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The 3 Typical Problems For ESL Students from Different Countries

The 3 Typical Problems For ESL Students from Different Countries | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The following essay will discuss the problems that students of different nationalities will face in the classroom. We will look into the instructional process as well as the cultural sensitivity upheld in the group, and in one on one classroom settings.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Chandler J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Cultural Challenges

First of all, international students will face many problems abroad and in classrooms that are mixed nationalities, as cultures will clash. In my experience within the government sector and military, drilling and instructional classes, attendees will most likely be of different races, upbringings, and cultures.

Having foreign personnel in my seminars were common, and almost always conflicted with those that are native to the area. Simple gestures that are common in the United States of America can seem rude, insensitive, racist, and sometimes xenophobic. Although one ethnic or nationality group may try to be pleasant and forthright, not knowing the customs of other international students is where the problems arise. Cultural insensitivity is most likely happen regardless of how much one tries to avoid it.

multicultural students

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Historical Challenges

Secondly, there is also a deep-rooted history between many countries that go as far back as World War 2. An instructor who is not aware of the said history may unintentionally stir up ill will between former national adversaries. It's heavily advisable that every student is aware of their classmates, and the history of those countries about one's own culture. It has been decades since the last great conflict, however, some of these ill-willed feelings have been passed down to future generations. The instructor has to be aware of these historical conflicts and emotions and needs to be careful about proceeding with prescribed lesson plans. Ignorance is something that all students should be aware of as they are no longer in their comfort zone, and maybe on foreign soil.

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National Peculiarities

Thirdly, in a group class filled with different nationalities, not only will the instructor be unable to address the issues of the individual, but also the needs of the nationality. For example, a Vietnamese student will have pronunciation problems different from a Korean national. The same goes for a multitude of paired countries, as they too have their unique language. Every key point in the English language once paired with any foreign language will have different problems compared to the next. In a group setting, the instructor will be generalizing the lesson plan to appeal to those present, and not to a particular nationality, within the allotted time.

Personalization, and one on one classes, with individuals or country groups, would help alleviate this issue. Students need to be aware of this and coordinate ahead of time.

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In conclusion, the international student that is traveling abroad or studying with other foreign nationals, need to be aware of their surroundings, and those that occupy their immediate space. Getting to know your classmates, may serve you well, socially. However, I would take a step back and keep the focus on the instructor and absorbing English. In my experience, keeping one's foreign classmates at arm's length, or a safe distance will minimize the chances of running into personal issues with them. If a student follows the said advice, there will be a higher probability of learning more.

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