Cultural Differences: Personal Space: Week 6: 6/7/2018

Learning about the differences in personal space was so eyeopening! I have heard so many stories about how in Japan and other countries they have “pushers” who literally push as many as they possibly can onto the subway, but didn’t really think that was a real thing. No! It is real! Here is a video showing just how extreme.

When people think of personal space, they usually think about the personal space around an individual. As my husband and I discussed this cultural difference, we realized that this is in regards to all things. Including houses. In the United States, there are yards, fences, and the home lots are big with a house in the middle. In Mexico, each house shares a wall with it’s neighbor. It is like every single house is a town house. There are no yards or fences. For security purposes, however, the houses have metal bars and metal doors so no one can get in, but everything is compact. I could never understand or pinpoint the reason why I always felt claustrophobic. Now I understand that I felt closed in in the city I was living in, even if there was no other person in sight. This goes to show that personal space much greater than the space around your body.

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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.