“Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.” (Hofstede 1984)
Culture according dictionary.com culture the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. (dictionary.com)
I was surprised that this course made me open my eyes to cultural difference in education. To me culture is what makes us who we are. I was raised in a rural area in North Carolina. I had loving and caring parents and a large extend family. My siblings and I were expected to go to school and do our best. The one thing that my parents, like most parents in my culture, did not tolerate was misbehavior.
My house growing up was nestled in a neighborhood that consisted of nothing but family members. I always had aunts to watch over me or cousins running around to play with. This is typical of people in my culture. Due to this up bringing I am extremely family oriented. I believe that family helps shape us into the people we are. As a parent family is the main thing I continue to stress that in my own children.
Neither of my parents attended college and their attitude towards education was just okay as long as we went to school and did our best, home life was good. I have participated in sports for as long as I can remember. My father was a firm believer that if left without something to do children will get into trouble. My parents did however have a zero tolerance for misconduct and disrespect. The respect aspect of my parent??™s rules was difficult because many of my teachers suffered from deficit thinking.
Castro stated ???They continue to hold is conceptions about minority childrens literacy abilities, fail to recognize the pervasiveness of racial inequality, hold lower expectations for students of color, deny the significance of race in their practices, and lack a sense of themselves as cultural beings (Castro,2010; Edwards & Kulman, 2010; Mclntyre, Hulan, & Maher, 2010).
Being the only African American in a classroom often times and taught by dominantly white teacher I noticed that they did not always expect the best from me. I can remember a time that I did not have to do assignments because they assumed that we could not afford the extra materials or no one could help me. The absolute crazy part was we were an upper middle class family and my father had been retired since I was born. It wasn??™t until middle school that these misconceptions were erased. I learned at a very young age that I could get over on certain teachers and it took years to get rid of that mentality.
As I read and reflect in the class I realize that some of the research I have come across in my own life. Bolgatz states ???White students and teachers cling to color-blind and ???colormute??™ ideologies preferring to avoid seeing, hearing, or speaking about race generally??? (Bolgatz 2005; Pollock 2004).
The history of my ancestors was always taught to us. I was also taught by my parents to stand up for what I believe in. I can remember in the 6th grade February came and it was time for social studies and we were studying Christopher Columbus. I asked my teacher why we were not learning about black people my teacher stood there mouth open and said nothing. Being the only black child in the class my inquiry was dismissed and the lesson went on. After class I asked him again I was ignored once again. I went home and spoke to my dad and he told me that if I felt strongly about it then I should continue to pursue it. The next day as I entered into social studies I was stopped by my teacher he told me that there was not a great enough need for black history in our class. It took me a while to understand what he meant however I did not give up and later that month we did have a small lesson.
A significant body of research demonstrates that teachers who share the cultural and racial heritage of their students, or draw meaningfully upon it, are often more successful with students of color than those who do not (Dance 2002; Ladson-Billings 1994; Quiocho and Rios 2000). In conclusion the way we think and feel are important to all of us. I believe that all educators should have to examine what makes us who we are. Until educators understand how they think and what stereotypes we have about other cultures and ethnic groups.
Bolgatz, J. 2005. Talking race in the classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.
culture. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/culture
Hofstede, G. (1984). National cultures and corporate cultures. In L.A. Samovar & R.E. Porter (Eds.), Communication Between Cultures. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Dance, L.J. (2002). Tough fronts: The impact of street cul-ture on schooling. New York: Routledge.