ERIC Number: ED205409
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Feb-17
A Re-Examination of Educational Issues.
This paper suggests how an anthropological perspective can help educators rethink important educational issues, including multicultural education, leadership training, and educational processes. Opening sections of the paper define anthropology (the study of human beings and their ways of life), and identify anthropological concepts and principles which have particular relevance for education. Concepts discussed include inculturation (the process by which culturally accepted behaviors are transmitted); culture conflict (differences between main culture and subcultures regarding goals, beliefs, and behaviors); and cultural relativism (the belief that cultural elements cannot be evaluated against standards drawn from another culture). Principles identified as being most relevant for education include the assumption that all human beings have the same potential for learning and the assumption that all aspects of a society are interrelated. Case studies are offered regarding the potential applications of anthropology to multicultural education and leadership training. For example, it is suggested that, in the case of multicultural education, anthropology can help educators maintain a balance between a culturally relativist perspective (i.e., respecting the integrity of different cultures) and universal goals (i.e. providing literacy in the majority language while helping children retain their first language. In the case of leadership training, educators can incorporate anthropological perspectives into various areas, including setting objectives, clarifying the conflict between traditional and emergent values, and identifying the relative importance of intellectual, moral, and technical skills. The conclusion is that application of an anthropological perspective to educational issues can aid in their resolution by helping to clarify opposing values and by making educators more sensitive to practices and values of subcultures in the school and in society. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: A presentation in the College of Education Dialogue Series (Las Cruces, NM, February 17, 1981).