Unfortunately I had to miss class 6. I was up at a career fair at UMD with fifty of our best and brightest grad students who are trying to find a job in this economy, ugh…
I am sorry to have missed this class especially because I find the topic of race micro-agression and other similar issues very relevant and interesting.
I definitely feel there is a subconscious or maybe sometimes not so subconscious bias based on ethnic background in the classroom. The blend of different backgrounds and cultures also leads to an interesting mix of beliefs and values.
Asian students are generally thought to have better quantitative skills than many other ethnic groups. This is due to the fact that their undergraduate or secondary school curriculum heavily emphasized math and science. This does vary by region in Asia, however, and may put a student who does not have that particular background in a situation where they are held to a higher standard.
Beliefs and values play a large role on the perception of both the student and the teacher in terms of expectation. Different cultures have varied views on showing respect, assisting fellow students in studies, feelings of women in roles of authority, etc. This can affect the learning process as it sets a tone for the learning environment.
Initially I was not very engaged with our international student population because I felt a bit intimidated. But as I got to know students from different backgrounds I have come to appreciate them and feel having them in our classrooms adds real value.