Educators Connecting with their Students

“I’m not here to baby-sit and I’m certainly not their parent…”. As educators, how do we “[narrow] the gap between teachers’ and students’ social and cultural differences” while still maintaining a professional distance?
Teachers must be passionate and compassionate, not only about the material that he/she is teaching, but about the lives and background of each of his/her students. Students are diverse in multiple ways and as educators we must be aware of and have the ability to use different teaching styles allowing, to each student, an equal opportunity to learn.
How often do we as educators hear or feel that our students are not enjoying our classroom or lecture? This is often-times due to culture differences between the teacher and the students. We must also understand that all students are not going to find our area of expertise or every individual lecture we give to be enjoyable. However, it is our job as educators to get the material across to them in the most effective and efficient way.
One such way to engage all students in our classrooms is to initiate the socratic method of learning. This method of learning involves the asking of questions and then allowing  students to respond to those questions (i.e. leading a discussion). This method  provides students the opportunity to ask questions about the material that most interest them, that they find most intriguing or most relates to them individually.
A second way to get students more involved in the learning process is through active learning with games, exercises, and other activities. This learning style forces students to be engaged in their own learning (i.e. Proactive) as opposed to a more passive style of simply listening to the instructor lecture. International students find this process very beneficial as they may not always understand the concept but can visualize the process.
Implementation of multiple teaching techniques can give culturally diverse students more opportunity at an equitable education. In addition, it can be very satisfying for the instructor as well.
Valenzuela, Angela (1999). Subtractive Schooling. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

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