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'Skeleton budget', 'intranet', 'dole', and other strange Words: Bridging the cultural divide in a multicultural classroom
conference contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Niranjala Weerakkody, J Ahmad
This paper examines the experiences of two academics who had been international students themselves and currently teaching in multicultural settings at tertiary level, with regards to the issues of the teacher using culture specific slang and idiom with otherwise keen and bright groups of students, in Australia. Using the research method of auto-ethnography, it examines and categorises the themes of issues most often faced by the staff members and students-such as the use of different vocabulary and keywords and the prior knowledge required of both the teacher and the students in reaching a shared understanding or inter-subjectivity. These will be discussed in terms of the various realities experienced by the students coming from a diversity of countries and cultures. The paper discusses how these challenges can be identified and addressed and how to prepare for future situations more effectively and in advance. They will be examined within the contexts of culturally responsive teaching, communication competence, the hidden curriculum, instructional scaffolding, understanding and being open to other cultures and acknowledgement of the richness and relevance of the multicultural students’ varied experiences and social realities, from the point of view of the academic discipline of communication studies.