Cultures do have distinctive learning style patterns, but the great variation among individuals within groups means that educators must use diverse teaching strategies with all students. Our ability to give every child a chance to succeed in school depends upon a full understanding of culture and learning styles.
After all, effective educational decisions and practices must emanate from an understanding of the ways that individuals learn. Consequently, knowing each student, especially his or her culture, is essential preparation for facilitating, structuring, and validating successful learning for
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication students.
This imperative leads to three critical questions.
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Do students of the same culture have common learning style patterns and characteristics? If they do, how would we know it? And most important, what are the implications for educators?
These questions are both important and controversial. They are important because we need all the information we can get to help every learner succeed in school and because our understanding of the learning process is the basis for decisions about curriculum and instruction. "Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication" are important because success for the diverse populations that schools serve calls for continual reexamination of educators' assumptions, expectations, and biases.
And they are important because, ultimately, every educational decision is evaluated according to its impact on individual students' learning. One reason that the linkage between culture and learning styles is controversial is that generalizations about a group of people have often led to naive inferences about individuals within that group. Although people connected by culture do exhibit a characteristic pattern of style preferences, it is a serious error to conclude that all members of the group have the same style traits as the group taken
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication a whole.
A second source of controversy is the understandable sensitivity surrounding attempts to explain the persistent achievement differences between minority and nonminority students—it is all too easy to confuse descriptions of differences with explanations for deficits.
KEYWORDS cross-cultural communication; heutagogy; communication...
Finally, the relationship between culture and learning styles is controversial because it brings us face to face with philosophical issues that involve deeply held beliefs.
Debaters in the uniformity versus diversity dispute, for instance, differ over whether instructional equality is synonymous with educational equity. Another debate concerns the ultimate purpose of schooling. A highly public example of how sensitive these issues are occurred in when the state of New York published a booklet to help decrease the student dropout rate.
A small section of the booklet described the learning styles typical of minority students and identified certain patterns associated
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication African-American students. These descriptions became the subject of intense scrutiny and animated debate. Eventually, the descriptions were deleted from the booklet. There is very little disagreement that a relationship does exist between the culture in which children live or from which they are descended and their preferred ways of learning.
This relationship, further, is directly related to academic, social, and emotional success in school. These conclusions are not as simple or definite as they seem, however. Though many syntheses and surveys have discussed the interdynamics of different cultures and ways of learning, each comes from a very distinctive approach, focusing either on a specific learning style model or a particular cultural group. No work, to my knowledge, claims to be comprehensive on the topic of culture and learning styles.
In general, researchers have reported three kinds of information about culture and learning styles. The first is the set of observation-based descriptions of cultural groups of learners. For the most part, people who are familiar with each group
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication written these descriptions to sensitize people outside the culture to the experiences of children inside the culture.
They have often contrasted minority students' learning patterns with European-American students' ways of learning and the school practices designed
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication such students.
The reports conclude that Mexican Americans regard family and personal relationships as important and are comfortable with cognitive generalities and patterns Cox and RamirezVasquez Such traits explain why Mexican-American students often seek a personal relationship with a teacher and are more comfortable with broad concepts than component facts and specifics. Research about the African-American culture shows that students often value oral experiences, physical activity, and loyalty in interpersonal relationships ShadeHilliard These traits call for classroom activities that include approaches like discussion, active projects, and collaborative work.
Descriptions indicate that Native-American
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication generally value and develop acute visual discrimination and skills in the use of imagery, perceive globally, have reflective thinking patterns, and generally value and develop acute visual discrimination and skills in the use of imagery ShadeMoreBert and Bert Thus, schooling should establish a context for new information, provide quiet times for thinking, and emphasize visual stimuli.
In contrast, the observers describe mainstream white Americans as valuing independence, analytic thinking, objectivity, and accuracy. These values translate into learning experiences that focus on competition, information, tests and grades, and linear logic.
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These patterns are prevalent in most American schools. A second way that we know about the
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication between culture and learning styles is data-based descriptions of specific groups.
The various formal assessment instruments that purport to measure learning styles detect differences in two general ways.
In the category of instruments that looks for style preferencesrespondents usually self-report their favored approaches to learning. The best known instrument of
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication kind is probably the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
It infers learning style patterns from basic perceptual and judging traits. Another type of assessment instrument tests style strengthsthat is, the ability to do tasks with a certain approach. The Swassing-Barbe Modality Index, for example, asks test takers to repeat patterns given auditorily, visually, and tactilely. Another example is the well-known series of assessments that distinguishes between field-dependence and independence. In this series, the test taker tries to find a simple figure embedded in a more complex one.
The results show differences in cognitive strengths, such as global, holistic learning in contrast to analytic, part-to-whole approaches. Formal assessment data should be interpreted though often, it is not in the light of the kind of assessment used. An important fact about self-report instruments, for instance, is that they are language- and culture-specific.
In other words, when test takers respond to specific words, they interpret the words through their cultural experiences. Further, different assessments may yield conflicting results.
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For instance, someone might self-report a preference for learning something in a certain way and yet test out in a different way on a task involving strengths. It is equally possible for descriptions based on observations to conflict with self-reported preferences. These inconsistencies do not invalidate the usefulness of each of the ways
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication assessing learning styles.
They do point out, however, that understanding learning patterns is a complex task and that the scope of the diagnostic tool used imposes limits on generalizations that can be drawn on the basis of it. Further, the characteristics of the assessment instruments used often account for the seemingly contradictory information reported about groups of learners. The third way we know about the relationship of learning and culture is through direct discussion. Shadefor instance, comments that: Cognitive styles research, Ramirez believes, could help accommodate children who see things differently.
Bennett warns that ignoring the effects of culture and learning styles would depress learning among nonmainstream students: If classroom expectations are limited by our own cultural orientations, we impede successful learners guided by another cultural orientation. If we only teach according to the ways we ourselves learn best, we are also likely to thwart successful learners who may share our cultural background but whose learning styles deviate from our own.
Those who study culture and those who study learning styles generally agree on at least five points.
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Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication Educators concur that students of any particular age will differ in their ways of learning. Guild and Garger Both empirical research and experiences validate these learning style differences, which in their cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions, help us to understand and talk about individual learning processes.
Most researchers believe that learning styles are a function of both nature and nurture. Myers asserts that: Type development starts at a very early age. The hypothesis is that type is inborn, an innate predisposition like right- or left-handedness, but the successful development of type can be greatly helped or hindered by environment. Some researchers downplay the innate aspects of learning style, preferring to focus on the impact of environment.
Many place great importance on the early socialization that occurs within the family, immediate culture, and wider culture. Most researchers also believe that learning styles are neutral Guild and Garger Every learning style approach can
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication used successfully, but can also become a stumbling block if applied inappropriately or overused. This concept in the learning styles literature says a great deal about the effects of different learning approaches with different school tasks.
Without question, for example, an active, kinesthetic learner has a more difficult time in school because of the limited opportunities to use that approach, especially for the development of basic skills. Nonetheless, the kinesthetic approach is a successful way to learn, and many adults, including teachers and administrators, use this approach quite effectively.
Howard Gardner'sidentification of various intelligences has helped people appreciate the strengths of various approaches to learning. In both observational and data-based research on cultures, one consistent finding is that, within a group, the variations among individuals are as great as their commonalities.
Therefore, no one should automatically attribute a particular learning style to all individuals within a group Griggs and Dunn This subtle point is often verbally acknowledged, but ignored in practice. Cox and Ramirez explain
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication result: Recognition and identification of The positive effect has been the development of an awareness of the types of learning that our public schools tend to foster Finally, many authors acknowledge the cultural conflict between some students and the typical learning experiences in schools.
When a child is socialized in ways that are inconsistent with school expectations and patterns, the child needs to make a difficult daily adjustment to the culture of the school and his or her teachers.
Hale-Benson points out the added burden this adjustment places on black youngsters: The published literature recommends caution in applying knowledge about culture and learning styles to the classroom.
How We Know That Culture...
This prudence seems advisable because, despite the accepted ideas, at least "Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication" differences of opinion persist. People differ, for instance, on whether educators should acquire more explicit knowledge about particular cultural values and expectations. Proponents say that such knowledge would enable educators to be more sensitive and effective with students of particular cultures.
Certain states even mandate such information as part of their goals for multiculturalism. Other authors argue, however, that describing cultures has resulted in more stereotyping and may well lead to a differentiated, segregated approach to curriculum. Authors also debate the proper response to the fact that the culture-learning styles relationship affects student achievement.
Evidence suggests that students with particular learning style traits field-dependent,
Accommodating student differences in cross-cultural communication, extraversion are underachievers in school, irrespective of their cultural group. Students with such dominant learning style patterns have limited opportunities to use their style strengths in the classroom.
Providing students in a foreign language classroom with an understanding of " culture" culture is; how cultures differ in terms of their members' beliefs, values, and accommodate various language proficiency levels, they have the option of.
Culturally-responsive teaching engages students in self-awareness who is sensitive and responsive to the unique differences of each student. Culturally responsive methods such as inter-cultural communication Culturally competent teaching and learning involves accommodating individual learners.
Cross-Cultural Communication: An Essential Dimension of Effective Education discusses cultural differences that can lead to communication problems in the Education assists teachers to recognize and utilize student diversity in ways that Instruction must accommodate the preferred cognitive learning styles of the.
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