AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013                                                                    Pp.193-203

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 Guidelines for Culturally Competent ESL Teachers

 Gina Zanolini Morrison
Wilkes University, USA

The typical ESL classroom is a dynamic place full of energy, exploration, and experimentation. Teaching ESL is an exciting and rewarding career, mostly because of the students themselves, who bring a wealth of knowledge to the learning environment. Managing the cross-cultural interactions can be a challenge for the teacher, however, who may become overwhelmed by having to cope with the various cultural behaviors and values contained in one classroom.  A few practical guidelines can help guide teachers through the process of developing rapport with all ESL students by avoiding cross-cultural mistakes. This list of fifteen Dos and Don’ts, developed by an ESL teacher and teacher-trainer over many years in the United States, is appropriate for use by pre-service teachers, teachers in the field, educational policy-makers, and administrators who serve second language learners.

Keywords:  Cultural competence, ESL teacher training, ESOL, TESOL, English as a Second Language


Dr. Gina Zanolini Morrison is an Associate Professor of Education at Wilkes University,
Pennsylvania, United States, where she prepares future teachers for the diversity of American
and global classrooms. A certified teacher, she has published several journal articles on cultural
identity development within multicultural contexts and has presented at international conferences
in the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and India. Dr. Morrison has traveled
extensively throughout Southeast Asia and continues to conduct cross-cultural research with
other educators from that region.