As we mentioned in our previous post, reactive cultures are generally governed by conformity and strict observation of traditions. There is strong focus on certain values such as integrity, diligence and the pursuit of perfection. The worst thing that can happen to any member of the reactive society is “losing face“.
All these peculiarities can make cross-cultural management of international students from reactive cultures quite a challenge. This is especially true for Western culture institutions where the gap in social norms, behaviour and style of communication can be significant. That’s why today we’re sharing a few tips on how to address the needs of reactive culture students. Thus, we hope to provide useful advice that will facilitate your efforts in both recruitment and retention of such students.
So, what can you do to ensure there is inclusion and understanding for your reactive students?
Open forums for sharing
Students from reactive cultures can find it difficult to speak up during a group discussion, so you should create an environment that stimulates and encourages speaking in public. This might be as simple as asking a direct question or having an online space where everyone can freely express and share their thoughts on various subjects.
Givе extra time to adjust and prepare
A tip we gave previously for treating students from linear-active cultures works well here as well. Have a clear structure and communication strategy in place and introducing them well in advance before the commencement of classes. This will give students from reactive cultures the time they need to adjust and prepare better for the subject.
Encourage creative thinking
Education system in reactive cultures is very different from that in the Western world. It puts major focus on memorization and the sharing of knowledge – not on discussing it analytically and offering new conclusions. Adding specific exercises that stimulate creative thinking in the classroom, or teaching them how to adopt different perspectives on the same situation will help reactive-culture students adapt more easily to new education systems.
Provide networking opportunities
With moderation being key in most reactive cultures, it might be quite hard for international students from such countries to build new connections and friendships in a notably more extroverted environment. Providing various opportunities for socializing and networking outside the classroom would help them grow more confident when communicating with their peers from other cultures.
What are your tips and tricks for addressing the needs of international students from reactive cultures? Let us know in the comments below!