Thursday, October 25, 2018

Teaching strategies for single gender classrooms

Teaching single gender classes is an interesting but different experience.  Havril (2018) reports that almost 52% of Saudi university students are women and this generation has the desire and ability to become inter-culturally and globally competent. The author also points that  female students may initially be anxious while learning from Western teachers and take some time to open up. However, they are quite willing to have intercultural communication with their teachers and learn from them. Another interesting finding from this study was the level of educational achievement of females, which was far greater than males. It was also found that females were more interested in learning about cultural diversity and try to develop their intercultural communication skills. The author predicts that in a few years, Saudi female students will have greater freedom to develop their self-esteem and confidence to be able to contribute better to the local labor market in KSA.
I can relate to these findings through my past experience of teaching female Saudi students. They do take some time to communicate freely with their instructors but once they start interacting, they like to  learn about other cultures, management and work practices. Moreover, female students are more competitive academically and I feel they work really hard to achieve good grades. I noticed that the final results of female students were quite higher than their male counterparts at King Saud University, Riyadh. I found that female students worried more about assignments and exams and tried to work on them from the start. So, a good teaching strategy would be to help students by offering guidelines to complete their tasks and assignments. I think female students engage better when the instructor helps them in understanding tasks and requirements, and offers more support in their learning. Greater one on one interaction during live sessions and discussions is also a useful teaching strategy. Female students like to stay connected and learn from others’ experiences, so creating a collaborative atmosphere will serve as another good strategy. This is because Saudi culture does play a role in how students look up to their faculty. They may not be very confident in learning from their own experience and value their instructor’s words more. Therefore, a key strategy would be to share our knowledge with them as much as possible and then encourage them to apply the learning to their context or experience.
Reference:
Havril, Á. (2018). Academic Challenges of Saudi University Females and Their Implications for Intercultural Competence. Corvinus Journal of Sociology & Social Policy, 9(1), 151. 

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