In education, it is important to recognize the cultures within the school and promote them. If an educator is not aware of a student’s culture, it could result in discipline issues. For example, “failure to make eye contact is usually interpreted as a sign of dishonesty or shiftiness. But in many cultures, children are taught that they should look down when being spoken to by an adult. Looking away is a gesture of respect” (Jameson, 2003, p. 55). If an educator is not aware of this cultural teaching, the student may find himself in trouble without realizing the cause of his punishment. “Students must first learn to understand their own cultures and then they can begin to understand and accept the cultures of others” (Jameson, 2003, p. 56). This understanding facilitates the transition into another culture such as the school setting. Without the understanding of culture in respect to the home and the school, a student may begin to blend the two cultures resulting in discipline issues not only at school but also at home. Relationships and awareness of student interests are a result of an educator’s knowledge of culture in relation to each student. The more that is known about the culture the more realistic an educator’s expectations of the student. Learning styles, interests, relationships, expectations, and parent communication and involvement can be improved through knowledge of culture.
Overall, a holistic view of culture can be seen through its various aspects. A culture that is viewed from only one perspective will prompt many questions and result in confusion. It is in the best interests of educators to educate themselves in the culture of their students. The benefits will abound reaching the students and their family.
Jameson, J. (2003). Enriching Content Classes for Secondary ESOL Students. Illinois: Delta Systems CO., Inc.