Culture, Globalization, Educators Speak

Manila Bulletin, January 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Culture, Globalization, Educators Speak


Byline: Dolores Baja Lasan, Ph.D.

THIS paper proposes an educational approach to culture in an era of globalization.

It advances the proposition that the study and understanding of the culture prevailing in one country must now be analyzed and understood in relation to cultural practices of other countries in order to enhance relationship patterns in a globalized world towards a more meaningful process of globalization; that while preserving cultural uniqueness, culture must now be seen more as a unifying rather than a differentiating factor in the scheme of human affairs by focusing on the meaning of the parts of a whole over and above how parts are combined to make a whole. The assumption is that there is something universal in the ultimate essence of each part of a whole culture which could facilitate a more egalitarian filtering down and sharing of the economic benefits from globalization.

Culture and education

Culture is at the heart of education in all countries of the world. Traditionally, educational institutions are anchored on the culture of the people they purport to serve in order to nurture a national identity.

In the Philippines, culture education seeks to develop a Filipino sense of identity which hopefully will translate itself into a consideration of the national patrimony over and above oneself. It is not within the purview of this paper to assess whether this particular goal of culture education is being achieved by educational institutions in the Philippines.

It is, however, true to say that the study of culture in any country becomes an exciting academic exercise at all educational levels as both teachers and students delight to look into the particular features of their own culture from a historical, legalistic, ideological, linguistic, new point, folklore, tradition, kinship patterns and other factors aimed to discovering and appreciating who they are and why they reach in a manner they do in given circumstances are elements for consideration in the study of culture.

The introduction of anecdotal true-to-life situations featuring how, for example, a Filipino would behave or respond, vis-a-vis others, how foreigners would react under similar circumstances, often provide a hilarious comparison which makes the Filipino understand, appreciate, and discover his uniqueness.

To a foreigner engaged in the study of culture other than his own, cultural immersion in addition to more scientific investigative methodologies, enable him/her to discover social constructs and practices often labeled as starkly different from his/her own culture and the findings of the whole exercise become part of the culture literature of the country under study. When viewed by an outsider, the findings may or may not necessarily mirror the cultural soul or spirit of the culture under study.

In the case of the Philippines, for example, worldrenowned social scientists like Dr. Robert Fox and Dr. F. Landa Jocano under whose tutelage I discovered my own Filipino identity, would affirm that the contemporary Filipino is the same as this forbears in terms of core values; only the form of verbal and non-verbal expressions and manifestations have changed.

What I am trying to drive at is that present culture education has primarily been on the depth and breadth of ones own national culture in terms of understanding core values, surface values, and the like as manifested through decades and generations. As an extension of this phenomenon, what I am trying to propose is a study of these core values or other specific parts of a given culture vis-a-vis how they are manifested in other cultures and which per chance may serve the process of globalization.

Culture and Globalization

It is now universally acknowledged that globalization is inevitable and irreversible even as its downside becomes more and more apparent. Hence, globalization is at times both subject and cause of opposition, sometimes violent ones, with sharp allegations which range from the failure of economic benefits to filter down to masses of people to ideological postures of globalization as the latest form of colonization. …

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