Six ways to teach culture effectively


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Six ways to teach culture effectively

  1. 1. Six Ways to Teach Culture Effectively Ann Wintergerst Joe McVeigh NYSTESOL Melville, NY October 28, 2011
  2. 2. Joe McVeigh Ann Wintergerst
  3. 3. 1. Have students articulate their own definition of culture
  4. 4. Have students articulate their own definitions of culture <ul><li>Definitions of culture </li></ul>
  5. 5. Have students articulate their own definition of culture <ul><li>Products, practices, and perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Artifacts, actions, and meanings (Moran, 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>A set of basic ideas, practices, and experiences that a group of people share </li></ul>
  6. 6. Have students articulate their own definition of culture <ul><li>The shared beliefs, norms, and attitudes that guide a group of people’s behavior and help explain their world (DeCapua & Wintergerst, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>“ A complex frame of reference that consists of patterns of traditions, beliefs, values, norms, symbols, and meanings that are shared to varying degrees by interacting members of a community” (Ting-Toomey, 1999) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Have students articulate their own definition of culture (3)
  8. 8. Have students articulate their own definition of culture <ul><li>Culture = an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the members of any given society. Culture refers to the total way of life of particular groups of people. It includes everything that a group of people thinks, says, does and makes—its systems of attitudes and feelings. Culture is learned and transmitted from generation to generation (Kohls, 1996) </li></ul>
  9. 9. 2. Explore the differences between spoken and written language
  10. 10. Explore the differences between spoken and written language <ul><li>Differences in spoken and written language </li></ul><ul><li>Cultures first relied on the spoken word </li></ul><ul><li>Invention of writing: new ways of thinking and communicating </li></ul>
  11. 11. Explore the differences between spoken and written language <ul><li>What are some characteristics of spoken English? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some characteristics of written English? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Activity 2 <ul><li>Oral and written English (handout p. 3) </li></ul>
  13. 13. (Kramsch, 1998) CONVERSATIONAL SPEECH EXPOSITORY WRITING <ul><li>transient, not permanent </li></ul><ul><li>permanent, can be retrieved </li></ul><ul><li>additive; items from prior turn-taking talk are attached; participants build on the utterances of others </li></ul><ul><li>hierarchically ordered and generally linear in nature </li></ul><ul><li>aggregative, uses formulaic expressions to maintain dealings between speakers </li></ul><ul><li>avoids formulaic expression, but promotes analysis </li></ul><ul><li>superfluous or wordy; vocabulary and ideas are repeated </li></ul><ul><li>avoids redundancy; too much repetition is not considered appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>grammatically loose </li></ul><ul><li>grammatically tightly structured </li></ul><ul><li>focus is on people; attempts to involve the listener </li></ul><ul><li>focus is on the topic </li></ul><ul><li>dependent on context </li></ul><ul><li>reduced and away from context </li></ul>
  14. 14. Features of spoken language <ul><li>Clustering </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced forms </li></ul><ul><li>Performance variables </li></ul><ul><li>Colloquial language </li></ul><ul><li>Rate of delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Stress, rhythm, and intonation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Brown, 2007) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Rhetorical patterns in writing across cultures (Kaplan, 1966)
  16. 16. Differences between spoken and written language <ul><li>Cultural thought patterns vary and persist in written text </li></ul><ul><li>Our writing students cannot tell what is appropriate in written English </li></ul><ul><li>Speech-like abbreviations used by students in sending text messages add to the difficulty </li></ul><ul><li>BICS & CALP (Cummins, 1979) </li></ul>
  17. 17. What the teacher can do <ul><li>Help students explore differences between spoken and written language: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elicit some of the differences from students themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make use of examples from text messages and from students’ own writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine different genres of speaking and writing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences to note </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spoken language is relatively informal, repetitive, and interactive. Speakers may take long pauses, talk over others, or interrupt each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Written language is relatively formal, more concise, and less repetitive </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Activity 2 <ul><li>Oral and written English (handout p. 2) </li></ul>
  19. 19. 3. Explore kinesics, movement, and gestures in non-verbal communication
  20. 20. Explore kinesics, movement, and gestures in non-verbal communication <ul><li>Kinesics – the study of body movement (Birdwhistell, 1970) </li></ul><ul><li>Variance of meaning of body language across cultures: East Asia, Middle East, Latin America </li></ul><ul><li>Use and quantity of gestures and facial expressions vary by culture </li></ul>
  21. 21. Explore kinesics, movement, and gestures in non-verbal communication <ul><li>Oculesics – eye behaviors including gaze, blinking, winking, glancing </li></ul><ul><li>Is eye contact desirable or not? What does it mean if someone makes eye contact or does NOT make eye contact? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Explore kinesics, movement, and gestures in non-verbal communication <ul><li>Multi-active vs. quiet group people (Lewis, 2000) </li></ul>BODY PART MULTI-ACTIVE QUIET-GROUP Eyes close eye contact staring, rude, avoid Arms / hands expressive, gesticulating insincere, overdramatic Walking style bouncy, swaggering neutral Feet stamping to show anger boredom, rudeness
  23. 23. Activity 3: How do you say . . .? <ul><li>Stand in a circle </li></ul><ul><li>You state action: students demonstrate without talking </li></ul><ul><li>“ How would you _________?” </li></ul><ul><li>Agree; answer “yes”; disagree; answer “no”; show uncertainty; point to self: ask someone to come here; indicate that someone is crazy. </li></ul><ul><li>Debrief – show appropriate gesture in target culture </li></ul>
  24. 24. 4. Recognize the causes and stages of culture shock
  25. 25. Recognize the causes and stages of culture shock <ul><li>Cultures share some basic cultural concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Other concepts are seen as irrational or even contradictory </li></ul><ul><li>Basic cultural concepts help students interact successfully and diminish culture shock </li></ul><ul><li>Assimilation —when the new culture and its beliefs and values replace the original culture </li></ul><ul><li>Acculturation — adapting to a new culture while not giving up one’s existing cultural identity </li></ul>
  26. 26. Four stages of acculturation <ul><li>the honeymoon stage - excitement & euphoria </li></ul><ul><li>the aggressive stage or culture shock – distress, unhappiness </li></ul><ul><li>the adjustment stage - gradual adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>- the recovery stage – new culture accepted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Oberg,1960) </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Causes of culture shock <ul><li>the loss of familiar cues </li></ul><ul><li>the breakdown of interpersonal communication </li></ul><ul><li>an identity crisis exaggerated by cultural differences </li></ul><ul><li>(Weaver, 1993) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Culture shock <ul><li>Graphic visualizations to depict the stages of culture shock: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The U curve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The W curve </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intensity and length of symptoms vary from person to person </li></ul><ul><li>Culture shock is the norm for anyone learning a second language in a second culture (H. D. Brown,1999) </li></ul>
  29. 29. What the teacher can do <ul><li>Assure students that culture shock is a normal part of the acculturation process. Let students know that others experience the same thing. </li></ul><ul><li>Help students reflect on situations that have led them to experience culture shock. </li></ul><ul><li>Share the teacher’s own experiences in encountering a new culture. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Activity 4: Stages of culture shock <ul><li>Steps: </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the basic concepts of cultural adjustment with your class. </li></ul><ul><li>Draw a diagram to represent culture shock and explain it. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain that with time people move through the stages of cultural adjustment. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask the class to think about their experiences in a new culture. Have them write down a few notes about their ideas and share them with others. </li></ul><ul><li>An important goal of this activity is to reassure students that culture shock is normal. </li></ul>
  31. 31. 5. Counter the effects of culture shock
  32. 32. Counter the effects of culture shock <ul><li>Understand the process of adjustment </li></ul><ul><li>Develop coping strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Learn something new </li></ul><ul><li>Have realistic expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Develop skills to facilitate understanding, communication & adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>(Weaver, 1993) </li></ul>
  33. 33. Counter the effects of culture shock <ul><li>An active and reflective approach to create a positive experience </li></ul><ul><li>Things I can do on my own </li></ul><ul><li>Things I can do with other people </li></ul><ul><li>Things I can remind myself of </li></ul><ul><li>Things I have already done here </li></ul><ul><li>Ways I can improve my language skills </li></ul><ul><li>(Storti & Bennhold-Saaman, 1997) </li></ul>
  34. 34. Counter the effects of culture shock <ul><li>Get to know the host country </li></ul><ul><li>History, factual information </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural “dos and don’ts” </li></ul><ul><li>Sympathetic compatriot </li></ul><ul><li>Know how to meet basic logistical needs </li></ul><ul><li>Explore the landscape </li></ul><ul><li>(Kohls, 1996) </li></ul>
  35. 35. Activity 5: Coping with culture shock <ul><li>Present basic information about culture shock explaining causes and symptoms </li></ul><ul><li>List the broad categories: of things that can be done alone, with others, reminders, things already done, and ways to develop language skills </li></ul><ul><li>Put students in small groups. Have them brainstorm 2-3 ideas in each category </li></ul><ul><li>Have groups share ideas with the class </li></ul><ul><li>Have you (or a student) write up the ideas and distribute them to the class later </li></ul>
  36. 36. 6. Identify cultures as either individualistic or collectivistic
  37. 37. Individualistic / Collectivistic <ul><li>Cultural identity deals with the nature of the culture in which we find our identity </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism - primary importance is placed on the individual </li></ul><ul><li>Collectivism - the well-being of the group takes priority </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for students and teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship between the individual and the group at the heart of identity (Hofstede , et al ., 2002) </li></ul>
  38. 38. Individualism-collectivism index <ul><li>(Hofstede et al. , 2002) </li></ul>Highly Individualistic  ----------------------  Highly Cultures Collectivistic Cultures Individuals take care of themselves and their immediate family first. The autonomy of the individual and the self are most important. Characteristics Individuals work for the good of the group and suppress their identity for the benefit of the group. The needs of the group come before the needs of the individual. United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Italy Example cultures Guatemala, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Pakistán, Indonesia, and Costa Rica
  39. 39. Predictors of individualism-collectivism <ul><li>Economic development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wealthy cultures tend to be individualistic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor cultures tend to be collectivistic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Climate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures in colder climates tend to be individualistic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultures in warmer climates tend to be collectivistic </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Effects on student learning <ul><li>learning style preferences - (Ehrman & Oxford, 1990) </li></ul><ul><li>English speakers rated individual learning highest; ESL students did not (Reid, 1987) </li></ul><ul><li>American students studying a foreign language preferred individual work; ESL counterparts preferred group work (Wintergerst, et al., 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Russian ESL/EFL students and Asian (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) ESL students preferred group work over individual work (Wintergerst, et al ., 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese learning is characterized by cooperation (Nelson, 1995) </li></ul>
  41. 41. What the teacher can do <ul><li>Ask students to think about their own culture and identify their cultural characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Bring in readings illustrative of individualism and collectivism, such as short stories or articles </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced students can be referred to page 125 of Lustig and Koester’s Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures, which gives 69 country ratings on the individualism-collectivism dimension adapted from Hofstede </li></ul>
  42. 42. Activity 6: Alone or with others? <ul><li>Steps </li></ul><ul><li>Present the concept of individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Draw a continuum showing the characteristics of each type of culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Write the students' home countries on the board. Ask students if they think their own culture is more individualistic or more collectivistic. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask students to think of examples of phrases, expressions, situations, or proverbs that illustrate either the collectivistic or individualistic nature of their culture. Write examples on the board: The nail that stands up will be hammered down. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. All for one and one for all. </li></ul><ul><li>To finish the activity, have volunteers share their ideas with the class. </li></ul>
  43. 43. Examples <ul><li>Strongly Individualistic United States </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhat Individualistic Switzerland </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Japan, Russia </li></ul><ul><li>Somewhat Collectivistic China </li></ul><ul><li>Strongly Collectivistic Guatemala </li></ul>
  44. 44. Individualistic or collectivistic? <ul><li>Guess where these countries fall on the chart: </li></ul><ul><li>Two are neutral, two are strongly collectivistic, two are strongly individualistic </li></ul><ul><li>Indonesia, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Pakistan, New Zealand </li></ul>
  45. 45. Answers <ul><li>Strongly Individualistic: New Zealand, Netherlands </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral Spain, Turkey </li></ul><ul><li>Strongly Collectivistic Indonesia, Pakistan </li></ul>
  46. 46. Questions
  47. 47. Check out our book at the Pearson booth or online !
  48. 48. Photo Credits <ul><li>Photos from flickr used under a Creative Commons Attribution license </li></ul><ul><li>Greek cathedral Wolfgang Staudt </li></ul><ul><li>Woman gesturing David Goehring </li></ul><ul><li>Man by the sea Jason Francisco </li></ul><ul><li>Sad teenager Jason Rogers </li></ul><ul><li>Jumping people Elvire R </li></ul><ul><li>Question mark Ethan Lofton </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you flower Joanne Q. Escober </li></ul>
  49. 49. Thank you Thank you ! Download copies of the handout and PowerPoint slides at