Teaching Abroad: A Culturally Appropriate Education Method Lethal once again left her classroom troubled and perplexed over the days events. She reflected over the last three months of teaching abroad in India. At first, she anticipated the challenge of teaching in another culture and bringing new and advanced education to a traditional society; however, the excitement waned as each day became a fight of wills between her and the students. When she tried to engage the students by asking questions, the common response typified a blank stare.
Furthermore, they refused to listen to her when she gave instructions about working on an assignment independently and instead met in a group to complete the project. Conflicts such as these arose in the classroom daily, leaving Lethal and the students frustrated and discouraged. Unfortunately, this problem occurs frequently with educators teaching abroad. Lured by the adventure of teaching in another country, more and more teachers pursue teaching overseas today.
However, these educators arrive only to find that the acceptable methods and practices used in their classrooms back home meet resistance when used in a new culture. Although many American teachers teaching abroad use an accepted Westernizes education curriculum, educators would adapt to a cultural specific education method. Educators should adapt to a cultural specific education method to broaden their opinions on curriculum and education. American teachers should eliminate ethnocentrism when teaching abroad.
Ethnocentrism, the misconception that familiar practices and methodologies found in one’s own culture presents the only appropriate approach, causes significant problems when teaching abroad. Kenneth Keith acknowledges this problem by quoting Cole and Cushion, “Awareness of the reality of culture and cultural diversity is essential for teachers. However, researchers interested in culture have long recognized a dearth of cultural content in teaching” (160). When teaching abroad, teachers with ethnocentric assume that their practice presents the only correct way of teaching.
They refuse to adapt to other viewpoints that could potentially offer educationally worthy and culturally acceptable methods. Educators imprison themselves in their own perspective and limit themselves by believing that a Western structure provides the only suitable method. This cultural ethnocentrism blinds them to the merits of other educational practices. In the article “Teaching Abroad,” the author relates how he entered the education system of Australia with the presupposition that the student’s duty was to conform to his teaching methods.
He realized later in life that if he desired to support learning in a differing cultural environment, he had to adapt his curriculum to accommodate the student’s preferences (Bodysuit and Walker 81). Every culture influences an individual in various ways. This influence develops the deep-rooted concepts of education that the educator abides by; educators must separate from the instilled concepts imparted to them through their cultures and open themselves up to accepting new techniques. American teachers should educate themselves about cultural learning styles.
Bettor teen can Tunnel well as a teacher, educators must first occupy the role of a learner. When entering a new culture, the educator must take necessary steps to learn about the cultural learning styles that indwell that particular environment. In her book, Language, Culture and Teaching, Sonic Unite elaborates on the fact that although culture cannot indicatively form an individual’s learning method, it provides a persuasive force (194). Educators must develop their knowledge about how people learn and recognize that learning styles depend upon he cultural context.
For instance, differences often arise between members of individualistic cultures and collectivist cultures. The Review and Evaluation of International Literature on Managing Cultural Diversity in the Classroom explains that “Different cultures have different norms, values, and expectations, and these cultural differences have a strong influence on educational practices” (Ho, Holmes and Cooper 4). Observing cultural learning methods will enable educators to structure procedures and strategies in their curriculum that will accommodate cultural variants such as working cooperatively or competitively.
Not only should educators adapt to a cultural specific education method to broaden their opinions on curriculum and education, but also educators should adapt to a cultural specific education method to meet the cultural variations of learning. American teachers should realize the differences between Western education and the education of traditional cultures. When entering a more traditional community, the educator should develop an entirely different teaching approach. To begin with, these communities often learn through techniques such as memorization, storytelling, and observation.
Jules Henry, the author of the article “A Cross-cultural Outline of Education,” points out a typical difference, “The ‘question and answer’ method is so common in American culture that it is not easy for Americans to imagine another in which the child is expected, not to ask questions, but to learn by passively watching, listening, or copying” (280). Children in these cultures often learn best by repetitive observation, which eventually leads to imitation. Furthermore, educators must determine what knowledge primarily benefits the student in a traditional community.
Western educators have a tendency to develop an imaginative list of information that hey believe every student must know in order to succeed, but those qualifications often arise from a workforce oriented society. The needs in a traditional society differ dramatically. Educators must remember that the education in a school should never exist as the ultimate purpose, but as a nears to assist students in acquiring the necessary knowledge that they need to succeed in the context of their own society. American teachers should develop a curriculum that uses various methods of learning.
After educators observe the specific learning styles of a particular culture ND the different methods of education, they should adapt the curriculum accordingly. In the book Teaching Cross-culturally, Judith Lingerers and Sherwood Lingerers describe three common teaching techniques in traditional cultures: “observation and imitation”, “learning by doing – trial and error”, and “rote learning and traditional knowledge” (36-8). Educators may find that the learning method of storytelling provides the most effective method of teaching in their classrooms.
The article “Teaching English Abroad” explains the importance of choosing methods established as both culturally acceptable and didactically proven (n. Gag). Educationally sound moments may not work In a cocoons Decease ten students T unfamiliarity uncomfortable. The worth of a particular teaching method fluctuates by the capability of use in a given society. The teacher may need to merge a variety of methods, both Western and traditional, to reach a satisfactory curriculum that meets students needs.
In addition to broadening their opinions on curriculum and education and meeting cultural variations of learning, educators should adapt to a cultural specific education method to develop flexibility when planning a curriculum. American searchers must adapt to the limitations presented cross-culturally. The inaccessibility of technology, writing supplies, or even an appropriate classroom might present difficulties for the educator abroad. The article, “Teaching English Abroad” cautions educators that they may enter problematic situations that will challenge their expectations.
In preparation for these situations, the teacher should develop a flexible supposition of what a classroom should look like (n. Page). This approach will eliminate frustrations and inspire the educator to think creatively when preparing a classroom that provides optimal learning. The book Cultural Foundations of Education emphasizes that when teachers prioritize learning rather than teaching, they grow more concerned about providing an environment where learning develops and progresses then arranging an environment that assists them in their rigid methods of teaching (Pap and Adler 45).
These strategies will result in a teacher proficient at adapting to the crises that might occur while teaching abroad. American teachers must form a new identity as teachers. When they enter a foreign society, educators must cast off their Western identity that they formerly held and adopt the ultra practices and customs of a new culture. Depending on the culture, their identity may drastically alter; an educator’s rank, social status, influence, and economic status will change in various ways.
Lingerers and Lingerers, authors of Teaching Cross Culturally write about learning this concept while teaching abroad and the challenge of giving up their dependence upon prior knowledge and familiarity that they formerly held as American teachers (24). Educators must adapt to a culturally appropriate identity so that they can meet the needs of the students. For example, in some cultures, the students highly respect and honor educators; consequently, the educator should respond appropriately and develop the curriculum to accommodate this cultural norm.
Even though the Westernizes system of teaching appeals cross-culturally, American teachers teaching abroad should adopt a culturally specific education system. The success of American teachers in schools cross culturally depends on recognizing the powerful influence of culture in the education system. If teachers continue to use a Western curriculum cross culturally, they will encounter ineffective learning in their classrooms.