Learning Between Different Cultures Education Essay

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"Life is a journey" describe by Eilender, Eytan, it is undeniable fact that life is a journey because it is a path where learn, grow and mature. We explore and experiment from time to time, and we gain knowledge if we success from learning. "Life is a series of episode." (Eilender, Life is a journey and not a destination) [1] These will be the final episode of my teenage stage before I enter to adulthood which will form another new chapter in my life - World of work. I have gone through an excitement and challenges in my teenage year - whether miserable or wonderful each experience brings me to grow and learn. From the very beginning, I never thought that I can come across studying in oversea because of financial problem but I'm blessed by god. Thus, I appreciate this opportunity which I never think of. Today I'm proud that I stepped out of Malaysia and further my study in Sheffield Hallam University. Now I begin another stage of my life and start my journey to another land - Sheffield, United Kingdom. I have to begin another new path of my life which away from my family, thus this will be a memorable and bitter sweet journey to me.

When I was in this module, namely Professional Accounting Skills for Business Decision, what my first thought of professional was expert, able to identified problem and giving solution to every single problem. It sounds like difficult to play in the role because of different culture of learning. But I'm glad; this allows me to taste of English culture ways of studying. In this module, all of us were lead by a team of wonderful and knowledgeable lecturers; they are Professor Trevor Hassall, Professor John Joyce, Chris Jones and Martin Roberts. To begin team works in this module, we have no friend list for our group assignment due to different culture between UK and Malaysia; all teammates are decided early by lecturers. This was new challenged to all of us, because we have to find out our teammates without knowing them. This was challenging because I have to collaborate with new teammates in different course. Incontrovertible that Professor John Joyce is a sarcastic, funny and knowledgeable lecturer. Professor John Joyce told us that 'PASBD like a roller coaster, we have to ride on it and experience the ups and downs.' This was wonderful and adventure; we have to experience the ups and downs, praise and criticism. Even though every assignment was critique by lecturer, we learned from mistake and gain the skills to apply in the next case study or daily life. Every assignment I done, can lead me assumed that I am in the real working world and fighting in the war.


According to Chan, S. (1999), "Western educators still lack the understanding of Chinese students who are generally less spontaneous and more likely to conform to their teachers." (qtd. In Wong) [2] From my points of view, Asian students definitely are respectful listeners because they will always ask questions personally rather than disagree with teacher in front of public. No doubt we are too polite. I was in culture shock when I went for the Senior's meeting. From Wikipedia, culture shocked is refers to unpleasant feelings that learners encounter when they exposed to new environment for example on the formidable language barrier. [3] I was shaking when I defend my point of view and felt frustration during the Senior's meetings. However, I failed to draw back their attention in the meeting. It was terrible when both professors acted their own roles during the meetings. I felt been ignore and ashamed. He told us it was good to always attempt our point of views but we were too polite on debate and negotiate as compare to UK students. For our knowledge, he told us that we could walk out from the meeting room if the meetings are not following the meeting agendas. It was a real live meeting once in my study life. I believe meeting in working life will be tougher than study.

Being in module, I was no direction on what requirement the lecturers required. In the very first case study Atkinson, my teammates and I were agitated because it was the first assessed case study. The feedback was at average. Although it was not a good mark, I learned something new which beyond the text book. Professor always told us there have no right or wrong answer in our assignment, the assignment is more on how we analyse the things, and find out the evidence to support what we do. Besides I learnt to see things in a wider picture, think beyond the fence and spot on the biggest problem instead of concentrating on something that it is not important. Different lecturers have different perceptions so we have no idea whether we were doing the right thing. Although cross-culture study is difficult to most of the students, but I felt that it allows me to be independent. Previously when I am in college, lecturers always will be my shelter, they will assist me in doing assignment - 'spoon-feed'. Thus I will found it is an easy way to do assignment. In university I have to try hard to be independent, because without anybody tell us how to do it and what they expect from the assignment. Obviously, the lecturers in Malaysia were too kind to us. In contrast in UK, I am ride on the roller coaster without knowing the speed and direction. Honestly I preferred a 'roller coaster' rather 'spoon feed'. Although doing research taken lot of time, but I can learned more from research.


Team role

According to Kotelnikov, Vadim, a team is interdependent for overall performance. [4] Collaboration is crucial to become a successful team. In order to accomplish a task, we have to work together. It is not an individual game. To form effective team, advanced teamwork is one of the efficient ways we know to accomplishing complex tasks and missions. [5] The most important to form effective team is the right team member is in the right place and move forward with commitment. "Weapons and violence alone were not giving this new order of society permanence. Something extra was needed. It was discipline." (Belbin 1993) [6] Thus we have to fully utilise the strengths of every member and maximise their potential to play in their own role. Different people have their personal strengths and weaknesses, hence this able to harness the very best of every member within a team and minimise the weakness of the team.

For me, team role is most important element to form a good team. 'A good team comprises players who restrict their activities so as to avoid diminishing the role of others but who play their own role with distinction.' (Belbin 1993). [7] Everyone is unique, and I believed everyone is talent. Because we inborn with our own strengths and ability somehow we might not know about it, we have to exploring the gifts. From my personal view, outsiders will notice your strengths more than you do. Honestly, I unable to recognise my strengths but weaknesses. I'm always nervous during presentation although I'm well prepared to speech but this always happen to me because I lack of confidence. I just find out my strength during the South Yorkshire Newspaper's assignment, it was doing research. It will kill lot my time by doing research, but this can reduce the workload of the team. Thus, I can utilise my strengths and I able to found an ideal position in a team. I believed to be a good team; we have to be work together with same goals and play own role with distinction. I have significantly developed my understanding of form a good team and also this knowledge is essential to me as a learner because this is useful to apply in working life whilst in daily life.

Effective communication

Interaction between team members is important because this allow every member to expressing and conveying their thoughts and opinions. John C. Maxwell said: 'effective teams have teammates who are constantly talking, and listening to each other.' [8] All members have to actively involve in discussion to sharing opinion, giving suggestions and solution before decision making to avoid any unfavourable decision. Besides, interaction and conversation between team members able to ensure there are no one dominates the meetings. For me the most significant element in a group discussion is conveying ideas and not to keep silent in the discussion. When more people work on the issue, we can access to more ideas and solutions for our work. In fact, listen attentively and respect to team member should not underestimate in a team work. This to ensure that the ideas are clarifies and consensus. The effective communication could let us achieve ultimate results.

'Some people are born with effective communication skills; others need to develop them.' [9] Undeniable, I'm the latter, I developing the skills from every assignment I done. Sometimes I still felt difficulties to conveying my opinion and opposing opinion. But I will learn to improve. When doing Atkinson's assignment, I found out brainstorming sometimes will cause argument, because of different people have different thoughts. But team leader always will overcome the issues by explain politely and clarifying the issues to the member. Neither head nor tail, I always try to convey my opinion and suggestion in order to achieve the goal. I learnt to be more attentive and acknowledging while they shared their thoughts. Definitely, my teammates were not disparaged anyone view but will address and explain the issue. As a result, we came up with the best slides and for that we felt satisfied. After all, I preferred the process of building a team rather than achieve a higher mark.

No Finger Pointing and blaming game

Our first presentation in this module was National Trust, even though this assignment was not assessed, we were well prepared somehow; everyone was shocked when our lecturer stopped the one of the speaker from continuing the financial statement's slides. He mentioned that our presentation slides make him confusing with financial figures. Even though our teams stopped by lecturer, we still try our best effort to answers the question point out by lecturers. We know that we are in the wrong path in doing the assignment but this was a lesson and experience to us. Thus, we learned from mistake and adapt to the next assignment. Apart from learning, we roughly know what the lecturers expect from us. This was a mistake to our team. However, we did not play any blaming games, 'Blame Game is to trigger punitive action if the performance doesn't measure up to our standards'. [10] This is because everyone is in a team; we affirmed each other's points and made the decisions together. So, there was no point to finger pointing, instead we try to find out the root cause and see to it that it is not repeat in the future. As a team, we should bear our mistakes together and happy with our achievements. Having experienced the mistake, I now realised in a real world, our client will not bother who missing the mark but the solution to the issue. I learnt to take full accountability on the work done without shifting the blame away from ourselves. As teamwork, blaming and complaining is prohibiting.

Time management and time commitment

Procrastination will delay the work done. It also will prolong the time frame to accomplish the task. As a team, in order to accomplish a task on deadline, time commitment is very important. During South Yorkshire Newspaper's report writing, all of my team members were went to Scotland for their holiday except me. However, my team member and I still managed to arrange our time to commit in this report writing. The contribution of the whole group is greater than the sum of its individual members' contributions, [11] thus we work hard and yield to each other to complete the task. Time constraint to complete the task, due to phase test for another module was in between the submission date. Above all was absence of my teammates for a week to Scotland trip, I'm not blaming instead of accommodate with my teammates. Although, all of us were seat for phase test and most of them have to slack off early for their Scotland trip, but my teammates and me capable to complete the task without delayed. Thus, allow them slack off toward the end of hard days' work and enjoying their holidays. Cited by David Allen (2001), [12] it's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number thing to do and still function productivity with a clear head and a positive sense of relax. Being an extrovert our team, we were the 'person'. Regardless the time constraints, we lining up our schedule with clear mind and appropriate points to our report writing. After all, time management allow us 'kill two bird with one stone', by enjoying the holiday without burden and a satisfy report. Time management always the key to become successful and get work done, I learned to work smarter to get work done easily and I believed time commitment on every single task will get a satisfy results.

Leadership Skills

Games always need a leader to running and mastering the progress. I believed a good leader is made not born. It is learn from continuous training and experiences. According to Michael Watkins (2006), leadership is ultimately about leverage. Indeed, this statement is true because a leader always enable to make things happen, to motivate others to accomplish given task and trustworthy. Apart from that, leader has to possess this trait - conclusive; to make ultimate decision. This was my very first time to lead a team; I have to come out from my comfort zone after being so comfortable in the past cycle. This time round, my teammates were rather difficult to handle. In former, games always need a leader. Ultimately, I chose to lead the team. Although, I worried me myself unable to handle the whole team, but my teammates give my support and trust on me. I was in dilemma and doubt my ability, eventually I told myself to be confident as teammates entrusted me with the position.

I enjoy the process to lead a team, and encouragement from my teammates. It is wonderful. Having experienced the leading process, now I felt a sense of achievement. This is because I enable to influence and initiate others to accomplish an objective, whilst discover my strength. Furthermore, I embraced this opportunity to learn to be a good leader when people entrusted me with this position. With such responsibility, self confidence has to rear its head. In order to developed high self confidence, a lot of practice should be taken and the rate of improvement will depend on individual. [13] I realised supportive teammates is important to comfort others while others was in dilemma. Besides, I felt the good relationship of team was building up. Indeed, I'm not a good leader but I will continue my path to learn and develop leadership skills.


Initially, intercultural adaption enables transformative learning process which leads to a journey of personal growth and development. [14] (Byrnes, 1965 et al) Surely, adaptive to new cultural and environment allow me to be independent and self development. For me, 'Killer bees' [15] is a useful example to describe effective team. Their team members are not outstanding, but by developed a set of interchangeable skills and share leadership, they able to create dramatic results. Besides I learnt to define my role in a team and utilised my strength. Belbin's team roles model [16] is a useful model to adapt to teamwork. Because this model have identify nine different role into three categorised, thus we can know the best suit role among the team members. As a result, I know my personal strengths and weaknesses, and learned to play the role to perform as high performance team. From David A. Kolb's model of experiential learning, learning always a cycle; experiencing, reflecting, generalising and applying. Besides, John Dewy said that it is a process that links education, work, and personal development.(qtd In Kolb, David A.) [17] In this module, I learnt from mistakes, reflected what I performed, analyse what was the mistakes and applied to the next. Indeed, learning is routine in our life, mistakes teaches success. A great experiences and challenges in my life, I am very thankful to these lecturers; Professor Trevor Hassall, Professor John Joyce, and Mr. David Roberts. They have imparted priceless advice and knowledge to us. Throughout this module, I can apply all the knowledge that I learnt in my daily life. Most importantly, I have met, learnt, communicated with new found friends. Although, some of them were not so good experiences but I count it all joy because I believe everything happened for a purpose. No matter how was it, whether happy or sad, the path we walked through was memorable and wonderful.