Teaching in the Intercultural Classroom

Components of Intercultural Teaching Competence

The skills of an interculturally competent/fluent teacher include the ability to:

For example, recognize when students approach global issues from monocultural perspectives, and encourage students to consider the same issue from a variety of perspectives by asking questions and expressing a diversity of opinions in class, and model openness towards indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing (Bennett & Bennett 2004; Bond, Qian, & Huang, 2003).
For example, encourage students to first describe and interpret cultural differences in gender roles or health-care practices before evaluating them (Bennett, 2011; Harlap, 2008).
For example, recognize differences in turn taking; manage interruptions; and perceive and comprehend high-context and low-context, as well as circular and linear contributions from students (Hall, 1986; Wieland, 1991).
when students with a variety of learning and communication styles contribute to class discussions, and help learners deal with uncertainty. For example, rephrase circular contributions for linear learners, demonstrate patience with longer or high-context comments in class, and validate student responses (Bennett, 2011; Paige, 1993, 1996).
For example, in some students’ home cultures, women may only speak when the men are finished talking, or students only contribute when they are called upon to do so (Eland, 2001).
Such differences may include: differing expectations regarding the amount of power distance between teachers and students; or differing expectations with respect to learner initiative (Cryer & Okorocha, 1999; Dimitrov, 2009), as well as differences in students’ orientation to rules and rule following (Nisbett, 2004).
Effective facilitators adjust their feedback style to the needs of learners and recognize the way feedback is offered and received in the learners’ cultures or learning styles (Laroche, 2003).
and limit the use of jargon and colloquialisms that may interfere with a given audience’s understanding, especially in interdisciplinary contexts (Cushner & Mahon, 2009).
to students from different cultural backgrounds, and mentor them during their transition to Canadian academia. For example, articulate the value of academic integrity and highlight cultural differences in citation and referencing, or create assignments that take into account the discomfort that students from Confucian educational cultures experience when asked to critique the ideas of others (Watkins & Biggs, 1999).
cultural differences in writing and communication styles, such as the use of inductive or deductive logic and circular rather than linear reasoning in student essays (Eland, 2001; Fox, 1994), and are open to indigenous ways of knowing and to indigenous methodologies.
Examples of risk factors are loss of face, loss of group identity, conflict avoidance, and risk of self-disclosure related to culture, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background (Bennett, 2011; Paige, 1993).
that allow them to learn from each other, share different perspectives, and share the wealth of cultural knowledge they bring to class (Arkoudis et al., 2013).
for the classroom and provide concrete examples of good academic practice for students who come from cultures where conceptions of academic integrity are significantly different.
and how these are perceived by cultural others, and how they influence cross-cultural interactions—for example, the potential influence of a perceptual lens created by one’s sexual orientation, race/whiteness, privileged socio-economic status, or ability to speak a dominant language (Harlap, 2008, J. Bennett, 2011)

(Dimitrov, Dawson, Meadows, Olsen, 2014)