Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Cultural Impasse

Culture, diversity, and exploring the ideas of people who hail from exotic lands with worldviews vastly different than my own were some of the most enticing aspects of the job when I applied. As I've observed several of the master tutors working with the ESL students I've noticed that the language barrier is slightly higher than I anticipated. Generally, the sessions just take a little longer and require a great deal of patience, although there is the occasional session where the tutor and the tutee reach a kind of stalemate as a result of being fundamentally unable to communicate a concept or idea. This has become the greatest sources of my anxiety regarding my new position. I want so much to help them express the ideas they have so clearly formed in their minds but can't necessarily translate or communicate in English, but I know I will eventually experience one of these severe cultural diversions that will cause a good deal of stress and frustration. I'll be taking a page from the tutors I've observed and employing a considerable amount of patience and encouragement, and hopefully, the tutee and myself can scale that language barrier.


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