Cultural differences in Education: a case study of Thai students and Spanish teachers in university-level Spanish language classroom in Thailand
The present study aims to explore cultural differences between Thais and Spaniards in the classroom with regards to expectations about role and desirable traits of teachers and students, in order to identify problems caused by cultural differences and then provide a guideline for coping with those differences. In-depth interviews were conducted with fifty informants: forty Thai students majoring in Spanish and ten Spanish teachers. The results indicate major differences in role expectations of students. Results show that Spanish teachers expect students to express their opinions and ask questions, whereas most Thai students tend to remain silent. What Thai students value most in a student is respect for teacher, whereas Spanish teachers consider this trait the least important. They value curiosity and readiness to ask questions, which Thai students deem to be the least important in a student. In conclusion, if teachers and students are aware of these cultural differences and try to adapt themselves, the communication and relationship among them will be smoother.
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