Begler Elsie Global Cultures The First Steps

Begler, Elsie. ?Global Cultures: The First Steps Toward Understanding? Social Education. September 1998, 62(5) Pg. 272-275. Essay, Research Paper

In Begler?s Article a discussion on how

educators should go about teaching culture occurs. The article starts out

by giving a definition of what is meant by culture and the different aspects

of culture. The Author sets up the guidelines for which she will interpret

and use culture. The definitions of culture are presented very clearly

so as the reader can fully understand where the author is coming from in

the rest of the article.

The author spends significant time discussing

the World Culture Model, which could be a very useful tool to a teacher

that is developing a unit on culture or just incorporating aspects of culture

into the classroom. The model that is presented can be particularly useful

when comparing cultures because one of the hardest aspects of comparing

different cultures is the fact that there are no common grounds to judge

the different cultures. The model breaks down culture into easy to look

at portions, which makes it easier for both student and teacher to study.

The end of the article is dedicated to

giving a lesson plan and examples of how to use the model and implement

culture into the classroom. The example given is very well displayed and

gives some great ideas that teachers can use in everyday lessons or as

ideas for their own lessons.

In my opinion Begler presents a very interesting

case about the study of culture. She says that it is hard to understand

other cultures when our own is misunderstood. I find this fact to be very

true, from my own experiences in life as well as our class discussions.

For instance when the case where the Navajo students wouldn?t take the

test and I was presented with the question of how I would deal with this

situation. This at first confused me but after thinking about the

situation, I realized that I couldn?t understand why this would occur from

the point of view of my own culture. I don?t know why it is so ingrained

in our culture to try to be #1 so how can I understand the Navajo point

of view, I can?t. Begler?s point as I see it is that if people as a culture

learn to look at others cultures and just try to understand them it will

be much easier to accept differences in the cultures.

The World Culture Model presented in this

article could be a very valuable tool to any teacher, no matter what content

area they teach in. The model as I see it is an effective visual tool that

can be used to not just study culture but actually look at it and gain

a visual understanding of the culture that is being studied. As a future

Social Studies teacher I see this as a tool that can be used to guide virtually

every unit that I teach. I say that it could be used for every unit because

then as a teacher I would have a common guideline that the students would

be able to relate new information to old, aiding in the retention of such

information. Another benefit of this model it also caters to visual learners

and gives another method to broadly teach to different learning styles.

The example of how to use the model was

very interesting to me and I would have never thought of this idea. The

example went into how to use the model when visiting a culture fair that

only has to do with food. The questioning that Begler presents with just

food alone enters into some great ideas that any class could use to study

any culture. I never realized the amount that could be learned about a

specific culture just by looking at how that culture views food. I found

this particularly interesting.

Going back to the author?s discussion of

culture itself I found myself looking at culture the way that she says

most individuals look at culture, As Big culture and little culture. Big

culture refers to ?high culture? such as fine arts and such, while little

Culture refers to the political, social and economic factors in the culture.

This separation isn?t necessary and really shouldn?t be there when actually

taking an in-depth look at a culture. I agree with Begler that this is

an unnecessary division and shouldn?t be there for obvious reasons, such

as a culture involves all aspects both the little and the big culture.

I think that it is important for teachers to realize this point before

any attempt is made to engage students in the project of earning about


As a whole I would have to say that this

was a very interesting article that really sparked my interest in the culture

aspect of my particular content area. I always assumed that culture would

be part of most units but no I can see where with the right questions and

the right modeling a culture can drive virtually any unit. Again I would

like to reiterate the importance of making culture an important part of

every students education. With so many cultures existing and changing in

the USA alone it is hard to believe that the citizens will be able to peacefully

coexist with out a basic understanding of culture differences. That what

Begler?s method, as well as the general teaching of culture does, they

open up individuals to be more receptive of others, making the individuals

stronger within their own culture as well as amongst other cultures.


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