About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4145-4149
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

TEACHING IN TAIWAN: THE EXPERIENCES OF AN AMERICAN MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION PROFESSOR

L. Jones

University of Houston - Clear Lake (UNITED STATES)
Teaching in a foreign country is not easy, even for those individuals who are considered to be master teachers. It can be an overwhelming experience for the instructor as well as students because of factors such as language barriers, the cultural environment, or differences in teaching and learning styles.

Language diversity and cultural diversity in the classroom play a key role in shaping the dynamics of instruction. Coupled with other factors, these variables also affect the intercultural communication process. Intercultural communication is defined as “the symbolic exchange process whereby individuals from two (or more) different cultural communities negotiate shared meanings in an interactive situation” (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005, p. 39). When this process is understood, effective communication between all groups can occur.

For a three-week period, I had the opportunity to teach a multicultural education course in Tainan, Taiwan. My daily audience was an undergraduate female student attending a women’s college of arts and technology. I had never taught before in a foreign country, let alone taught this course to all non-English speakers. It was truly one of the most remarkable experiences of my teaching career.

The benefits of teaching abroad are far reaching. Some of the main benefits of teaching abroad are the opportunities to be immersed in a different culture and community, and a cross-cultural exchange of ideas (Lopez, 2010). For me, it was an experience of a lifetime that allowed me to explore and improve my teaching methods, increase my understanding of cultural influences on teaching and learning, and cultivate those skills necessary to increase intercultural communication across different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in my classroom.

As an African American college professor for Texas, understanding the intercultural communication process and its connection to teaching in a foreign country took on a whole new meaning. The effects of culture on human communication (Lustig & Koester, 2010) can be very powerful. However, a certainty is that we are all globally connected. Thus, this paper will explore the preparations that I undertook prior to making my journey from Texas to Taiwan and the methods I used to teach multicultural education in a foreign land. Preparing to teach in Taiwan included, researching the country, learning a few Mandarin or Taiwanese words, and reorganizing lecture notes and presentations to meet the learning needs of the Taiwanese students.

References:
Lopez, E. (n.d.). Re: What are the benefits of teaching abroad? [Online forum]. Retrieved from
http://www.ehow.com/about_5082856_benefits-teaching-abroad.html
Lustig, M., Koester, J. (2010). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures.
(6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Ting-Toomey, S., & Chung, L. (2005). Understanding intercultural communication. New York: Oxford
University Press.
@InProceedings{JONES2010TEA,
author = {Jones, L.},
title = {TEACHING IN TAIWAN: THE EXPERIENCES OF AN AMERICAN MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION PROFESSOR},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {4145-4149}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. Jones
TI - TEACHING IN TAIWAN: THE EXPERIENCES OF AN AMERICAN MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION PROFESSOR
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 4145
EP - 4149
ER -
L. Jones (2010) TEACHING IN TAIWAN: THE EXPERIENCES OF AN AMERICAN MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION PROFESSOR, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 4145-4149.
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