Mathew Arnold (1882) sees culture as being the study and pursuit of perfection through the acquisition of knowledge. He sees culture as intelligence, as a character of perfection, expressing that culture to him is coming to reason through reading, observing and thinking.
Woolfolk and Margetts (2007) define culture in a different light and state that culture is "The knowledge, values, attitudes and traditions that guide the behaviour of a group of peopleÃ¢ÂÂ¦" (p.181). Herein is the key for me "...a group of people". These people may be residents of a country, members of a social order or members of a family. They are influenced by their culture and they in turn influence their culture. They are individuals who share discourse familiar to their own kind. They may share a culture that may include idioms, religious beliefs, political views, art, interests, habits or diet. Culture is fluid; it is constantly evolving (Cultural teaching in the context of traditional school learning, 2005).
Citizens of China will no doubt agree that their culture in the 21st century is vastly different to that of the Ming Dynasty.
Culture is integrated at every stage of education. Vygotsky's social constructivist theory involves the influence of culture in children's development particularly in relation to tools or cultural artefacts (Salmon & Perkins, 1998). These cultural tools can range from books to computers and include language tools such as reading and writing (McInerney & McInerney, 2002). Children are immersed in their culture, represented by the tools, social structures and text, to such a degree that it by necessity dictates their cognitive development (Salomon & Perkins, 1998).
Maria Chilcott (27 February, 2008) reminds us that teachers have a social and moral obligation to encourage students in recognising, understanding and celebrating their own culture and this is particularly true in Australia...