Cultural Mismatches in the Multicultural Science Classroom

  • Rajendra Joshi Kathmandu University, Nepal.
  • Maame Adwoa Brantuo University of Windsor, Canada.
  • Elizabeth Schutt University of Tulsa, USA.
  • Herb Fynewever Calvin University, USA.
Keywords: multicultural, attribution error, pedagogy


The student body in university science classrooms is increasingly diverse demographically (NCES, 1995; 2015); and this change brings with it an increased chance of mismatch between professor’s expectations and students’ behaviors. Being aware of how cultural expectations influence teaching and learning is the first step in understanding and overcoming these mismatches in order to help all students succeed. Drawing from published research as well as interview and survey data, we highlight ways for professors to create an atmosphere of belonging (Walton & Cohen, 2011) and an appreciation of people from all cultures (Museus et al., 2017).


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Author Biographies

Rajendra Joshi, Kathmandu University, Nepal.

Rajendra Joshi, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Science and Engineering, Kathmandu University, Nepal. His research interests include organic synthesis, targeted drug delivery, molecular imaging, wastewater treatment, and teaching methodologies. His research has been funded by government agencies and corporations. Email:

Maame Adwoa Brantuo, University of Windsor, Canada.

Maame Adwoa Brantuo, B.S., is a graduate student in psychology at the University of Windsor, Canada. Her research interests are in cross-cultural neuropsychology, performance validity testing, and traumatic brain injury. Email:

Elizabeth Schutt, University of Tulsa, USA.

Elizabeth Schutt, B.S., B.A., is a graduate student in psychology at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Her research interests include team interactions, diversity from an intersectional perspective, and cross-cultural research. Email:

Herb Fynewever, Calvin University, USA.

Herb Fynewever, Ph.D., is a Professor at Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. His research interests include science education, with a focus on the role that culture plays in how science is taught. Email: