A typical ESL classroom in Australia involves a teacher and students from various countries studying together. These teachers and students have different expectations and experiences of what should happen in the classroom, and this sometimes causes problems.
Discuss why an understanding of cultural differences is important in an ESL classroom in Australia for both teachers and students.
Explain how Australian teaching styles do not always match overseas students' expectations.
Include in your answers some examples of problems which can arise due to misunderstanding or miscommunication. (Words 400 -600)
Study plan due: Wednesday 2nd week
First draft due: Wednesday 4th week
Second draft due: 5th Week
Final draft due: 7th week
The Essay Plan
About the ESL
Thesis statement: the ESL class room in Australia is more culturally diverse and sometimes cusses problems among teachers and students.
1. The cultural diversity /differences in ESL classroom in Australia
a. Overview of prominent different cultures in Australia?
b. Importance of understanding cultural differences
2. Importance of understanding and different cultures by Australian teachers
a. Do ESL students' expectations different to the other educational courses?
b. any issues arise in ESL class room environment
c. main concern areas from students' perspective
d. Australian teaching style vs. Student expectation
3. Importance of adapting to Australian teaching style by students from other cultures
a. Do ESL teachers tailor made their English courses based on the students' expectations
b. Do they need any specific training in relation to culturally diverse/CALD students' expectations?
c. Main concern areas from ESL teachers' perspective
The English as a Second Language (ESL) class room in Australia is more culturally diverse
English as a Second Language (ESL) training has become an integral part of English language teaching for most nations in the world. This is more prominent among multicultural western countries like Australia, United States, United Kingdom et cetera. When compared to other western countries Australia had to heavily depend on the migrants because of low birth rate, skill gap and the achievement of higher population targets. Australia has a well planned and strict screening process for migrants especially for skilled migrants; also English proficiency is one of essential criteria for this selection process. As a matter of fact, most of skilled migrants have fairly good English communication skills based on the international standards; on the other hand, most humanitarian visa holders and illegal migrants have fairly poor English communication skills compared to the skilled migrants. However, it has become an essential part of all migrants to understand the usage of English language in Australian way especially those who would like to work in the fields which require high level of English communication skills as a part of their day to day job. The English language training, the ESL class room in Australia is more culturally diverse and may causes collide uneasy disagreement problems among teachers and students; also these differences would help teachers and students to learn from each other's and shape up the ESL training process. This essay discusses the importance of understanding cultural differences by both ESL teachers and students. Furthermore, uniqueness of the Australian teaching style which may not always match overseas students' expectations; also potential issues which can be trouble the class room situation.
As a multicultural country, there is enough freedom to survive other cultures in Australia so Australian main culture have heavily influenced by those sub cultures including; Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Middle East (Muslim) and African. Hence, it is important to understand the different cultures as most of the times ESL class room are mainly represented by the students who came from those subcultures. Because sometimes this may issues in ESL class rooms due to mismatch of the cultural expectations of the students and the teachers' approach to address their expectations (Sharifian 1999). According to Sharifian (1999), English Language Training principles mainly come from Western culture and in some situations students may have conflicts based on their cultural norms because some cultures consider dominance of English as an invasion; also they think their original cultural specific concepts can be damaged by the English meaning. This is relatively prominent among some Muslim communities but not limited to (Sharifian 1999). So it is very important to understand the students' expectations based on the cultural systems and how to address them. Moreover it may not be easy to address the issues related to ESL class rooms as there are many areas to be considered. For example, Sharifian's (1999) study has revealed the micro and macro factors needs to be considered to address related to ESL training. According to him, cultural systems operate at two different levels, which are macro and micro. Macro system is very broad and it covers many national boundaries and connected with universal philosophies, on the other hand micro system has greater connection with locality, individual lifestyle, family traditions, behavior et cetera (Sharifian 1999). So teachers and students flexibility is play a major role to understand each other's and involve with the class room activities to succeed in the learning curve.
As a matter of fact, Australian teaching style should have its unique way of dealing with students; such as flexibility and learning through more practical discussions which, may not match with the expectations of some foreign students. Needles to say, these differences would be purely based on the past experience of the students and the willingness to embrace the Australian mainstream culture. Most of the time ESL class room may not disturb by any of cultural factors as such. According to Brick (1991) most of Chinese students were shocked when their Australian teachers ask what they want to learn. Most of the time, they were used to do what their teachers ask to do; also students used to think the teacher are responsible for their progress. This is quite common in most Asian countries; because their perception about teacher is who mastered the knowledge and decides what student need, not only someone who elucidates and helps them to understand (Brick 1991). On the other hand some Asian and Muslim cultures believe there should be some behavioral differences based the gender and age as if they have any related experience in the past (Sharifian 1999). However, English language learning mainly controlled by the students' motivation (Lengkanawati 2004) hence, most of their cultural expectations would overpowered by the their motivation; also most of the students would like to embrace the Australian teaching style. As a result of that ESL classroom may not affect by cultural factors as such.
However, it is important understand the different cultural norms and potential issues may arise due to misunderstanding and miscommunication; also to address them proactively.
One of researches done among Pre-service Teachers for Multicultural Classrooms have been revealed, the majority of participants believed that their course did not prepare them for the needs of CALD students (Premier and Miller 2010).
The ESL training is playing an integral part of Australian education system as a multicultural country. It represents most prominent sub cultures in Australia so it's important to understand the cultural related students' expectations and address them if required. In fact, most of issues related to ESL have been arisen due to cultural gap and misunderstanding among each others; yet, most of students and teachers are aware about the cultural differences and have taken positive steps to overcome them. If there is any issues arise, it is important to develop cultural awareness in the class room and help students to distinguish differences between each culture by taking proactive initiatives. This would help to make ESL class room situation better in the future.