What is culture?
The American Heritage Dictionary would define culture as, “The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.” As a teacher culture means many things to me. First, I need to realize that my students come from different cultures and these backgrounds play an important role in their adjustment to school and learning. Next, their culture has an impact on their behavior and the way they interact with teachers and peers. Finally, learning about each other’s culture helps us except other’s differences.
To learn more on how culture shapes our teaching styles click here.
Demographic: former republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina dominated by the Dinaric range of mountains, Bosnia is in the west central region of former Yugoslavia.
The climate ranges from humid summers to harsh winters.
Social and historical information about Bosnians:
Bosnia and its companion Herzegovina was part of the Roman province of Illyria and was used for its natural resources such as minerals. Bosnia was settled by the Slavs during their great migration and then was Christianized in the 9th and 10th centuries and this remained the religion until the advent of Islam.
Moving on to World War I, Bosnia ignited the spark that started the war
when the Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo
in 1914. Yugoslavia suffered greatly in World War I because many of their
men were drafted to fight in the war. After the war, Bosnia was joined
with the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes and the royal
family of Serbia ruled all. This “first Yugoslavia” was hit hard again when
World War II started because of the intercommunal slaughter brought on by
the mixed ethnicities. The first Yugoslavia died with the invasion of
The second Yugoslavia was reinvented under Tito in Bosnia in 1943. After
Tito broke away from Stalin, Yugoslavia was a “worker self-managed”
Communism and was progressive. However, Bosnia’s role was always ambiguous
because they did not recognize “Moslem” as an ethnicity. Tito’s death in
1980 was the beginning of the end for the new second Yugoslavia.
Slovenia and Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia during the war that came to
be known as an ethnic cleansing. Bosnia could not help getting involved in
the war that spread from Slovenia to Croatia because of its large
multi-ethnic population. It was an ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs so they
could achieve a political union with Greater Serbia. In conclusion, this
country has gone under so many radical changes and was the home to so many
different nationalities it’s influenced many Bosnians to move to a free
Factors about the group that have influenced its immigration to the U.S.:
World War I and World War II
Death of Tito
Ethnic cleansing by Serbia
Expectations that students and parents have about schooling and their
In Bosnia, most people are literate in their native language because of the
state-mandated educational system. The authorities expected students to
complement higher education with a practical learning such as a
vocational/trade school degree. Many parts of Bosnia are rural and not in
the Third World sense because many of the homes have electricity and
plumbing, but that agriculture is a priority and the community is focused
In Bosnia, many of the students are dealing with discrimination based on
race origin, religion, and language. According to a CNN report on World
News, in some Bosnian schools, Children are being segregated into different
classes according to ethnicity. “Separating kids along ethnic lines is
just continuing a policy that led to the war, which is identifying people
by their nationalities,” says human rights lawyer Sandra Mitchell. Many
parents move their families to the U.S. to escape these oppressions so
therefore; Bosnian parents’ expectations for the children’s education would
be a nondiscriminatory one. Also, parents would like to see more
confidence building initiatives seeing that oppression could take a toll on
ones self-esteem. Like all parents, they want them to be happy and
Variability within the group:
Bosnia-Herzegovina is a combination of many people including Bosniaks
(Muslims), Croats, Serbs, undetermined Yugoslavs, Jews, Albanians, Roma and
others. There is much variability with origin, language, religion, and
Characterization of their language structure and discourse rules:
The Serbo-Croatian Language
This language comes from the Indo-European language family. It also
includes Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Slovenian. Some of the words are
related to English such as sin is ‘son’ in English and sestra is ‘sister’.
The language has borrowed a lot of words from other European languages such
as Turkish, Arabic, and Persian. Finally, in the 19th century
Serbo-Croatian underwent standardization by linguistics to regularize
spelling and the phonetic connection between spelling and pronunciation.
Therefore, there are no silent letters like the ‘e’ in like.
Letters are generally pronounced as they are in English with some
exceptions such as the following:
J = y in English
Lj=l with a y sound attached
Nj=n with a y sound attached
C;=ch in English
Dz=j in English
S^=sh in English
There are 25
The pronunciation of vowels varies with the length and the tonal accent or
pitch. Any variation in these can change the meaning of a word.
Every noun has a gender, number, and case. The language has very flexible
word order rules unlike English. There are great similarities between Latin and Serbo-Croatian