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Title: Culture

  • Julie Esparza Brown
  • Director, Bilingual Teacher Pathway Program
  • Portland State University

(No Transcript)
What is Culture?
  • Culture is the sum total of ways of living
    (Hoopes Pusch, 1979).
  • Culture is a way of life that is shared by
    members of a population (Ogbu, 1988).
  • Culture includes rites and rituals, legends and
    myths, artifacts and symbols, and language and
    history, as well as sense-making devices that
    guide and shape behavior (Davis, 1984, p. 10).
  • Culture is what one thinks is important (values),
    what one thinks is true (beliefs), and how one
    perceives the way things are done (norms) (Owens,

Surface Culture
  • Surface culture refers to tangible things unique
    to an ethnic group such as
  • Arts and crafts
  • Historic events
  • Intellectual achievements
  • Daily living
  • Food
  • Holidays

Deep Culture
  • Deep culture deals with feelings and attitudes
    one learns by being a member of that cultural
  • Thoughts
  • Beliefs
  • Personal values
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Spirituality/religion
  • Details of daily life

Can Culture Be Learned?
  • What do you think?

Seeing Culture as a Framework
  • Culture can be viewed as a framework through
    which actions are filtered or checked as
    individuals go about daily life (Hanson, 1992)
    and is constantly evolving.

Five Cultural Factors
  • Bennett (1990) identifies five cultural factors
    that influence learning
  • Childhood socialization childrearing practices
  • Sociocultural tightness high- and low-context
  • Ecological adaptation learning styles or the way
    in which individuals receive and process
  • Biological effects nutrition, physical
    development, and brain development
  • Language pronunciation, vocabulary, rhythm,
    pacing, inflection spoken and unspoken language,
    direct and indirect communication styles.

Making Meaning
  • Read this passage one time only
  • Rocky slowly got up from the mat, planning his
    escape. He hesitated a moment and thought.
    Things were not going well. What bothered him
    most was being held, especially since the charge
    against him had been weak. He considered his
    present situation. The lock that held him was
    strong but he thought he could break it. He
    knew, however, that his timing would have to be
    perfect. Rocky was aware that it was because of
    his early roughness that he had been penalized so
    severely much too severely from his point of
    view. The situation was becoming frustrating
    the pressure had been grinding on him for too
    long. He was being ridden unmercifully. Rocky
    was getting angry now. He felt he was ready to
    make his move. He knew that his success or
    failure would depend on what he did in the next
    few seconds.
  • Summarize what youve just read in two or three
  • Is your summary like your neighbors summary?

Generalizations vs. Stereotypes
  • Generalizations
  • Categorizing most members of a group as having
    similar characteristics
  • Based on research or widespread observation
  • Flexible and open to new information

Generalizations vs. Stereotypes
  • Stereotypes
  • Categorizing all members of a group as having the
    same characteristics
  • May or may not be based on fact
  • Tend to be inflexible and closed to new

Cultural Variables
  • Ten cultural variables form the foundation for
    most of our behavior and influence interpersonal
    behavior. Many of these variables are common
    across both majority and non-majority groups, but
    some of them differ. These differences might be
    quite subtle, yet very troublesome.

Nature Time Action Communication Space Power Indiv
idualism Competitiveness Structure Formality
Where We Learn Culture
  • Family
  • School
  • Religion
  • Media
  • Peers, Colleagues
  • History Geography
  • Art, Literature Music
  • Government

Cultural Learning
  • Cultural understanding in ones first culture is
    typically established by age 5
  • Children learn new cultural patterns more easily
    than adults
  • Values are determined by ones first culture and
    may have to be revised to be effective in a
    second culture
  • Understanding ones first culture intro-duces
    errors in interpreting the second
  • Long-standing behavior patterns are typically
    used to express ones deepest values

Cultural Differences
  • Within-group differences are as great as
    across-group differences
  • No cultural, ethnic, linguistic, or racial group
    is monolithic
  • There is a wide variation in attitudes, beliefs
    and behaviors within cultures

U.S.A. Majority Culture
  • Nature
  • Time
  • Action
  • Communication
  • Space
  • Power
  • Individualism
  • Competitivenes
  • Structure
  • Formality
  • must be controlled
  • single-focused,present/future
  • active, doing
  • low context
  • private
  • equality
  • Individualistic
  • competitive
  • high structure
  • informal

Dominant American Values
  • Individuality and privacy are important
  • Belief in equality of all individuals
  • Informality in interactions preferred
  • Emphasis on future, change and progress
  • Belief in the general goodness of humanity
  • Emphasis on time and punctuality
  • High regard for achievement, action, work, and
  • Pride in direct and assertive interactional

  • The process of adapting to a new cultural
    environment as students move from one culture to
  • Often progresses through these phases
  • Honeymoon
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Recovery
  • Reconciliation

Variables Affecting Acculturation
  • Amount of time spent in the process
  • Quantity and quality of interactions
  • Ethnicity or national origin
  • Language proficiency

Types of Acculturation
  • Type A High Acculturation, Low Ethnic Identity
  • Lifestyles, values, language and culture are
  • May integrate almost totally into majority
  • Occurs over generations
  • Familys length of time in American and reason
    for immigrating are factors
  • Assimilation

Types of Acculturation
  • Type B High Acculturation, High Ethnic Identity
  • Individual is essentially bicultural
  • Comfortable and knowledgeable about both cultures
  • Has friends and belongs to organizations in each
  • Integration

Types of Acculturation
  • Type C Low Acculturation, High Ethnic Identity
  • Individual retains high degree of ethnic
  • Expresses little desire or fear of cross-cultural
  • Rejection

Types of Acculturation
  • Type D Low Acculturation, Low Ethnic Identity
  • Includes dropouts
  • Alienated from both the ethnic and majority
    cultural communities
  • May be drawn into an alternative culture (i.e.,
  • Deculturation

Steps to Cross-cultural Competence
  • (Affective) Awareness of
  • Ones own cultural values
  • Cultural differences
  • (Cognitive) Knowledge about
  • Other cultures
  • Impact of ethnicity on behavior
  • (Behavioral) Skills in
  • Cross-cultural communication and inter-action
  • Adapting strategies to fit cultural context of a

Communicating with Diverse Families
  • Use understandable language
  • Provide ample opportunity for parents to respond
  • Listen with empathy and understand feelings can
    change as parents understanding of programs
  • Use appropriate reading level

The New Three Rs
  • NOT Reading, Riting and Rithmetic, but
  • Respect
  • Reciprocity
  • Responsiveness

  • Acknowledge differing perceptions and worldviews
  • Resist the urge to immediately change either
    persons perspectives to match the others

  • Builds on respect
  • Seeks to balance the power between the two
  • Acknowledges that the experiences and perceptions
    of every person is of equal value
  • Recognizes that not one view point needs to
    dominate or exclude a different point of view
  • Ensuring that every interaction is about giving
    and receiving

  • Be open to allowing others to uncover and display
    who they are rather than shaping them into who we
    want them to be
  • Reframe assumptions and stereotypes into
  • Test the hypothesis and ask questions, begin
    dialogues communicate
  • Be willing to not know how to act or what to say

White Privilege in Schools Is This Your
  • Whatever topics my children choose to study, they
    are confident that they will find materials that
    link people of their race to the accomplishments
    in those areas.
  • My children know that they will always see faces
    like their own liberally represented in the
    textbooks, posters, films, and other materials in
    the hallways, classrooms and media centers of
    their schools.

White Privilege in Schools Is This Your
  • The color of my childrens skin causes most
    adults in school offices, classrooms and hallways
    to have neutral or positive assumptions about
  • My children know that the vast majority of adults
    in their schools will be of their same racial
    background, even in classrooms where many or most
    of their fellow students are of races different
    from their own.

White Privilege in Schools Is This Your Reality?
  • When I visit their schools, my children know that
    school staff members will reserve judgment about
    my economic class, my level of education and my
    reason for being in the school until I make them
  • I take for granted that the tests used to judge
    my childrens achievement and to determine
    placement in special classes have been developed
    with groups that included significant numbers of
    students who share our racial history and culture.

  • The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Kozols
    book, The Shame of the Nation. Pineapple is a
    third grade African-American girl from the South
  • So it surprised mewhen Pineapple asked me
    something that no other child of her age in the
    South Bronx had ever asked of me before.
  • Whats it like, she asked me,over there where
    you live?
  • Over where? I asked.
  • Over you know, she said with another bit of
    awkwardness and hesitation in her eyes.
  • I asked her, Do you mean in Massachusetts?
  • You know, she said.
  • I dont know, I replied.
  • Over there where other people are, she
    finally said.

Cultural Groups
  • What cultural groups are you a part of?
  • Remember
  • Within-group differences are as great as
    across-group differences
  • No cultural, ethnic, linguistic, or racial group
    is monolithic
  • There is a wide variation in attitudes, beliefs
    and behaviors within cultures

A Hidden Culture The Culture of Poverty
  • Oregon ranks 28th among states in the percent of
    children who are poor.
  • More than 1 in 10 children is poor in Oregon.
  • 14.7 of children under the age of 18 in Oregon
    are poor.
  • Do you know how to effectively communicate to a
    person who shares your racial background lives in

Cultural Survival Skills
  • Do you have these skills?
  • I know which churches and sections of town have
    the best rummage sales.
  • I know which rummage sales have bag sales and
  • I know how to get someone out of jail.
  • I know how to physically fight and defend myself

Cultural Survival Skills
  • Do you have these skills?
  • I know how to keep my clothes from being stolen
    at the laundromat.
  • I know how to live without a checking account.
  • I know how to live without electricity and a
  • I can entertain a group of friends with my
    personality and my stories.
  • Source Ruby Payne

The Benefits of Culturally Congruent Education
  • The school climate is open, receptive, and
    reflective of students positive cultural values,
    norms and home language.
  • Difference is not seen as a deficit and no
    students are placed at-risk but are rather

The Benefits of Diversity
  • (C)ognitive diversity is essential to good
    decision making. The positive case for diversity
    is that it expands a groups set of possible
    solutions and allows the group to conceptualize
    problems in novel ways Homogenous groups are
    often victims of what the psychologist Irvin
    Janis called groupthink.
  • Surowiecki (2004)

(No Transcript)
Closing Thoughts
  • Culture is akin to being the observer through
    the one-way mirror everything we see is from our
    own perspective. It is only when we join the
    observed on the other side that it is possible to
    see ourselves and others clearly
  • Lynch and Hanson