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An Individualistic Approach to Education

Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. This type of culture is also known for being much less competitive than the individualist culture. The collectivist cultures typically rely on social hierarchies. These hierarchies are usually based on age and gender. The same rule applies to social interactions, save for family social interaction.

These students are not ones to put down others for getting a question wrong. Generally, these students will be the first to assist others in the group. Students from the collectivist societies are generally quiet, sometimes silent from personal experience and respectful in class. Other countries, and some schools in the United States, create communal property.

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Parents all bring in resources for the group and everyone is allowed to use the resources they need at the time. When asked to write reflections on themselves, these students will often write how others helped them get to the success. Inclusionary practices need to be considered for both individualist and collectivist students in a single classroom.

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Keep in mind, not all cultures are perfect models for individualism or collectivism; there is always a combination of the two. Any society can, however, be more extreme to one side or the other. Many countries and cultures with an individualist point of view see eye contact as a sign of respect. The same goes for participation. Students from collectivist cultures participate quietly and amongst one another.

SOCIOLOGY - Émile Durkheim

Students from individualist societies expect open discussion, active participation, and engagement at all times. Further, we individually integrate these various influences into our own identity, making each one of us unique. Furthermore, as educators, we also need to understand the American Educational system and public school values and cultures. While each school essentially has its own culture and norms, there are many micro-cultures that exist within the macro-culture.

The macro-culture of a public school is generally the one predominant in the society in which it is built: the United States Wardle, To prevent students from falling behind, or falling through cracks, we have to keep in mind both sides and understand how to effectively reach both at the same time. Individualist students need to know that they are doing a good job. These students like to complete individual assignments and have personal recognition for doing so. A pat on the back is often sufficient, but sometimes it will not be enough. These students also need to be able to express themselves in their work.

Guide Individualism and Educational Theory (Philosophy and Education)

Oral expression usually comes easy to students from an individualistic sort of culture, as well. Collaborative learning, group environments, etc. Students will typically enjoy working in a diverse group with various and rotating roles. For example, literature circles and writing workshops work well for collectivist and individualist students alike. Both work well completing work as a group, but also have individual roles and assignments within the overall project. Peer review of their own work is greatly appreciated, as well.


One thing that has also worked for me in the past—when it comes to teaching collaborative skills— is teaching via role-play. When students are engaged with each other, after a proper model of expectations, they immediately dive deeper into their learning.

We have to face it. Our students do not come to school willingly to see us. Their prime motivation is to see their peers and friends and socialize. It is evident in every class I have ever taken myself, and every classroom I have had the opportunity to teach in. Role-playing allows students to open up to each other, work together, learn about one another, and socialize at the same time. For individualist cultures, collaborative skills may not be as advanced as those coming from a collectivist background.

Therefore, skills need to be introduced slowly. The point is to make the learning deep and meaningful, otherwise students will forget or feel overwhelmed and give up on themselves. This is the very opposite of what we want from our students as educators. Most importantly, collaborative skills are integral to the 21st century workforce, educational system, and life in general. Therefore, collaborative skills are worth the time it takes to develop them in all students regardless of cultural background. Collaborative skills are the specific ways in which students are expected to behave in order to achieve class norms.

Individualism and Educational Theory

These are the parents that will want to know more about their children and how they are doing in school. Though individualist parents take this view, parent-teacher conferences need to be balanced with both collectivist and individualist reporting. Educators should explain what the student is doing well, what opportunities the student has, and then allow the parents to comment or ask questions. Having a quick warm-up conversation about the family and what they value most is a good exercise to complete with families and students in order to get to know who they are and what they want for their children and themselves, as well. Getting parents and the community involved is a key to success for both cultures.