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Elementary Art Assignment 1: What Is Culture?

As the demonstration of ‘empathy’ and ‘compassion’ for one another within any classroom environment, is meant to promote ‘multiculturalism’, I compiled a number of key slides which were created for the Grade 5 Art classroom discussion, related to the theme: ‘What Is Culture?’

Before the practical Art activity was introduced, a substantial amount of class-time was spent on the following key-points of discussion:

a.)-Culture is something that ‘unites’ people.
b.)-Not only does culture unite people, but it consists out of all the following things that ‘glue’ a group of people together.
c.)-The first cultural aspect which ties people together, is ‘national clothing’
d.)-The second cultural aspect uniting a group of people, is ‘food’.
e.)-Folk Art can also bring people together, as the ‘views’ ‘beliefs’ and ‘symbolisms’ of a particular group of people may be expressed similarly.
f.)-Customs and celebrations of different cultures are also vastly different.
g.)-Different cultural groups have different beliefs and different religions.
h.)-Different styles of teaching, education and ways of classroom management, are also different among various cultures.
i.)-People around the world, also have different kinds of medicines and cures for certain illnesses. For example, ‘acupuncture’ is a form of medical treatment, specifically known to Asia.
j.)-Even ‘mannerisms’ differ between cultures. Therefore, different ways of ‘acting’ can also be misread by people from other cultural backgrounds.
k.)-Your culture is ultimately the ‘lens’ through which you view the world and other people.

In my culturally mixed Grade 5 Art Class, (with students from Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, France and a few other countries.), students contributed greatly to these discussion-points related to ‘What Is Culture?’, by explaining which customs, festivals, food-types and behavioural cues /or symbols are popular within their own home-countries.

Visual aids were designed to help the Grade 5 Art students ‘visually grasp’ that the concept of ‘culture’ does not only consist of these varying factors, but is an ‘ever-changing’ concept which continually changes as the habits, customs and beliefs of people progress over time.

As seen within the photographs presented below, the Grade 5 Art students created a visual display of various clothing-styles from different cultures around the world, while representational foods from those cultures were illustrated in the middle of their paper-plates, as the focal-point.

Once completed, the Grade 5 Art students had to present their artworks orally in front of the class as part of a homework research-component about cultural practices, (other than their own cultures), while they had to share interesting facts about 'what they’ve read' with the rest of the classroom, as it relates to specific cultures depicted within their own artworks.

In doing so, the students didn’t merely depict cultures void of context, but applied some investigative reading which broadened their insights and perspectives regarding various cultures.