Culture and Education


Culture is a major factor in education and learning. The two go hand in hand and influence each other directly. In order to learn or teach, the culture and behavior of an individual plays a major role in determining if the individual will get the most out of whatever he/she is dealing with. Culture can be used to explain various issues relating to different issues concerning education and the performance of both teachers and students. The relationship between a teacher and a student largely relies on how culture influences them individually. The world is made up of people from diverse cultures, and hence interpreting culture is very important.

In Ladson-Billings article: It is not the culture of poverty, it is the poverty of culture: The problem with teacher education it is highlighted that most teachers regularly and loosely use the word culture for students patterns of behavior they cannot explain. Teachers blame culture for the problems they encounter on a day to day basis and believe the solutions to the problems is through riding the students of their cultures. I agree with the author because a lot of teachers fail to get the best out of their students because they judge the students according to their cultural backgrounds and fail to identify other factors that cause their behaviors such as economic issues (104).

In our discussion, we observed that culture does to some extent affect the behavior and performance of a student but nevertheless it is not the sole reason for this. There are other real problems that affect the student that are not necessarily related to the students cultural background. For example, economic factors are known to hinder students performance and influence their behavior negatively. It is a fact that there are cultures practiced by different people that hinder them from being educated; a perfect example is some of the cultures practiced by some African communities like early marriages. We however agreed that how well we define culture is very important in attempting to understand an individuals behavior (Lewis, 20).

In his lecture, EDS/Soc 117: Language, Culture, and Education: Politics of Representation Jonas explains that the idea that words, texts, and images constructed in a particular way produce particular meanings about reality (45). Those means might be correct versions of reality or distortions. This means that human beings interpret different events and behavior differently and in the end we make either wrong or right conclusions based on our individual perceptions. I agree with Jonas. In relation to the subject matter, culture is usually misinterpreted and used as the reason for our behaviors as humans. As humans, we perceive issues differently as individuals. An individual may exhibit some behaviors that may be strange to us, and we end up assuming that culture is the reason for the individuals behavior.

In our group discussion, we agreed that culture does not necessarily determine or influence how we interpret events and behaviors. As humans, we perceive issues differently even though we can influence each others opinions about different matters. It is therefore not strange to have different ideologies about a subject. At times we agree and many times we disagree. The way a certain group of people thinks should however not be confused with culture. Our race, nationality or the color of our skin is not necessarily related to how we how we interpret events and behaviors. There are beliefs and traditions that may to some extent influence the way we look at issues. Religion, for example, influences the way most people think but this should not be confused with culture since people from the same religion still view and interpret different issues differently according to their individual perception (Ladson-Billings, 105).

In his Article- Scientific American: the culture of poverty Lewis (20) seeks to find out whether belonging to a certain group of people who have been poor for generations constitutes belonging to a separate culture. He talks about the culture of poverty which he terms as a specific conceptual model that describes in positive terms a subculture of a society, with its structure and rational. He says this way of life is passed on from generation to generation. There is that when an individual comes from a poor family it is likely for that individual to be poor too. This is a wrong perception according to me. There are individuals who came from poor families who are millionaires today. Success depends mostly on an individuals efforts and the opportunities that the individual comes across and utilizes. Poverty is therefore not a culture, and it does not in most cases reflect the personality of an individual.

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To sum up, in our group discussion, we agreed that belonging to a poor family or group does not constitute belonging to a separate culture. We observed that humans get different opportunities in life, and this has completely nothing to do with culture. The poor and the rich live in the same societies with a similar culture. Wealth can be passed on or inherited from one generation to another simply because it is material or tangible. The same, however, cannot be said about poverty since it is not physical. Being rich or poor cannot therefore be termed as a culture; its merely the difference in the economic status of individuals in a society.

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