Attention to detail

How to be able to deal with diversity in a constructive manner is perhaps one of the most basic challenges for every teacher. Beliefs about ethnicity are often fed by a lack of knowledge and even more tenacious, a tendency towards prejudices, which is only human.
It can sometimes be cumbersome to bring about a mutual understanding between teacher and parents, between teacher and students or also between students among themselves.

Something obvious as speaking distance, whether or not to shake hands, maintaining eye contact (or not) et cetera. Those differences might somewhat have faded away as some kind of international anonymous social standard has been taking over. We do go places, and that applies to all of us, all over the world. At the same time, just below skin deep, some cultural differences have been leading their age-old subtle life. Perhaps, it is not always easy to read their meaning. That may lead to misunderstandings or even conflicts.

Setting an example as a teacher means engaging in a versatile role. In doing so, your own vulnerability as a person is at stake. Allow yourself to question your own beliefs and do so openly. At the same time, stay fully aware of the importance to maintain a professional attitude. There may be no manual for cross cultural communication, that does not mean we can just blunder about. Sometimes goodwill and forceful openness can also do their part of the damage.

What do students think about their teacher? What do they think is important? You can read more about this in this article: Some cultural homework