Recognizing and understanding classroom culture in different countries is important because it strongly influences the way students learn and behave in the classroom. Classroom culture is the beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors that are shared within a classroom and can have a significant impact on the way students approach lifelong learning.
For example, in some countries, students are given direct instructions and have to repeat everything back to the teacher. In other countries, students are allowed to ask questions and express their opinions.
In an ever-growing globalized world, it’s more common than ever before to see students leaving their homes and studying in different countries. Additionally, more opportunities are now available online where people from all over the world can be in the same virtual classroom.
But this means depending on where students are studying and who is teaching, they may struggle with different classroom cultures.
So what are some similarities and differences students may experience when they move from classroom to classroom around the world? Let’s take a closer look at how students in different countries approach learning.
How Do You Discover Classroom Culture?
But first, it’s important to understand how you discover the culture of a classroom. Classroom culture can be observed and studied in different ways, such as through note-taking, field observations, and interviews with teachers and students.
Through these different methods, classroom culture can be analyzed and interpreted to understand better and improve the education of a classroom.
We gathered and reviewed various resources about classroom culture in different countries and found the following points to be the most interesting!
Classroom Culture in the United States
One of the most important aspects of classroom culture in the United States is the value that is placed on extracurricular activities.
High school extracurricular activities are seen as an important way for students to develop leadership, teamwork, and communication skills, which are all key elements of becoming a successful adult. This focus on extracurricular activities has been shown to significantly improve students’ future job prospects, which is why it is important for students to participate in as many activities as possible.
Classroom Culture in Brazil
An important aspect of classroom culture in Brazil is the focus on students going home for lunch. In many Brazilian schools, students are allowed to leave the school for lunch because eating with family is valued in a culture.
Additionally, many students in Brazil reported never having to do homework. Some claim this has been shown to significantly improve students’ grades, attendance, and school engagement.
Classroom Culture in Australia
Teachers in Australia can create integrated lessons, meaning they are trained to teach multiple subjects to students, sometimes at the same time.
This allows teachers to tailor the curriculum better to meet the needs of each student, which results in better learning and higher retention.
Classroom Culture in Saudi Arabia
Ramadan is a month-long religious observance commemorating the revelation of the Qur’an. It is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is observed by Muslims around the world.
During this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, so it is common for school days to be shortened during this month-long holiday.
Classroom Culture in China
Students in China experience pressure to do well on the gaokao, which is a university entrance exam. Only by performing well on this exam are students allowed to attend a university in the country.
So the curriculum in the classroom is often focused on preparing students for the gaokao.
Classroom Culture in India
Students are taught to show the utmost respect for teachers, usually standing up when the teacher enters the classroom. Additionally, students are only allowed to ask questions when the teacher gives permission.
In most schools, the first years of schooling are called Primary Education. This is followed by Junior Secondary, or 8-10-year-olds, then Secondary Education, 11-13-year-olds, and finally Higher Secondary education, 14-15-year-olds.
Classroom Culture in Mexico
The grading system in Mexico is based on a 1-10 scale: 9-10 is muy bien (very good), 8 is bein (good), 6-7 is suficiente (sufficient), and 0-5 is reprobado (fail).
Classroom Culture in Norway
Today, the Norwegian primary school system, high school system, and higher education system are all public and state-supported. Education in Norway is seen not just as a necessity but as a fundamental right.
There is also very little to no homework assigned to students in Norway.
Classroom Culture in Finland
In Finland, for every 45 minutes of learning, a student earns 15 minutes of free time for playing or leisure activities. This helps incentivizes the student to spend more time in school, which is an important factor in student retention.
Classroom Culture in Japan
All students are required to wear uniforms in Japanese schools. The uniforms are designed to be practical and not distract from learning. There are other rules for hairstyles, make-up, and other accessories.
What Do You Think?
As classroom culture is observed and viewpoints can vary depending on the researcher, the teacher, and the student, are you from one of the countries listed above, and do you agree with the observations?
What trouble do you think a student may have to move from a classroom in China to a classroom in Finland, as an example?
Learning comes in all shapes, forms, and cultures. One classroom culture isn’t better than another, but it is important to recognize the differences to help students navigate and learn in a more globalized world.