Christine Stanley, Stephanie Rohdieck, and Li Tang conducted a study of Asian American studentsŐ teaching concerns. Below are the implications they reached for teachers.
"Implication for teaching
This study demonstrated that Asian American students, like many ethnic minority students, vary greatly in their identities and experiences in the college classrooms. However, we were able to derive some recommendations for instructors and their teaching from the students with whom we talked. The following recommendations need to be interpreted within the particular teaching and learning context in order to be applicable.
1. There are many Asian ethnicities, all distinct from each other. Students appreciate when instructors make an effort to be sensitive to their ethnicity. Identity is very important for students, and to categorize them as 'Asian' denies them their identity and may affect their academic work.
2. People of Asian descent in the U.S. have various citizenships - they may have recently arrived in the U.S. as refugees, they may be visiting students, they may be American citizens, or they may have any number of other connections with the U.S.
3. Students of Asian descent are not spokespersons for their ethnic groups. This assumption stems from the belief that these students think and share similar social, life, cultural, and academic experiences. As the students in this study indicated, they represent various ethnic groups, nationalities, and citizenship.
4. Not all Asian-looking students in the classroom are visitors or foreign students. This assumption insults those students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Similarly, assuming that all Asian-looking students in the classroom are Asian Americans prevents instructors from recognizing the teaching and learning support needs that international Asian students may bring to the college classroom. Asian students recently arrived in the U.S. not only have language and cultural barriers, but also come from different educational systems that value different learning methods and styles of teaching than what they encounter in U.S. classrooms.
5. Not all students of Asian descent work well together in groups or are friends with each other. As the students in this study suggested, some prefer to work independently under certain circumstances, and some are hesitant to work with students from other Asian countries. Additionally, they have concerns stemming from differences within and between their histories, languages, religions, and the like.
6. Not all Asian American students fit the model minority stereotype. As the students pointed out in this study, instructors - Asian American instructors and TAs in particular - should avoid placing undue pressure on Asian American students. High expectations based singularly on students' Asian descent may cause them to feel inappropriately singled out.
7. Not all Asian American students are high achievers. Some students may need assistance with learning tasks. To assume that Asian American students do not require learning assistance denies it to those who might require it or inhibits those who want to seek help. As teachers, we may be contributing unconsciously to these students' anxiety by assuming that they are high achievers.
8. Not all students - or Asian American students, in particular - share similar learning style preferences. The literature and this study suggests that instructors should use a variety of instructional approaches when teaching to accommodate a range of preferences and models of learning.
9. Asian American students may find it difficult to approach instructors outside of class, even if they require help. Instructors should make an effort to reach out to them by building rapport, increasing communication, and being flexible so that students do not perceive themselves as being academically deficient if they need to seek help.
10. Instructors should work toward learning more about the development and teaching of multicultural courses and curricula. An inclusive curriculum values the contributions of multiple voices and perspectives. Asian American students feel that the ethnicity and scholarship of their cultural heritage are often omitted from many class discussions and course-planning decisions."
Downloaded from the Tomorrow's Professor listserv, August 3, 2000. For more information, see their article, "An Exploratory Study of the Teaching Concerns of Asian American Students," in the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (1999), 10(1), pp.107-127. Copyright 2000, Miami University, reprinted with permission. TLC 9/00