Cultural Literacy

So now you’re a college freshman! Great that you’ve secured your place in your favored college. Good reasons to be a proud Texas student!!!

As stated in our post about health literacy, you will make definitely sure that your academic literacy and performances will be fine but there’s more.

There’s so much more that will make you into a healthy, independent, open-minded, well-rounded, and successful student and a happy human being overall.

Your college or university comes with its own particular culture as well. It has a cultural identity. You’ll have to get used to the vocabulary, the dos and donts, the organization with all of its particularities, and so on.

So here, we’ll take a closer look at one important aspect that will make you successful in life. Let’s look at cultural literacy!

The effort to understand the different cultures and languages all over the world pushes educators to create new methods of teaching to help students learn more effectively.

How to define cultural literacy

Cultural literacy is often described as the knowledge of cultures and the ability to discuss their history and the key concepts that form the basis of that culture.

Cultural literacy refers to an individual’s ability to understand a given culture and participate fluently in that culture.

If persons are culturally literate, they know and understand the symbols and signs of that culture including its history, idioms, language, specific dialectics, entertainment, folklore, stories, and so on.

Culturally literate persons are able to communicate with other persons of that specific culture fluently.

Folklore, music, theater, dance, and all other modes of artistic expression are often definitive of a specific culture’s history.

While there are varied distinctions regarding the cultures of different people the world over, there are persistent themes in language structure and art expressions that are helpful in understanding the cultural profile of a nation or an organization.

Each nation is populated by people who come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities and over time, their uniqueness combines together to develop a nation’s identity. Changes that affect the majority of the population can contribute to cultural shifts.

Each culture comes with its standards

Each culture maintains its own standards in areas such as the recognition of men and women in public, in the practices governing the different social structures starting from the family, observance of social classes, and the definition of decency and civility.

The way that we understand and treat each other is affected by the evolution of literacy, be it health literacy or cultural literacy.

A high level of literacy is often a sign of a progressive economy and is characterized by the active involvement of the different sectors of the society in handling the nation’s concerns without feeling overwhelmed by new or unknown circumstances.

Being competent in understanding different cultures can be time-consuming. While not every person would benefit from having a high level of cultural literacy, there are occupations and social positions that require proficiency in this area.

For people who love to travel or whose jobs involve traveling to different destinations, it is not only an advantage but a necessity to develop this type of literacy.

This knowledge involves familiarizing oneself with information from the basic, such as knowing common street signs to recognize the historical significance and the understanding of the different forms of emerging popular culture.

Even more important than just knowing the general info of a specific place is knowing how to use it to effectively communicate and interact with the local inhabitants of the area.

So to be successful in your Texas college and later in life, there’s more than just academic literacy. There’s so much more to it. Open your mind so you can become a healthy, independent, successful. and open-minded human being.

How to describe a culture

Often, culture is described as being something like an iceberg. What you see above the waterline are all sorts of aspects of a specific culture that are visible, that you can experience.

Those aspects are, for example, food, language, dress codes, festivals, and things like that.

Below the waterline, however, where you cannot see any cultural elements, are the aspects of a culture that only insiders know and comprehend, generally without them thinking about or questioning these elements.

These unspoken elements of a specific culture will show the influence of its values, history, and assumptions.

These aspects relate to perceptions of things and customs such as gender roles, right and wrong, personal space usage, and language utilization based on assumed common knowledge.

Culture can very well be specific to academic institutions or workplaces as well. Many students, when first arriving at their college or university, will feel like they don’t understand that much of what’s going on, and that experience will probably not be any different for you.

You will need to learn all about the customs, values, idioms, and terminology used at your college or university. you’ll have to learn all about that other culture to become a successful student.

What you’ll first see is that part of the iceberg that’s above the water. Just give it time, and you’ll learn more about what’ not visible. You’ll become an insider. You’ll become culturally literate about the academic world you’re in. Keep in mind, though, that when you get ahead in life, you’ll meet new cultures again.

Last Updated on September 11, 2020