The research project will analyze culture as a barrier to effective communication among higher institutions of learning. There are several forms of culture that affect effective communication in higher learning institutions. Cultural barriers affect effective communication among the students and lecturers while providing their services in the learning institution. According to the research that was conducted, higher learning institutions should introduce a communication-related course that will ensure all the students and lecturers communicate effectively with one another. Higher institutions also should submit a universal language as a means of communication to allow all the students to participate in the conversation effectively. There should be a plan that integrates all the students and lecturers in coming together to solve this challenge effectively. Teachers also should introduce strict measures that will enhance effective communication services in higher institutions. Cultural practices should also be embraced; however, they should not hinder effective communication in the institution.
Culture refers to every socially transmitted behavior, ideologies, beliefs, languages, norms as well as traditions that become learned along with being shared within a definite social group of a particular nationality or ethnicity. It becomes passed from a generation to another and gives populaces their portrayal of seeing the world alongside interpreting life. Culture is as well divided into several sub-cultures. Therefore, students hailing from different cultures face the problem of cultural diversity because they have different mindsets, languages, as well as perceptions (Banks, 2019). Cultures brews stereotypical connotations, prejudices, ethnocentrisms as well as opinions as it shapes the behavior and thinking of people. The culture a person was brought up in affects the way he or she communicates. That is, culture characterizes communication, and communication forms culture too. Students in institutions of higher education are faced with diverse barriers to communicating effectively with one another. The leading cause of this challenge is due to the varied cultural backgrounds they come from. For instance, numerous international students are taking their higher education within the University of Michigan and come from different cultures. Various students from different countries worldwide face some shortcomings in having effective communication with other students in institutions of higher learning. An example is apparent with the communication barrier depicted between Asians and American students. In this paper cultural barriers to effective communication that institutions of higher education undergo will be illustrated and meticulously examines literature as a significant barrier to effective communication among students of higher education and how they can be broken.
The narration that institutions of higher learning contain students from different cultures is authentic. Most of the higher learning institutions provide various cultural barriers that affect the effective communication among students and their teachers. Foremost, the problem of the language barrier is a hindrance to effective communication. Several students in higher education institutions do not understand English making it hard for them to communicate with other English-speaking students. In the US, for example, all institutions of higher learning use English as the official language of communication (Xing, Popp, & Price, 2020). A Chinese or Italian student will have difficulty communicating correctly in English as they speak a Chinese language and Italian language, respectively, while in their native countries. Thus, not being capable of speaking English may result in misunderstandings with students brought up in English-speaking students as well as teachers, and this is a barrier to communication. Various cultures have their languages as revered parts of their heritage, which makes students comfortable holding communication in their native languages. However, they have to compromise their heritage to learn about new words to enhance their interaction with other students from different cultures. Usually, misunderstandings are profound when students and teachers speak different languages. Teaching students who do not understand the language being taught by teachers has a negative influence in that there is a communication barrier.
Stereotyping refers to the overgeneralization of people who belong to a similar culture as encompassing the same characteristics alongside classifying them accordingly. It denotes an over-generalized belief concerning a particular group and is usually harmful. Stereotyping is done in the context of several things such as nationality, gender, ethnicity, as well as race (Akhmetshin et al., 2017). An example of stereotypes in institutions of higher learning is that Asian students are excellent at Mathematics. Even though the aforementioned stereotype is positive, most students in higher education tend to misconstrue that every Asian student is exceptional in Math. Contrarily, there is a negative stereotyping that believes that every person following a specific religion such as Islam is considered violent. People practicing Islam have been regarded to be extremists and sympathizers of allied terrorist factions. This is apparent in institutions of higher learning as well, whereby students of the Islamic religion are segregated and vilified to have affiliations to radical groups. Tellingly, negative stereotyping brings forth prejudices through triggering judgmental opinions about others. Within institutions of higher education, students of the Islamic religion are looked at as being evil and become treated wickedly.
Behavior and Beliefs
Culture could be a barrier to effective communication among higher education students as per their behaviors and beliefs are dictated. Cultural differences result in action along with personality differences evident in norms, manners, communication as well as body language, thereby leading to miscommunication. Some cultures consider eye contact to be vital during the conversation, while some depict it as being rude and discourteous (Sit, Mak, & Neill, 2017). Therefore, some higher education students might like it when others maintain eye contact during conversations as they feel that their hearers are attentive. However, some who come from a culture that considers maintaining eye contact as rude as well as disrespectful do not believe in holding conversations while looking into the eye of the other. Teachers in institutions of higher education will find it hectic teaching students who cannot maintain eye contact as it entails that they are not listening. This is one of the challenges that teachers face when teaching multicultural students within higher education institutions.
Culture is a barrier to communication in the dissemination of information as people of multicultural backgrounds use different signs and symbols in non-verbal communication. The use of signs, symbols as well as gestures differs from one culture to another. An example is the thumbs-up sign, which has varied meanings in different cultures. In America, thumbs up sign is considered to be an approval of something or whishing somebody good luck. However, in Bangladesh, it is regarded as an insult. Thus teachers have to be careful when using signs, symbols, and gestures to communicate their feelings concerning issues within a class setting. Students who come from Bangladesh may presume that a thumb up sign is made by the teacher to insult them; hence they will have low outcomes from them - hate and mistrust.
Lecturers Adopt Responsively
Teachers need to adopt culturally responsive institutions that understand the multicultural diversity of students (Halim, Abu, & Mohamad, 2014). Correspondingly, the "V" hand gesture whereby the palm faxes outside or inside portrays victory or peace in America. Conversely, some cultures assign that back of hand gesture is insulting and disrespectful to a person. Culture has set up meanings of gestures, signs, and symbols which are different in other cultures. Institutions of higher learning have students from multicultural cultures with varied meanings of signs, gestures, and logos used to communicate. Teachers have to get to understand the cultural diversity of students and incorporate techniques that enhance communication between them and students.
Teachers can ensure that they have effective communication when teaching higher education students by employing myriad tactics that will overcome cultural barriers. Firstly, they have to understand the cross-cultural differences between the students they are preparing. Getting to understand that higher education students are from diverse, multicultural backgrounds will go a long way in adopting measures that enhance communication between teachers and students. Teachers have to keep an open mind and gather knowledge concerning the cultural backgrounds of students (Dudin et al., 2019). In this way, teachers can learn particular beliefs and behavior of multicultural students. Also, teachers can integrate the practice of active listening as it helps in developing a clear understanding of the concern of the speaker as well as vibrantly communicating the interest in the message of the speaker.
Graph 1.0 Shows impact of Culture in Communication on Teachers
Du Plessis (2019) explained that maintaining a personal touch between teachers and students has a considerable contribution to alleviating cultural barriers and enhance effective communication. Teachers who have a personal touch with students can know and understand the cultural diversity of higher education students. It ensures that teachers are mindful of the be...
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