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Cultural Diversity Discussion - SFCP 601

Original Post:
I strongly believe that both the instructors and learners bring their culture to the learning environment. It is
important for an instructor to be sensitive to cultural differences by examining the cultural values that
accounts for their method of teaching. MacKeracher defines culture “as system of learned beliefs, values,
assumptions, language, meanings, and behaviors shared with groups of individuals, and a guide for
organizing the lives of group members"(2004,p.192).
The success of tomorrow’s workforce is completely dependent on the ability of instructors to develop
courses that are in line within the cognitive as well as the cultural context of the students. In
instrumentation engineering, there is a great emphasis given to both individualism and collectivism which
helps to foster social construction of knowledge among our learners. One of my students said that
“working in a group for a project really helped me to understand the project requirements and thank you
for actively listening to me when I ran into issues with my project” (personal communication,
2014).Ramsey says that an instructor need to engage in “active listening, avoiding inappropriately
projecting one's model of reality onto others, and letting others be different"(as cited in MacKeracher,
2004, p.195).
I would be interested to know from the group on some of the problems associated with the cultural context
of learning that you encounter with your students.
Babith Varghese

Great question Babith. MacKeracher (2006) references Ramsey (1996) that culture is objective
and subjective. Ramsey states that subjective culture has to do with how we create meaning in
our lives and how we behave according to those meanings. I think it is important for instructors
to stay open minded and aware of this, especially Saskpolytech instructors. My personal
experience with this is with a student in the Adult Literacy program. She and some of her fellow
students would not participate in the fitness program we offer their class twice a week. These
three students would stand on the sides and watch and only participate in very specific
activities. At first we thought that they were just not interested in these activities. However, after
further examination and discussion it was found that in her culture she is not supposed to do
certain things in front of men. She freely had this discussion with us and created understanding
for us. I was very happy with the approach we took as it helped us understand the underlying
reason. I think creating an understanding is very important and simply using communication is a
great place to start because just as Mackeracher stated “It is important to understand the culture
of others and to avoid developing stereotypes that can lead to ethnocentrism, racism and so
on.”