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First Year Seminar & International Students:. A Great Place to Teach & Learn (Academic) Culture and Diversity General Education Objective 9 in Action!. Presenter Susanne Forrest Academic Advisor Central Academic Advising [email protected] 282-4062. They are your children /siblings now!.

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First Year Seminar & International Students:

A Great Place to Teach & Learn (Academic) Culture and Diversity

General Education Objective 9

in Action!

PresenterSusanne ForrestAcademic AdvisorCentral Academic [email protected]

They are your children /siblings now!

Look at the following images. They tell you where many of the students are on their journey to academic success when they first meet you.

The closer a student’s mother tongue (or instructional language) and culture are to the English language and culture, and its American variety in your locale, the easier the academic adjustment.

Culture Proximity

Expert Information onCultural Proximity and Distance

Geert Hofstede

Can’t afford to buy one of his books? Read's_cultural_dimensions_theory


According to Hofstede, we need to look at culture proximity and distance from several angles:

  • Power Distance

  • Individualism vs Collectivism

  • Masculinity vs Femininity

  • Uncertainty Avoidance

  • Long-term vs Short-term Orientation

  • Indulgence vs Restraint

Academic Rigor and Competitiveness

  • How competitive an education system is on the elementary and secondary level will have an impact on academic adjustment to college

  • Generally speaking, someone coming from a less permissive system will adjust more easily.

  • Someone whose immediate family members have academic degrees will have an easier time.


Grading and Academic Self-perception

Saudi Arabia

  • 85-100%Excellent

  • 75-84%Very Good

  • 65-74%Good

  • 50-64%Fair

  • 0-49%Fair

  • 95-100%Excellent

  • 94-90%Excellent

  • 89-87%Good

  • 86-84%Good

  • 83-80%Good

  • 79-77%Adequate

  • 76-74%Adequate

  • 73-70%Adequate

  • 69-60%Marginal

  • 59-0%Fail


Perceptions Continued


  • 75-100% Distinction*

  • 60-74% Division I

  • 45-59.9% Division II

  • 35-44.9% Pass

    * Very few students score 80% and above

  • 95-100%Excellent

  • 94-90%Excellent

  • 89-87%Good

  • 86-84%Good

  • 83-80%Good

  • 79-77%Adequate

  • 76-74%Adequate

  • 73-70%Adequate

  • 69-60%Marginal

  • 59-0%Fail

Attendance and Participation

  • Many other academic cultures do not require attendance because grading is totally exam driven at the university level.

  • Many other cultures do not reward class room participation with grades and learning may be rote focused.

  • Some academic cultures may shame students in class for wrong answers.

  • Other reasons?

Demonstrate and Illustrate

  • Show how missing 3, 5, 10 class sessions and perfect other scores affects the final grade in your class.

  • Illustrate, demonstrate, and model what participation means in your class. Be very clear and give examples.

  • 175 pts = 87% = B+

  • 150 pts = 75% = C

  • What if you do not have perfect points on all assignments?

  • Do the math!

  • The easiest way to earn a good grade is to attend every class!

What Do You Consider Participation/Engagement in Your Class?

  • Asking questions in class/on Moodle

  • Answering Questions

  • Bringing an article relevant to a topic you are working on

  • Making a drawing/collage of a topic you are working on

  • Finding a song that deals with the topic

  • ??????

The Role and Value of Time in Cultures

Make a collection of time related expressions in English (add to it yourself it you need to)

E.g. Time is money

You are wasting time

We are running out of time

Time flies

  • We see time as precious and linear and therefore being on time and getting assignments in on time is important to us!

  • The industrial process is predicated on timeliness and structure!

  • What are some time expressions in translation in other cultures? Are they the same or different?

The Role of the Service Learning Project

  • Explore the idea of volunteerism within U.S. culture

  • Alexis de Toqueville

  • Is volunteerism unique to this culture?

  • How does it tie with democracy? Does it?

  • What is to be gained from it in a culture?

Be Specific, Concrete and Clear about Assignments

Example:Goals Paper and Presentation

  • How many paragraphs?

  • What possible aspects of goal setting could be addressed in each paragraph?

  • How do you want it presented ?

  • What will be graded with what weight?

  • Why are you giving this assignment?

  • Post an example you consider successful.

Useful Instructor Characteristics

  • Friendly, approachable, warm demeanor

  • Clear, paced, simple speech

  • Good, permeable boundaries

  • Kind intentions

  • Curious about other cultures

  • Respectful of other traditions and world views

  • Clear about own culture’s influence on world views

  • Displaying a sense of gentle humor

Language and Teaching Modes

  • Use simple language and teach advanced language with it.

  • Always use multiple modes of instruction :

    -Visual: Board, Internet, Power Point, Notes, Video

    -Auditory: Lecture, Video, Tape

    -Kinesthetic: Learning by doing

    Some form of visual at all times is invaluable for second language speakers! And so is a summary of key points.

Plagiarism vs Collaboration?A Cultural Issue

  • Define academic dishonesty and plagiarism as it is understood by the university community.

  • Collect possible examples or share examples.

  • Discuss examples in light of students’ culture.

  • Explain the consequences of plagiarism in your class and the possible ultimate consequences.

    As preparation read:

Always Explain and Model Proper Etiquette

  • Email

  • In person

  • Discussion

  • Group work

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