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The diversity of cultures and languages have played principal role in determining the success of education system at schools. Different cultural backgrounds and language of inhabitant students and sojourners, inevitably lead to a surging potential problem for school teachers to concern. Students whose inherited deep culture is derived from the parents reveal the particular values upon the learning process to which teachers and instructors have to pay attention properly.
In line with the parents’ demand towards the learning process outcome at schools, educators are therefore, facing sort of professional challenges to meet the given expectation. In this short essay, we would like to elaborate how deep culture comes into effect upon the practice of social collaboration at schools as well as the extent of institutional service to provide adequate learning models to meet the parents’ expectation and interest.
Deep culture is simply defined as a culture of home life of students that lead problems in school acculturation process and that may inhibit the success of education. Elements of deep culture reveal individual feelings and attitudes for being a member of a particular group in community. Deep culture entails personal thoughts, beliefs, values, and the extent of delicacy when conducting interpersonal relationship expressed through actions and words. This is likely a form of personal ethic and social identity instead of common shared values among community members. Yet, the deep culture is subject to change as the internalization process of it takes a course of long time period accumulated from day-to-day way of individual life.
Growing concern of deep culture rose after the previous attention of education institutions to the so-called surface culture which is regarded as the shared products and meanings which act at the interactive framework in a given community. Surface culture consists of tangible elements, such as dress, food, celebration, ceremonies, etc that we ca easily recognize the forms and typical difference. In terms of its application in education, surface culture has been proven inadequate to contribute to the appropriate approach of educators to carry out their professional assignments at schools. In addition, surface culture cannot reveal the basic values, attitudes, underlying beliefs, and prevailing traditions that drive people to behave in a particular way toward themselves, surrounding environments, and others. (Bonar, Gilluly, & Mosely, 2000, www.ccsd.net)
Ryan in his short paper entitled Recognizing Deep culture’s Influence on Communicative Behavior illustrated the comparison between surface culture and deep culture as the Iceberg Theory. The theory describes the surface culture as similar to the upper part of the iceberg. Surface culture in this case is observable individual behaviors that we can see and touch clearly and that we can associate the certain features to a particular social like Japanese, Indian, or Hispanic. Below the surface culture, according to Ryan, consists of domain that is still possible to discover although rare. The deep culture itself is in the lower part of the iceberg and thereby considered unknown pattern of thought and values of others that we cannot see clearly. (Ryan, http://repo.lib.yamagata-u.ac.jp/)
Some educators still give poor concern on the serious impacts of prevailing deep culture in line with their professional role in teaching and guiding the learning process of the students. Understanding a Hispanic student whose culture is to shake adult hands when greeting them will not help much when collaborating him into a diverse group members consisting of Afro-American, Korean, and may be Japanese. We can only associate that foods like tortillas, tamales, enchiladas, and tacos are ‘Hispanic’ which originated from the Indian cultures of Mexico.
Unfortunately, the underlying belief and values on such preference will not be recognized in response to providing the appropriate foods for Prom night event to conduct for the students. Considering surface culture as the basis of board management policy will present shallow insight when attempting to identify the possible resistance against the process of social acculturation among intercultural school students.
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The impacts of deep culture differences may result in increased prejudices that cause unhealthy learning atmosphere among the students. The abstract nature of deep culture might the obstacle for individual students to understand what and why. Sojourners may simply react negatively toward the different manners and attitudes of local students without understanding sufficiently the phenomenon. The same reaction is potential to occur to the local students as well when finding ‘weird’ manner of sojourners at schools. Quoting the impression from a sojourner namely Joanna, Joseph Shaules recorded the comments as follow:
“I didn’t appreciate parts of American culture. For me it was a great experience, but just if I look back I couldn’t have stayed in this country. I was definitely not part of it. For one year it was great, but…it was not groovy enough for me.” (Shaules, 2007)
The appearing bad reaction from individual students as an impact of different deep culture, either from sojourners to local inhabitants or vice versa, is an expression of resistance. Such resistance is apparently more than simply disliking something which involves a negative judgment absolutely. In fact, the essence of this resistance is not proven valid and accurate, just like saying “I have the bread here” or “Don’t trust people in here!” However, this will inhibit the psychological acceptance of students toward any form of collaborative work at schools, such as group discussion, learning group, or may be working research paper in pair of a sojourner and local inhabitant.
The two components to concern about deep cultures are words of language use and habitual actions carried out within day-to-day activities. The two signs are primary to know the level of cultural contrast among between sojourners and local inhabitant students. Implicit and explicit communication teaching will be a useful tool to help bridge the different interpretation when communicating with each other to catch appropriate the meaning messages. Non-verbal variable called as habitual actions, also deeply constitute important signals by which different students conduct interpersonal communication. Japanese tends to use a lot non-verbal language to express gratitude and honor unlike American in common who prefer expressing verbally what they fell and see.
According to Joseph Shaules, the success of intercultural learning is marked by increasing ability of students to differentiate the prevailing cultural phenomena, called as cognitive empathy. An ability to differentiate here is based on the ways in which individuals give the meaning toward different method and vice versa. Shaules further stated that individual views will get differentiated by the increase of perceptual framework categories used to understand other’s experiences and background. Although cognitive empathy cannot be separated from personal values and judgment as well, it is able to identify and support students’ openness to believe that cultural difference is resulted from different diverse individual experiences. (Shaules, 2007)
The deep culture model can be the base of school managements to carry out in depth observation toward the diversity of students. Owing to the professional demand to provide adequate learning system that allows every single student to grow better this model will play its principal role to design the proper approach of handling the given intercultural learning environment. Moran’s teaching approach may be also helpful to identify the appropriate model of learning process for intercultural students. In this model, deep culture will be broken down into furthermore than the iceberg formula. Using this model, educators will not only have to know the ‘shared products’ of a community only, but also go in dept into the forms of practices, the relationship of interpersonal interactions, as well as underlying beliefs and values of individual behavior to each other. In line with the intention to set up a learning system that accommodates the diversity of cultural backgrounds, the compositions of education board and teachers have to include minorities. Multi-cultural background of educators would help ease to bridge different attitudes, values, and the way of communication among the diverse students. The existence of minority teachers will encourage the mutual understanding about the different background of students.
Upgrading program on intercultural learning management contributes to the improvement of entire education personnel to carry out individual responsibility.
As conducted by education institution, such upgrading would be useful method to improve the cultural sensitivity and perceptual framework of the teachers and educators and that suggest individual educator to always guide intercultural learning students to improve their phenomenological understanding to achieve the success of education. Furthermore, peace education model can be another alternative for schools to apply. A set of training programs should be administered. Quoted by Baker and fellows, Hague stated when campaigning for global peace education:
A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice non-violently, live by international standards of human rights and equity, appreciate cultural diversity, and respect the Earth and each other. Such learning can only be achieved with systematic education for peace. Eventually, education institution doesn’t only demand the general teaching process in classes, regular out door activities, to get done on paper without caring whether the increasing level of inter-cultural acceptance takes place or not. Every single pace of learning process should be embodied through the so-called cognitive empathy and social altruism within the domain of inter-cultural education. Therefore, the success of education will be achieved without any worry about resisting manner of different deep culture.