Teaching The Enduring Understandings About Culture in Primary Social Studies, pp. 3 of 7

Table 1: Big C culture and little c culture (Peterson, 2004 as cited in Wintergeist and McVeigh, 2011, p. 9)

Big C culture

Visible

Invisible

  • Objective, highbrow culture
  • Institutions

literature

classical music

architecture

historical figures

geography

core values

attitudes or beliefs

society’s norms

legal foundations

assumptions

history

cognitive processes

Little c culture

Visible

Invisible

  • Subjective culture
  • People’s everyday thinking and behaviour

 

gestures

body posture

use of space

clothing styles

food

hobbies

music

artwork

popular issues

opinions, viewpoints

preferences or tastes

trivia and facts

There are many interrelated dimensions to the concept of culture and not all of that is appropriate to pursue in primary Social Studies. While that is the case, the definitions and elaborations above are put forth as stimuli for us to reflect on our own understandings of the concept. Which aspects of culture have we been teaching more of? What else should we teach and how do we dive into the less visible aspects of culture in our Social Studies lessons?

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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