Teaching Students from Different Cultures and Adapting your Skills

Even though I have only been teaching since January 2020, I have already taught a wide range of students from around the world. This has enabled me to develop a lot of skills because each student has their own individual learning requirements and have come from different cultures and backgrounds.

Teaching children in China via an online app, they are all aged 3-12 so generally lessons need to be high energy and involves using lots of props and actions as children are easily distracted! The children I have taught have generally been very motivated, and I think this stems from the Chinese culture as education is a very important part of their lives. The parents can be quite strict, so even if the children have done a full day at school, they are required to do after school lessons as well. It is a good base for the children at the start of their education and gives them a lot of new skills that other children may not benefit from. It is also interesting when the parents get involved in the lessons as sometimes, they want to learn English too. Sometimes they are keener than the children in the lessons! So, it is all about adapting your teaching methods to your target audience.

Along with teaching children, I also teach adults on different platforms from different backgrounds and cultures. I have been teaching adults from Syria since January as a volunteer for the charity Paper Airplanes. Some of the students are refugees that have maybe moved out of the MENA region, but there are also students still based in Syria. All the students have a common theme for why they want to learn English and that is to improve their education or progress in their professional career.

Teaching students from Syria requires a different skill set as there are a lot more variables that can come up due to the nature of the region which can impact lessons. Training is provided on the troubles in the MENA region ahead of meeting with the students so we are fully aware of student’s backgrounds and any issues we could face. Lessons generally follow the same pattern as a normal lesson, in that they are structured and follow a course throughout each term which the students enjoy as they like to have the structure. However, there can be a lot of changes to lesson times due to various factors, availability, connection issues, circumstances out of student control. As teachers, we must always be conscious of these factors and facilitate the students’ needs, along with being compassionate at all times. It is an eye-opening experience to learn about how other people are living and the troubles they face.

Teaching students from around the world is great fun and provides lots of different experiences. It is also an education for me the teacher to learn about lots of different cultures as well as teaching English. As teachers we must be adaptable and ensure our students always feel comfortable in their lessons and classroom environment!

About Catherine

I am a native English teacher and TEFL qualified. I provide English lessons online via a secure platform and based around each students individual learning requirements. I cover all aspects of English language and conversation ..