The Effect of the Assumptions and Values of My Culture on Education Culture is defined as the attitudes and behavior characterizing a particular social group or organization. It is the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group. Different countries tend to have different culture and these differences in culture were the basis for better relationships. My country, Indonesia, could be characterized as a world separated from the United States, not only in terms of culture but also in terms of values and patterns of thinking towards human nature, spirituality and even education.
People have perceived culture in different ways. Two aspects of culture exist: one is subjective and the other is objective culture. Subject culture is defined as the patter of definitions that a person may keep in mind. This also comprises a person’s mental or physiological make-up. On the other hand, objective culture is perceived as the external expression of physiological or subjective realities. For this, values, assumptions, or patterns of thinking, such as belief in divine entities, were taken into consideration. A value orientation towards money and material things were seen as elements of a subjective culture.
The development and use of money, particularly crafting and the use of paper bills and coins, were part of the objective culture of people. As a further example, for Indonesians, especially Muslims, there is this view that the political, cultural and religious systems are so closely intertwined as all things flowed from the Q’uran, the Muslim Holy Book. In Indonesia, one sees the modern development of the government-sponsored ideology known as the Pancasila. The Pancasila informs all official development acts in the country. In fact, all those who intend to pursue higher education were required to learn the Pancasila.
I believe that this has clearly shown how higher education was directly influenced by the government’s ideology, unlike that of the secular and liberal system of the United States. Most Asian nations traditionally perceive nature as a caring entity or as a part of creation. This can still be seen in Indonesian culture, especially in certain native traditions of people, and in the general orientation of the major religions. However, in the case of other societies, this importance that is supposedly given to nature is not well reflected in actual programs of action. In higher education, such tension is seen as well.
Indonesians in general appear to possess a strong value orientation towards their communities and families. This is complemented in the official ideology, which was the Pancasila, that was formally taught to school students. The Pancasila, which consisted of five principles, captured the ideology of the independent Indonesian state. This affirmed that “The state shall be based on the belief in the one and only God. ” With this official recognition of a God-centered view too, the idea that the nation is in fact one people or just one big, happy family is affirmed and seen as desirable.
An Indonesian who lives in the United States for the first time could experience cultural ambiguity. This means that the cultural markers or references of the individual seem to be lost or misled. Take for example the feelings of an Indonesian lady. She overhears an American child disrespectfully talking to her parents. She was insulted, for in her culture, they were taught to always respect their elders. In addition to this, the lady was disheartened, knowing that she cannot just intervene with the conversation that was happening. Furthermore, American children are seen as having equal rights with that of their elders.
This part of the American culture was opposed to the education taught in the culture of Indonesians. For Asians, this kind of act may be considered as disrespect for the elderly, but for others, this may be considered as nothing of great importance. My values and assumptions on life were definitely results of the differences in culture. For one, the things that normal American teenagers would do, may be considered as vulgar for our culture. Although there are many differences among the cultures of people, these should not be considered as hindrances in building good relationships with others.