Mimosa Hill Blog
Southern Rural Culture and Student Outcomes: Part 2 of 6: How our "Home Culture" Plays Out in Learning
|Posted on April 26, 2016 at 1:15 AM|
So, what is this cultural filter of place? Is it what Mom or Dad taught me? Is it what Mom or Dad believe? Or is it what Mom or Dad lived without saying anything? It is all of that.
For example, most of the Democrats I know come from homes where the parents were Democrats. Same for the Republicans. In addition, most of the Baptists I know came from Baptist parents—and so on for the Catholics, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, etc.
Belief affiliation of our place is so important it is one of those critical areas of culture that also determines in many cases our choice of life partner; or it may include rural vs. urban living; or something as “insignificant” as what brand of automobile, tractor, or cigarette receives our brand loyalty. It will probably affect in large degree our prejudices—racial, sexual, academic, nationality, gender, holy book, or geographical region as choice for “home.”
If an educator gives little or no attention to the effects of the students’ cultural place filters, no information is probably going to make it past them to last past the chapter test. While just about any piece of information can be memorized for a test, to become part of students’ long term memory, it must “fit in” with the rest of what decorates “home” inside their heads.
As a student, new concepts must become part of me if I am to accept them as true, as useful, as consistent with the rest of me, and as worthy of my bothering to remember them. Otherwise, after I’ve entertained them long enough to regurgitate them on the chapter test, I’ll kick them right out of my brain to make room for stuff that fits in with the cultural design already in place.
I’ve heard many times the story of Grandma’s trimming off the top four inches of the ham bone before cooking it for Easter dinner. The practice passed on to Mom who did the same thing although she didn’t know why she repeated the act. But Grandma did it so it must be the right thing to do. The cutting of the ham survived Daughter’s cooking practices, too. It was finally with Granddaughter that the tradition was challenged. She called Daughter the first year of her marriage to ask about the cutting of the ham so she could explain it to her new family. Daughter had never considered it, so she called Mom. Mom had not dared question the strict, no-nonsense Grandma, so Granddaughter called her to ask about why she trimmed the top of the ham. After four generations, Grandma explained the time-honored tradition. “Oh, that? Well, the only pan I had was too small to hold the ham, so I had to cut off the top four inches.”