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.