The World Around Us
There are examples of culture everywhere you look, from the way people dress to the food people eat. You can actually learn from the culture that is around you; this process is known as enculturation.
Enculturation can affect how you go about your own life without even knowing it. For example, if you live in a city you may take a taxi instead of driving, but if you live in the middle of nowhere you may drive a car. However, how can this process possibly affect learning? Is it possible that students in different cultures learn differently? Let’s take a deeper look.
First, let’s take a look at curriculum. All states have a set of standards that students are required to learn. However, these standards may differ by the state that you live in. In Pennsylvania, you may be learning about a lot of agriculture because that is a big part of the state. However, that may not be the same in California or Texas. Just the curriculum itself can be different.
Something as simple as using different words can change the way we learn. Some people may call a soft drink soda, while others may call it pop. Those little changes can affect they way you act as a person as well. If you then enter into another culture, you may be confused by the terms that they use.
But, how does being in a culture really affect someone? The answer is repetition. By seeing, hearing, and doing things over and over they start to become part of who you are. The same goes for learning as well. If you want to memorize a poem, you read it over and over. By taking part in a certain culture, you begin repeating traditions, values, beliefs, and routines without even knowing it. It can become a habit without even trying.
Just being in a certain culture day after day begins to affect how you learn. You learn new things in new ways and as you begin to practice what you learn. Enculturation is learned through speech, gestures, and words. It is the same as learning anything new. It relates to the three types of learning styles; some learn by seeing or hearing, and some by doing. The process happens the same way–you see it, hear it, and do it until it becomes a part of you.
In a school setting, students are constantly being engrossed in culture. Students are learning by example from their teacher and their fellow students, things from how to dress in a particular culture to how to speak. They say if you move somewhere where the people have an accent, you will eventually pick the accent up yourself. This is an example of enculturation. The more you are engaged within a culture, the more you will start to pick up norms from the culture.
Now you know how the process of enculturation affects learning. Think about yourself and where you live. Think about how that particular culture has affected the things you do everyday. Even if you have lived somewhere your whole life, the culture has affected you. Learn more about cross cultural learning styles.
Both photos are from Wikimedia Commons
This post is part of the series: Learning New Cultures
How students adapt to new cultures, learning styles, and methods.