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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

Date: Oct 26 2013

Topic: Conversational English

Author: englishteacher24/7


A. Forum goals:

  • Provide information on other cultures from the readers.
  • Identify the relationships between culture and language.
  • Provide information on English-speaking cultures to develop an understanding of the English language used in a particular country.

B. Introduction:

  • Cultural influence - Culture has a direct influence on the language(s) used in society. Learning the culture of a society can identify some general characteristics of its people.
  • Cultural factors - Factors such as religion, economics, traditions, customs, natural resources, and politics influences culture.
  • Benefits of learning other cultures - Information about other cultures can help us to understand why people of a society do the things they do, even within the same country. Therefore, let us use this opportunity to learn from each other and seek to improve ourselves.


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United States

Her question reminded me of something that was mentioned but might bear more looking at, “according to a curriculum that is determined by the local school district and state.” States also determine the requirements for degrees, diplomas, and certain professional certifications.

Schools which conform to a curriculum which follows those requirements are accredited by the state and can award those degrees in the states’ name.

Schools which do not follow the individual state requirements are not accredited but some do exist. Some charge very high tuition fees, and most accredited schools won’t accept the transfer of course credits earned at a non-accredited school.

I suspect some of these may be very tempting to students from abroad. I hoped this might serve as warning against blindly attending unaccredited, high-tuition, for-profit “universities” here in the US.  Do your homework.

There are certainly a number of exceptional for-profit schools that give quality educations to students and are respected by employers. If you choose to attend an unaccredited school, be sure you have found a good one.

Caveat Emptor- let the buyer beware.

05:37 PM Nov 11 2013 |




Hello Mr. Alston,

is it right that there is no difference between College and University?

Best regards! 

04:17 PM Nov 11 2013 |


United States

Recognition goes to Nanik (Nanexsa) for suggesting information on American education.

Overview of American Education:


Education has a tremendous influence on American culture. It determines the overall mindset of most American parents in the direction they give their children concerning the means of their livelihood.

Legal Requirements: By law, students must attend school or be home taught until 16-18 yrs. depending on the state or local jurisdiction.

Funding of Education: The US does not have a centralized education authority, the state and local governments determine the school policies and funding through taxes. The Federal government has a minimal voice in the direction of the schools.

Types of schools:

Public / Private / Home-school

Taxes support public schools .

Students pay for private schools.

Private home students are taught by the parent(s) at home according to a curriculum that is determined by the local school district and state.

The following is an overview of the American education structure:

Pre-school (3-5 yrs.) - Many children attend what is called “nursery school” to prepare them for regular school and help them to learn some basic skills and adjust to other children.

Elementary School – Kindergarten – 5th Grade

Kindergarten (5-6 yrs.) - This is a continuation of Pre-school for many children and the start of school for others.

1st grade – 5th grade - This is a very important stage of education because it lays the foundation of the fundamentals. It is changing from a pure acquisition of knowledge to promoting critical thinking, reasoning skills and teamwork.

Junior High School – Grades 6 – 8 (ages 10-14 yrs.)  The courses include Math, English, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education.

High School  Grades 9-12 (ages 15-18 yrs.) These courses build on the previous courses in junior high and include elective courses in languages, performing/visual arts, health, computer science, industrial arts, etc. 

Athletic sports such as football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, track, cross- country, swimming, marching band, etc. are electives according to the student.


Average college costs -

Public college/university = $27,967 per year including books, tuition, housing, etc.

Private college/university = $40,476 per year including books, tuition, housing, etc.

Apprenticeships in a physical skill are almost non-existent, accommodating non-college students would be an improvement.

International students  American colleges and universities desire to accommodate international students and seek to increase their enrollment. The college and student can both benefit from this relationship. Enrollment can be easier than the home country.

Furthermore, education funding and visas for international students are available to qualifying students.

American Style of Colleges and Universities - All colleges and universities are independent of each other and free to decide their curriculum and policies. The liberty that results allows for expanded research and development relationships with the private sector of business.

Conclusion - 

Education has a positive influence on the culture by improving the literacy of the citizens, however, there is a lot of room for improvement. Education is a business and there are conflicts of interest at times.

Nevertheless, for international students it can open another opportunity for higher education and learning another culture.

Please feel free to ask any specific questions concerning American education.


United States

Lesya, it is with great pleasure for you to return to writing on Englishbaby, you have many friends here and I have read their comments expressing the fact that they missed your presence. Welcome back!

Concerning your comments, I didn’t know that the USA was a closed country for Belarus. I did a little research and found a Belarus-American organization for the people that are here, the link to their website is: http://www.bazahq.org/home

Hopefully you can use them for a spring board to other organizations that can assist in securing Visas for those who would like to come to the US. I know there are immigration regulations but education and work visas may be a couple of methods to use.

I intend to post information on American education as requested by Nanik from Indonesia and now that you mentioned it, I’ll include information on foreign exchange in education.

I can always count on you for good content in your posts, and now that you’re back, on with the show, thanks!

Yuminaga, thanks!

03:26 AM Nov 07 2013 |




Good day to you, dear Alston. :) 

I am glad to realise that you still wait me to be active here. I will try to do my best to not fail your expectations.

I could not pass by your invitation, adressed to me to be active on eBaby again hence I came to your page to read your stuff. 

Have just read the short but very informative article about the “atmosphere” within USA you posted here.  It undoubtedly develops the imagination foreigners have got about America ( for those who have never been there)

USA is “closed” country for Belarus. There is a very low percent of people who can get VISA for USA easily and quickly. For us, Belarussian people, there must  be lots of serious, proved grounds to get VISA for America (for example, living in USA children or other relatives who can help with getting VISA via sending invitation or so).

It also helps with getting VISA for America if the applicant is financially secured, has got a good real estate, good family, children i.e. strong reasons which will make you to get back to your home country then.

But there is still no guaranties that applicant will be approved with VISA.

The embassy of USA  has got plenty of reasons ( sometimes without comments) to decline VISA’s requests. 

That’s is how it is in my part of world, dear Alston. :)

All the best for you and your family.

Keep in touch :)

06:28 AM Nov 06 2013 |


yuminagaSuper Member!


hello , sir !, you are one of greatest teachers I know ,I have been with you and your awsome topic and fatanstic explanation.I wont miss it for the world .

12:31 AM Nov 06 2013 |


United States

Nanik, got it, a crash course on American education is coming up.

Yuminaga, I was almost ready to send the hound dogs to locate you, great to have you back. I owe you one for the compliment!

02:05 PM Nov 05 2013 |


yuminagaSuper Member!


hello Teacher  ! I just took a look ,its awesome,I have to say 。actually there are lots of words I have to understand with a dicationary,but It could be one way to learn English I guess ,as well as I hope i can talk about our national culture someday .thank you  great teacher !

09:51 AM Nov 04 2013 |




Mr. Alston, I wonder those all sir, if you don’t mind.

01:53 AM Nov 04 2013 |


United States

Nanik, your request is very good and I intend to post information on the US education system. Thanks for asking!

08:45 PM Nov 02 2013 |


United States

Which aspect of the education system in the US are you interested in, i.e. elementary, junior high, high school, college or an overview of all of them?

06:55 AM Oct 31 2013 |




So, could you please tell me about the education system in USA

05:05 AM Oct 31 2013 |


United States

WobblyJoe, thanks for your assessment of the US culture that was posted. I agree with you it will be interesting to learn of other nations cultures.

04:08 AM Oct 31 2013 |



United States

The Englishteacher has given an excellent summary of our nation’s culture and background. 

I would be very interested to read similar summaries of other nations.

08:39 PM Oct 30 2013 |


United States

Nanexsa, first we look through a telescope as we observe languages and culture, then through a microscope. Thanks for your comment.

02:32 PM Oct 30 2013 |

1 person likes this




Understanding the other cultural in around this world is the nicest time to make a  good relation with each other regardless of differences. I am personally amazed because there are so many languages in this world, but I get more when I know there are 600 more languages in my beloved country.

02:24 AM Oct 30 2013 |


United States

I want to thank all of you who encouraged this new dialogue and appreciate your patience.

US American culture -

  • Diversity – The United States is a country made of immigrants, the American Indian is the only true American native. The fore-parents of everyone else came from another country.

  • Early development – The country developed from nothing, supplemented with slave labor of native Indians and blacks from Africa. This has been a sensitive part of American history and a source of discontent between blacks and whites. Americans fought a civil war and lawmakers wrote many laws to correct this issue.

  • Progress in race relations – The country made progress in race relations with minorities, however, it remains a “work-in-progress” to achieve the goal of a non-bias society.

  • Religion – The Bible had a significant influence on the culture, however, the country officially has a separation between religion and the country, although in the early development more integrated than now.

  • Natural resources – Natural resources are abundant, therefore, wasteful habits are an area to improve.

  • Politics – The Constitution and a Bill of Rights with 3 branches of government (Executive, Congress, and the Supreme Court) establishes the legal basis of government.

  • General characteristics of the culture – Independence, innovation, competitiveness, sharing, money-driven, loyalty, friendly, considerate, self-destiny, selfishness, aggression (for some), opinionated, bias, prejudice, support for the “underdog”(weaker one), a williness to make  things right that are wrong, and forgiveness. Not every person fit these general characteristics, it reduces to two categories (as in all societies,) i.e. decent people and non-decent people.

  • Freethinking characteristic – Americans are known for innovation rooted in the “free-thinking” and “independent”” mindset of the culture. One of the first words children learn is “mine!” Because independence is a virtue, it results in pursuing your own way. This can be a positive asset, as is known from many businesses, products, and concepts established by Americans. However, in a negative sense it can result in disgraceful and shameful deeds.


I hope this crash course on the US American Culture will give you some insight into American society and help you to understand some aspects of the culture and its people. In subsequent posts, I want to show how the culture influences the language and characteristics of the people.

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