Teaching Abroad: A Culturally Appropriate Education Method Alethia once again left her classroom troubled and perplexed over the day’s events. She reflected over the last three months of teaching abroad in India. At first, she anticipated the challenge of teaching in another culture and bringing new and advanced education to a traditional society; however, the excitement waned as each day became a fight of wills between her and the students. When she tried to engage the students by asking questions, the common response typified a blank stare. Furthermore, they refused to listen to her when she gave instructions about working on an assignment independently and instead met in a group to complete the project. Conflicts such as these arose in the classroom daily, leaving Alethia and the students frustrated and discouraged. Unfortunately, this problem occurs frequently with educators teaching abroad. Lured by the adventure of teaching in another country, more and more teachers pursue teaching overseas today. However, these educators arrive only to find that the acceptable methods and practices used in their classrooms back home meet resistance when used in a new culture. Although many American teachers teaching abroad use an accepted Westernized education curriculum, educators should adapt to a cultural specific education method.
Educators should adapt to a cultural specific education method to broaden their opinions on curriculum and education. American teachers should eliminate ethnocentrism when teaching abroad. Ethnocentrism, the misconception that familiar practices and methodologies found in one’s own culture presents the only appropriate approach, causes significant problems when teaching abroad. Kenneth Keith acknowledges this problem by quoting Cole and Cushner, “Awareness of the reality of culture and cultural diversity is essential for teachers. However, researchers interested in culture have long recognized a dearth of cultural content in teaching”...
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