Teach English in Huju Zhen - Zhuzhou Shi

Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Huju Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Zhuzhou Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.

Everyone has either committed or been on the receiving end of a social faux pas; often most people have experienced both. For instance, a time when I was on the receiving end was when my best friend and her younger sister, two Caucasian girls, came over to have breakfast with my family and me. They were both fluent in Spanish, which intrigued my parents who could also speak Spanish, but when they asked my friend’s younger sister to demonstrate, she densely replied,” Oh I don’t speak Mexican.” It wasn’t that my friend’s sister was malicious, however uncouth that statement was. What she meant was that she learned Spanish while living in Venezuela, so it was a different dialect of Spanish than the Mexican Spanish my parents spoke, and being a young kid at the time, she genuinely thought they would have issues communicating. This is a prime example of cultural insensitivity; it’s embarrassing at best and confrontational at worst, and one of the last places anyone would want to experience something awkward and embarrassing in regards to their culture, is in the classroom. Cultural sensitivity fosters learning because it conveys respect for the students from the teacher, it streamlines the lessons, and it helps mitigate unnecessary stressors for the students. A culturally sensitive teacher conveys respect for their students by demonstrating that they take their position seriously as an educator, and that they’re genuinely invested in teaching the students. A culturally sensitive teacher takes the time to learn the regional customs, avoid politically sensitive issues, avoid verbal or gestural offenses, and generally learn as much as they can about the culture at large. Obviously people are fallible, and a foreigner can easily commit a minor gaffe accidentally, but certain customs are a large part of a culture and anyone living and working there should learn them. For instance, in Japan, it is considered incredibly rude to speak or eat on the train; I observed this personally when I visited a couple summers ago. Say hypothetically I was teaching business English in Japan and one of my students happened to see me on the train eating a sandwich and talking loudly on my cell phone. It’s very likely that student would perceive me negatively as a teacher, even though this happened outside the classroom, because something like that is indicative of how I feel about the culture. It is also very likely this would negatively impact their learning because it’s difficult to learn from someone you don’t respect, and conversely you’re more engaged and eager to learn from someone whom you do respect. In this same vein of ease of the learning process, cultural sensitivity streamlines the lessons. If we use the example of my teaching in Japan again, I think that event that the student witnessed, and potentially other culturally insensitive actions they may witness, would be a major distraction, especially if they took place in the classroom. Then the focus isn’t on the content anymore, but instead my poor behavior. Just by virtue of my being foreign I would grab my students’ attentions, all my actions scrutinized and measured against theirs. However, it’s my job as an educator to cut out the extra noise of the situation so the material can be the primary focus. This is true with all age groups in any culture. When I teach students here in Texas, I have to demonstrate the same sensitivity to my own culture by not doing anything outlandish. For example, it would be extremely distracting to my students if I went to class in a white, wedding-type dress. Even though it could by the case that in my private life I think event- specific clothes are absurd, in the middle of a lesson is not the time to affect social change. Familiarity and stability are necessary elements for learning certain types of material, and something as cognitively taxing as learning a foreign language falls under that category. I’m a firm believer that it’s my job as an educator to create a safe space for my students to learn as people are better able to retain information when their relaxed versus stressed. Culturally sensitive teachers help mitigate unnecessary stressors felt by students, such as a potential confrontation because of a misunderstanding. No one wants to feel like their guard always needs to be up, least of all students trying to learn. The students, young and old, are already dealing with all sorts of stressors, such as comparing their progress to their peers, fearing saying the wrong words to their teacher or peers, answering questions incorrectly, etc. By being culturally sensitive, the teacher can at least eliminate that aspect of the environment. I don’t want to imagine how a student would react if a teacher said something unintentionally insulting to the effect of what my friend’s younger sister said to my parents. If it was insulting enough, it could result in a serious altercation that could’ve been easily avoided if the teacher had been more culturally aware. In summation, cultural sensitivity is paramount to effective teaching because ultimately it’s a foundation from which you can earn students’ respect, it minimizes distractions in the classroom, and it creates a safe space for learning. I spent the entirety of the essay focusing on how this benefits students, but it benefits the teacher immensely as well. Teaching isn’t the most lucrative endeavor, but for those of us who pursue it, it is one of the most fulfilling, and one of the most rewarding feelings is when your student acquires a difficult concept. Also, if you’re a traveler, or traveler in the making such as myself, then demonstrating cultural sensitivity really shouldn’t be an issue. One of the main reasons I want to teach abroad is because I want to learn about and immerse myself in another culture; it’s such a small world when you only know about your own.