Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Understanding Cultural Differences

                                               in Student Behavior
Taken from Teaching English Language Learners: Strategies That Work by Katharine Davies Samway and Dorothy Taylor, © 2007, published by Scholastic.

In today's diverse classrooms, sometimes cultural differences can be mistaken for student behavior problems. This checklist offers some possible cultural explanations for 16 perceived behavior problems you may encounter in your classroom. Understanding that certain behaviors may be the cultural norm for some of your students may help you find ways to more effectively engage them in learning and classroom communication.

Perceived behavior #1: Student avoids eye contact.
Possible Cultural Explanation: Keeping eyes downcast may be a way of showing respect. In some cultures, direct eye contact with a teacher is considered disrespectful and a challenge to a teacher's authority. 
Perceived behavior #2: The student tends to smile when disagreeing with what is being said or when being reprimanded.
Possible Cultural Explanation: A smile may be a gesture of respect that children are taught to employ to avoid giving offense in difficult situations. Read more...