Providing for transmission of culture and to allow society to function satisfactorily
Culture is the means of ensuring the unity and survival of a society. The attitudes, behaviors, and understandings that individuals learn in groups’ ⸻ the culture of a large group or society and the subcultures of smaller groups’ ⸻ are what enable people to communicate with each other and to function in a set of common rules. To provide for transmission of culture and to allow society to function satisfactorily, young people or those new to the society must be acculturated (i.e., learning the concepts, values, and behavioral patterns of individuals sharing a common culture) and socialized (i.e., prepared to function first as a person and then as an adult person) so that they can participate effectively in groups and in the larger society.
Many individuals and institutions play a part in helping to acculturate and socialize children and young adults in our society. The family, of course, is most important for young children, but modern societies include formal institutions that help determine what a child learns and how well they are prepared to function in society.
Many educators or members of academia will readily argue that this is indeed the function of schools albeit, public, private, magnet, or any “specialized” combination of math, science, technology, in producing more highly acclaimed students in these areas. Currently, Virginia Tech University, as well as Hofstra University, have led the nation in preparation of educators within this specific pedagogy.
In a widely used definition, culture has been characterized as continually changing patterns of “learned behavior” transmitted among members of society. Anthropologist Ruth Benedict provided us with another definition when she stated, “Culture is that which binds men (people) together.”
Culture not only provides the lens through which individuals perceive the world, it also guides people in responding to what they perceive. Language is perhaps the clearest illustration of communicating shared meanings. Cultural meanings are also infused into nonverbal behavior and physical objects. An easy example would assist in clarifying the materials found in ancient ruins to help us learn about the people who once lived in that time and place.
Above all culture is a way of thinking and behaving; it is a group’s knowledge and customs, its memories, written records, and objects for present and future use.
Now taking the time to research this information has indeed been interesting. However, this is not to say that when one picks-up and relocates to another ⸻ and quite different a ⸻ culture that some individual changes are, and will be made in order for all people within the prominent culture to benefit.
To this day, having spent a lifetime in education and financial investments, I am still hard pressed when I see and/or hear about how a different culture from a different part of the world tries to infuse their ways into America. It is important to see and understand correctly at this juncture ⸻ I have not mentioned any other culture whatsoever. Yet it still makes me wonder, if you have come to America to live a better life, enjoy the accoutrements that American’s have come accustomed to living with, and above all to integrate your children into learning ⸻ then please understand that the USA is the only culture on the planet that is specializing the entire curriculum and their own values to accommodate other cultural members.