Why Cultural Sensitivity is Important
As a foreigner in a foreign country, cultural sensitivity is important. As a teacher being culturally sensitive in the classroom is of more importance. As a foreigner, there is the ability to interact with people of various ages, occupations, and other demographics in foreign countries. In foreign countries, there are different ways in which society treats certain age groups, occupations, and other demographics. As a teacher, there could be the goal of interacting with native people and groups appropriately. As an English teacher one may have the opportunity to interact with students that vary in ages. As a teacher, the interactions that one would have would be with students, schools, and school faculty. As a teacher one may have roles or expectations that they have both inside and outside of the classroom.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Idreza G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
For Rapport Building
As an English teacher culturally sensitivity is important in the classroom because it will aid in building rapport with the students. Being culturally sensitive in the classroom will help students respect the teacher which could prevent or decrease the behavioral problems of some students. Being culturally competent/sensitive allows the teacher to have knowledge about the students’ culture which will offer teachers with a base of what is and is not acceptable to say in the classroom and to students. An English teacher may also be able to understand how reserved or open the students upon arrival and throughout the school year. Teachers would also understand about interactions between students and other school staff.
Also Read: What is an ESL teacher?
As an English teacher culturally sensitivity is important in the school and around school faculty. It is important because being culturally sensitive helps teachers understand their roles as a foreign teacher in schools. Being culturally sensitive could allow English teachers to respond to and appreciate constructive criticism from schools and school staff. English teachers would be aware of how the schools deal with disruptive behavior which is important because some countries or schools may have only one teacher deal with those students opposed to other countries or schools that may allow all teachers to deal with those students. Getting along with other staff in a professional setting is important and thus being culturally competent would allow teachers to do as such. An example would be students who come into class late because they were held back by another teacher. The English teacher would have to know how to interact with another teacher if their student was held back or if they held back a student. Teachers abroad would not only teach but live in the country of their choosing and live life among society.
For Everyday Life
The classroom and school are not the only places where being culturally sensitive is important. How a teacher lives outside of the classroom may have the same importance as their behavior inside the classroom and school in some countries. When off duty teachers might be expected to uphold a higher standard of conduct depending on the country. Teachers may also have a higher code of ethics in one country than another. Cultural sensitivity is important that all English teachers should strive to do because it may aid in having positive teaching experience.
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Before becoming a foreigner and an English teacher cultural sensitivity may aid the teacher regardless of where the journey. Understanding different aspects of a country may allow a teacher to have a positive experience with teaching and the country. Striving towards cultural sensitivity may include having to look up the country where you want to teach and seeing if you could imagine if living in that country is possible. Prompting English teachers to become culturally sensitive could help the teacher become culturally competent. In turn, this would allow the teacher to image if they would be able to live in the environment depending on various things such as politics, education system, food, and use of language. If teachers believe that they know the country and have a positive experience they may agree to new or extended contracts. Another role in which cultural sensitivity may play.
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