cultural diversity

In my course we are talking about culture and diversity, in relation to adult education, here is my post on the forum.

Baere-Stien in MacKeracher (2012) that culture “is a system of learned beliefs, values, assumptions, customs, language meanings and behaviors shared with a group of individuals, and a guide for organizing the lives of group members.” Some aspects of culture can be seen through symbols, just look around when you travel on the subway, look at the way people dress, or listen to how people talk, culture can apply to both those who come to our country from other areas of the world, but also area’s within our own country have diverse culture.  In my opinion we live in a diverse society where everyone is different regardless of whether we see indicators or have to discover them through interaction. To start to really understand another’s culture we need to go deeper into their Metaphors and Stories as in the case of Judaism.

To look at me you would not know I am Jewish I look like an average North American white male, I do not wear the symbols often associated with Judaism which would be the Yamaka.  However, the culture has both stories and metaphors as a very important aspect of Jewish Life.  Many of the traditions in Judaism are based on the stories from the Torah, which is in Hebrew is called the Tanakh, this is often referred to the Oral Torah we also know it as the old testament.  However, over the years the Talmud which is referred to as the written Torah also guides us, this book is used to explain the stories and metaphors as well as list the many arguments and commentary from Rabbi’s (Teachers) on the Torah, further guiding us on how we should live our lives.  (Want to learn more: http://www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm). 

As adult facilitators we may be faced in teaching a diverse group of adults all from both visible and invisible culture.  I think it is important to be sensitive and aware that how a person has been brought up and understanding their values could reflect what happens in class.  Having worked in the Northwest Territories, I knew a teacher, who went into a community, had trouble getting   his students to look up at him directly in the eyes.  He asked a community member about this and was told that it was a sign of disrespect to look up directly at a leader. 

I think Su(2002) states that “Metaphor has been shown to be an integral component of the way we conceptualize experience.” She goes on to state “metaphors are not peripheral, but instead, essential to human thinking and reasoning.” Teaching adults who have had a life time of Metaphor’s and stories to develop how the fit into, experience and react to the world, is important to understand as this is a fundamental difference between teaching pedagogy vs. andragogy.

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