Cultural Paradigms: Week 5 5/22/2018

America is known as “the melting pot”. So many families from all over the world go to the United States for refuge and the promise of a better life. My husband is one of these. We are happy to announce that today he passed his interview at the border and we will begin our process of transferring to the United States. His story is one like so many others. A man from a different country, with different cultural views, looking for the “American dream”. Currently that dream is filled with racism from people in the country. What drives racism is ignorance. People don’t understand and accept that not everyone is the same or believes the same.

 
In the video “Cultural Differences” from National Geographic, we see how the fear of some neighbors effect the way the men can live in their new “free” country. The neighbors called authorities in fear after seeing the group of African men walking around town. The authorities then told them that it is best for the neighborhood if they travel separately. Is this the freedom they came for? No.

Because of cultural differences, there can be many misunderstandings. Each country has a different sense of humor. In the United States it is common to use humor at the expense of others. In other countries, this is not accepted. When one travels the world, it is important to keep an open mind and be respectful of the culture of the country you are visiting. This principle would be especially helpful for English Teachers. No, English is not the official language of the United States, but all through out the world, many are using English more and more. It is important as an English teacher, no matter where you are in the world, to be sensitive to the different cultural paradigms they may encounter. What is normal for one student may be highly offensive for another. I recommend that one way to get to know these differences is to open the floor to your students. Have a discussion, unit, or assignment where the students must present their culture to the class. This would be highly beneficial for the teacher and the other students. We really are a melting pot and must respect those that choose to come to America like our ancestors before us.

Response to “Is the Great American Teacher Dead” Week 2: 5/3/2018

I grew up in the United States. Honestly I don’t remember any of the lessons that I had while I was in school. Quite often I think back and wonder what I learned in my 12 years of schooling. I don’t remember a thing. I don’t even remember if I got good grades or not. Now this may or may not be because the form of teaching was boring. It couldn’t been because my brain just blocked it out. But looking at schools in different countries, I am beginning to see just how routine each lesson is in the United States.

Unfortunately we, the American people, are losing the desire to learn. What can help us retrieve that desire again? As I studied the article “Is the Great American Teacher Dead” by John J. Ivers, I realized that we lack enthusiasm in our classrooms. Teaching is a like a performance. When you teach you are presenting material or a presentation to students. Like my dad always says “It’s all in the presentation”. The more you keep people engaged, the more they enjoy and the more they retain. When you teach with enthusiasm, you instill a love of learning in your students. This helps them to go on further and become life-long learners.

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What kind of schooling do we want our children to have? Ivers created a list of characteristics that a successful classroom has. Let us keep the future of our children in mind as we look for good teachers and become good teachers.

1. Positive teacher-student relationship.

2. A good “delivery”
3. Edifies rather than damages a student’s self-concept
4. Clarity (through the use of many examples and
stories)
5. Encourages deep and critical thinking
6. Variety instead of monotony (do not forget the Ten-
Minute Rule)
7. Grading and workload is generally perceived to be
fair
8. Enthusiasm and zest for the topic
9. Meaningful to real world problems
10. Potentially transforms one’s world view from one of
uncritical acceptance of cultural dictates to one of
deep, reflective, and compassionate thinking

(Ivers, 2012)

The children are the future of our society. Let’s train them well and help them retain the information and gain the desire to be life-long learners.