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Differences in the Cultures of Education

Each culture has its own definitions of what makes for a successful teaching and learning situation. Here are some examples of ways in which the culture of education could take some getting used to in a new culture. Read down both columns and see which one most resembles your own experiences.

Culture Differences
Typical Situation at Conestoga Possible Situation in Other Culture's Post-Secondary Classrooms
Professor introductions focus on building credibility through applied work experience related to course. Professor introductions focus on building credibility through educational background.
Professor encourages students to ask questions in class. Professor delivers information and students work quietly on their own.
Professor may not know all the answers and is comfortable with this. Professor is expected to know answers and maintain status.
Professor answers questions simply and to the point. When professor answers questions, the answers can be prolonged to show knowledge level and to enlighten students.
Professor periodically asks questions to see if students are following. Professor relies on homework and tests to see if students are learning.
Professor will be gentle if a student gives wrong information saying something like, "Good guess. Professor will tell students that they are wrong.
Professor organizes experiences so students can learn by doing (often in groups). Professor believes students learn best from the voice of experience and by working through cases or problems alone.
Professor is informal in class but quite formal in meetings outside of class. Professor is formal in class but quite friendly with students outside of class.
Professor attempts to be funny and to keep the interest of the students. Professor is demanding and serious.
Professor has a plan for the day but varies it depending on how things go. Professor has content for the day.
Professor tries to make the material simple enough that almost everyone can get it. Professor makes the material challenging so everyone must work hard and even the strongest students are challenged.
Professor shares slides, pauses for note-taking, and generally tries to set a pace that all can follow. Professor keeps students hopping and it is up to them to keep up or not.
Professor may sit on a table, drink coffee, and dress casually. Professors stand to lecture and dress in suits.
Professor paces voice and volume to sound welcoming and friendly. Professor may be quieter or louder depending on style and materials. Making students comfortable may not be a goal.
Professor realizes some students will chat, use social media, eat, and maybe even nap. Professor would be shocked to see students not attending.
Professor expects some students to comment on class procedures and complain about marks. Professor does not expect students to question course plans or marking.
Professor is happy to see students in office hours but spends only about 15 minutes on explanations. Professor spends a lot of time explaining concepts out of class often passionately discussing aspects of the material.
Professor would like to be seen as an open-minded, easy-going, and knowledgeable facilitator. Professor would like to be seen as a confident, authoritative, expert, lecturer and guide.
Professor thinks when a student asks for advice they should be non-judgmental and provide resources. Professor thinks when students seek advice they must share their wisdom and experience and guide the student to a good path.
Professor thinks memorization of key data is not as needed as an understanding of problem-solving skills for the area of study. Professor thinks students should have strong grasp of basic facts and memorize key items.
Professor indicates that education is a right for every citizen and he/she will help everyone. Professor indicates that education is a luxury to be valued and students had better work hard.
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