“Writing Across Borders” is a three part video discussing the issues that international students face with writing in a different cultural settings. International students can be discouraged by the lack of attention and empathy in the classroom. Choices that students make can be influenced by their native culture which causes problems for classrooms that don’t recognize the effort of conforming to multiple cultures.
The first part of the video introduced us to a couple of international students and their experience with writing in a new culture. The students discussed how their native culture and experiences have shaped their expectations and decisions making when writing in different cultures.
A Japanese student mentions the styling and regulation guidelines and how different they are from her experience in her native culture. This point is then rounded out by a person from Ecuador who suggests that Americans choose to “get to the point” in their writing; to be direct. This also creates problems for a Colombian student who’s culture thinks that being direct is rude. A lack of cultural awareness can cause miscommunications and confusion between cultures.
In part two, the previously introduced international students discuss some interesting nuances and quirks from their writing culture. Teachers are then introduced and start addressing these issues with a beneficial perspective on grading international students.
The individual culture differences where quite unique and different for each language. For the Japanese student, her culture says that he/she context is up to the reader to determine. However, American culture wants the writer to take responsibility for this context and provide it for the reader. Then, A student from Jorden talked about how much emphasize and exaggeration is added to context for her cultures writing style. Readers from a different culture could think that someone is lying versus speaking in a different tone.
To help encourage international students to have confidence in writing and continue to grow and improve, the teachers in this video suggest a leniency on grading. International students should not be treated the same as native culture students because frankly they are not, these students are working within a second, sometimes third language and still learning. These teachers found that it is discouraging and unfair to mark off for minor errors and would rather focus on the meaning and thought process of writing.
Part three of the video was about general issues that all international students face with the American writing culture and or other foreign cultures, time limits. For some international students, they have never been asked to write essays or answer questions on the fly rather they are given time to research and formulate their responses. Time limits can also cause a fundamental problem when an international student is not fluent or native in a culture or language. The teachers in the video discuss how meaning and thought are lost when an international student is rushed.
This video was very comprehensive and explains a lot about an international students perspective in a new cultural environment. Taking cultural differences into consideration can help with effective communications.
Andrew Sherman, IMS 416, blog post one