By Kevin Casha
I soon got to realise that the Kuwaitis are not very strict with time. In fact, they are quite relaxed and seemed mystified at my panic and worries when we did not begin on scheduled time!
Finally, matters eventually got under way and I began trying to establish a working relationship with the participants. The class was mixed with most of the students being in the 20 to 30 age bracket, the majority of them quite good at English. For the few who did not know the English language, there was an interpreter. It took me a while to get used to the segregation of the male and female students, as well as to their initial shyness to ask questions, but, as time wore on and I got to know them better, I felt the bond between us was growing, and their shyness subsided.
The students were keen to learn, and I could actually gauge that the females were much more eager and wishful to practise and participate in the various workshops that I had programmed. After overcoming their initial shyness, I was bombarded with questions throughout the rest of the sessions. It was what I wanted, because if a tutor fails to establish a working relationship with his students, a course is bound to fail. Being friendly but firm, authoritative but approachable, entertaining as well as instructive, are all essential traits of gaining the trust and respect of one's students. The Kuwaitis wanted mainly hands-on training and practice and that was what I strove to give them.
It is definitely not easy to establish this, especially when different cultures combine, but from the way the participants reacted, combined with their outright enthusiasm and friendliness, I felt that, this time round, I did a fairly good job.
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