Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Most Unlike U.S.
  • Individualism
  • Long Term Orientation
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
Implications for the Classroom

Korean students MAY be more likely than U.S. students to:

  • Work on assignments together and share information.

  • Be hesitant to speak up in class. In Korea, interrupting the professor would be seen as extremely rude. The U.S. system of a professor and students discussing things back and forth, is quite uncommon in Korea. In one study a Korea student says, “I also tried to raise my hand to ask question. However, I did not talk until the professor saw me. I had to wait. In Korea, it is not good to interrupt a professor’s speaking….The professor continued to talk with other classmates even (though) they did not raise their hands. So, I just do not express my opinions to the professor’s questions. No one will wait for me. They just continue to talk.” (Wu, H., et.al., 2015)

  • Favor structured learning and clear rules. Citizens from a society that avoids uncertainty is more likely to desire clear expectations and rigid rules. This may cause difficulty in a U.S. classroom, where autonomy and critical thinking are of utmost importance. For example, a professor might deliberately provide vague instructions for a research paper, forcing a student to creatively determine the best way to approach the research. For a student who has grown up with strict rules and structures, whose main job in school is to remember and regurgitate information, this type of assignment will be enormously difficult. Add to that issue the fact that the assignment is also in a second language, and the task just increased exponentially.

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