Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
The posting below is an excerpt from the article, "An Exploratory
Study of the Teaching Concerns of Asian American Students," by
Christine A. Stanley, Texas A&M University Stephanie V. Rohdieck and
Li Tang, The Ohio State University that appeared in the Volume 10,
Number 1, 1999 issue of the Journal on Excellence in College
Teaching, pp.107-127. Copyright 2000, Miami University, reprinted
The excerpt focuses on the implications for teaching Asian American
students and is based on the authors' study that:
"... explored some elements of the teaching and learning concerns of
Asian American students at a large Midwestern state university. The
authors conducted focus group interviews of 22 Asian American
students of various ethnic identities (Filipino, Laotian, Korean,
Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indian) to explore issues related to their
experiences inside and outside of the classroom, their relationships
with instructors and students, the effect of their identity on
teaching and learning, and their experiences with being viewed as the
"model minority." The authors present the results of this
exploratory study,l suggest areas for further research, and discuss
implications for college teaching."
UP NEXT: Trade-Offs to Obtaining Teaching Experience Prior to
Becoming a Professor
Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
------------------ 910 words ------------------
TEACHING CONCERNS OF ASIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS
Implication for teaching
This study demonstrated that Asian American students, like many
ethnic minority students, vary greatly in their identities and
experiences in the college classrooms. However, we were able to
derive some recommendations for instructors and their teaching from
the students with whom we talked. The following recommendations need
to be interpreted within the particular teaching and learning context
in order to be applicable.
1. there are many Asian ethnicities, all distinct from each other.
Students appreciate when instructors make an effort to be sensitive
to their ethnicity. Identity is very important for students, and to
categorize them as "Asian" denies them their identity and may affect
their academic work.
2. People of Asian descent in the U.S. have various citizenships -
they may have recently arrived in the U.S. as refugees, they may be
visiting students, they may be American citizens, or they may have
any number of other connections with the U.S.
3. Students of Asian descent are not spokespersons for their ethnic
groups. This assumption stems from the belief that these students
think and share similar social, life, cultural, and academic
experiences. As the students in this study indicated, they represent
various ethnic groups, nationalities, and citizenship.
4. Not all Asian-looking students in the classroom are visitors or
foreign students. This assumption insults those students who are U.S.
citizens or permanent residents. Similarly, assuming that all
Asian-looking students in the classroom are Asian Americans prevents
instructors from recognizing the teaching and learning support needs
that international Asian students may bring to the college classroom.
Asian students recently arrived in the U.S. not only have language
and cultural barriers, but also come from different educational
systems that value different learning methods and styles of teaching
than what they encounter in U.S. classrooms.
5. Not all students of Asian descent work well together in groups or
are friends with each other. As the students in this study suggested,
some prefer to work independently under certain circumstances, and
some are hesitant to work with students from other Asian countries.
Additionally, they have concerns stemming from differences within and
between their histories, languages, religions, and the like.
6. Not all Asian American students fit the model minority stereotype.
As the students pointed out in this study, instructors - Asian
American instructors and TAs in particular - should avoid placing
undue pressure on Asian American students. High expectations based
singularly on students' Asian descent may cause them to feel
inappropriately singled out.
7. Not all Asian American students are high achievers. Some students
may need assistance with learning tasks. To assume that Asian
American students do not require learning assistance denies it to
those who might require it or inhibits those who want to seek help.
As teachers, we may be contributing unconsciously to these students'
anxiety by assuming that they are high achievers.
8. Not all students - or Asian American students, in particular -
share similar learning style preferences. The literature and this
study suggests that instructors should use a variety of instructional
approaches when teaching to accommodate a range of preferences and
models of learning.
9. Asian American students may find it difficult to approach
instructors outside of class, even if they require help. Instructors
should make an effort to reach out to them by building rapport,
increasing communication, and being flexible so that students do not
perceive themselves as being academically deficient if they need to
10. Instructors should work toward learning more about the
development and teaching of multicultural courses and curricula. An
inclusive curriculum values the contributions of multiple voices and
perspectives. Asian American students feel that the ethnicity and
scholarship of their cultural heritage are often omitted from many
class discussions and course-planning decisions.
Conclusions and Further Research
This exploratory study serves as a springboard for discussion among
college teachers who face challenges to teaching in a diverse
classroom. It helps us understand better the teaching and learning
needs of Asian American students in higher education. However, it is
unproductive to generalize the study's findings across all
institutions and across similar Asian American student populations.
Although our recommendations make some generalizations across groups,
this is difficult to avoid if we hope to stimulate discussion around
the issues raised by the students in the study. It also should be
emphasized that the participants in this study were from a major
research university with a large population of international
students. Whereas the results of our study are confined to this one
institution, they suggest some important ways in which college
classrooms can be made more responsive to the teaching and learning
needs of Asian American students. Of greater importance are the !
implications for how smaller universities and colleges that are less
likely to have a large enrollment of Asian American students can work
toward improving the classroom climate for all students.
The dialogue begun in this study a good first step. Further work
needs to be done, however. We need additional studies across campuses
- studies that include more Asian and Asian American students;
studies that include Asian students whose identity is interwoven with
differences in age, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, or other
demographic characteristics; and studies of the attitudes of other
ethnic minority groups toward Asian American student populations.
With more attention to these issues, the dialogue can only grow
richer, and it can eventually help us to enhance the classroom
experience in ways that will benefit all college students and