Cultural Variations Regarding Appropriate Personal Space

I have been extremely fortunate to spend my summer working with Professor Soonhyang Kim of Pace’s Graduate program for Education. Together we have worked to expand on a paper originally written by some of her graduate students. We have successfully revised and lengthened two major sections of the paper, and are currently working on our last two. I have found the entire process to be very educational, not only academically but also personally.

The findings of the paper, as well as the literature review, conclude that differences not only exist between various cultures in regard to personal space, but also between the genders of those cultures. The recognition of these distinctions is crucial in providing a positive learning environment for students of all cultures and genders.

As I started to research the importance of space in different cultures and ethnic groups, I began to wonder what some of the implications are on students when unique opinions regarding personal space are violated. This in particular has become a topic of interest to me, and is something I am learning more about each day, not only through researching on my own, but also the work of Professor Kim’s graduate students.

I feel that this project has helped me grow significantly, both as an academic and as a member of a team. This experience has opened my eyes to the delicate process that is working toward a communal goal. Learning to delegate and repeatedly fine-comb a project to express the thoughts and information found by many researchers is a difficult task. Additionally, having the end result reflect the voices of the individuals, while presenting a cohesive piece, is quite an accomplishment. While I see this as one of the challenges I faced, I also see it as a success.

This project, while at times trying, has only solidified my certainty that I am on the right path. I am more excited than ever to return to Pace University in just a few weeks and continue my studies, with the hope to continue similar research regarding bilingual and multicultural students. It is our intention to get the final paper reviewed by other members of the faculty and submit it for peer review by the end of August/beginning of September. We have also been accepted to present the paper at the NYS TESOL conference in mid-November.

I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for me, and appreciate this opportunity to push forward from Pace University.

Understanding Nonverbal Communication in Bilingual Situations

I feel very fortunate to have the amazing opportunity to conduct my research project with Professor Soonhyang Kim of Pace University’s School of Education. Though it has only been a short while, I have already learned a lot about the process of preparing a paper for publication, as well as practical research tips. These skills are not only useful in the present, but I foresee myself utilizing them in many of my future endeavors.

Professor Kim and I are working together to conduct non-verbal communication research titled “Use of Space and Avoiding Cultural Misunderstanding in the Diverse Classroom”, originally initiated by Professor Kim and some of her graduate students in a teacher education class in Spring 2012 as part of a collaborative research project. We are not only editing, but are also adding information and expanding the scope of the article to make it more comprehensive.

The purpose of this project is to look at the use of non-verbal communications (e.g. space, silence, touch, etc.) in intercultural communication and avoiding misinterpretation in the classroom. In an effort to create a learning environment which is cohesive to comprehension for everyone, such research works to bridge the gaps between students and their peers, as well as students and their instructors. This article could act as a basic guideline for teachers not familiar with teaching multicultural or multilingual students.

This paper investigates a previously unexplored component of teaching individuals of non-English or non-American backgrounds by looking at nonverbal influences; the intention of which is to promote the education of teachers on the needs of bilingual students. The information will be useful to instructors of these classes, and act as a reference for techniques proven to be beneficial.

As a Communication Sciences and Disorders major on a Teaching and Bilingual track, I have very high hopes for this research project. It not only directly applies to my career goals of working with children, but my Bilingual extension as well. Because of the increasing diversity of the United States, many children are entering school with English as their second language, or knowing a second language. I would like to help these children improve their production and comprehension of English, and would be better prepared and more specialized in doing so with bilingualism-related research experience in the field.

Understanding clients is pivotal in providing excellent care. It is necessary for me, as a student and eventual Speech Language Pathologist, to be able to cater instruction to each client. I look forward to the opportunity to be a better resource and asset in my career path. The more information acquired through research, the better prepared clinicians, teachers, and instructors are to render services.

Currently, I am using databases to collect information to include in our research paper. Other evidence incorporated in the paper thus far was conducted through interviews and surveys by Professor Kim and her graduate students. I hope to eventually be able to assemble my own data through observations and surveys or interviews.

I cannot wait to see where my research takes me, and I look forward to an educationally fruitful summer with my wonderful counterpart and advisor, Professor Kim. I cannot express enough my gratification to Dr. Carol Alpern, who connected me with Professor Kim and always provides encouragement, and Pace University for this wonderful opportunity.