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Imittleman's picture

 Wow.  Reading these comments

 Wow.  Reading these comments are really interesting.  

I have to be honest...when we began talking about cultures, I was convinced our class culture was the "better" one.  (Yes, biased, I know)  And to respond to some of the comments below me, we don't view it as rude.  We don't see it as formal discussion.  It's much more informal, like getting together with friends or family to discuss ideas.  The reason I think we may may come across as less polite or less serious is because we're at a comfort level with each other in which we're less guarded or careful, and yes, louder.  But it's also okay.   

But what's even more funny/interesting is that I, so wrapped up in our culture, never imagined the faults others could find with it.  I imagined others would find our discussions as fun and enjoyable as I did.  That seems kind of naive now.  But also really interesting.  And I think it shows two degrees of blindness: one, not only can one think their culture is "better" but also that they, so content with their own culture, would not be able to conceive another finding fault with it.  (In a wider context, something like one disliking the food of your culture: "What?  You don't like it?  How could you not like it?!") And also, it displays an insider/outsider dynamic in which the experience of being immersed in one culture, and watching it evolve and grow, is probably far different from perceiving it from afar.    

So what happened here?  I think it's partially growing used to one's own class environments (thus seeing it as the norm and perhaps "better") and partially not witnessing the development of the other.  

I could defend Paul's class (I already sort of did), but when it comes down to it, there's probably general pros and cons of both and probably different class room environments that fit different people differently.  (Maybe some would benefit from the more active/loud discussion and others would be hindered by it?)  I love our class and wouldn't change it but I could see how it could be overwhelming to others. 

It's amusing to realize we just took part in small scale culture shock.  Replace "Paul's class" or "Anne's class" with various cultures fitting those stereotypes (loud vs. quiet) and it's essentially the real thing. 

And I know this is getting super super long but I wanted to end with an anecdote.  When I went to France one summer to visit friends of our family, the mom asked me to tell her the differences between french and american culture.  So I told her nudity was a big thing and that in America, her kids (who were 5 and 7) would have to wear clothes and not walk around naked all the time like they did.  She then seemed sort of insulted that I said this and told me, "We are not always naked!  The dutch are always naked! It is very bizarre."

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