Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘learning’

What Does Culture Mean To Community?

What does culture mean to community? Everything.

hand signals illustration multi-color community

“Culture” is defined as the “customary beliefs, social norms and material traits of a particular social group.” It comes from the latin word cultura, meaning “growing” or “cultivation,” which makes a great deal of sense when you consider the origins of our own cultures and how they evolve over time.

Culture is both a personal and collective experience. Our cultural experiences and identity grow from the communities we are a part of. It starts at home and spirals outward as we interact with the world around us. As a people, we derive our values and world views from the people and communities closest to us. Whether those values come from your parents, your teachers, your friends or from iconic cultural figures, the values we take away from our communities all profoundly impact the way we see and experience life.

That’s why community is so important.

The sharing of cultural values is undoubtedly give-and-take. We learn from others as others learn from us. While community might start as a relatively small group, people continue to expand their communities and the cultures that exist within those communities as their lives go on. This type of sharing helps us gain a greater understanding of each other, which is a necessary step in bringing us together.

Whether we define our communities as our families or our hometowns or our country, our cultural values will always be shaped by those communities while also holding those communities together. As we strive toward a global community it’s important that we remember this and discover the things that we all have in common. From our perspective at OurPangea it’s  mutual understanding and common values that play a huge role in what can ultimately bring us together and make the world a better place.

OurPangea For Education

art education collage title

Education without schools – radical, disturbing, I know.

What I should say is education can exist without schools, but it requires having something to learn from. I grew up with the Internet. When I had questions I could always ask Google. What I really wanted, however, was to hear from other people because other people can validate you in a way a statistic cannot. Education can exist if there are experts we can talk to, and it’d only be better if there were communities of experts we could easily find.

As OurPangea grows we want to see the rise of expert communities. All of those interested people who have done their research, thought about it, and need to discuss should be able to easily connect with communities of like-minded people. They shouldn’t have to spend time searching for those people, they should be able to look at a directory, find them, and start talking.

In a sense, these communities of experts are no different than a classroom; there is simply no teacher, just interested students. Each individual will have their own perspective to share and everyone can learn from each other. Each community can create, collect, and share their ideas. The community itself becomes the teacher, encouraging each student.

I may seem to imply that education is relegated to classical fields such as math, language, and science – it’s not. On OurPangea education shouldn’t be relegated to anything. We want to encourage the arts in the ways our school system cannot. We want to build communities of artists for their sake and for the sake of those interested. There is no limit to what a single person might be interested in and we want to make sure we can connect them to people who share that interest.

It’s disturbing that finding other people with similar interests is so hard. And it will take a radical solution to make the process better. Education without schools is a supplement to the classroom. It’s for all of the things schools can’t afford to teach and encourage. It’s for all of the little things in life that might fall through the cracks if they are not nurtured. And all you need is one person. Just one person who believes in that small interest. Someone to encourage and support you.

OurPangea is built to help you find that one person, for that one interest, in that one moment.

The Big Support Networks Of Education In Small Communities

Education has been a topic widely discussed in past months, especially with the Teacher’s strike that shook Chicago this past September. The event brought up issues about public education in Chicago and the American education system as a whole, but most specifically as it applied to urban areas. However, this event also provides us with an opportunity to discuss the importance of education in smaller, non-urban area, the lessons that can be learned from them and the continued importance of preparing future generations for the challenges that lie ahead.

Longhorns Texas students spirit excitement hook em

Like many inner-city schools, small town elementary and high schools often lack the same level of funding that is enjoyed by public schools in other areas. This can mean fewer honors and AP programs, less funding for extra-curricular activities and less funding for the arts programs. The advantages of having such programs have been clearly documented over the years, but knowing their benefits has not made it any easier for small-town schools to come up with the resources to support them.

However, all is not lost.

In her article Small-Town Education: A Personal Perspective, Kathryn Peters, a graduate of Goodhue High School in Goodhue, MN discussed her experiences attending a high school with a student population of around 200. Although Goodhue lacked funding for more extensive programs like honors and arts programs, Ms. Peters said that the support students and the school received from the community and faculty more than made up for it.

“Something that people forget about small towns is that you always have someone there for you,” says Peters, “you’ve got a support group — not just your teachers, parents and peers, but an entire community. Maybe you don’t get every single opportunity as a student from the Twin Cities, but you’ll always have someone to motivate you, celebrate with you, comfort you and be there for you, no matter what.”

Ms. Peters says that the support and attention she received from members of her community inspired her to pursue a career in dietetics (food and nutrition), a passion that she discovered through a program called G.O.A.L.S. She also points out that this level of individual attention and support gave her the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, win scholarships and go on to a successful college career. She doubts if she would have found a support network such as this one had she attended a larger school.

Though they have their fair share of shortcomings and, like almost all other schools, are far from perfect, small-town schools can still  teach us a lot about the importance of community in the area of education. The content of our education is not the only thing that matters and although many of our schools may lack the funding enjoyed by other communities, every community has the ability to come together and work toward a better future.

Kathryn Peters is one of the many students who found success through the support of her community. “Is [my success] a result of luck? Maybe. Is it because I worked hard? Most likely. Does it have anything to do with the fact that I grew up in a small town with a huge support network? Definitely.”

No matter where we live or who we are, the support of our friends, teachers, parents and community continues to be as important to our students as the content we are teaching them. In a time of teacher’s strikes and tumbling test scores on a national level, it’s important that we keep this in mind and continue to be there for each other every step of the way. Over at OurPangea, that’s an idea everyone can appreciate.

%d bloggers like this: