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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

G.B. - Australia said:
Cultural sensitivity in the classroomWithin any classroom, but perhaps more importantly in an ESL classroom, there is a heightened need for classes to be taught with cultural sensitivity and with a lack of bias, prejudice or discrimination. If the teacher is aware and diligent in applying strategies to minimise the risk of offense or misunderstanding, there will be an increased potential for the student?s learning, and comfort within the classroom. As such, the teacher holds a great responsibility for displaying cultural sensitivity as an example for all students within their lessons, and even beyond the lessons themselves. There are a number of areas in which the teacher may have to think specifically about this issue of cultural sensitivity. There have been a number of articles written about approaching ESL teaching with a view of not only creating bilingual students, but also bicultural students. This means that students are able to express and discuss their native cultures in a safe manner, where they are recognised as meaningful, important and as something to share with other students. It encourages students to think about other cultures and to embrace people who are different culturally to themselves. In order to do this, as outlined by an article on yourdictioary.com, it is important to firstly recognise the individuality of culture and that although students may share the same native language that does not, in the vast majority of cases, mean that they share a common culture as well. To make students feel welcome in a multi-lingual class, it is a great idea to incorporate the varying cultures of the students into the appearance of the classroom. One idea that is appropriate for this is asking the students to bring in something (perhaps slightly sentimental) that represents their home nation and what it means to them. students may bring in pictures of places, their family, a cushion, a significant book, anything that they feel connected to within their culture. They will usually choose something without realising the implications it has in relation to culture, but merely see it as something important about themselves. The teacher can then utilise these items in classes, but also use them to decorate the classroom so that it creates a welcoming atmosphere, that has a distinct connection for each student. It is important within the classes to divide up the students from the same culture (multi-lingual classes) so that they gain exposure and build friendships with students from beyond their own culture. A lack of a shared language can help them to practise their English more, and this benefit should be emphasised if there is any perceived reluctance to branch out from their native group. By getting students to work together and to also reflect on their own cultures (and those of others) in their class work, there will be a greater experience of respect and interest from most, if not all, students. Ultimately the responsibility for cultural sensitivity in the classroom lies with the teacher, as they are in control and in a position of respect, discipline (especially for younger classes) and leadership within the class. If the teacher fails to employ cultural sensitivity, it can hardly be expected from the students. If it isn?t used, there will be a marked decrease in the willingness of students (perhaps different culturally from a majority) to participate or even feel welcome within the classroom. This would hamper all the student?s capacity to actively learn, and to have significant progress within the class. In summary, without cultural sensitivity in the ESL classroom, the lessons, student interaction (both with other students and the teacher) and motivation of the students can be severely hampered and might actually promote ill-discipline and behavioural issues within the classroom. Source used: http://www.yourdictionary.com/esl/ESL_Classroom-and-Cultural_Sensitivity.html

 

 

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