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Cultural Issues

Even though people from diverse cultures are valued in the educational environment, a lack of understanding of cultural or social norms can result in misunderstandings concerning issues of academic integrity. This situation can occur during interactions between instructors and students from different cultures, as well as during interactions between students from different cultures.

Cultural misunderstanding

Differing cultural perceptions of eye contact, body language and gestures, personal space, tone of conversation, acceptance of authority, assumptions about gender roles, and other issues can result in misunderstandings between instructors and students from different cultures.

Citation of sources

Different cultures and educational systems vary in their approaches to intellectual property, use and citation of references, and plagiarism. The use of materials from other sources without proper citation is considered plagiarism in the U.S. It is your responsibility to understand the guidelines for proper citation and use of materials from other sources.

Check Your Understanding

What is one example of a misunderstanding between an instructor and students from diverse cultures?

If a student, due to his/her cultural background, does not make eye contact with the instructor when asked about an assignment, an instructor unfamiliar with the student's cultural norms can misconstrue the student's mannerism to be indicative of cheating.

Responsibilities of parties

Both the instructor and student are responsible for making an effort to understand each other, to communicate effectively, and to address cultural differences so that perceptions of academic dishonesty can be avoided. It is in your best interest to be aware of any potential misunderstandings due to cultural differences and explain them up front to your instructor.

Importance of communication

Interactions between students from different backgrounds can lead to misunderstandings and perceptions of academic dishonesty due to their unfamiliarity with each other's cultural and social norms. Establishing good communication and discussing cultural issues is important when you interact with other students in coursework and other activities.