The moment you decide to venture into online teaching, expect to meet students from different backgrounds, races, and tongues. You may have learned that you cannot use the same teaching style or approach with all your students and that’s true because each student is unique in their own way.
Student’s culture is one aspect that ultimately affects his or her learning abilities. Oftentimes, foreign students will not speak up and may hesitate to approach you, so the responsibility is on you to create ways to break cultural barrier in a bid to improve communication between you and such student.
You will apparently need to reach out to them and notably lessen the distance between you and your students. Let us consider some steps to do away with cultural barriers.
Your foreign students may find it uneasy to share his or her opinion and beliefs due to your cultural differences. It is your call to make them understand that you’re interested in what they have to say. There may be some words, phrases, or gestures that may be acceptable to your culture but may be offending to the student. The more we listen to them, the more we comprehend how they think and feel based on their reactions and facial expressions.
At times, you might find it hard to pick up what your students are trying to say. It may be necessary to lengthen your patience. If you did not understand his or her point, kindly ask to repeat once more. If you still didn’t get it, ask the student to type out it so you can read and get a better understanding of what he/she is trying to communicate.
Make use of relatable theoretical concepts.
Think of the references you are going to use to your subject, especially when it comes to theoretical concepts, examples, and illustrations. Make sure that the illustrations you are using can be understood by your students with distinct cultures.
Encourage your students to speak English.
Encourage your students to speak English even though they find it hard to speak fluently. Ease their mind that it is fine to make mistakes, as the errors are part of the learning process. Your students don’t have to be anxious toward you. Tell them that hearing their thoughts and ideas, is much more important to you than hearing perfect English grammar. Even though your job is to help them develop their language grammar, you also need to develop their language skills. They can develop it only by communicating with them.
Keep an open communication.
If you are having one-on-one teaching with your student, you can ask about their cultures and you can share your cultural background, as well. This will help you to learn more about them in a symbiotic manner.
Learn your student’s culture and language.
Learn about your student’s right conduct and greetings. If your student is Japanese, you can learn basic greetings like ohayo gozaimazu (good morning) and ogenkidesuka (how are you). In this way, it will help you build a better connection with your students. In most cases, students appreciate when they hear their teachers greet in their native language. It makes them feel that you have a personal interest in them which in actual sense you should.
Learn their humor.
If you are witty enough, you can make a research regarding their senses of humor and try to crack a joke with your student. This can help your class become fun and interesting and your student will always look forward to them. They will also feel that you can easily make connections with them building a bridge that will improve learning for them.
It is easier to carry on with the differences when we are aware of our limitations and set proper boundaries. Let us not allow cultural differences get in the way of effective learning.