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Culture Questions

1. You are a 4th grade teacher with a new boy in your class from an Arab nation. He speaks
very little English. He is having a problem getting along with the other students. He has fights
on the playground every day, which he seems to provoke by constantly touching the other
- Since this young boy has just changed cultures completely, he could
potentially be experiencing culture shock. In the Arab nation, it is o kay for
individuals of the same sex to touch each other. However, it is not okay for
them to touch individuals of another sex. Although it does not say what kind
of “touching” this boy is doing to other boys, it may not be intentional to the
purpose of starting fights. It is important to first speak with the young boy and
ask him why he is touching the other boys. If it is to play or make friends, the
solution could be as simple as explaining why that isn’t the best route to take
and maybe introducing him to some other students in the correct way. He
already holds a language barrier not knowing very much English, but that
doesn’t mean that he cannot hold friendships with the other students in his

2. You have a new Korean girl in your 4th grade class. The other students in your class don’t want
to sit next to her because they say she smells funny. You have a bad allergy and can’t tell. She
appears to be a clean, well-dressed child and you don’t understand your students’ objections.

- It is first important to speak with the students who have personally objected and ask them
why privately. It cannot be assumed that there is any one specific reason why her hygiene
isn’t the best, but students should be respectful regardless. In order to attempt to find out
what is going on it may be better to speak with her parents rather than the student herself
so that she doesn’t feel embarrassed. There are many reasons as to why she could smell
funny including little shower access, a strong-smelling house hold, poor hygiene practice,
or many other reasons. However, the first step to help this girl would be to find out what
the problem is and that could best be done respectfully through a conversation with her

3. You are a 3rd grade teacher who is having a parent conference with parents of an Asian
student in your class. You explain to the parents that the child needs to spend more time
working on his homework. The parents keep nodding and saying “yes” as you explain your
reasons. You are disappointed when there doesn’t seem to be any follow-up on the parents’

Although it definitely cannot be assumed that this is the case, the parents may not be in
complete understanding with what is being communicated in this conference. Asian
students often have families who value education very highly. For example, Chinese
masses and even the emperor honored teachers in history (196). In the Japanese
classroom, students are taught in groups, similar to the American education system.
However, students are more treated more as a group in Japan. Not only do they learn in a
group of 30-40 students, but they eat together and even clean the school together when
they are done learning (222). There is so much respect represented towards educators
that parents and students go without question with anything they say. This could help to
provide a possible explanation to why the Asian parents simply say “yes” to everything
that the educator says. They might have questions, but if this were the situation, than
they would think it may be disrespectful to ask the teacher. Since the actual situation is
unknown, it is important to talk with the student and parents more, maybe separately, to
find out what is going on. If the case if that the student doesn’t understand the homework
and needs help then the teacher can provide extra help in the classroom or maybe alter
the assignments. If the main problem is with the communication between the teacher and
the parents than it is important to communicate with them and explain the differences in
American education systems.

4. You are a 5th grade teacher who is using a lot of cooperative learning strategies in your
classroom. In the middle of the year you get a new Arab boy in your class. The student
doesn’t follow any of the rules you have explained through a bilingual classmate. He is very
disruptive in your class.

In the United States, we base our teaching greatly off of the students and we often have
them work together. This is even more common in elementary schools. This student has
likely not experienced this type of learning and this different environment makes him
feel like he can be disruptive. Since he is not receiving the same punishment as he would
have in his previous classroom, he is probably continuing to think that it is okay. In
order to work better with this child, the other students may try to work with him better
and incorporate more of these rules into daily lessons. The student may also be rewarded
for learning and following the rules.

5. You are a 6th grade teacher with your first student from China. She came with an excellent
report card from her school in China. She is outstanding in math but can’t seem to learn to
- Changing countries often means changing the language spoken as well. This student
could potentially be struggling with the English language in general. Writing, Chinese is
completely opposite from English. The symbols look nothing like the letters. She may
even be speaking English well from practice, but reading and writing is not easy to learn
and takes time. It is important to speak with this student individually and make sure she
is congratulated for her excellent work in math first. Then the teacher should ask her
how she feels about her reading and writing skills in English. If she explains that they
could use work then the next step could be to find her a separate tutor that could help
her outside of class. This could help her catch up on those skills while not skipping time
on her math and other classroom skills.

6. You are Ms. Smith, a 3rd grade teacher. You don’t think your new student from Egypt is
placed in the correct grade. You set up a meeting with the parents to discuss placing the child
correctly. The student’s father comes in to see you but doesn’t seem to take your concerns
- Many places in Egypt do not have a very effective school system. Depending on the area,
students may not have access to resources such as textbooks or room to physically be in
the classroom leading to low literacy rates and high drop out rates. Their textbooks tend
to be faced around their own culture which creates a gap between an Egyptian student
and the American culture. Technology is also not very prevalent in Egyptian classrooms
creating another gap in western education. Classrooms tend to be more teacher centered
and there is even physical punishment given to inadequately preforming children. It is
very important to first understand what kind of background this student is coming from.
It is possible that even just the language barrier could be making a large impact on their
educational performance. Further, it is a big adjustment from the Egyptian education
style to the American Education style. It is possible that the student was put into the
correct grade level but is having problems adjusting to it. In order to find out what is best
for his child, the teacher should begin by speaking with the child and seeing how they
feel in the classroom setting. Following this, the teacher should speak with the parents
and ask them what they think is best for their child if changing their placement isn’t a
serious option for them. Ultimately, it takes time for student to adjust to new classroom
setting, especially when they are coming from one that is so different. It is important to
follow through and do what is best for the student whether that is adjusting the current
classroom to fulfill the needs of the student or moving the student to a classroom that can
better fit their needs.

7. You are a first-grade teacher. A Korean student comes into your class in April. During a
discussion of age and birthdays, this student says that she is 8 years old. The other students
in your class are turning seven. The office tells you that she has been correctly placed.
- Every student will always be on a different learning level then the next. Even if this
student were from the United States, there are often different ages within a classroom of
a single age. Some students can get held back a grade or they can skip a grade because
of different levels of learning. Coming from a different country, this student may have
even started their education later than she may have in the United States. It is nothing to
worry about if she is a year older than most of the students in her class if the office
believes that she is in the correct class for her level of education. If there are any
worries, each student could take the same pre-knowledge quiz and the scores can be
compared to make sure that this student really is on the same level.

8. Guadelupe is a smiling 3rd grader from Argentina. She seems well-mannered and eager
to please. However, when you speak to her she refuses to look at you.
- Argentina has a very different education system than the system in America.
However, it is still very highly valued. They have an extremely high number of
people with high school diplomas. Students here hold high respect for their
educators. It is very possible that Guadalupe is respecting his teacher by avoiding eye
contact when she speaks. It is important that the teacher not only helps the student
adjust to the American culture and education system, but that they also make an
attempt to learn where this student is coming from.
9. You are a 4th grade teacher who wants to write a quick note home to an ESL student’s
family. You pick up the red pen that you use to mark papers and write the note. When you
hand the note to the student, she looks upset.
- This student has been learning English recently and she has probably been trying pretty
hard. As she has been learning the language, she has been associating the color red on her
paper with all of her mistakes. It is possible that seeing so much red on the paper written by
her teacher makes her think that she is doing something wrong. If this is the case, the
teacher should ask the student why she is upset. If the student relates the color red with her
mistakes, the teacher should simply explain that this is not the case for this specific situation
and it is simply a color.

10. The Japanese mother of one of your 1st graders picks up her child every day at your door.
You are upset because this mother seems unfriendly. She never smiles at you and you wonder
if you have done something to offend her.
- In Japan, education is taken very seriously. It is up to the teacher to provide the education and
the parents typically respect the teachers for this. It is possible that the mother that is dropping
off their student is respecting the teacher by not making any interactions and instead, leaving
the teacher to do their job. If the teacher is really worried about this situation, they could
always speak with the student and ask about their culture. As long as the student does not
have any problems, there should not be much for the teacher to worry about.

11. Haitian brothers Jean-Baptiste and Jean-Pierre are often late for school. They are also each
absent about once a week but on different days.
- Although it doesn’t say how old these two students are, they could very likely still be very
responsible students. The first step, as their teacher, would be to speak with the students and
to ask why they are having attendance issues. If they aren’t helpful, it is important to speak
with their parents for a better understanding. Although it cannot be assumed this is the
reason, it is possible that they have responsibilities at home such as a little sibling. If one of
them is sometimes absent, they may have to watch a little sister or brother. It is clear that
they still care about their education because at least one of them is always there.

12. Your new Kurdish student seems to be sick all the time. He is lethargic and doesn’t seem
to even try to learn what you are teaching him.
- The switch from a Middle Eastern school system to an American school system is huge. In
the middle east, all education curriculum is centered around. First, it is possible that the
student is simply confused on the new learning system that they are a part of and they do
not understand why they are not doing everything through a book. It is important that the
teacher understands the education type that this student is coming from. If the student will
not communicate, the teacher should speak with the parents to ask what can be
incorporated into the classroom to boost the students education. If the student is used to a
book directing his education, he may simply need more paper exercises and certain
accommodations should be made.

13. A Russian student, who has learned English and is able to do much of the work in your 4th
grade classroom, copies work from other students during tests. When you talk to him about
this, he doesn’t seem at all contrite. His parents act like you’re making a big deal about
- Cheating is not as big of a deal in Russia as it is in the United States. The first step would be to
talk to parents and help to explain what the problem is. The importance of tests is to see what
each student understands without help and if the student and his parents understood this, he
may not attempt to cheat as much. The transition to this new education is typically difficult so
it is a possibility that the student is finding his easiest route to success. The first solution would
be to speak with the student and make sure they understand that cheating is not okay. Only
then if he continues to cheat should some kind of extra help or punishment be enforced as a
student that already understood the consequences would have.

14. You have a Puerto Rican student in the 3rd grade who speaks English fluently. She
participates orally in your classroom and socializes well with her peers. She even translates for
other students. However, she is doing very poorly in her content area schoolwork.
- Speaking English and writing English are two very different concepts. It cannot be assumed that
this is the reason for her poor school work, but it is a possibility that this student from Puerto
Rico only learned to speak English but is still in the process of learning to read and write
English. Communication between the teacher and the student in this situation should not be a
problem since she speaks English so well, so the first step that the teacher should take would
be to talk to her. If the student is simply struggling with her reading and writing in English,
then the teacher can work with her separately or find her an outside tutor. She is clearly not a
bad student since she is willing to translate and socialize; she may just need a little bit of extra

15. Your 4th grade Malaysian student seems to be very good at Math. He gets “100” on his
spelling tests. No one in your class knows the names of the state capitals better than he does.
However, he seems to have a hard time comprehending a simple reading passage.

- Since this student has just moved from Malaysia, they could still be adjusting to the style of
American education. It should definitely not be assumed that this student is not intelligent in
the area of reading and comprehension just because he seems to be struggling with it.
Reading and comprehension is typically not the easiest part of learning a language. Spelling
and state capitals are all about memorization. The fact that this student can memorize all of
the state capitals and spelling of different words actually means that they are very intelligent.
The first step as their teacher would be to speak with them and to ask how they are doing
with their comprehension skills. If they admit that it is not their strongest area, it may be
smart to speak with their parents about finding an outside tutor to help them catch up. This
could allow the student to practice their comprehension to catch up to where the other
students in the class may be without taking time away from the areas he excels in like
spelling and capitals.

16. Some of your most advanced ESL students do not understand many of the geometric
concepts which are taught in American classrooms starting in kindergarten.

- Geometry is all about measurements. The united states bases their measurements off of a different
system than the majority of the united states. If these students are ESL students, it is a possibility
that they have been receiving education from a system other than the American education
system. I would first speak with the students to see how they feel about geometry in the
classroom and to see if it is the measurements that are causing them confusion. If the problem is
the measurements, they could simple use some extra tutoring and explanations on how the
American measurement system. It cannot be assumed that they are simply not good at geometry
and the teacher should speak with each of those who are struggling before making any decisions.

17. Thi Lien is a new student from Viet Nam. She seems bright and alert but gets no help from
home. The papers you send home are still in her backpack the next day. Important
correspondence is never acknowledged. She doesn’t do homework and forgets to bring
back library books. Her home life appears to be very disorganized.

- Thi Lien, coming from Vietnam, is used to a completely different education system from
what is provided to her in the United States. In the education system in Vietnam, the
federal government is in strict control and students are simply done as they are told. They
do not speak out much because it is looked down upon. It is very possible that Thi Lien is
finding this transition to a new kind of learning very difficult and that she is
uncomfortable in her new setting. It is possible that this whole transition is so new to her
that she doesn’t know what to do with all of her books and homework. Also, although it
cannot be assumed, Thi Lien may be afraid to ask for help or instruction since that was
extremely uncommon in her previous learning environment. The book states that many
schools do not provide the English education that the government requires them too. This
also could be a possible reason why Thi Lien seems “disorganized”. If the case happened
to be that she didn’t know much English and didn’t understand what was going on in the
classroom, then she would definitely be struggling with instructions and her assignments.
Although nothing can be assumes, there are many possible explanations as to why Thi
Lien seems to be forgetful and disorganized. In order to work with her, the teacher should
speak with her kindly and maybe her family to learn more about her culture and her
previous learning experience in order to provide her with a smooth transition into the
education system provided in America.

18. Pablo is a well-mannered boy from Colombia. He insists on calling you “Teacher”
instead of your name which you are sure he knows.
In many classrooms there are young students who address the teacher as “teacher.”
However, this is typically because that is the first thing that comes to their head when they
are addressing the teacher. However, Pablo is from Columbia where things may be
different in the education system. On page 124, the author writes about Peru and their
educational practices. A neighbor to Columbia, it is likely that Peru has similarities to
Columbia. The author says that there is a huge respect for educators and those within the
education system or leadership roles. She continues to say that a student from this area that
may move to receive an education in the United States would be extremely respectable.
With that said, it is very likely that Pablo highly respects his teacher. The word “teacher”
may even be a respectable word. It cannot be assumed that this is the exact reason for
Pablo’s addressing of “teacher,”, but since he is a well-mannered boy, it is not likely that he
is saying this for any sort of negative reason. It is important to talk to Pablo and to find out
about his past educational system. If this slight misunderstanding is an actual problem in
the classroom then Pablo may be informed of the correct way to address a teacher in the
United States.

19. Hung is a bright ESL student in your 3rd grade class. He listens to you attentively and
follows directions well. However, he is very rude when a classmate is speaking. He either
talks to his neighbor or daydreams. He never joins in any class discussions.
- In the Asia section, the reading explains that, the Confucianism social hierarchy is very
important. This hierarchy puts the teacher above the student’s classmates. It also states that
some students may been seen as teachers pets because of this. This can easily be a possible
explanation as to why Hung is such a attentive and respectful student in class. Often, these
students don’t speak up in class and they would rather speak to the teacher afterwards if they
have any questions. The first step would be to speak with the student to as why they are so
rude in this specific situation. One possible explanation could be that Hung doesn’t understand
why the other students are speaking during class. With respect for the teacher, Hung could be
acting rude to them to show his respect towards his teacher. However, this cannot be assumed
and the first step would be to speak with Hung to see what is going on.
20. You are a 3rd grade teacher. Your new student speaks Arabic. He seems to hold his pencil
in a very clumsy way and has a great deal of difficulty even copying work in English.
- The Arabic language is extremely different from the English language. Although it cannot
be assumed, it is possible that this young student has simply been learning to speak his
own language rather than learning to read and write it. The first step as his teacher would
be to speak with him and his parents to see what is going on. If it is simply because he
hasn’t had experience with writing, the solution could be as simple as staring from the
beginning, teaching him how to hold a pencil, and continuing to accommodate lessons
for him.

21. Maria is a Mexican student whose attendance in your 6th grade class is very poor. It is
affecting her academic performance. After an absence of several days, you ask her why she
was out and she explains that her aunt was sick and her family went to help her. Although you
explain the importance of good attendance in school, the same thing happens a few weeks
later. You wonder if Maria’s family considers education important.

- The statement “her aunt was sick and her family went to help her” is very broad. It can
either be assumed that Maria went with her family to help her aunt or she was left at
home without a way to get to school. In EE book on page 65, it explains how parents see
teachers as educational experts and in a way, some parents want the teachers to make all
of the educational decisions in their students lives. With this said, the parents do not have
too much to do with their child’s education in the Mexican culture so when they have
family problems, something they care a lot about and are highly involved in, they jump to
those before thinking too much on their child’s current education. The parents might not
also understand how much of an impact missing just a few days of school has on an
individual student’s education. However, it is never to be assumed that a student has a
home life that is common of a Mexican immigrant. Their culture may vary and the reason
Maria is absent so often could be for many different reasons. One solution to this
problem, brought up on page 71, is to have Maria and other students share about their
personal life while they are in class. This will allow some insight and background on
Maria’s life and the lives of other students. With better understanding of the problem,
there will be better solutions.

22. Mei, a new student from China, is scheduled to begin your 4th grade class in the middle of the
school year. On the day she registers, she is introduced to your class and shown where she
will sit. She is to begin school the next morning. You arrive in your classroom at 7:45 a.m. for
a day that begins at 8:30. Mei is waiting at her desk in the dark. The custodian tells you that
she arrived at 7:00 a.m.
- In china, as stated in the China section of the book, schools begin their day at 7:00am with
quiet study time. Mei is very likely used to this system since she has done half of her 4th
grade year in China. Although we do not know if the times have been explained to her
and her family yet, Mei could have showed up at 7:00am thinking that was when she was
supposed to just like in China. I would speak to Mei to tell her a little bit more about the
school, the times, and the American education system in general. I would then speak with
her parents to make sure they were on the same page. It shows that Mei and her parents
are serious about her education since she showed up on her first day earlier than she
needed to be.

23. Korean parents bring you a gift because you have helped their child. You open it and thank
them profusely for their generosity. The parents look uncomfortable.

- The Korea section of the book states that the classroom is based off of a hierarchy and educators
are considered very powerful. It is possible that the parents are trying to thank the teacher or
impress her with this gift. Although people vary in reactions, the parents may have been
expecting a different reacting—maybe more enthusiastic. It is also possible that they are
worried it isn’t enough. Either way, the teacher should speak with the parents if she thinks there
is a communication problem to get the real story as a first step.

24. You notice that a Muslim child in your classroom refuses to take a sheet of paper from a
classmate. This isn’t the first time this has occurred.
- It is a possibility that students are more independent in the Muslim education system than the
American one. The first step in this situation would be to learn the background on how the
student feels about sharing. The next step would be to speak with the student to see how they feel
about the situation. If the problem is they do not understand that it is okay to share, it could be as
simple as an explanation that it is okay in the American culture and education system.

25. You have applied for a cultural trip for teachers to China. You know that you will be meeting
other teachers along the way. You buy small gifts for them and wrap them in white tissue
paper. At your first stop during the trip the recipients of your gifts upset.
- Gifts can be a sensitive subject for many people in the Chinese culture. Also, as said in the
China section of the book, the color white is related to funerals. It is possible that the color of
the wrapping set the recipients off rather than the gifts themselves. If there seems to be
confusion, asking the recipients would be the first action to take.

26. Thu is a 6th grade girl from Thailand. She becomes hysterical when the other girls tease her by
playfully mussing up her hair. Her parents have to come to school and take her home. While
you understand her need to look tidy, you think she has over-reacted.
- Students in Thailand take their education very seriously. Although we do not know how
long this student has been a part of the American education, it is likely that she is still
adjusting to the new culture that she is a part of. The first step in this situation would be to
talk to both her and her parents to ask about why it is so important to her that she is put
together for better understanding. With the result of this, the teacher can then talk to the
other students and explain why it is not okay to mess with other students in this way and
why it affected this girl so much.

27. During a parent conference, you tell the parents of your Colombian ESL student that their
child is having difficulty in learning English. You suggest that they only speak English in their
home. The parents look confused. When you relay this conversation to the ESL teacher in
your school, she is very upset.
- For any culture, it is difficult to change the home language. Language is a very large part of a
culture. Although we cannot assume this is why they are all upset, it may be taking away a
part of the culture to ask them to speak English in their own home. The proper step, if this
were the situation, could be to come up with other ideas including options that the parents
came up with. An outside tutor could always be an additional option to take time outside of
the classroom to work on his English without taking away a part of the family’s culture.

28. You are a 4th grade teacher. You have a friendly boy in your class from the Dominican
Republic. He speaks very little English in the classroom and doesn’t seem to be making
much progress. When you give him directions, he seems to be confused. You are sure he is
putting one over on you by pretending not to understand because you have heard him
speak with the other children on the playground.
- Without speaking with this boy directly, it is difficult to see how much English he actually
knows. Since we cannot assume he is fluent or that he knows nothing, it may be smart to
speak with his parents. If they say that he can speak plenty of English then the teacher should
go to him and explain the importance of showing that in class. If he doesn’t know much
English then the other students and even an outside tutor could be utilized in order to help him
learn more and catch up.

29. You are a fourth-grade math teacher. Ayumi is one of the brightest students in your class.
She has been in the country for 2 years and it is obvious her background in math is superb.
She cannot seem to understand the units on fractions. You don’t know what to think.

- The first step in this situation would be to ask Ayumi what she already knows about fractions or if she
has even ever heard of them before. It is a possibility that where she had originally learned math they
could have learned only decimals. If this were to be the case then some extra time spent explaining
the connection between fractions and decimals could be helpful.

30. As a reward for good work in your class you give students a packet of 4 pencils with
decorative erasers. Your Japanese students take two and leave two behind.
- It is possible that these students first do not understand that they are is allowed to take all
four pencils. It cannot be assumed, but it is possible, that they were taught to take only
what they may need. The solution for this would be to speak to the students and ask why
they only took two pencils. It is not a bad thing that they only took two, but it would be
good for them to know that they could have all four if they wanted.

31. Jean Pierre is a 5th grade student from Haiti. Your class is studying long division. Jean-
Pierre hands in his completed paper in a short time. You are upset because he has not
completed the work. There is no work showing. You think the problem is written
backwards. Maybe the student has a perceptual problem.
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- Groups from this area sometimes have a higher illiteracy rate than other. Although this may
not be the problem for Jean Pierre, it is a possibility. I would ask Jean Pierre how he felt
about the problem and for a slight explanation on how to do it. Understanding numbers ad
the way they go is a large part of literacy. If this is the problem, giving Jean Pierre a little
bit of extra help with words and numbers could solve the problem.

32. An Egyptian student in your 3rd grade class is a good math student but becomes
disruptive when you teach a math lesson using math manipulatives.
The math education in Egypt is very likely very different from the math education
provided in the United States. The teacher should research this before trying to teach
this student who isn’t adjusting to the classroom perfectly well. Whatever the reason is
that this student is not willing to learn math manipulatives, it can be seen through a
conversation with her. There may be a better way to learn and if this is the case, the
lesson may be slightly altered.

33. You have a new 3rd grade student from Bosnia. During recess time, the child hides under
and bench and cannot be persuaded to come out.

- The education system in Europe in some areas is very similar to that in the United States.
However, it is still a big switch from receiving an education in Bosnia to that in
America. Society in general has many differences in various places in Europe
compared to the United States. In the Poland chapter, the author states that culture
shock from one education to another is a real problem and informing the student of the
type of education and culture that they will receive before they start can greatly help
this. In Russia, students typically begin and end their education with the same students
and in the same building. If this student came from an education system in Bosnia that
is has anything in common with the Russian system, they would definitely be
experiencing culture shock. It cannot be assumed that this is the reason that the student
is hiding under the table during recess, but it is a possibility. If this were the case, the
student would simply be uncomfortable with their new environment. As the teacher, it
is important to speak with the student first, potentially during class while they are not
under the table, and ask how their transition is. Group work could potentially allow the
student to make connections with other students and to feel more comfortable. Every
student transitions differently and it is often difficult when coming from a different
country. The first step in a situation like this would be to speak with the student and
make it a priority that they feel comfortable in their classroom with their teacher and
their classmates.

34. You have new sixth grade student from Asia. The student appears to have an attitude from
the first day. Now he is out of his seat fooling around and you’ve just motioned to him to
come over to talk to you. He glares at you and seems even more angry. What happened?
- I am not sure what kind of education background this student came from. Since Asia is so
large, there are many different types of education types that this student may be
adjusting from. It is possible that the school he went to does not care about the students
as much, or that this is his way of adjusting. In some situations, motioning to come
towards oneself is seen as extremely disrespectful. The best option would be to
apologize for upsetting him and then asking why he was acting out and why he was so
upset. The teacher must understand the culture of the student before expecting them to
fully understand the new culture that they are now living in.

35. As your second-grade class lines up for a field trip, you count your students as you walk
down the line touching each of them on the head. You notice that several students pull
back from you.
- Touching can be seen as inappropriate in many different regions. These students may
or may not see it this way, but it is a possibility as to why they are pulling away. As
the teacher, I would ask them if that upset them and apologize once I had noticed that
it was a problem. I would then think of different ways to get their attention when
counting them besides touching them on the head for their own respect.

36. You take photographs of your students working in small groups for a Back to School Night.
The grandmother of one of your Chinese students is very upset when she sees your photo
of her granddaughter.
- In the American education culture, photographs in the classroom are more of a casual
occurrence. However, it cannot be assumed that this is the same for the Chinese classroom.
If it seems to be a problem that I took a picture of the student without their permission, I
would speak to the grandma and apologize. I would then ask either for permission to take
pcitures or if she would like her excluded from the pictures. It is best to put the student’s
family’s respects before anything else.

37. You signal “O.K.” by making a “O” with your thumb and forefinger to a student who has
done a good job. Your 8th grade newcomer from Brazil looks very shocked.

- - Hand signals can mean different things in different places. Although that sign means okay
to almost anyone in America, it cannot be assumed that this student from Brazil
understands it as well. If the reaction was shocked, the teacher should go to the student
and ask what they thought it meant. They should then learn about hand signals if there are
any, in their culture while teaching about common ones that may be seen in the American

Egbert, J., and G. Ernst-Slavit. Views from inside: Language, cultures, and
schooling for K-12 educators. N.p.: Np., Nd. Print.