Century Marks

Of two minds: Before Suzanne Scanlon began teaching at an English-language college in Turkey, she attended a workshop on cultural differences. When the workshop leader asked them to complete this phrase, “I am . . .” each of the Americans began by saying their name (“I am Suzanne”). The instructor replied that this is “a highly individualistic sense of identity. If you ask our students, they might say I am the son of so-and-so. I am the brother of so-and-so. This is one easy indicator of a very different way of being in the world.” Indeed, Scanlon discovered that students in her classes functioned more like a group. They would systematically share their grades with each other, apparently as a way of establishing a hierarchy. Then, the class would tend to rely on the student with the best grades.

 

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