I need to start this post first with my share and take it personally, back to my secondary school time in home town. As a Dyslexia boy, I know I love to write, and I enjoy trying different ways and trying different writing styles to create my story. Well, I know sometimes it looks weird. But Ha! that me. Most of the time, my teacher didn’t enjoy my writing assignment, even give a lot of negative comments and discouragement. My changing point did not happen until my first college English writing class in the United States. In retrospect, I was most encouraged because there are some deficiencies in language and written expression and significant cultural differences. However, the teacher can still find what she thinks is worthy of appreciation among the diversity. I still remember the comment she gave in my final; ” This is the most beautiful words and writing I ever see!”
Back to now, digital technology and the internet have become an essential part of our lives. As Adzaho argues, without knowing it, specific cultures and values still dominate the internet thinking and operation mode and could lead to loss of identity and pride. (Adzaho, G., 2013) But I am convinced that digital technology should not be the culprit for this kind of domination but should be the best bridge and tool to encourage mutual appreciation and respect for diversity in culture. It depends on how we define and use technology.
In an English classroom, how can a teacher help students express their ideas fluently in English on the one hand, and at the same time encourage students to express their different opinions due to different cultural backgrounds? Teachers can also use what criteria to evaluate student’s tolerance and understanding of cultural differences in the classroom and assignment. How do teachers use digital teaching tools to positively help non-English speaking students overcome language limitations and encourage them to share and appreciate cultural diversity?
Today non-Engish speaking students have lots of great resources and tools that help them solve the deficiencies. ‘Google translates’ can also help you find the right word or find the definition, ‘Grammarly.’ help on grammar, and more can name it. Creative and social media, 3D tech, artificial intelligence, and virtual augmented ready for teachers and students to use. (Tasiopoulos, G., 2021) I do not tend to find one or two solutions in this post, and this is no the purpose of it. Since this post is about diversity, I am sure different combinations should create different angles. I am more concerned about assisting teachers in establishing an excellent cultural diversity learning environment and experiment opportunities to provide clear guidance for teachers to ensure that teachers and students understand and achieve consistent goals in class or on assignments.
And I find more importance in assignments. Because expression in the classroom is limit by time and environment, students can encourage students to think and reflect on cultural differences and express more profound opinions through the assignment. I find a Cultural Knowledge & Effectiveness Rubric develop by Oregon State University Student Affairs Assessment Council (2010); I think this can also use as a standard or guideline. This rubric has divided into four-level, from beginning to advanced, and three areas. On the one hand, teachers can gradually guide students to try in three areas base on their level. Or, according to a specific theme, you make the content of the class or assignments. For example, writing about ‘In your cultural background, what do you think is most worth introducing to friends?’ that could be under the Knowledge area, about Cultural self-awareness and Cultural worldview frameworks. Teachers shall also use this rubric as grading, evaluate students. Evaluation Want to learn the quality of expression of students in the three areas and provide positive suggestions.
I believe that the development of the digital world can tolerate and recognize different cultural differences is a mainstream of the future workplace needed skill. Help our students work with teams of different cultural backgrounds and nationalities in future work, and even help them improve their cross-cultural leadership groups. Whether it is a non-English major or not, this value is essential to pass on to students in the school.
Adzaho, G., (2013), Can technology help preserve elements of culture in the Digital Age? https://www.diplomacy.edu/blog/can-technology-help-preserve-elements-culture-digital-age
Tasiopoulos, G., (2021) How digital technologies can play a vital role in the preservation of Europe’s cultural heritage. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/413473-how-digital-technologies-can-play-a-vital-role-for-the-preservation-of-cultural-heritage
Developed by the Oregon State University Student Affairs Assessment Council, (2010 ), Cultural Knowledge & Effectiveness Rubric, https://www.utica.edu/academic/Assessment/new/FinalVersionofInterculturalKnowledgeandEffectivenessRubric.pdf