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【Excellent Foreign Teacher】David Andrews: Cultivating Cross-cultural Communication Towards the International Stage

Time:March 6, 2022  Author:Liu Dan  Editor:Kyle Muntz,Wang Mengyu  Source:From the GDUFS news website   Photo:From the GDUFS news website

North Campus, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, March 6th, 2022: To enhance overseas teachers’ sense of honor and responsibility to participate in teaching, scientific research, social service and other work, fully arouse the enthusiasm and creativity to participate in the international construction of GDUFS, and create a working atmosphere of love and dedication, striving for progress and excellence, GDUFS held its annual election of “Outstanding Overseas Teachers” awards. Alison Mullins and other teachers from the International Collage Center for Foreign Language Training were awarded the title of “Outstanding Overseas Teacher in 2020-2021”. They have consistently showed an exotic style on the lectern, and built a cultural bridge through their charismatic work. GDUFS specially planned its report on "Outstanding Overseas Teachers", and interviewed the overseas teachers and teachers from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan who have won that title. It was an opportunity to listen to their experience of learning and living at GDUFS. This shows the persistence and dedication of overseas teachers who devote themselves to educating and spreading culture.

David Andrews, a foreign teacher from the Faculty of International Business English, enjoys great popularity among students. David Andrews always regards the benefit of his students as the first priority when designing teaching models. It is his prominent qualities of responsibility, dedication and conscientiousness that contribute to the deeply rooted friendship he has developed with students. David Andrews also played a significant role in the project approval of Academic Translation of National Social Science in 2021.

David Andrews with students

Understanding and respecting cultural divergence come first when it comes to cross-cultural communication

“When I just reached China for the first time, suddenly everything I was ever accustomed to appeared to be greatly distinct. I was consistently making efforts to get acquainted with this new culture.” David shared feelings of his first arrival in China with a smile. In his third year working in China, as a teacher of the subject of cross-cultural communication, David stated his distinctive views with us. “We should adopt a new mindset derived from being in others’ shoes when communicating with different cultural backgrounds, and strive for mutual understanding in case something might be offensive.” He further explained that respecting and understanding cultural divergence came first when it came to cross-cultural communication.

Make sure every student effectively attends class and gains something

In teaching, David plays a role as a careful gardener, fostering the blossom of his many students. One of the biggest differences between American and Chinese college classes lies in the number of students. It brings David who is accustomed to the American teaching model a wholly new teaching experience. “Distinct from the American teaching model, I would organize teaching arrangements before lecturing, to make sure every student effectively attends class and gains something.” The range of grades David participates in lecturing is a wide gap. To deal with this, David carefully makes adjustments to his teaching methods according to the students’ level from their different grades. “At classes given to students from junior grades, I would slow down my speaking speed and minimize the use of idioms, to make sure the class understands. While faced with senior students I adopt a normal speaking speed to give lectures, assisting students in imitating the pronunciation and tone.” In addition, David takes charge of supervising five undergraduates’ graduation thesis. During this process, he pays attention to conducting active conversations with students and time management. In his view, Chinese students tend to be diligent and corporative with teachers, which has many benefits.

All gains in China are completely new

Before his path led to China, David did not know much about the country, and of course everything appeared strange to him when he had just arrived. “Everything in China was completely new. I knew I would be a new person when I returned.” It easily came to the interviewer’s sight that David was brimming with expectation and pride as he spoke. David took the position as a proofreading editor of English-Chinese translation in the project Academic Translation of National Social Science in 2021. “Translation tightly relates to cultural backgrounds, which offers supportive backbone for mutual understanding between cultures.” David took an active part in the translation project after he had an idea of it at GDUFS. He is willing to devote himself to voicing out the values of GDUFS as a foreign teacher and telling the world the objective version of China in his eyes.