Teacher: The little girl was far from home.
Interviewer: As schools across America become more diverse, what are the implications of culture in the classroom? Dr. Jeanne Tsai, who directs the Culture and Emotions Lab in the Psychology Department at Stanford, says for starters, culture greatly influences what's known as our ideal affect.
Dr. Jeanne Tsai: Ideal affect refers to the affective states, or the feelings that people value, desire, ideally want to feel. And this is really as opposed to the feelings that people actually have, or what we call their actual affect.
Interviewer: Dr. Tsai initially conducted a series of studies with adults -- some European American, some East Asian -- to measure the specific feelings they ideally wanted to feel, or their ideal affect.
Dr. Jeanne Tsai: What we found was that North American context, European American contexts really value these excitement states, or what we call high arousal positive states, like excitement, enthusiasm, elation, more than many East Asian contexts, which really value the more calm states: calm, peacefulness, serenity, what we call these low arousal positive states.
And what's interesting is that across a variety of different studies and samples, we always find these cultural differences in how people want to feel, or their ideal affect. And we often don't find any differences in how people actually feel. And we think that this is because culture teaches us what's desirable, what's moral, what's virtuous.
A lot of cultural psychologists have talked about that as being one of the primary roles of culture. And we've just applied this to the idea of emotions, that culture also teaches us what emotions are moral, right, and virtuous.
Interviewer: At what age do culture and cultural differences affect ideal affect?
Dr. Jeanne Tsai: Kids begin to develop an understanding of the emotions that they should feel or that they should display on their faces right around preschool age, between the ages of 3 and 5. So we reason that once they develop this kind of understanding, that's when we should see cultural differences in ideal affect. I think it's really important to consider not only how culture shapes the languages that people are speaking or the kinds of foods they're eating, but also how culture shapes the students' psyches and how they're thinking and feeling and relating to others.
And I think if educators can be sensitive to those cultural differences, then we can reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings, mischaracterizing a child as disengaged or as not being creative or not having the potential to be a leader when they might have all of those things, they're just coming from a culture that manifests those qualities in a different way.
Teacher: Still exploring all the colors.
Dr. Jeanne Tsai: If we could have classrooms that could accommodate that and really benefit and capitalize on the cultural differences, I think we would all learn much more rather than being restricted to just one way of being.Cerrar
Este video es parte del módulo Habilidades emocionales, uno de los que conforman la serie de Módulos de aprendizaje de la Alianza EarlyEdU (video en inglés).