Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students don’t seek help when they need it.

Students’ cultures shape their help-seeking behavior.

Students from different cultures may not approach you or university support offices when experiencing difficulty for a variety of reasons. Some may fear losing face with the professor or being shamed in front of other students, some may associate asking for help with weakness, and yet others from gender segregated cultures may be uncomfortable interacting with persons of the opposite sex. Because of these cultural variations, conventional responses may not work; for example, sending an e-mail to request a meeting or writing “see me” on a returned assignment might not be enough to get students into your office. Culture-specific strategies for getting students to seek help do exist, although you need to first determine that culture really is playing a role.


Educate yourself by reading Cultural Variations.

Cultural Variations (pdf) may help you to determine if culture is playing a role. It was created by the Eberly Center and the Intercultural Communication Center to raise awareness about the types of challenges international students face; provide examples of the kinds of issues that may affect students in your courses; and offer suggestions based on strategies members of our own faculty have successfully employed.

Seek help from the Intercultural Communication Center or
the Eberly Center.

If you have a group of students or an individual student who is underperforming, not attending class, etc., and not seeking help as far as you know, you may want to consult with the Eberly Center or the Intercultural Communication Center to determine if culture is playing a role. If it is, they can help you to customize a solution.

This site supplements our 1-on-1 teaching consultations.
CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!