Culture and Educational Success Essay

investigative Assignment #1 – Learn about culture and educational success (Week 4)

Part A – Talk with three people (anyone you have access to in your home and through phone, email, etc.) about their perspective on educational success and culture.

The goal is to learn about people’s viewpoints on whether or not there is a connection between one’s cultural background and educational success. Even those who say they do not “have culture” often draw on cultural aspects of their lives to navigate education. Ask them the following questions. Feel free to ask others.

1)  When you hear the word culture, what does that word mean for you? Would you say you have a culture? Please explain.

2)   Do you think there’s a connection between someone’s culture and educational success (e.g., good grades in school, going to college, etc.)? Why or why not? What about any connection between culture and economic success (e.g., good career/job, high salary, owning a home, etc.)?

3)   Think about your own educational experiences, do you think there’s a culture in schools? Why or why not?

4)   If they say yes to #3 ask: Can you tell me a little about the school culture in some of the schools you’ve attended (think of a school that stands out for you)?  Do you think school culture can influence whether or not students are successful in school? Why or why not?

Part B – Submit on Canvas via Turnitin no later than Saturday, April 23 by 11:59PM

In approximately 4-5 double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins, answer the following. You must use the following format.

Section #1 – In approximately 1 ½ -2 pages, describe who you talked to (no names, use friend, co-worker, mother, cousin, husband, partner, etc.) and a little about their background (if you know anything), then summarize your conversation with each person. You do not need to transcribe the interviews word-for-word.

Section #2 –  In approximately 1 ½ -2 pages, use your interviews and material from week 2 (readings and/or lecture), and one reading from either week 3 or week 4 to discuss what you learned about perceptions of culture and educational success. You must refer to specific points in Sections #1. You must refer to specific points from the material in week 2. You must refer to specific points regarding the main research results discussed in the week 3 or week 4 reading. Think about any connections between the material and the interviews. Think about whether or not the interviews seem similar or contradictory to the class material.

1) Select one of your interviews that stands out to you. Choose one that was the most interesting or the most surprising. Write a brief summary of your interview (4-6) sentences.

2) Then write about what you learned overall from all of your interviews about people’s conceptions of culture and educational success. You don’t need to summarize the other two interviews that you conducted. Just talk in general about what you learned from your interviews as a whole (3-5 sentences).


Yuying JinYesterdayApr 18 at 2pm

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  1. I interviewed my suitemate; we have known each other since the beginning of the school year and her answers to the interview questions are somewhat expected. She believed in the idea that if you work hard, you will overcome obstacles (I disagree with this fantasy); therefore, this may impact the way she sees the connection between education and success. She explained that some cultures do prevent girls from obtaining an education. However, when I asked how race plays a role in education, she explained: “I don’t think race has an impact on educational success. There is…racial education discrepancy, but that doesn’t prevent anyone from obtaining a higher education.” When asked about the connection between culture and economic success, she answered that there may be a weak connection, but the obstacles from culture can be overcome (which is a fantasy belief I frown upon). The answer which surprised me the most was her answer to the last question: Does school culture influence student success? She explained that if the student is “smart enough,” they should be able to distinguish between what’s right and wrong; so school culture does not really matter if you are “smart enough to know [what you are supposed to do].”
  2. People’s understanding of education mostly came from their own experiences and family expectations. All of the people who I interviewed explained that culture does have an impact on educational success. However, when asked about the connection between economic success and educational success, people tend to spend more time thinking over this connection. This may be because the people who I interviewed are all college students, therefore, they have not yet been in a financial hardship/failure (they can only refer to what they have seen or heard). What I found interesting was that my participants’ answer to the first part of the second question aligns with what they have experienced in school (they tend to give me examples of how their culture affect their concept of education).

Chelsey NavarroYesterdayApr 18 at 12:54pm

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1) The first interviewee I talked to is my high school best friend that currently attends the University of Southern California. This interview surprised me because she touched on how she identifies as part of Mexican culture, but culture can be different when it comes to education. She said that culture has become a statistic for identifying where people stand academically (eg white people are more likely to graduate than people of color and black/hispanic students have to take more pre-req classes to get into other classes). I also though it was very insightful of her to share her experience attending USC a PWI as a Latinx student because the culture of the school is not based on identity, but rather on similar interests. I thought this was a very interesting take to identify the culture of her school because many of the students there are not aware of how culture can impact other people’s identities. I also thought it was shocking when she mentioned that the school did not create a First-Generation student center until 2020 and their most recent admitted class only had 16% first-generation students. She feels that this culture at USC has caused her to feel like she does not belong there and feel unheard among other talented students.

2) Overall what I learned from my interviews was that culture can be important and separate from education. All of my interviewees were Mexican and they stated how it shapes their language, food, beliefs, and being family oriented. However some of my interviewees mentioned that culture can be important at the individual level for education or be used as a statistic. Some of my interviewees said that their family culture made them work harder in school because they know how hard their parents worked for them to come to this country and wanted them to get a better education. The culture and environment of the schools is a common similarity that all my interviewees had because they stated that feeling out of place, lacking community, and seeking out social life/new opportunities all impacted their educational experiences especially coming from smaller high schools or where there were more students of color.

Ardia RadityoYesterdayApr 18 at 12:34pm

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One of the most interesting responses that I heard from my interviewee was somewhat related to the case(Linda Howard) discussed in the class, as an old friend of mine that used to go to the same college with me experienced a biracial family coming from a different culture (Asian-European) that diversity was shared within him. My interviewee defines culture as something that told the origin story of where other people come from and is proud of who they are no matter what other people think about their culture. He doesn’t agree that there’s a connection between someone’s culture and their educational success as he thinks that there’s shouldn’t limitations in gaining knowledge due to cultural background. Yet, he thinks that there are somewhat relations that can be seen between culture and economic success, as there were certain pressures that arrive from society as a whole. Moreover, he thinks that there’s a culture in school because he has met a lot of people coming from different backgrounds since the school that he attended was an international school that has allowed him to experience diversity. Yet, he thinks that school culture doesn’t affect how the student can be successful or unsuccessful if every student befriends anyone and is not isolated by cliques in helping each other reach success. It’s a matter of will he said that influences defining a person’s success.

Overall, all of my interviewees had a similar definition of culture, which tells their background stories in response to being able to interact with other people in concern not to hurting how they would feel in the public/society. Furthermore, some of them had a different opinion on how culture and educational success relates to the outcome that arrives from it, as one of them said that culture defines how people perceived problems through their perspective that was built within themselves impacting the result of a person’s educational success. Meanwhile, my other interviewee said the opposite as he thinks that there are no relations that lie within a person’s educational success because he feels that there shouldn’t be any limits or boundaries that were set for a person to get access to knowledge affecting their success in their educational studies.

Edited by Ardia Radityo on Apr 18 at 12:39pm


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