Unit 3 Discussion & Resources
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guanlin (guanlin)2017-08-23

Unit 3



  1. The lecturer says that “because of different cultural backgrounds, teachers and students each expect different ‘appropriate’ behaviors from each other.”  What does this mean? In your culture, what kind of communication may be considered appropriate or inappropriate for student-teacher classroom interaction? What do you know about some appropriate or inappropriate classroom communication in another culture in which you have an interest?
  2. What are some examples in the lecture of the influence of culture on behavior and communication between teachers and students in the classroom? Compare the examples with your own classroom experiences.
  3. In addition to the issues mentioned in the lecture, what else might influence the success or failure of intercultural communication in a classroom setting?  Give examples to support your answer.
  4. Watch #2.a and #2.b in the Resources Section, and compare the formal and informal classroom practices in the U.S with those in your culture. What makes learning more enjoyable and / or efficient to you?
  5. Here is a quote about teachers. What does it mean? (You can refer to #4 in the Resources section.)


Competent teachers are competent communicators who are able to build and sustain interpersonal relationships across culture and across conflict.


Source: Mahon, J. (2009). Conflict style and cultural understanding among teachers in the Western United States: Exploring relationships. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, 46-56.


  1. EducationUSA Interactive: College Classroom Culture
    This complete webchat video covers a number of issues about college classroom culture. The following five excerpts are chosen to give you some insights into teacher-student classroom communication, such as how topics are discussed and what professors expect from their students.
    1. Be on Time to Class. Americans Appreciate it
    2. How are Discussions Carried out in U.S. Classrooms vs. Other Countries?
    3. Deadlines are not Flexible in the U.S.
    4. How do you React if you are Uncomfortable in the Classroom?
    5. Do U.S. Students Like Having International Students in Class
  2. Formal and informal classroom culture in the U.S.
    1. Living in the U.S. – Formal Classroom Culture
      The video clip describes some formal classroom practices (e.g. how to address professors) in the U.S.
    2. Living in the U.S. – Informal Classroom Culture
      The video clip gives examples of informal classroom practices (e.g. clothing) in the U.S.
  3. A Conversation with Chinese and American Students
    This video serves as a discussion starter for the topic of Chinese and U.S. student interactions on a university campus. In terms of stereotypes, cultural differences, personal growth, etc., these undergraduate students share their thoughts about their experiences and the challenges of making friends across cultures.
  4. How Do American, Chinese and French Students Characterize their Teachers’ Communication?
    (Brassier-Rodrigues, Journal of Intercultural Communication, 38, 2015)
    This research paper discusses the types of communication styles that students from China, the U.S., and France expect from their teachers. It contains the quote mentioned in Discussion question 5.