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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Cultural sensitivity in the classroomI have decided to select the topic “cultural sensitivity in the classroom,” because I feel “cultural sensitivity” is of utmost significance and relevance in today’s teaching environment. With industries expanding and becoming more globalised every day, the growing need for people to work in different countries and adapt to the local environment, has become prevalent. The children or students in this situation are already faced with many hurdles when they arrive into a new country. They have to deal with the new environment, new food, new culture and many times a new language. The students who come to learn a language are often there because of need and not by choice and are faced with many challenges: the need to adapt, the need to communicate and the need to be understood.
Teachers today work in global environments where the classroom has students from different countries. In these classroom situations, students come from diverse backgrounds and cultures. It is important for a teacher to not only teach english
and understand the student’s backgrounds, but to also develop cultural sensitivity in the classroom amongst the students. One would wonder why cultural sensitivity is important in a classroom. Cultural sensitivity helps students develop a greater understanding of theirs and each other’s cultural identity. This enriches the student’s knowledge, personality and helps them understand the differences and similarities amongst cultures. Students learn to have respect for an individual and be sensitive when making comments and working together on activities. Students enhance themselves personally by being able to vibe and effectively work with people from different countries, making them global citizens. If a teacher is bold enough to approach the topic of stereotypes, this also helps uncover assumptions of cultures.
It is as important for a teacher to also know and understand the different cultures and backgrounds of the students. A teacher today needs to equip themselves in working with the diversity of cultures in the classroom and know how to cleverly incorporate this effectively in the lessons. A lesson can be made very interesting by targeting the interest of the student. When a student is interested in the topic, learning becomes easier and is more effective. Very often students are proud and keen to share information on where they are from, their culture and background. This creates a healthy and interestingly very productive learning environment for everyone.
The information shared in the class benefits not only the students but the teacher as well. This is where I feel I have gained personally during my education in international schools across many countries. To learn how to adapt, be flexible and have sensitivity towards people from different cultures and backgrounds. Learning and having this quality helped me socialize and settle comfortably in any environment. I have also taught at the international school for 2 years in India. At the school, we help students develop their knowledge as well as their personal and social skills to be able to live and learn in the rapidly globalizing world. Today everyone needs to be able to work effectively with people from different countries and cultures because businesses have become global. There is a strong need for every individual to be global citizens and have a sense of international development. The quicker we understand the importance of globalization, the easier it would be for each one of us to survive happily, effectively and peacefully in today’s world.