Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Cultural Perspective

Our team read an article a couple weeks ago on culture in education.  We found the perspective very interesting and wanted to share the article with you.  It's very long and takes a while to read so we thought we would pull out a few quotes to share some ideas.

When you think of culture, what are you picturing?

"Cultural preferences are strongly embedded because humans are highly social creatures with strong needs to fit within our groups. There are many layers of culture, from work and family cultures to community and regional cultures up to national and even international cultures based on shared heritage and language. Culture is learned but is also constrained by human nature."

Our Own Cultural Perspective

"Cultural sensitivity is not just one-way, however. Instructional providers should be acutely aware of their own culture because their world views cannot be separated from the training that they develop (Thomas, Mitchell, & Joseph, 2002). They should become cognizant of how their own cultural perspectives are represented in the design decisions they make. Furthermore, instructional providers should examine the assumptions they hold about how learners will and should respond, keeping an open mind for potentially unexpected responses. Moreover, they must balance the need to help students adapt to specific professional, academic, and mainstream cultures (which instructors, by proxy, represent) and the need to embrace the culture in which the student is embedded (Henderson, 1996). This is no small challenge."

We thought it was interesting to think about how our own culture effects how we teach or what we value as important.  As educators using differentiation in our lessons we think about our kid's needs and perspectives. What about our cultural perspectives?

The Culture of Technology Use

Another point that was brought up in the article is the culture of technology use. When it comes to technology use, we grew up in a vastly different era than the learners of today. Does this play a part in a cultural divide between learners and educators? What does that mean in the classroom? Does this change the way you design your experiences?

Here is the full article:


  1. As I read the article, the following quote stands out to me: "People make false assumptions when they attribute ways of thinking and behavior to the wrong source of influence (human nature, culture, or personality). They may wrongly assume that a particular behavior is a manifestation of personality, perhaps making a value judgment about that individual, when the behavior is actually driven more from the cultural level."
    I believe that my experiences in working in school district large and small has helped me grow professionally in regards to being aware of the idea of how culture/human nature/personality are intertwined, and we as educators really need to be mindful of those areas as we build relationships with our learners.

  2. This quote really stuck out to me (after reading the full article, but also quoted in this blog post): "They should become cognizant of how their own cultural perspectives are represented in the design decisions they make." I think this is crucial in learning design - all to often we design with our own preferences, experiences, and culture in mind and assume our learners will just "latch on" and "adapt". Awareness of the learning and cultural differences is KEY in truly understanding what each and every learner needs to succeed - even more so when you design using technology to support.