Teaching The Culture In Language Through Film handout Linda Marion

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Teaching The Culture In Language Through Film handout from Linda Marion's presentation at AFMLTA conference in Sydney 2009

Teaching The Culture In Language Through Film handout from Linda Marion's presentation at AFMLTA conference in Sydney 2009

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  • 1. Teaching the Culture in Language
    through Film
    “Culture is embedded in language as an intangible, all-pervasive and highly variable force. How are we to capture it and teach it?”
    (Crozet and Liddicoat, 1999)
    When we use the word " culture" in its anthropological sense, we mean to say that culture is any of the customs, worldview, language, kinship system, social organisation, and other taken-for-granted day-to-day practices of a people which set that group apart as a distinctive group. By using the anthropological sense of the world " culture," we mean to consider any aspect of the ideas, communications, or behaviour of a group of people which gives to them a distinctive identity and which is used to organise their internal sense of cohesion and membership.
    Scollon & Wong Scollon (1995)
    Language and Culture
    Culture
    Culture is a nebulous notion and there is no single, complete definition of it, but all propose an ineradicable connection between a society’s culture and its language. One of the best known and most useful for the field of language education is Halliday’s (1978) model presented below. The key proposition it makes is that culture is what gives meaning to language.
    Culture and Language
    Halliday establishes this proposition by showing an inter-dependent relationship between language and culture, describing language as a semiotic expression of culture (social reality) working to express meaning by means of text within a context.
    CULTURECONTEXT OF SITUATIONLANGUAGE SYSTEMTEXT
    Table SEQ Table * ARABIC 1 Halliday’s language and culture diagram, Fairclough, (1995)
    A text is any piece of spoken or written language that is used to communicate and may take many forms, from a conversation, a For Sale notice or a poem or a film. Texts use a language system in a temporal and localised context of situation to generate meaning. This meaning derives from and is integral to Culture as well as from the language of the text.
    Teaching Language and Culture
    The Australian high school language teacher needs to understand that language interacts and expresses culture. To integrate the teaching of C2 along with L2, requires the language teacher to also know the complex web of beliefs and values embedded in the language, as they are practised differently from the broad Australian culture. This can be approached by a careful examination of:
    • Beliefs and values, as they have derived from historical, economic, philosophical and religious foundations
    • 2. Social structures and relationships as they reflect the elements of ideology; socialisation/member identity; forms of discourse; and face systems
    • 3. Basic practices and institutions of society, like education, health care, family structures and so on.
    • 4.
    • 5. Beliefs and Values
    Chinese culture has been shaped by three major schools of philosophical thought, Daoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, as well as other spiritual beliefs like ancestor worship, whose influence persists in the 21st century as part of the core culture which underpins Chinese daily life.
    • Social structures and relationships
    Chinese is a high context language which emphasises context (social roles or positions), and uses indirect verbal modes to communicate messages, typified by self- effacing talk and nonverbal subtleties like pauses, silences and changes in tone of voice. The receiver takes on the responsibility to infer hidden or contextual meanings of the message. ADDIN EN.CITE Ting-Toomey199974174Ting-Toomey1999Communicating across culturesNew YorkThe Guildford Press(Ting-Toomey 1999) Successful communication requires an extensive knowledge of Chinese culturally and contextually determined strategies. Chinese language and society, like all others, has evolved along its own unique socio-linguistic and cultural path.
    Chinese and Australian Cultural differences. ADDIN EN.CITE Ting-Toomey199974174Ting-Toomey1999Communicating across culturesNew YorkThe Guildford PressHall197676176Hall1976Beyond Culture(Hall 1976; Ting-Toomey 1999; Bond, 1991; ADDIN EN.CITE Scollon2001111Scollon, Ron. Wong Scollon, Suzanne.2001Intercultural CommunicationMalden, Massachusettsblackwell316second0-631-22418-119951995,1996,1997,1999,2000306.44 SCOLculture,Scollon 2001)
    ChineseAustralianHigh Context: indirect verbal mode of communication, self-effacing talk, non-verbal subtleties; listener responsible to infer implicit meanings. Low Context: direct verbal mode-straight talk, self-enhancement, non-verbal immediacy and speaker responsible to construct clear messagesPolychronic Time: emphasises involvement of people, simultaneous activity, completion of transactions overrides schedulesMonochronic Time: emphasises schedules, segmentation, and punctuality.Collectivist: resources allocated according to need. Externally imposed roles & obligations of group members, desire for group harmony and consensus, centrality of kinship, self is closely integrated within the family Individualist: resources allocated according to fairness. Internal personal principles & convictions, fluid group relations, self realisation, conflict and competition acceptable, self exists outside the confines of the family. Hierarchical: Confucian five cardinal ‘unequal’ relationships Egalitarian: ‘All men are created equal’, Judeo Christian ethics Ontology: Confucian & BuddhistOntology: Judeo Christian
    It thus goes without saying that Chinese and Western societies are different across several axes, as compiled in the table above
    • Basic practices and institutions of society
    The traditional Chinese role of teacher
    The Chinese model of teacher embraces both educational responsibilities and a wider type of in loco parentis. There is a great sense of responsibility for students’ welfare and development, even to the extent that a teacher is like a second parent. Great respect and esteem is afforded teachers in Chinese society. In China the expression 教书育人, jiaoshu yuren, signifies the scope of a teacher’s role. jiaoshu means teaching or teacher of book knowledge, yuren expresses the raising or bringing up aspect of the teacher’s role. ADDIN EN.CITE Hu199111111Hu, Wen-Chung, Grove1991Encountering the ChineseYarmouth, Maine, USAIntercultural Press, Inc.(Hu 1991)
    The teacher also has a duty to prepare the student to be “a socially aware and responsible member of the community and a citizen of the nation” ( ADDIN EN.CITE Hu199111111Hu, Wen-Chung, Grove1991Encountering the ChineseYarmouth, Maine, USAIntercultural Press, Inc.Hu 1991 p79). Hu relates the amusing reflections of a university student studying in China about his Chinese teacher:
    She had advice for me concerning my family and friends, my diet, my clothing, my study and exercise habits and my attitude toward life.
    As well as the caring role, a teacher has the responsibility to impart the fundamentals of knowledge. This is done in a strict and serious manner within the clearly defined relational boundaries established by tradition. The sequence of learning is memorization understanding and application. Until recently, questioning and analyzing have not been seen as important links in the chain. Effort rather than brains is the secret to successful learning in the Chinese classroom, (Pratt, Kelly and Wong, 1998)
    A Language and Culture Analysis Rubric for Film Texts
    • TEXTCONTEXTVerbal & Visual Language:An analysis of the objectDescription & Interpretation of the film text, including dialogue, paralinguistic semiotics and filmic language. Key linguistic features, structure of text, cohesion.The Processes of production & receptionA Processing analysisExplanation & Interpretation of content, roles and relationships of speakers and listeners, intended audience, and discourse typeThe Conditions of production reception:A Social AnalysisExplanation of the Situational, Institutional & Societal ‘Member Resources’, including socio-historical knowledge, and ‘natural’ assumptions.How does the overall construction of the text – logical reasoning, sequencing, visual selection and organisation, interaction patterns contribute to this representation?What is going on (content) Who is involved? (subjects) What relations exist between them (relations)? What is language dong? What is the discourse type?What are the common sense assumptions that underlie this text? What is taken for granted? What is presented as natural?
    • 6. TEXTCONTEXTVerbal & Visual Language:An analysis of the objectDescription & Interpretation of the film text, including dialogue, paralinguistic semiotics and filmic language. Key linguistic features, structure of text, cohesion.The Processes of production & receptionA Processing analysisExplanation & Interpretation of content, roles and relationships of speakers and listeners, intended audience, and discourse typeThe Conditions of production reception:A Social AnalysisExplanation of the Situational, Institutional & Societal ‘Member Resources’, including socio-historical knowledge, and ‘natural’ assumptions.Are there any internal contradictions?Who is the ideal reader of this text? How do the assumptions about what the reader knows and values enable us to work out who the ideal reader is? What do intertextual references tell us about the ideal reader?How is this discourse positioned or positioning in relation to reproducing or changing social practice? Does it work to sustain or transform existing relations of power?TEXTCONTEXTVerbal & Visual Language:An analysis of the objectDescription & Interpretation of the film text, including dialogue, paralinguistic semiotics and filmic language. Key linguistic features, structure of text, cohesion.The Processes of production & receptionA Processing analysisExplanation & Interpretation of content, roles and relationships of speakers and listeners, intended audience, and discourse typeThe Conditions of production reception:A Social AnalysisExplanation of the Situational, Institutional & Societal ‘Member Resources’, including socio-historical knowledge, and ‘natural’ assumptions.How is language used to construct a representation of the world?How do key linguistic features work to position the reader/listeners? Do they all pull in the same direction? Is there a pattern?Who is speaking to whom? When? Where? On what occasion?What relations exist between the speaker/writer and the listener/hearer?What is the socio-historical context?What power relations, social, institutional, situational shape this discourse?
    A Critical Discourse Analysis of Scenes from Not One Less
    Scene 1, Cut 5 Teacher Gao explains the daily routineSynopsisTeacher Gao gives Wei Minzhi a series of intense instructions, a sort of ‘professional development’ session about day to day housekeeping matters and how to teach the 28 primary school students left in his schoolText AnalysisKey linguistic structures & features: = 1 * roman i) Instructions: Teacher Gao tells Weiminzhi when the sunlight reaches the nail on the pole in the classroom, it is time to go home. Teacher Gao’s face and voice reveal the extent to which he is worried about leaving the children. = 2 * roman ii) Questions and answers: 那 如 果 要 是 没 有 太 阳 呢 ? When Wei Mingzhi asks a question about what happens on days when there is no sun, Teacher Gao instructs her to send them home a bit earlier. = 3 * roman iii) Questions and answers: 那 如 果 要 是 学 生 提 前 抄 完 呢 ? Repeating the pattern那 如 果 要 是, emphasises Wei Minzhi’s attempt to engage in a productive conversation with the teacher. = 4 * roman iv) Questions and answers: Finishing class work early: Wei Minzhi asks what students can do once they have finished copying the text. Teacher Gao answers they should go out to play and she should not let them fight. = 5 * roman v) Questions and answers: Extension work: After they have finished the work, students can copy the text out again. = 6 * roman vi) Teacher Gao’s frown and gestures: to a western audience this might indicate annoyance or anger, but there is no intended suggestion here that the teacher is being unreasonable to Wei Minzhi. His tone of voice and manner expresses proper moral serious concern about leaving his students, which overrides all other considerations in this exchange. = 7 * roman vii) Wei Minzhi is observing the politeness rules about eye contact and giving face to Teacher Gao by listening attentively. Film Language: = 1 * roman i) The Chinese audience would be both shocked and amused by this travesty of impoverished educational conditions being revealed by the camera with such intense and touching realism. = 2 * roman ii) The actors, although playing parts, have themselves first hand experience of such conditions and there is a convincing natural and matter of fact quality to the dialogue enhanced by the close-up shots showing the teacher’s concerned expressions and Wei Minzhi’s animated responses.
    Context, Processing AnalysisRoles & Relationships = 1 * roman i) Teacher Gao maintains an intense, formal distance as he systematically explains the daily routines. = 2 * roman ii) Wei Minzhi relaxes a little in the familiar environment of listening to the teacher and is even bold enough to ask some pertinent questions.Discourse = 1 * roman i) Each question that Wei Minzhi asks is answered with seriousness and at times a sense of hopelessness. This is a teacher/student discourse of instruction in which he repeatedly asks her if she is listening, 听见没有? (tingjian meiyou) = 2 * roman ii) This solemn discourse is dominated and driven by Teacher Gao’s problem. It is not his intention or role to make Wei Minzhi feel comfortable or welcome as one might expect in a western setting.
    Context, Social AnalysisCultural Themes = 1 * roman i) The extreme poverty of rural China: No clock and the need to lengthen the teacher’s bed by putting a chair at the end of it, amplify the extreme poverty and declining standards of living and education in rural China.ii) Chinese resourcefulness and creativity: Teacher Gao explains the practical strategies he has developed for dealing with the hardships of the impecunious learning environment. Teacher Gao shows how Chinese people can find inventive solutions under difficult conditions and make the best of trying circumstances.iii) The Chinese teacher’s duties: Chinese teachers are traditionally responsible for many aspects of their students’ lives apart from their education. In this scene, sleeping three to a bed with the female students, cooking for them, and on really windy or rainy days, personally accompanying students home, are all part of a teachers day, as well as teaching them.Symbols = 1 * roman i) The nail on the pole underlines not only the poverty, but also life being lived at a primitive subsistence level where even a basic item like a clock is missing.ii) Lack of sealed roads and being at the mercy of the elements underscores the neglected infra-structure and further stresses the extreme simplicity of the village lifestyle.
    Table SEQ Table * ARABIC 2 Critical Discourse Analysis Data from Not One Less, Scene 1, Cut 5