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Re: [teacherartexchange] cultural expectations

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From: Melissa Enderle (melissaenderle_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Nov 03 2009 - 06:44:30 PST


Lesa,

If you have taught at schools in North America that have kids from
other places (particularly non-English speaking countries), you
already have a good taste of what to expect. Development of children's
art and the art principles/elements doesn't vary much. I have found
that some cultures tend to stress drawing (and the arts in general)
more, so those kids tend to be more inclined to art. I find it easy to
pick out drawings done by our Korean and Japanese kids, as the style
is more anime/Manga. Sometimes you need to broaden these fixed styles
and encourage the kids to see things in other ways. Working at
international schools where the tuition is similar to that of college,
the kids typically come from families who value education and have
given their kids art supplies, books, etc. As art is very visual, ESL
kids tend to fare better than in other subjects such as science.
Still, keeping lesson demonstrations very visual (a document camera
and projector - or even a SmartBoard if you have one) are very
helpful. We actually ship many of the supplies from the US, so good
'ol Sax and other favorite catalogs can be used. Budgets vary by
school, but are fairly good to well-funded. Not necessarily so in for-
profit schools, but I would avoid those anyway! In all international
schools I've been in, class sizes are small (we have no classes over
17 and most are around 14-15), which makes a huge difference.

Yes, you do need to recognize certain cultural norms and practices.
For example, in some Asian cultures it's considered impolite (or a
sign of disrespect) to look someone in the eye. I found subject matter
in student choice paintings tended to be a bit "softer" than the inner-
city African American kids I had worked with. Some won't say they
don't understand, partly because it may be hard to verbalize this or
they feel embarrassed. Imagine if you were near the top of your class
in your school back home and suddenly you are at a school where you
can't speak the language and find yourself unable to understand things
or to show your true knowledge!

Melissa (in Chennai, India)

On Nov 3, 2009, at 7:50 PM, lesamm@exhibit905.info wrote:

> Hello Teachers Art Exchange,
>
> I have my first post as a full-time teacher this year, and its going
> great
> so far, not without its many challenges. I'm teaching grade 8 on a
> reserve, camp-town really in northern (sub-arctic) Ontario. Kids are
> hard
> wired as ESL even if English is their first language, Cree their
> secound,
> and the school year is disrupted by all sorts of circumstances, from
> school demolitions, to contaminated waters/floods, to H1N1 clinics.
> Math
> and Language Arts is in constant practice. The short time I've been
> here
> so far has been a great education for me. ART comes in handy in many
> ways
> in every subject. Art class becomes a catch up class. Although I have
> specific art projects too, such as, papier mache fish!
>
> Why I am writing right now however is about international postings.
> There
> are other teacher's out there on this list in India, and elsewhere I
> suppose. Can you talk about the challenges you have and what it is to
> teach Art in another culture?
>
> For instance, while I teach the curriculum to meet regulations, I must
> also consider the perspectives from which I teach and to whom I am
> teaching. Teaching history from a Native perspective is a wonderful
> task
> in researching for me, and for the kids. ITs empowering.
>
> thanks, Lesa
>

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