Cultural Challenges


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They may be uncomfortable with group work and other types of collaborative learning activities. Without prior experience, they may be unsure what their role should be within the group setting and worry about how such activities will be graded.

Important cultural challenges

We cannot assume that we share the same understanding of a student's role in the classroom. Use simple statements like: "I would like everyone to predict what will happen next.

Other Cultural Challenges of Globalization | Globalization

There is no penalty for a 'wrong' answer - I want to encourage everyone to speak. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers to this question. I would like to hear a range of views and ideas. Introduce collaborative class or homework assignments gradually. Clearly identify the different roles that students will have within the group, and clarify the outcomes that you expect to see at the end of the task or assignment Deussen et al. All cultures do not view the concept of 'time' in the same way.

For example, there are important distinctions between "clock time" and "event time" Brislin and Kim, In "clock" time, the day is divided into chunks that are then scheduled for different purposes. In mainstream U. Note the common use of similar expressions to talk about time and money: we "spend" time, we "save" time, we "waste" time, we may "lose" time. Keeping to a schedule may not be as important as completing a task that has been started rather than stopping work early due to a predetermined schedule.

Doing a good job may become more important than meeting a specific deadline, and this view is considered a culturally appropriate response to the situation Matsumoto and Juang, In such cultures, relationships take priority over schedules. A promise to help someone, especially a friend or family member, does not contain time limits. I can give you a couple of hours on Saturday morning.

However, in other cultures, a promise to help a friend or family member is often made without time constraints. In the example above, by agreeing to help with the task of moving, it is understood that you'll provide support for however long it takes to complete the task.


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The promise corresponds to the task, not to a particular time frame. Students from an "event time" culture may be late to appointments, or may miss them altogether. They may fail to meet important deadlines for assignments, not realizing that there are negative consequences for doing so Brown, They may hold a belief that it is more important to hand in their best work than to meet an artificial deadline.

Other variations in concepts of time include those cultures who think of being "on time" as being early and other cultures with a more fluid sense of time, arriving plus or minus 15 minutes of an appointed time.

Cross-Cultural Management Challenges and How to Face Them

As in other areas of potential misunderstanding, it is important to be clear when making an assignment to point out to students the importance of meeting the deadline and the consequences for missing the due date, as well as the appropriate steps to take to request an extension, and under which circumstances it might be appropriate to submit such a request. Written essays or papers may also reflect traditional cultural perspectives on an underlying level. The way in which a narrative is constructed can vary from one culture to another. What may appear, at first, to be a lack of organization, may in fact represent a faithful adherence to a culturally different narrative style Connor, The English narrative writing style is said to follow a straight linear path -- reflecting perhaps the cultural values of directness and getting quickly to the point.

Each paragraph begins with a topic sentence, identifying a main idea, followed by elements designed to support that particular idea. A distinctly new idea requires the creation of a new paragraph. Many Romance languages reflect a similar progression of narrative style, but along the way, there may be one or more digressions, which are considered culturally appropriate.

Rather than a simple, straight arrow, one might visualize this style as a lightning bolt. A carefully constructed narrative piece in Arabic may look quite different and include a series of elaborate parallel constructions, each one reinforcing the main idea but linked in a manner to reflect a specific relationship e.

Many written narratives in Chinese reflect an indirect writing style. Rather than following a straight linear path to get quickly to the point, traditional Chinese writing styles often prefer to approach a topic gradually, gracefully turning to view it from multiple perspectives while growing ever closer to the main idea. This indirect writing style can be visualized as a spiral.

In assisting ELL students, it is helpful to offer one or more samples of writing that illustrate how English narratives are constructed in an academic setting. In addition to providing a clear model, it can be effective to talk about how the paper has been constructed and to elaborate on key features and formats that characterize strong academic writing. Writing styles reveal much more than simply a form of personal expression. An academic writing sample reflects societal expectations and norms for the content to be included in a writing assignment as well as the appropriate presentation of the content to the readers.

The direct or linear approach to writing in the US as noted above may be viewed as abrupt or rude in other cultures Writing Across Borders, Our expectations for the appropriate format used to document sources and our shared understanding of which items require formal documentation i. Writing and documenting academic research papers according to US standards can be especially challenging for non-native writers of English.

When is personal opinion appropriate and when is it not? Sample papers or bibliographies from previous semesters can serve as guides for writing approaches and proper documentation format. Instructors need to decide to what extent the writing style or grammatical accuracy of a paper will count in the determination of the final grade for a writing assignment.

Sometimes, the focus may be more on the concepts and content of the paper especially for longer writing assignments , while at other times the structure and grammatical accuracy of an assignment may be of particular importance for specific types of writing, e. It is also important not to overlook the challenges inherent in test-taking for ELL students. The multiple tasks of comprehending the test questions and then preparing a written response in English - take time.

For ELL students, more of their test-taking time is likely to be spent interpreting the language used, and determining what type of answer is expected. In addition to the same stress and tension that all students encounter, ELL students often spend much more of their test-taking time trying to understand the language of the test questions and formulating a response in language that this not their first language. Allowing ELL students more time to take important tests will help to offset the foreign language testing issue that they face. There are cultures that view the study of science, especially at the undergraduate level, to be most appropriately focused on acquiring a body of knowledge, or facts to be learned.

Challenges of managing cultural differences

Introductory science courses may be seen as foundation courses in which students learn important information about science, but not necessarily the "process" of conducting scientific inquiry - of identifying one or more hypotheses and conducting studies to confirm, reject, or modify these hypotheses. Clarity about how we will approach the study of science in our courses and what we expect from our students will enable ELL students to know, from the start, how we want them to proceed.

Brislin, R. Culture needs to be integrated in a natural way to ensure everyone feels they are part of the process. Involve your employees, and you be surely rewarded. The members of your organization must feel involved and embrace your cultural lifestyle. It is essential for its success that everyone be moving in the same direction; hence the importance of continuously optimizing it using the whole team.


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