5 Important Considerations for Anyone Teaching Abroad

5 Important Considerations for Anyone Teaching Abroad
Contributed By

Alejandro Castañeda

President of University Corporate Certifications Consultants

5 Important Considerations for Anyone Teaching Abroad

Posted in Community | June 05, 2017

I have an amazing story to share with you. It's about my adventures teaching students in one of the most violent cities in Latin America and how they overcame the situation with a little help from their LMS.

While I won't get into the details of my story in this blog post (Come to my session at Schoology NEXT 2017 to hear it all), I did want to share a few of lessons I gained from this experience and my 30+ years teaching.

5 Important Considerations for Anyone Teaching Abroad

The concepts of multicultural-multilingual online teaching are key when planning overseas teaching. In fact, they can benefit anyone who's teaching from a distance, whether in your own country or not. Below are five high-level concepts that anyone planning to teach abroad should keep top of mind. 

#1 In Rome, Do as the Romans Do

When you're teaching (or planning to teach) students from different parts of the world face-to-face or online, there are “key human behavioral aspects” that should be taken seriously. What motivates students? What do they find incomprehensible? How can we can entice them to be on time for an online class or take an unsupervised class on their own?

These are just a few behavioral aspects to consider when planning to teach abroad, but understanding your students at a fundamental level is key for successful teaching and learning.

#2 Privileges are Transparent for Those Who Have Them

We constantly benefit from unseen privileges when we live in the US or any other industrialized country. Aspects such as college campuses within reach, accessibility to public libraries, easy communications of all sorts, security to move around without fear, employment, infrastructure that enables us to achieve our objectives, transportation from various points to countless other sites, and the opportunity to fulfill our destiny are all transparent and taken for granted.

That may not be the case for the students you teach abroad. Keeping this stark contrast top of mind can help you to better connect with your students and their world views.

#3 Culture Dimensions can be Unconscious Roadblocks

Since we carry our own culture everywhere we go, that knowledge dictates our professional actions. We tend to assume that those same privileges and opportunities apply elsewhere, even when teaching different people from different cultures.

Therefore, we construct and elaborate our strategies based on those privileges without considering that many other people lack them. Unfortunately in these instances, we are wrong and, sometimes, that leads to mistakes.

#4 Online Teaching Must Adjust to Culture Dimensions

Many experts in cross cultural aspects have discussed what they call “Dimensions of Culture Differences." These include individualism/collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, and time management.

Depending on their country or culture, your students may be more prone to act collectively or try to elude control when authority is far away. Others may be disposed to act individually and control themselves without instructions or direction. You can imagine the kind of impact these dimensions have on eLearning, so they should be considered as you plan out your courses and teaching strategy.

#5 "Teaching from Afar" is a Fundamental Pillar of Online Education

The concepts above, and others I plan to expose in my NEXT session, are very helpful not only to educators interested in teaching abroad, but also those teaching online in general. Based on my many years of experience, these concepts will equip any professional educator with an understanding of one of the most fundamental pillars of online education and learning management platforms—teaching from afar ... and getting away with it.

I hope I'll see you in my session.

Join Me at NEXT


Alejandro Castañeda's NEXT 2017 Session

How Schoology Helped Me Help Students Abroad in a Violent World

Join Alejandro for a friendly dissertation on how an LMS platform helped his undergrad students navigate through tough times when gang violence emerged in their city. This session is an in-depth analysis of the importance of multicultural, multilingual online education and the key aspects to be taken into account when teaching students from other cultures.

In this session you'll:

  • Learn about another culture’s behavior and interests: nourishment, rituals, believes beliefs and views of the world.
  • Understand the cultural dimension to be taken into account when designing a multicultural educational strategy.
  • Learn what you should take into account and what should be disregarded when planning an online project.

Learn more about Alejandro and his NEXT session here.


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