今天我在“EDPC5003 Teaching, Learning and the Interne”这门课的专题 板上与Christopher Waterman讨论关于在网络教学中对文化差异现象的处理。Chris是悉尼本地一所中学的老师，也是我的硕士同学。他说他在全球多个地方当过老师，他 的感受是，虽然理论上我们讨论了很多文化差异的论题，但是在实践中，没有哪个老师真的会认真地去考虑这个问题。他的原话是：
Good ideas, but I’ve never met any one who would have the capcity to do this. I have taught all over the world, covering much of Asia and I have found very few people who are good at their topic who also have capacity to consider cultural differences on the fly.
I think the idea is good, but I’d happilly debate with you the validity and efficacy of this.
In terms of those two elements that I mentioned in Task 1, the following treatments are supposed to be provided:
* Create opportunity for all students from different cutural background to know each other so that they would have the psychological preparation for anything confusing caused by their difference in the following period during the course.
* Discover and define the opportunity and challenge from the diversity of the learners’ cultural background.
* Then ultilize the opportunity for peer collaborative learning, discussion, knowledge share, etc. and find some strategies to deal with the challenge such as misunderstanding, conflict, lack of required prior knowledge, etc..
* Classify the students according to their expectation of cultural adaptation and assimilation indicated from their personal introduction, discussion, profile, etc.
* Then design the activities to meet their expectations appropriately.
实际上我并不同意他的观点，我用了英文中我觉得很好用的一个表达——actual和virtual的区别。在中文的解释中，virtual既有“虚拟的” 的意思，又有“本质上”的意思，关键看上下文来判断。而actual也是“事实上”的意思，从中文上看差别不大。但是如果如果给大家看一句话大家可能就明 白了——“男人实际上（actually）控制了世界，但女人控制了男人，所以女人本质上（virtually）控制了世界。”我的主要观点是，也许事实 上教师在做出一种教育行为的时候，并没有特意地去思考他们以前学过或者了解过的各种各样的教育理论的应用，但是，随着教师教学经验的不断丰富，他们本质上 是在遵循哪些理论来教学的，很多时候这种“遵循”和“应用”是在不经意中发生的。有些人可能觉得理论不重要，觉得实践中用不上，但是真正的应用，应该是自 然而然的。有丰富经验的教师会应用得更好，没有经验的教师如果能够吸取更多的间接经验，也会在潜移默化的应用到实践中。
Actually many teachers don’t think they have considered cultural differences, but since they have had enough experience of teaching students from different cultures, virtually they deal with this issue more and more skillfully, which sometimes they even don’t recoginize.
A new online instructor may feel frustrated when some Chinese perticipants change their own names into an English name while an experienced instructor may forwardly ask those who from different cultures for their preferred names.
An experienced instructor may notice some students would like to know more about another culture and intend to make groups with those who from another cultures, such as those Chinese have an English name. In this case, the instructor may nominate these students in light of their preference for more effective outcomes.
Due to some historic reasons, some Chinese may still feel not comfortable when they are in a group with Japanese. Afghanistani and Iraqi may experience the similar situation with American in the following decades. An experienced instructor may notice all these students’ attitudes through the words that they say, and treat them appropriately.
Due to some political reasons, if the class have the students from China mainland and Taiwan, an experienced instructor may say "please introduce yourself and say something of the regions that you come from" rather than "please introduce yourself and say something of the countries that you come from" in order to avoid any embarrassment in case the students of Taiwan emphasize that they come from Taiwan or Republic of China, instead of Taiwan Province of the People Republic of China.
In all these situations above, the experienced instructor may not consider any cross cultural differences seriously. However their experiences drive them to deal with these issues more and more approriately. This indicates the difference between actual and virtual situation.
我在上面举了几个例子，一些向全球开放的网络课程会有来自不同国家和地区的学生。有些中国的学生会让其他人叫他们的英文名，而不是中文名。那么新手有可能 对这种现象感到很奇怪，但是有经验的网络教师，可能会主动问学生喜欢别人怎么称呼他们。在分组协作学习的时候，由于一些历史上的原因，有一些中国的学生也 许不太喜欢跟日本学生一组，阿富汗和伊拉克的学生也许不喜欢跟美国学生一组，但这个猜想也不一定完全成立。那么，有经验的教师，可以从每个学生的言谈中洞 察他们的态度，从而做出恰当的处理。由于一些政治上的原因，如果同时有来自中国大陆和台湾的学生，那么有经验的教师让学生作自我介绍的时候，就会让学生讲 讲他们来自哪个地区和以往的经历，而不是让学生讲讲他们来自哪个国家，这样可以避免出现尴尬以及引起与课程学习无关的争论。从以上的这些例子来看，国际网 络课程教师也许事实上(actually）没有非常认真地考虑跨文化的问题，但是他们的经验（包括直接经验和间接经验）会促使他们本质上 （virtually）越来越恰当地处理那些问题。