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Cultural Contexts in Development

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Part 1: International Contexts

In chapter 12 of your textbook they discuss how culture affects the content you learn and methods of learning. On page 380-381 the text describes how the children in the Indian district of Varnasi have a peculiar way of sensing spatial orientation, and how Mexican American children learn from siblings/other children. First, in your own words summarize how each of these cultures learns in different ways; use the examples that your textbook provides.: I am unable to find the required texts in edition 8. I will try to get hold of newer edition.

Second, explain how your own culture has affected the type of content you have learned and the method in which you have learned that specific. I was born and brought up in India. I learned three languages by three different means. Gujarati being language of my family was learned in day-to-day life just by observing and communicating with family. I learned Hindi by watching Bollywood movies where Hindi is the primary language. English was taught in the school. Culture always promoted communicating in Gujarati but also promoted watching movies every weekend for entertainment purpose. While Government policy decided to teach English as an International language in every school.

Part 2: Schooling in the US

First, review the national standards (NCLB and NAEP) on page 399 of your textbook. Summarize both standards in your own words by answering the following questions:

What does this standard measure?

NCLB: this standard measures school achievement by administering standardized tests. test that measures whether standards are met.

NAEP measures children’s achievement in reading, mathematics and other subjects over time.

What are the positive aspects of this standard? What are the negative aspects of this standard?

Positive aspect is that there is a nationwide comparison of achievement of students and school systems.

Negative side is that its charts long-term trends, its only emphasize on achieving a certain standard for school or even giving too much importance to subjects like math and reading.

How affective do you thinking this standard is

I feel that these standards are not too affective. This country is so diverse with different cultures between the states. It may be a good idea to test students/ schools within that culture. However, I am not sure how can we compare/decide a level of student when they get transferred to a different education culture/state.

How could you make this standard more affective?

I believe that we need to pay more attention to helping every child achieve basic grades than allocating all resources to the ones who can achieve the top level.

Second, watch the TedTalk Do Schools Kill Creativity? by Ken Robinson

After watching the TedTalk and understanding standardized testing, how do you feel the current U.S. educational system lack creativity? What can be done to reintroduce creativity into U.S. classrooms?

This was a very interesting talk. As Ken rightly said ‘we grow out of creativity’ as we grow.

I have a very limited knowledge of US education system and do not have school age kids- no first-hand experience. However, I work in a tutoring center where we teach Math & English. I have always felt that parents and schools are expecting too much in terms of kid’s language and Math skills. I hear them complaining every day even though kids are sometimes scoring 98/100. The fact that a kid made 2 mistakes out of 100 is not acceptable.

The standardized testing where kids are scored on their reading and math skills and other subjects may be the reason behind too much emphasis on core subjects. The overall culture seems to be so competitive that no respect is given to the fact that child is/can be better at something else than those core subjects. Kids are not given space to do anything other than getting better in school than their peers!

I personally feel that to reintroduce creativity is a challenging task- it will take convincing parents and community along with schools that future is unpredictable and degrees may not be worth anything in future. Our kids are intelligent to achieve much more and should be given opportunity to do so.

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