There are many ways to describe the term culture. Some people believe it is the sum total of everything in our environment that influences us. In fact, culture is influenced by so much of what surrounds us that we may not even realize that many of our thoughts, behaviors and feelings are shaped by culture. To demonstrate this point a university professor. During an introductory gerontology class. Asked his students to close their eyes and pretend they were at a party together while at this fictitious, Joyous occasion they were being served a delectable treat In fact, it was so delicious they all wanted more and were begging for the recipe. While still visualizing the experience the class was told they were eating worms! You can imagine the reaction. There would have been a very different outcome if the students were accustomed to such a delicacy
Culture “provides the prescription for daily living and decision- making”. Culture refers to ‘that which is totally learned and it include language, concepts, beliefs, values, symbols, structures, institutions
Patterns of behavior.
A person’s cultural awareness may or may not be the same as his or her ethnic origin or identity’ the definition of culture can include. But is not limited to.
The following points:
• Culture is learned.
• Culture influences behavior to the degree that one adheres to cultural customs. Traditions. Language. Beliefs and values
• Culture provides a framework for rules. In other words defines what is right and good. Or wrong and bad (or evil).
• Since culture is learned, it can change over time or with changing circumstances
• Variations exist within cultures these variations are influenced by family. The media. Technology. And exposure to people from different cultures living and working side by side
If this is the first time you have ever thought about your own cultural beliefs and practices you may not even realize that many of the things you do, and the way you do them, are largely due to cultural influences.
For example. Canada is a very wasteful society. We use disposable dishes. We use disposable health care products. Young families, and incontinent adults, use disposable diapers. We use paper towels, paper tissues and serviettes, and many other items that are discarded after use. The list goes on and on we have the resources to be able to engage in these extravagant behaviors. However, in many parts of the world these practices are not part of the culture. For example, one person exclaimed that she will never forget the look of amazement on the faces of visiting guests from Tanzania when they all went to a cafeteria for a cup of coffee The visitors were shocked when they saw the hostess discard the container for the creamer, the package for the sugar and the stir stick — not to mention the cup and the lid that would also be discarded when everyone was done! This person recalls that she has never felt so guilty about drinking one cup of coffee
University and college professors may find that young students, of traditional university/college age, who were born in Canada, struggle most with the definition of culture. Those who are not strongly linked with at least one other