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“The Bond that Students and Teachers Share” is an article written by Souad Jamal Al Serkal and was published in the Gulf news on March 19 2005.
The writer, a student explores the aspect of cultural diversity in the field of learning by taking the views of stakeholders in cosmopolitan centers of learning with the aim of understanding several aspects such as the effect that cultural diversity has on students. He seeks to clarify whether a student is able to imbibe on the teacher’s culture and whether diversity, as far as culture is concerned, makes any sense at all.
By interviewing experienced teachers and students who seem to have a first hand information concerning this, the writer interrogates them on the aforementioned aspects. Hala Al Midfa, a teacher in the American university of Dubai, is one of the key respondents to the inquiry by the writer of this article, owing to her conversancy on the issue of cultural diversity. On the part of students, the writer uses Ryazan Badri as a respondent since he is a good example to use in explaining cultural diversity.
He is a Syrian, born in the United States and studying in Dubai. He is for the opinion that, learning from people who are from a diverse culture gives them the opportunity to learn to the maximum. Most students hold this view. Other students have the view that, the idea of having teachers from diverse cultures, is a sure way of ensuring that students learn a lot, enhancing multi-cultural coexistence in the institutions of learning.
Critical Response to the Article
The article ‘The Bond that Students and Teachers Share’ gives a shallow insight into the aspect of cultural diversity and the whole idea of the relationship between students and teachers. This is viewed with consideration to the different aims of the learning process such as affecting knowledge on the side of the teachers.
The writer’s choice of the respondents might somehow suffer cultural influence with regard to the other aspects of diversity such as religious views. Since he was writing this article in a cosmopolitan place such as Dubai, he should have gotten a teacher or a student from another religious affiliation to put emphasis on the credibility, which lacks in this article. Jamal in this article considers the views on cultural diversity from the perspectives of teachers, administrators and the students (Al Serkal, 2005, p.6).
The views of Dr Hala Al Midfa hold in that, in order to breach the gaps between a teacher, who happens to be from a different cultural background and students of diverse cultures, the teacher can as well employ a teaching strategy that will enable the dissolution of such differences.
This can as well be in the manner the teacher elaborates on issues in the classroom. As Hudson (2005) puts it, the diversities that exist between the students as well as the teachers contribute to the varying understanding or configuration of what people talk about in different ways (p.14).
Teachers should therefore be able to come up with teaching methods or ways of elaborating on issues that is universally acceptable and naturally strengthens the bond between the two parties. There are however, other important aspects that this article fails to address that can help in achieving the same results depicted by Dr Hala. These include student-oriented solutions intended at dealing with aspects such as stereotyping which enhances negative ethnicity.
Nazzal Yousuf, in his depiction of what makes the quintessential international outfit in a university, talks about such issues as the organization of the faculty, the university’s contacts abroad, as well as the style used by teachers in teaching. He however fails to address on how to handle the aspect of cultural diversity in the university. This strengthens the bond between the students and the teachers whereby students gain knowledge from teachers without any interference that can result from cultural intolerances.
The student’s perspective is seemingly credible considering the choice of the contributors to this article. For instance, Ryazan Badri has the experience in dealing with people from different ethnic orientations considering his background.
His elaboration however seems to lean more on the discipline of business studies considering that, there are other disciplines, which interrogate and confront the issue of cultural diversity at length. According to Zeichner (1993), some disciplines such as social sciences and arts engage more, the aspects of cultural diversities (p.34) and the writer could have gotten at least a representative to shed more light on this.
The response from the students seem to have one thing in common: they have never faced a teacher who fails in addressing the issue of cultural diversity. This article is quite partisan considering that in a society such as the learning institutions these teachers do exist.
The writer does not put a personal input into the article, which could have also worked in shading some more light on the issue he intends to discuss. This makes this article less analytical since the writer does not question some of the views put forth by the respondents some of which are questionable or need further clarification and elaboration like those of Nazzal.
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Al Serkal, J. (2005). The Bond That Students and Teachers Share. New York: Word Press.
Hudson, J. (2005). Strategies for Teachers. Des Moines: Drake University Press.
Zeichner, A. (1993). Effective teacher Education. London: Oxford University Press.