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Culture impacts learning — and not just for students

By Corinne Brion
February 2021
The events of 2020 highlighted many longstanding truths about teaching and learning, truths that can help us move toward a more just and equitable future if we act on them. One such truth is that culture matters for learning, especially for transfer of learning from abstract knowledge into practical application. Because this holds for adults’ learning as well as students’, it can and should have an impact on professional learning. Learning leaders should consider culture in their planning, implementation, and follow-up with educators. Making professional learning more culturally relevant could help ensure effectiveness and decrease the trend of school systems spending money on professional learning that yields few results (Hess, 2013). In turn, this would contribute to better academic, social, and emotional outcomes for all

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References

Brion, C. (2020). Low-fee private schools: Case studies from Ghana. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 16(3).

Brion, C. (2018). Keeping the learning going: Using mobile technology to enhance learning transfer. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 1-16.

Brion, C. & Cordeiro, P.A. (2020). Voices of Ghanaian head-teachers working in low-fee private schools. International Journal of Educational Reform, 29(2), 170-190.

Broad, M.L. & Newstrom, J.W. (1992). Transfer of training: Action-packed strategies to ensure high payoff from training investments. Da Capo Press.

Caffarella, R.S. & Daffron, S.R. (2013). Planning programs for adult learners: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Closson, R.B. (2013). Racial and cultural factors and learning transfer. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 137, 61-69.

Hess, F.M. (2013). Cage-busting leadership. Harvard Education Press.

Lindsey, R.B., Nuri-Robins, K., Terrell, R.D., & Lindsey, D.B. (2018). Cultural proficiency: A manual for school leaders (4th ed.). Corwin.

Sarkar-Barney, S. (2004). The role of national culture in enhancing training effectiveness: A framework. In M. Kaplan (Ed.), Cultural ergonomics: Advances in human performance and cognitive engineering research (pp.183-213). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Silver, D. (2000). Songs and storytelling: Bringing health messages to life in Uganda. Education for Health, 14(1), 51-60.

Williams, T. & Green, A. (1994). Dealing with difference: How trainers can take account of cultural diversity. Gower.

Yang, B., Wang, Y., & Drewry, A.W. (2009). Does it matter where to conduct training? Accounting for cultural factors. Human Resource Management Review, 19(4), 324-333.


Corinne Brion (cbrion1@ udayton.edu) is assistant professor in the School of Education and Health Sciences at the University of Dayton in Ohio.


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