In addition to my full-time job, I teach part-time as a sessional lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island. After two years teaching freshman business, I took on a new challenge, introducing the culture of Canadian business to international students. Some characteristics of this group include:
- Males and females.
- Age range 18-25 years.
- High school graduates, some with one or more years of post-secondary education; few with diplomas or degrees.
- Unmarried, some in relationships.
- Typically from Africa, Asia and Europe.
- Both conservative and trendy.
- Enjoy traveling and exploring new societies.
- Some drive, most take public transportation.
- Access to disposable income ranges from wealthy to very limited resources.
- A mix of leaders and followers.
- Enjoy spending time with friends, discovering their community, meeting new people and participating in social events.
English is not the first language for most of my students, but they are not unlike their Canadian counterparts, preferring to communicate through email, text or online. I consider the following to ensure effective communication:
- I never assume any student understands what I am saying. I frequently take the temperature of the class to help determine whether students understand the concepts or if they need to be broken down further.
- Have you ever read an article or listened to a presentation only to be faced with unfamiliar abbreviations and jargon? To help prevent that frustration, I introduce concepts by their full names before abbreviating or using slang.
- My classroom is a place for students from various backgrounds to feel comfortable expressing their ideas and practicing their language skills. This means being respectful of the abilities and beliefs of their classmates.
“A different language is a different vision of life.” Federico Fellini