According to Mead ‘the self’ has to undergo three stages in accepting any culture. These three stages are called ‘education’ or ‘the process of learning’.
The first stage is that when an individual starts consciously imitating others around himself. He smiles, laughs, speaks or does something by imitating others’ activities. This shows that the child tries to mould himself on the pattern of others.
The second is that of play in which the individual plays the role of a medical doctor, a driver, a constable or an engineer. Through such make-beliefs the incorporate id his personality the various aspects of culture in the company of his associates until now he is not able to understand the relationship between these various elements of culture.
The third stage is that of organized plays in which an individual succeeds in exercising the required control over his behavior. At this stage he pays due attention to the attitudes and expectations of his companions.
Thus an individual learns to behave according to the accepted social norms. Now he starts imbibing those ideals, principles and beliefs which ‘culture’ has accepted as desirable. As a result, the individual behaves within the expectations of others. Now it may be said that he has become cultured and has also become a functioning unit in the culture-pattern.