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Cultures mix in Canberra!. Presentation by By Hong Sar Channaibanya Companion House @ The Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages – ATESOL, ACT 24 October 2009, AMEP, CIT, RIED. Four Key Discussion Topics.

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Cultures mix in Canberra!

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Cultures mix in Canberra!



By Hong Sar Channaibanya

Companion House


The Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages – ATESOL, ACT

24 October 2009, AMEP, CIT, RIED

Four Key Discussion Topics

  • Cultures and people between Australia and Burma / Myanmar in general;

  • Teacher and student relationships between two countries;

  • Don or don’t in cross cultural communication’

  • A learning opportunity for teacher to a new community and its culture;

  • Questions and comments.

How diverse are the people who live in and near Burma?

  • ●7 different ethnicity with Burmese majority plus other tribes;

  • ●Population based land and territory;

  • ●Use of over 21 different spoken and written languages

  • ●Dressing code with owns cultural identity;

  • ●Mainland population and border areas based displaced persons population;

  • Historical conflicts between different ethnicity via Burmese majority.

Teacher and Student Relations

  • ●Teacher authority is highly regards in Burma;

  • ●Punishment can be by cane or stick for primary and secondary school;

  • ●Parents have little role with and P&C in small towns and rural schools;

  • ●Teachers are not well paid by the government and instead they have to open private tuition at home for extra income;

  • Student sits examination as One -Off at the end of the year.

What did some  Burmese people find strange  when they first got to Australia?

  • ●Local dressing code, especially in summer or in the beach;

  • ●Kissing in public place or in the park;

  • ●Access to local clubs or pubs;

  • ●Cafe' and Restaurants style;

  • ●A non-never say “Hello and Smile” neighbors;

  • ●Cultural diversity from all countries;

  • ●Workplace culture and system;

  • “Appointment Only” business model etc.

What customs are very similar in Australia and Burma?

  • Work-hard attitudes;

  • Respect elder or senior;

  • Understand privacy or 'family issues”;

    Education is the key to success etc;

●Family model – living together or de facto relationship;

●Money matter – saving or spending for what;

●Parenting methods;

●Teenager and their independence;

Drinking as a woman.

What customs are completely different?

Schooling system in Burma

  • 1.Government fully funded military servants' children school in major towns;

  • 2.Partially funded from the government and community in small town and rural schools;

  • 3.Self-help funded by the community in border areas by the ethnic community with the support of INGOs;

  • 4.Private tuition in major towns;

  • 5. Monastic schooling and education for rural poor children, (Like me!)

Do or don't in cross cultural communicationWhat might offend a Burmese person?

  • ●Tapping over his or her forehead; (top head)

  • ●Walking with shoes without permission into the house;

  • ●How much do you earn or do you have enough money (even they have no single cent)?

  • ●Disobey the elder or senior may offended them too

  • ●Naming elder as direct calling name instead of using his formal title (U, Daw for Burmese, Nai, Mi for Mon, Saw, Naw for Karen, Sayir for teacher, Uncle, Aunt if someone older than you by unknown name etc)

  • Asking domestic issues or private matter sometimes may offend if he or she kept it as internally matter

A learning opportunity for teacher to a new community and its culture

  • What is my culture? ( I mean ME)

  • ●Language I speak – how many and how to use it in certain time and situations

  • ●Food – can I eat any food unless I have medical reason?

  • ●Dress – how do I look if I wear it or not to wear it

  • ●Friend – who is my best friend and who is my worse friend?

  • ●Work – I enjoy working with this and that environment

  • ●Family – I value my family as my life foundation

  • ●Community – I regard my community as my living spirit to grow

  • Religion or faith – I observe my religion or faith for my spiritual protection

Questions and Comments

"Common sense and education are highly compatible; in fact, neither is worth much without the other." (Donald G. Smith)

Due to the current system, education is no longer viewed as a necessity by today’s youth in Burma. It is a dangerous sign for the future of Burma where today’s youth is no longer value education. In a civil society, education is given the first priority as an investment for the future generation. The current situation of Burma is leading the country to be unable to build up the civil society:

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