Merriam and Bierema (2014) stated, “Adult learning is a journey” (p.238). Within that journey culture and context affect learning and our globalizing world. Culture can be simply defined by the shared practices, values, and beliefs that are passed on and taught as the correct way to act and think. Culture deeply influences a vast amount of groups from regions to organizations and classroom environments (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 239). Culture has an effect on both formal and informal practices. Throughout adult education, culture is examined from several perspectives including one’s position, privilege, context, and power.
Positionality is an attribute that is obvious or relates to age, gender, race, ableness, language, and so on (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 240). For example, if one were to look up a list of the top 100 authors of all time, they would not see names like Frida Kahlo or Juan Rulfo, who are well heard of Mexican authors. All they would see are names like Edgar Allan Poe or F. Scott Fitzgerald, the majority being of one particular race. They obviously were not the only people writing impeccable novels throughout the centuries. The majority was what was shaping the world. It was creating a culture that depicted what belonged and what did not. They earned these titles because of the relationships that shaped how we “experience the world and how the world experiences us” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 240).
Privilege is a supremacy over others that may go unnoticed by the individual but is seen by others based on class, gender, race and other positionalities. Answering the question of whether one is privileged or not is a difficult assessment to make. Fo...
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... practice (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 238). On the other hand, context influences the individual since it can control the level of knowledge and the perspective of society that one has. Although, these elements might differ they can all influence culture in a negative or positive manner. If taught appropriately, in respects to the learner’s ability of comprehension, it will allow for a broader perspective of leadership and globalization. According to Northouse (2013), globalization creates a need for competence in “cross-cultural awareness and practice” (p.383). On the contrary, it can be negative because it decreases the opportunity for growth and can limit the tools and skills needed in today’s globalized and diversified society. If these resources aren’t provided or taught then we can conclude that formal education is crucial to the cultural theory and practice.
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