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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12096
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 11:04 am    Post subject: Men and Women Reply with quote

I am a male. I teach in Saudi Arabia. Some innocent soul back on Planet Terra asked how I get on with my female colleagues.

This may seem strange but I have no female colleagues. In the K of SA men teach men and women teach women. Is that really so strange ? I have now come to see it as normal. Maybe I ned to go for a weirdo check.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12301
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 1:28 pm    Post subject: Your weirdo check bounced Reply with quote

Dear scot47,
It's not really so strange, especially if one grew up ( as I did ) in a " Catholic environment " at a time when parochial high schools, at least, tended to be " segregated by sex ". The Western world isn't so far removed from a time when there used to be much more " gender separation " - certain jobs were considered " unladylike " ( and, for that matter, still are, by some ) and for those of us who can remember those " Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver " days, most women then were not out in the work force, but " homemakers ". Go back a few hundred more years and Western society seems yet more like Saudi society today. Why, even in certain European countries nowadays ( parts of Greece, for example ), you can still see ladies that dress remarkably like Saudi women. But as for your getting a " weirdo check ", how would you ever go about doing that here in the Kingdom? I mean, who would be qualified to do the checking?
Regards,
John
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12096
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2003 5:12 pm    Post subject: weirdo check Reply with quote

For a weirdo check you have to leave Saudi Arabia and go and live in a normal place like San Francisco or Brighton for a year. If they pronounce you normal then you are indeed a weirdo.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15863
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:53 am    Post subject: how about the other gender... Reply with quote

Just thought you fellows might be interested in hearing what a woman thinks about this. Well, maybe not, but I'll tell you anyway. Smile Being of the baby boom/feminist generation, I remember well that when I entered college, there were only two possible jobs for women - teaching or nursing.

I went to the Middle East with all my preconceptions well in hand. (all mostly wrong, of course, but that is another story) My first years were taught in the countries with mixed classes, but then I ended up in the Emirates teaching all women.

I was amazed at the freedom in teaching a room full of women. Suddenly after spending the previous years trying to be so careful of crossing cultural lines I didn't understand, it was such fun to be able to discuss darn near anything. You guys have been in the Middle East long enough to know what I mean. I don't know if you have ever taught women in this part of the world, but I'm sure you can relate to the minefields that surround teaching the sex opposite of your own.

Not only could the class be more free-wheeling, but I always found it so much easier to put together a lesson that interested the majority of the students. You don't have 50% of the classroom rolling their eyes at a topic like women in management or the latest helicopter technology.

The years I spent there made me look at sexually segregated educational systems in a whole new light. And now this ex-hippie of the 60's thinks that the educational system (and students) in the US could benefit from segregated education. Interestingly, it is a concept that is growing in popularity now.

Personally, I have always been proud of being a weirdo.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12096
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 10:21 am    Post subject: segregation Reply with quote

I seem to remember reading reports of some research from the UK on secondary schools. Girls did better in a girl-only environment and boys did better in a mixed environment.

I am all for gender segregation but imagine the squeals from the politically enlightened !!
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Nomad Dan



Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 145
Location: Myanmar

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all.

I did my time in Saudi Arabia...AND I actually worked along side some of the most beautiful women I had ever known...20 something Saudis and daughters of Aramco VPs. They were Western educated unveiled and incredible women. That was reeeeeeally the exception to the rule, and I enjoyed the exception.

The Muttawah didn't like it, but they liked their jobs, so they could do nothing.

I now teach in Dallas. There are LOTS of problems in education here. They are considering segregated education and I am all for it. My 8 year old girls are totally developmentally different from my 8 year old boys. I can teach both, but it is better done with them seperated. "That is how we used to do it"...I reckon it was a good plan and we ought to do it again. I am also in favor of uniforms.

I also like being weird.

Nomad Dan
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12096
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 4:33 am    Post subject: Aramco in Saudi Arabia Reply with quote

Now Aramco - that is totally weird. An area of 100 square miles surrounded by Saudi Arabia. But in there it LOOKS like suburban America. Maybe a "gated community". The other day I met someone born there 40 years ago. Lived all his life here and does not speak a word of Arabic ! Wow !!!!
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nimra_ghalat



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was pleasantly surprised to see veiledsentiments' response reflect some of my own perceptions. I taught at an industrial plant in Saudi for several years and found the all-male (homosexual? monogendrous?) environment really liberating. I've also taught all-male classes in the States and it made teaching easier as well, freeing the students to say things they wouldn't in mixed company. Not all of this was 100% PC, but the relaxed environment was definitely conducive to language learning. I've just started a job in a mixed environment, and, frankly, it's kind of distracting.
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had experience teaching - seperately, of course - both Saudi women and men - until the muttawwain found out and put an end to it, that is.

I'm sorry to say it, but i"ve found that teaching boys is much easier than teaching girls here in KSA. I found the girls (by 'girls" I mean school leaver age) were much less mature than the boys - also, the girls tended to blow tiny incidents way out of proportion and some of them also had the nasty habit of going behind your back to your superiors and so on. I found that the boys were more 'on my level' if that makes any sense - the environment here just ensures that girls are so secluded and know so little of the world. I'm not blaming them for it.

That said, I've found my students of both genders here to be keen, respectful and with a great sense of humour. Not sure whether my experience is typical or not, but I've found teaching Saudi students to be fulfilling and fascinating.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12301
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 2:22 pm    Post subject: Teaching Saudi boys/men Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
I've never had the experience of teaching Saudi girls/women, so I can't comment on your opinions about them. However, I can back up, from my own experience, what you wrote about Saudi boys/men ( our students at the IPA range from about 18 up to the occasional geezer almost my age - 60 ). OK they haven't ALL been " keen " ( what classroom in the world has 100 % keen students? ), but in all my time here, I've found them to be almost all " respectful " and most of them do have a fine sense of humor ( I can tell - they laugh at my jokes ). Maybe I've just been lucky, but we're talking about literally thousands of students over 19 years. That would be quite a run of luck.
Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15863
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Cleo

I hadn't really thought about your comment before. I found both of the sexes to be rather immature, but perhaps that is an overly negative word. Better to say naive or over protected. It makes sense that the boys would be more mature in a society that allows them an amount of freedom that is not allowed to the women.

Having taught in a number of Arab Muslim countries, my impression is that the maturities reflected do seem to match the amount of freedom allowed. In Egypt, the women that I taught were quite free (in relative terms - this ain't California) and were as 'mature' as the boys in the same classes. When I taught only women in the Emirates in a more conserative city, the girls seemed almost like junior high girls in the US - very giddy and silly, but great fun.

Arab girls do tend to make scenes quite often. I think that it is an attention getting device in a culture where the family dotes on the boys so strongly. I always let the other girls deal with it and fortunately, we had a 'counseling' department that always effectively unruffled all feathers. Going behind our backs is another common cultural difference. We are taught to go through a series of steps to complain - they go right to the top - Minister of Higher Ed if their father knows him. Smile

Hey John - I read a study done by a Lebanese university of how Arab students rank their teachers. After knowledge of the subject, their number one requirement was that the teacher have a good sense of humor - especially the male students. And I do think that is why it was usually so much fun to teach them.

I found it all interesting, challenging, and fun. The dynamics between the sexes in mixed teaching is very interesting. How they develop ways to interact without breaking their cultural norms. I bet there are graduate students out there doing studies of this - if not, there should be.

VS
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12301
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:26 am    Post subject: Good-bye Mr. Chips Reply with quote

Dear veiledsentiments,
" Hey John - I read a study done by a Lebanese university of how Arab students rank their teachers. After knowledge of the subject, their number one requirement was that the teacher have a good sense of humor - especially the male students. "

Ah, that helps explain why I was so universally beloved by my students ( hmm, hope none of them visits Dave's ).
Regards,
John
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15863
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do think you are safe John. Any of the students online are certainly in chatrooms somewhere. Smile

VS
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