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Rearranging Lives: Combating Culture Shock with Friends Autumn Jennings Kristin Tidwell The University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

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Presentation on theme: "Rearranging Lives: Combating Culture Shock with Friends Autumn Jennings Kristin Tidwell The University of Tennessee at Knoxville."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rearranging Lives: Combating Culture Shock with Friends Autumn Jennings Kristin Tidwell The University of Tennessee at Knoxville

2 TNTESOL 20042 Introduction Purpose:  To show how culture shock affects ESL students  To show how making friends can combat the negative effects of culture shock

3 TNTESOL 20043 Cultural Differences With someone near you, talk about a custom from your family or culture. Discuss anything that you feel is unique to your background. Think about the differences between your background and your partner’s.

4 TNTESOL 20044 Examination of Differences This activity was probably easy because of similarities in the language and culture of you and your partner. What if you wanted to communicate with someone from another country? What if you found their culture strange or upsetting? What if you could not even understand what they were saying?

5 TNTESOL 20045 Culture Shock What is culture shock?  “ A condition of confusion and anxiety affecting a person suddenly exposed to an alien culture or milieu” (American Heritage Dictionary) Why is it important?  Most ESL students in our classrooms come from foreign countries.  Culture shock will be a factor in these students’ lives.

6 TNTESOL 20046 Important Aspects of Culture Shock Culture shock occurs in stages  1. “Honeymoon”  2. Transition  3. Balance  4. Acculturation  5. Re-entry Effects on students within these stages  1. Excitement  2. Sadness, loneliness  3. Beginning of sense of belonging  4. Acceptance of new culture  5. Shock of re-entering home culture.

7 TNTESOL 20047 Importance of the Stages The most negative stage of culture shock often begins soon after the student arrives. It is important for students to make friends and feel comfortable as soon as possible.

8 TNTESOL 20048 How does culture shock affect individual people? We created an online survey for people who have traveled abroad  Sample Questions:  Did they make close friends in the new culture?  How long did it take for them to feel “at home”?  Were they homesick in the new culture?

9 TNTESOL 20049 Friends make a difference! Out of 25 people surveyed:  Five (5) made “many” close friends in the new culture.  Of these 5, only 1 listed “family” or “friends” as something they missed from home.  All of these 5 took less than one month to feel at home in their host country.

10 TNTESOL 200410 Not having friends also makes a difference Out of 25 people surveyed:  Twelve (12) said they made no close friends abroad.  Of these 12, 8 reported that they missed their friends and family from home.  Five of these 12 said that it took at least a few months to feel at home—if they ever felt at home.

11 TNTESOL 200411 Summing Up the Numbers The numbers indicate that making friends is beneficial to students. In general, when students make friends, they miss their home country less and enjoy their new country more. Intuitively, the affective filter would be lower and students would progress faster in learning English.

12 TNTESOL 200412 Friendships Why are they important?  They are a part of our overall learning experience.  They enrich our lives and teach us to appreciate people as individuals. Why do ESL students need them?  They will leave friends from their country and be placed in a situation where they know no one.  Friendships will help them to combat culture shock.

13 TNTESOL 200413 Friendships Across Cultures How is it difficult to develop friendships across culture and language barriers? Do students across cultures enjoy the same activities, entertainment, etc.? Do they look for the same qualities in friendships?

14 TNTESOL 200414 The Study Participants:  75 International students  75 American students All students were from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Students were asked to fill out a survey related to friendships.

15 TNTESOL 200415 Cross Cultural Friendships Students were asked if they had friends from another culture.  Out of 75 International students, 67 reported having an American friend.  Out of 75 American students, 58 indicated that they have an International friend. What was the quality of these friendships?

16 TNTESOL 200416 The Questions What kinds of activities do you do with your friends? What qualities do you look for in a friend? How is it difficult to build friendships with someone from a different culture?

17 TNTESOL 200417 Results! According to this study, the activities that both American and International students do with their friends are significantly similar. The qualities that each group of students looks for in a friend also appear to be very similar across cultures.

18 TNTESOL 200418 Popular “Activities” Responses International Students  18—Homework/Study  19—Talk/Hang out  23—Eat  20—T.V./Movies American Students  8—Homework/Study  19—Talk/Hang out  22—Eat  20—T.V./Movies

19 TNTESOL 200419 Popular “Qualities” Responses International Students  24—Honesty  8—Trust  12—Humor  9—Similar Interests American Students  16—Honesty  9—Trust  19—Humor  10—Similar Interests

20 TNTESOL 200420 The Struggle This study suggests that the main difficulties in building friendships across cultures are associated with language and cultural differences.

21 TNTESOL 200421 Student Responses International Students  23—Cultural Differences  23—Language Barriers American Students  17—Cultural Differences  22—Language Barriers

22 TNTESOL 200422 How can teachers help? Teachers must help students learn to overlook language and cultural differences of their classmates. They must encourage students to develop friendships across cultures.

23 TNTESOL 200423 Implementation in the classroom Emphasize interesting aspects of an ESL student’s culture  e.g. Similarities and differences between “The Day of the Dead” and Halloween Implement group activities that show good qualities in all students Use everyday content to show similarities among students

24 TNTESOL 200424 Future study Examine how making friends can change a student’s affective filter for learning by observing students in class and when interacting with friends Observe students’ progress in class in light of the number and quality of friends they have made

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