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How Culture Differences Can Affect Learning

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Ana Valle

on 19 December 2013

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Transcript of How Culture Differences Can Affect Learning

How Culture can Affect Education and
How we can address these challenges

1. Understanding and appreciating the cultural differences of students in order to make the appropriate instructional decisions that will enhance their learning;
2. Becoming aware of one’s own cultural preferences for what they are and not assuming they represent the “right” way to think;
3. Determining which student behaviors represent cultural values and are therefore less prone to modification to accommodate the instructional situation;
4. Accepting the dual responsibility of educators to acculturate and respect individual student cultural backgrounds; and
5. Accepting that research-based instructional strategies are also culture-based and therefore may be at times inappropriate or in need of adaptation (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010).
To conclude, while the questions and beliefs of culture and education styles are not easy to address, they are crucial to contemplate together. "Educators need not avoid addressing the question of style for fear they may be guilty of stereotyping students. Empirical observations are not the same as stereotyping, but the observations must be empirical and must be interpreted properly for each student"
Explicit, ongoing dialogue about both learning styles and culture will provide educators with valuable information to help more students be successful learners. The goal is equity: true equal opportunity for all learners (Guild, 2001).
Daysi A. Valle

National University
In partial fulfillment for the requirements for ETL 684

Constance Rothmund

December 19, 2013

Reports about culture and learning style consistently agree that within a group, variations among individuals are as great as commonalities. Even as we acknowledge that culture affects learning styles, we know that distinct learning style patterns do not fit a specific cultural group. “Researchers have clearly established that there is no single or dual learning style for the members of any cultural, national, racial, or religious group” (Guild & Garger, 1998 pp. 74–75).

Crossing Cultures. (2013). Retrieved December 17, 2013, from Michigan State University
website: http://studyabroad.isp.msu.edu/

Guild, P. & Garger, S. (1998). Marching to Different Drummers, 2nd edition. Alexandria. VA
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Guild, P. B. (2001). Diversity, Learning Style and Culture. Retrieved December 16,
2013, from Johns Hopkins School of Education website: http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/

Johnson, L. (2010, August 13). Culture and Learning: Cultural Characteristics that Can Impact the
Teacher-Learner Connection [Blog post]. Retrieved from CWR African America Connecting Worlds,
Through Information Empowerment website: http://cwrafricanamerica.wordpress.com/

Parrish, P., & Linder-VanBerschot, J. (2010). Cultural Dimensions of Learning: Addressing the Challenges of
Multicultural Instruction. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,
11(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/809/1497

Culture and human nature have a monumental influence on individual personalities, yet people are also willful and creative in their responses to the world, frequently stretching or transcending their natural and cultural inclination. However, in the educational field these influences are "blaming the academic failure of minority children on environmental, social, or genetic factors, instead of placing the responsibility where it rightly belongs, which is the lack of cultural knowledge, acceptance, and preparation of educators of minority students" (Sims, 2006). But What is culture and how can affect education?
According to Crossing Cultures at Michigan State University Culture is "aspect of daily life - how we think and feel, how we learn and teach, or what we consider to be beautiful or ugly. However, most people are unaware of their own culture until they experience another!" (MSU, 2013). Culture strongly influences students’ learning patterns, communication styles, perceptions, and behaviors and can potentially affect the teacher-learner connection in the classroom.
Communication Styles. How we communicate is as often as important as what we communicate. Depending partially on cultural variables such as ethnicity, gender, and race, individuals may have a reference for sending direct or indirect, attached or detached, procedural or personal messages or possibly be more confrontational in communicating (Johnson, 2010).
Power Imbalances. In addition to the different values and communication styles that contribute to cultural diversity, cultures are sometimes stratified by inequities in terms of access to political and economic power. Thus a culture’s advantage or disadvantage depends on its position vis-à-vis other cultural groups (Johnson, 2010).
How we can address
these differences in the classrooms?
What is culture?
Individualism vs. Collectivism. Individualistic cultures generally value the self-reliance, equality, and autonomy of the individual, whereas collectivist cultures tend to value group effort and harmony. For example, mainstream U.S. cultures are often fragmented over the balance between rewarding individual effort and competition versus recognizing and fostering teamwork and cooperation (Johnson, 2010).
Action vs. Being. U. S. culture generally tends to value action, efficiency, getting to the “bottom line,” potentially downplaying social interactions at the interest of achieving goals. Taking the time to discuss complex issues and to appreciate the moment may be more important to persons coming from a more holistic cultural orientation (Johson, 2010).
Many educators in multicultural context may not be aware of cultural conflicts or understand every cultural idiosyncrasy. That is why instructors need to be aware of some disconnections between students and educators. But most important is why the need of address these challenges and what are the best practices.
Instructors must become more knowledgeable about cultural differences that exist among learners especially for those in distance learning setting where cannot longer assume any information about their learners before to interact with them. Educators must also become more aware of the cultural biases embedded in their own teaching and instructional designs, including the selection of instructional activities, and their presentation styles. Ignoring these biases could interfere with students interactions. In essence create a higher degree of awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences when they emerge (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010).
To aid in increasing awareness, instructional providers should clearly communicate the cultural bases of their approaches to instruction and should provide opportunities for students to voice their own cultural proclivities. Creating opportunities for discussion about learning preferences should be a first step in determining the direction an instructional event should take. (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010).
Many experts are suggesting many alternatives to traditional instructional systems that can better incorporate cultural diversity such as ADDIE (analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation); AMOEBA (This model suggests a highly participatory role for students in course decisions, including making choices regarding language (when feasible), interface formats, communication channels, instructional activities, and instructional methods); and CBM (Cultural based model).
Teachers Preparation
Awareness, communication, and process changes will lead to increased knowledge about cultural diversity. But the need remains to use that knowledge in making design decisions to address diversity. Preparing teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population is essential, teacher-trainer programs and local systems in services should include information on different cultures, learning styles, and how to teach using methods that recognize multicultural learners

These process recommendations have three things in common:

Consideration of cultural differences in each phase of the design process, with extra attention occurring during the analysis phase;
Pervasive reflection and a willingness to modify one’s first inclinations about the instructional design; and
Interaction with students or student representatives during design (user-centered design) (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010).
1. Teachers should be aware of the learning characteristics of the students they serve to enhance their educational achievement.
2. Teachers should learn to embrace students’ cultural characteristics.
3. Teachers’ should become flexible to alter teaching practices in their classrooms.
4. A teaching approach that develops group oriented classrooms and avoids focus on individual students
can be much more successful (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010).
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