Kimball 1956

  • View
    214

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Text of Kimball 1956

  • 8/10/2019 Kimball 1956

    1/5

    SOLON

    T

    KIMBA

    Anthropology and Education

    The

    anthropologist

    is aware that his real contribution can come

    only

    s he works

    alongside

    educators,

    learning their problems

    and

    point of

    view.

    \A/HEN SOME

    anthropologists

    turned

    heir

    attention

    to

    American life

    about a quarter century ago it

    was

    in

    evitable that

    the

    institutions

    and

    proc

    esses

    of

    education would eventually be

    studied. Much

    more

    attention has

    been

    given

    to

    the general aspects

    of commu

    nity life and to industrial

    organization

    however

    than

    to education. Only re

    cently

    and

    primarily on the initiation

    of

    educators has there

    begun

    to be

    a

    seri

    ous

    concern

    with this latter area.

    It

    is

    still too early to assess the quality of an

    thropological influence

    or even

    to

    pre

    dict what the future may hold. It

    oes

    seem appropriate

    however to attempt

    an

    analysis

    of some significant

    areas

    in

    which

    educators

    and

    anthropologists

    might

    work

    together. This

    will be more

    meaningful

    if we summarize first the

    basic

    areas of

    study method

    and

    point

    of view

    Anthropology is traditionally defined

    as the study

    of

    man. Theoretically at

    least no aspect

    of

    human behavior

    or

    of the

    environmental

    conditions

    which

    have

    contributed

    to the physical

    or

    cul

    tural development of man

    is denied

    consideration. In practice the central

    concern has been with man's

    exploita

    tion of his environment through

    tech

    nology

    his adjustment

    to

    other

    men

    through

    social

    groupings and his

    rela

    tionship

    to the

    supernatural.

    From

    study

    of

    man's

    technical equipme

    customs activities

    institutions

    val

    and symbols the anthropologist lea

    the

    culture

    of a

    people. Cultural

    scriptions

    however are

    always

    wit

    the

    context

    of

    a

    larger

    purpose. Thi

    the search for generalizations

    wh

    express the

    universalities

    of

    human

    havior in

    time and space In

    order

    achieve this latter

    goal

    the anth

    pologist

    works cross-culturally a

    through

    the comparative

    examinat

    of

    cultures

    seeks

    for

    the

    dynam

    which

    explain the

    origin diffusi

    persistence

    and

    change

    of social a

    cultural behavior. Inevitably the

    thropologist

    comes

    to appreciate

    orderliness of the

    cultural universe

    a

    is expressed in

    pattern

    and system.

    Method

    of

    nthropology

    The research methods utilized

    anthropologists

    offer another approa

    to problems

    of

    education. Up

    to

    present most

    educational

    research

    been dominated by the tradition of

    perimental psychology. This last

    proach

    is

    one

    that

    creates

    a contriv

    situation

    which may or may not h

    any

    relation

    to reality in which

    res

    are dependent upon

    the manipulat

    of

    variables.

    Anthropological

    meth

  • 8/10/2019 Kimball 1956

    2/5

    is

    quite dif

    ferent. The

    anthr

    opologist

    uses

    the real

    l

    ife se

    tting as his labora

    tory.

    It

    is h

    is

    objective

    to

    avo

    id dire

    ct

    influence on

    the

    activi

    ties

    he

    r

    ecords

    b

    ut rather to

    deter

    mine {h

    e character

    istics

    of on-going

    systems

    as

    they

    op-

    crate wi

    thin set

    of

    condition

    s.

    Thus,

    he

    observes

    e

    ducative

    proces

    ses

    through

    the

    activities

    of

    person

    s am

    ong

    t

    hem

    selves. He can th

    en

    d

    escribe

    thechar

    a

    cteristic

    patte

    rns

    and

    offer certain

    conclusion

    s a

    bout thei

    r

    func

    tions.

    Fr

    om su h

    knowled

    ge

    i

    tis th

    en

    po

    s

    s

    ible to

    makepr

    edictions abo

    ut the

    probableresults

    of given cour

    se of

    action.

    A

    word

    of

    caution

    should be

    introd

    uced

    a

    t this

    point

    to

    counter the

    impression that

    anthropo

    logists hold

    all

    the answers.

    They don

    't.

    B

    ut far mo

    re

    is know

    n about

    the dynamics

    of hu

    man

    behavior

    than pract

    itioners, in

    wha

    tever field

    ,

    have

    been able or will

    ing to accept.

    The

    fa

    ult must also

    be

    shared by a

    nthropologist

    s

    who h

    ave

    failed

    to

    present

    their

    findings

    in

    u

    sable form

    o

    r

    who have

    not,

    until re

    cently,

    shown much

    interes

    t

    in

    modern

    education

    al problems

    .

    The

    con

    cern with

    the

    wh

    ole

    in

    which

    each cul

    tural aspec

    t is vie

    wed

    in

    th

    e

    cont

    ext

    of

    its

    meaning and

    re

    lation to

    the othe

    r

    parts pro

    vides

    an

    ess

    ential p

    erspective t

    o the un

    derstand

    in

    g

    of the educational

    process.

    The

    non-

    judgmental,

    comparati

    ve method

    of

    anthropo

    logy provides

    an intellec

    tual

    devic

    e

    through

    which

    the

    edu

    ca

    tion

    ist canescape from

    the

    sup

    erficial

    irrc

    levancics

    of the mom

    ent. Fairwarn

    ingshould be

    g

    iven that

    the nece

    ssary

    rcoricnta

    tion

    of

    one

    's think

    ing

    is

    ac

    comp

    lished

    often with diff

    iculty and

    some

    times with

    pain.

    There is

    n

    o rea

    son,

    however,

    wh

    y

    subject

    matt

    er ex -

    So

    lon

    T.

    Kim

    ball s

    professor of educa

    tio

    n

    Te

    achers College

    Columbia

    Univer

    sit

    y

    Nei

    v

    York

    New

    Yo

    rk.

    pre

    ssing this

    point

    of view

    shou

    ld n

    ot

    b

    e i

    ntroduced

    in

    to th

    e

    el

    ementary and

    high school

    curriculum

    with

    beneficial

    res

    ults.

    Th

    e

    i

    nclusion

    of anthropolo

    gical

    materi

    als in classr

    oom subject

    matter,

    par

    ticularly those de

    scribing

    the

    cu

    s

    toms

    of primit

    ive

    peoples,

    has

    made

    some head

    way in

    r

    ecent yea

    rs.

    Such

    b

    orrowings,

    however, can

    lead to

    nega

    tive

    resu

    lts

    if

    the

    y acce

    ntuate

    the

    ethnocentric

    tendency to

    establish

    the

    superi

    ority

    of

    on

    e's own wa

    y o f life in

    con

    trast to the benighted people

    s

    of

    oth

    er

    cult

    ures. This r

    esult would c

    on

    tradict

    the

    very spiri

    t

    of

    anthrop

    ologi

    cal

    method which

    avoid

    s invidious

    c

    omparisons

    but

    in

    stead accords

    to a

    ll

    people

    s res

    pect for th

    eir ways. T

    his

    does not mean

    th

    at

    o

    ne

    n

    eeds

    to ap

    prove or a

    ttempt

    to adopt new

    be

    havior.

    On the

    contrary,

    the

    objective

    should be

    to-derive

    greater awareness

    of

    the mean

    ing of one's ow

    n culture

    through

    the examinat

    ion

    o

    f others.

    The product

    ive use of cross-cultura

    l

    ma

    terials mus

    tbe within

    the

    frame

    work

    of understand

    ing

    basic aspects

    of

    hum

    an

    life. A s

    an examp

    le, the

    family

    is an

    institutional

    arrangement

    present

    among

    all

    peoples. Its basic

    functions

    o

    f

    regulating

    the

    sexual beh

    avior of

    adults,

    providing

    protection

    for

    the

    im

    mature,

    transmitting

    large

    sh

    are

    of

    the

    c

    ultural herit

    age to oncom

    ing gen

    erat

    ions, and

    alloca

    ting tasks to

    old

    and young,

    male a

    nd

    fema

    le, for

    the

    welfare