11: Cultural Differences

Teaching and Classroom Differences

Many international students find that the teaching and learning approaches in the U.S. are different from their home countries. This part will explain some of those differences.

Interaction in the Classroom

“The system in my country is based on a lot of memorization…”

“Here, if you speak up in the classroom, they will listen to you. In my country, it is hard to make your own voice. If you are just a student, people don’t listen that much.” Comments from international students

A variety of teaching methods are used in the U.S. classroom. A professor will generally use many teaching methods within a single course. Professors in American classrooms not only lecture, but often involve students in discussions and small group activities. Discussions are often used to help students discuss and clarify what they learn, as well as add their own perspectives and experiences. In many other parts of the world, professors tend to lecture and not try to actively involve the students in the classroom.