Cultural Identity in Education

Topics: Education, Social class, Sociology Pages: 5 (1798 words) Published: January 10, 2011
Nowadays, the problem of cultural identity should not be underestimated. In fact, in the modern globalized world there is a strong trend to losing national identity in the result of the amalgamation of culture, or, to put it more precisely, in the result of the growing impact of western culture on other culture of the world. At the same time, individuals naturally cannot live without identity. This is why willingly or not they develop certain cultural identity under the impact of a variety of internal and external factors that actually shape their personality. In fact, individuals’ identity is inseparable from their personality. Consequently, human relations are, to a significant extent, predetermined by their cultural identity that effects dramatically their communication. As a result, it is always necessary to take into consideration the peculiarities of cultural identity of each individual, especially in education because modern education, being an extremely complicated process, is based on the idea that each individual is unique and his/her needs should be met in the process of education. Cultural identity in the modern world

Before discussing cultural identity in the context of education, it is primarily necessary to briefly dwell upon the concept of cultural identity in the modern world. In fact, the modern concept of cultural identity is based on two key elements, notably modern identity implies being alike other people within a group and common categorizing of outward phenomena, such as race or clothes people wear . However, in recent year such an attitude to identity is considered to be simplistic and specialists insist that it should be expanded. Obviously, such a definition of identity implies that cultural identity is basically formed in the process of the development of individual, i.e. it is acquired in the result of social relationships of an individual with other people. In stark contrast, to this position, there is an ultimately opposite view on cultural identity as the product of human nature. To put it more precisely, A.J. Ayer insists that “the general criteria of personal identity may be solely physical in nature that means that the idnividual’s identity is based on his/her physical identity” . Nowadays, such a view is widely criticized, and Baum for instance, underlines that in the postmodern world identity is becoming reconstructed and redefined and, what is more, “the problem of identity is one of avoiding a fixed identity and keeping our options open” . Nevertheless, regardless the concept of ‘flexible’ cultural identity it is necessary to underline that that it is still an integral part of the individual’s personality. In actuality, “we are neither only what we inherit nor only what we acquire but, instead, stem from dynamic relationship between what we inherit and what we acquire” . In this respect, the ‘flexibility’ of cultural identity also implies individual’s freedom which is actually based on what an individual inherits and what he/she acquires . Cultural identity in educational system

Obviously, cultural identity is of a paramount importance and its role in education is particularly significant because the individual’s identity is constantly developing and, being submitted to changes, it can affect his/her personality dramatically. At the same time, as cultural identity is shaped in the result of relationships between people, than the education process involves the interaction between people who have different cultural identity, different social and economic background, and whose views may vary significantly. At the same time, it is important to underline that the cultural identity of all agents of the education system, i.e. both educators and learners, is equally important because they constantly mutually influence each other. Also, it is worthy of mention that cultural identity is affected by different factors, including inherit and acquired ones. This is why the cultural identity in the...
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