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Cultural sensitivity in the classroomCultural sensitivity means being aware that there are differences between cultures and people across the globe. These differences are reflected in the ways that various people communicate, interact and also relate to each other. Awareness is not the only component of cultural sensitivity a person needs to know. They must know how to interact successfully and have unbiased set of opinions in spite of the differences. tefl teachers should be aware of their cultural sensitivity at all times, so that they can run their classrooms efficiently, and without prejudice, bias, or discrimination. Cultural insensitivity is a product of cultural ignorance, which can lead to many negative assumptions. For example, in Asian countries many students interact with adults in a more passive manor. Never talking-back or answering unless called upon, etc. Therefore, some students may not be willing to ask the teacher for help or participate in class if they do not understand. This often leads to the assumption that the student is uninterested and unmotivated. This can be frustrating for a teacher who does not understand the culture in which they are teaching. tefl teachers are expected to have done some kind of research on the culture of the country they are to be teaching in. They should be aware that in some cultures direct eye contact with a student may be interpreted as unsatisfactory or aggressive. In other countries women are not allowed to sit with men, and even a pat on the back can be deemed offensive or inappropriate. One way to become acquainted with a culture in terms of your teaching environment is to ask the students. Ask the students about their language and culture. This keeps the students interested in class, in that it makes them feel a sense of pride in teaching the teacher, as well as keeps the class relatable. Despite the differences teachers should have enough openness to accept the students even if they don?t follow the same cultural practices. Stereotypes can often affect the way a person conducts his/her classroom. Expectations can be formed based on what the teacher assumes they know about the culture they are teaching. Teachers should obligate themselves to practice cultural awareness by exploring the individual?s culture and heritage. As well as encouraging their students to do the same for other countries. For example: -Have students make oral presentations about something that is special to their native county. -Assign students biographical writing assignments about influential people specific to their country. -Compare and contrast holidays from different countries. Teachers should also encourage students to learn about their new English culture. Many of my students wouldn?t dream of leaving their country. So we as teachers should encourage students to learn and educate themselves about cultures different than their own. We should do things such as have projects comparing holidays, or show art from different cultures. Maybe even watch documentaries about different people around the world OR people in their own countries. Have discussions comparing student?s new culture to their native country, talking about topics such as fashion, slang, and music. Classroom appearance also helps express cultural sensitivity. Teachers should decorate their class based on the culture or cultures they are teaching. Decorations, such as maps, flags, and pictures of prominent leaders, give the students an opportunity to be engulfed by something that is unfamiliar. Group projects can also be arranged so that students can embrace each other?s culture, which is especially important when teaching a multilingual class. Cultural sensitivity, can either make or break a class. Cultural sensitivity is something that all teachers of all subjects should exhibit and express to their students. Teachers who are culturally sensitive are able to relate to students easily, leading to successful communication and good rapport. This prompts students to embrace the language more openly. As teachers, our duty is to teach, not condemn or shun. Acquiring cultural sensitivity requires that we go outside of our comfort zones. The world will be a much better place once we realize that the world is a lot bigger than what we see in front of our eyes. It?s time to wake up and embrace the world as well as show others how to embrace it too. Teachers don?t realize their power to influence the minds of people who (in some cases want to learn). Take that power and put it to something good and open the minds of our students.