Sunday, 10 June 2012

Hot Topic: Stereotypes

Updated 3 November 2014

Stereotypes can run rampant when you live in another country. Check out the Lewis Model, which defines culture according to three categories. Richard Lews is a British linguist and his book, When Cultures Collide, has sold more than a million copies. Definitely worth a read if you're moving overseas.

At first you might defend the locals, but then you might find yourself stereotyping them as well. Don't forget that stereotypes work both ways. People might stereotype TEFL teachers as people who can't get a job back home and just who get paid to speak English.

Remember that you're a guest in a foreign country and as such people will stereotype people from your country the same way they perceive you. If they see many drunk American TEFL teachers, they'll think all Americans behave that way. Likewise, if they see Americans learning their language and taking an interest in their culture and customs, they'll think highly of Americans.

What do you think?
How are TEFL teachers perceived where you live?  Have you had any issues with stereotypes while abroad?

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