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Culture and Education

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The culture of a society has its inevitable impact on educational system. The educational system points to the various needs of the society concerned, because it is towards fulfillment of the same that education is organized. If the culture of the society is chiefly materialistic, the education system there is based on competition and efforts of the individual there, is directed towards the achievement of material goals, and not towards spiritual or aesthetic ones. If individualism is at the top in a culture, the educational system of the society too becomes colored by individualism.

Whatever we learn through education is immensely influenced by culture. Barlett says that social traditions influence ways of thinking, remembering, imagining and doing creative things. Whatever is considered as the most important aspect of culture, and accepting of which is likely to increase one’s prestige is learnt by an individual and he tries to forget other commonplace items. Thus culture not only goads him to learn certain things, but it also inspires him to retain certain things in the mind and forget others.

The educational system of a place is of a very ordinary standard, if its culture is not well developed, because then in the learning process very ordinary interactions are possible. In such a system formal education is very inadequate, because the purpose of education becomes generally limited to learning of very ordinary things pertaining to social life. In other words, the main purpose of life, then, becomes limited to protections of one’s society, carving out a living, safeguarding against evil designs of neighbors and other enemies and worshiping the accepted gods and goddesses. Formal education is not necessary for learning all these, because these things may be learnt through one’s own experiences. But when the culture becomes complex, then it is necessary to transmit the various elements of culture from one generation to another. For this, development of a specialized education is considered as a necessity. This specialized educational system is termed as ‘school’.

As we have seen, culture has its underlying impact on the development of one’s personality. Education is intimately related with development of personality. Therefore, the kind of education depends upon the nature of culture of the society. We have to note that ‘school’ is a source of imparting education. Besides the school, there are other sources of education. These sources continue on influencing the child from the very beginning. In all these agencies only those parts of culture are effective which are accepted by all concerned. We must not forget that in the educational process, an individual chooses his own options from among the various experiences. Sometimes, on the basis of his experiences he moulds himself also. In other words, society makes man and man makes society. In the same society various children obtain varying experiences. These experiencesalso depend on their homes and particular environments. Therefore, we must not reach a decision all of a sudden about any child. Before making a judgment we have to take into account the type of culture which he happens to represent. In the solution of a problem various children will display different attitudes. In fact, an individual thinks only in that manner which the society enjoins all to follow.

According to home and general environment, children represent different cultural background. That is why many sub-cultures are found in a big cultural group. Hence, for the guidance of children, the teacher should understand various elements of their sub-cultures i.e. he or she must closely study the home and surrounding environment of the child from which the elements offshoot. The teacher should also understand cultural motivation of parents, as the same are closely related with their expectations regarding education of their children. Generally, it is supposed that all agree on aims of education. So, the development of society will be obstructed if all do not agree for a uniform ideal of education. But today we find various points of view in people regarding ideals of education. It is quite natural to have various outlooks on life in different persons. But we have to proceed onwards according to some common accepted social values and education should be organized accordingly.

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