cultural transformation.
Historical influence of that time on today’s culture and people is still visible. People with black color of skin even today do not have to defend their rights and beliefs. But, not so long time ago, everything was different. Nobody of them could freely behave or live, just because people with white color of skin always wanted to stay one step ahead of them. The same situation was with school and the right to have an education. Children could hardly have the same education as other kids. Moreover, differences were in everything. Classrooms for people with black color of skin were dirtier and smaller than those that had other pupils. The similar situation was with teachers; they had lower salaries than teachers with white color of skin. It seemed that white men were obsessed with the complete dominance over the others. Thank God, everything has changed with time, and people with black color of skin came out from the underneath of the white men dominance.
It can be concluded that the key role in the people’s mind should be the soul of the man, his beliefs, principles, but, of course, not the color of somebody’s skin or belonging to some concrete political party, religion or nationality. It is a clear evidence that without an understanding of this insight, people will never achieve a success. So, it is seemingly that everything that a modern person needs is to live with other people in harmony and be in sympathy with all nationalities from the whole world.
With time and human evolution, such term as cultural competence appeared. What is it, another boring and not needed notion, or the thing of paramount importance? Certainly, this definition should be known for everybody because of its significant meaning. We can try to find out some other thoughts of the prominent authors.
“Cultural competence is defined as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross–cultural situations” (Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. 25). Probably, the creators of such a notion were highly interested in the fate of black people and others who were different. Is it really so? Let us get a closer look. If a person has appropriate behavior, good looks and has the kind intentions toward others, he for sure will feel completely at home, while being in a foreign country. Really, this is very essential for today’s individual.
Just imagine a situation: two people came to the national competition on the weightlifting, but contestants are from different nationalities, have different political views and judgments. What should they do, and how should they behave?