Cultural Considerations

Join a global community of over 200,000 TEFL teachers working throughout the world! Enrol me!

Being culturally aware is a definite must when you are a TEFL teacher. If you are living in a foreign country it is only natural to want to fit in and not offend anyone, but if you are teaching in your own country but teaching groups of multinational students then sometimes you can forget about cultural considerations. Of course, if your students are living in your country they will need to pay attention to the norms and practices there, but you can still be aware so that you don’t make any unnecessary faux pas.

One example of this is Ramadan. If you are teaching a class which includes Muslim students, make sure you know whether or not they are practising fasting during the month of Ramadan. If they are, then it would be considerate of you not to plan a lesson around food at this time. Your students probably won’t object if you do, but can you imagine how you would feel talking about food for an hour when you know you can only eat again that night?!

Another such situation would be the relationship between men and women. In some cultures, students may not be familiar with working with students of the opposite sex or even having a teacher of the opposite sex. Of course you cannot change your class to serve one or two students, but if this is the case be sensitive when dealing with such students and as far as possible make sure that they are comfortable with the dynamics of the classroom.

Hand gestures are another issue. There are a couple of hand gestures which are universal (and usually not very polite) but there are also those which may come across as rude to certain cultures or nationalities, but are completely harmless or meaningless to others. Though this can sometimes cause a few laughs, if you find that your students react to something you say or do, find out what exactly it was that caused the commotion.

There are so many different cultures in this world and your students could come from any of them. While it is impossible to be aware of every social nuance or custom, be aware of the backgrounds of your students and create an atmosphere that allows your students to let you know when they are feeling uncomfortable. The last thing we want to do is offend our students and as long as they know that, you’ll be fine. If you are living in a foreign country, then it is definitely necessary to find out the social do’s and don’ts or where you are living, just to make sure you are not offensive in any way.

Get Social

Follow us on social networks, join our newsletter - get the latest news and early discounts

Sign up to our newsletter

Follow us on social networks, sign up to our e-newsletters – get the latest news and early discounts

Accreditation Partners

The TEFL Academy was the world’s first TEFL course provider to receive official recognition from government regulated awarding bodies in both the USA and UK. This means when you graduate you’ll hold a globally recognised Level 3 (120hr) Certificate or Level 5 (168hr) Diploma, meaning you can find work anywhere and apply for jobs immediately.

Product added to your cart

You have added to your cart:

Request call back

    Please leave your details below and one of our TEFL experts will get back to you ASAP:

    captcha Type characters on the left:

    Would you like us to update you on TEFL opportunities, jobs and related products & services?

    Yes, keep me updatedNo, but thanks anyway!

    Thank you! Your message has been sent!

    Download the TEFL World Factbook

      Please enter your details in order to download the latest TEFL World Factbook.

      Would you like us to update you on TEFL opportunities, jobs and related products & services?

      Yes, keep me updatedNo, but thanks anyway!

      Thank you for downloading the TEFL World Factbook!


      If the TEFL World Factbook did not download
      > Click Here To Download <.

      Download the Online Teaching Guide

        Please enter your details in order to download our Online Teaching Guide.

        Would you like us to update you on TEFL opportunities, jobs and related products & services?

        Yes, keep me updatedNo, but thanks anyway!

        Thank you for downloading our Online Teaching Guide!


        If the Online Teaching Guide did not download
        > Click Here To Download <.

        Download Prospectus

          Please enter your details in order to download our latest prospectus.

          Would you like us to update you on TEFL opportunities, jobs and related products & services?

          Yes, keep me updatedNo, but thanks anyway!

          Thank you for downloading our prospectus!


          We hope you enjoy reading our prospectus, we have tried to make it as useful as possible! Please get in touch if you have any questions.


          If the prospectus did not download automatically
          > Click Here To Download <.

          $
          $