Thursday, December 6, 2018

Working with Saudi Arabian Students

Let me share a strategy that I have used in the past to include students that are considered "quiet students":

First, we need to expect that there will always be a "variability" in the composition of students in the online classroom that includes the quiet students. Once identified, it is important that we interact differently with them, figuring out the reasons they don't respond as scheduled, which can be very challenging.

Second, we don't want to put pressure by either taking points away or writing persistent messages that can push them back further into not participating at all.

So what to do?

I created a discussion board to include only "quiet" students where they can see that they can make mistakes, express opinions, or try different things without feeling excluded. This tactic works also very well when the student might feel that they can be "bullied" for not expressing him/herself correctly or adequately specially in English.
Once they gain confidence and can participate without any fear; they will become better and more productive participants.

·       Higher respect for authority, including authority of the instructor, and some reluctance to engage in Socratic dialogue with both the faculty member and other enrolled students.
·       Influence of societal tension between traditionalists and reformers, which also creates a conflict with the western norms of higher education. 
·       Interest in professional education with an occupational outcome, rather than in liberal arts-based education common to many U.S. institutions and programs.

A unique characteristics related to female students, then, may be:

·     As Batrawy (2013) noted, different cultural norms in the interaction between male faculty and female students.

My strategies for addressing these issues would revolve around culturally competent teaching, in which I address issues relevant to the students professional education and model professionalism in my interactions with them. I am an economist, and my goal is to help students understand the impact of the global economy on them professionally.  I can also engage in different models of teaching which rely less on Socratic dialogue in the classroom and more on high-quality feedback provided on students’ deliverables. I do expect that the strategies used in teaching adult learners (e.g., Malcolm Knowles’ andragogy theory) will still be relevant and effective in the SEU classroom.

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