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[RELO] Sociocultural Awareness: Developing the Fifth Skill
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[RELO] Sociocultural Awareness: Developing the Fifth Skill


Presented by Kevin Hajovsky, Senior English Language Fellow, based in the Galapagos Islands.

Presented by Kevin Hajovsky, Senior English Language Fellow, based in the Galapagos Islands.

Published in Education , Technology
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  • 1. Kevin Hajovsky Senior English Language Fellow Galápagos, Ecuador August 2013
  • 2.  English as an International Language (EIL)  Not “owned” by native speakers, but by anyone who uses it for their purposes  Tool for communication  Bridge between cultures  Globalization Communication requires more than just language. (McKay, 2002; Tomalin, 2008)
  • 3. Culture  Strengthen our understanding of culture and its potential effect on our communication SPEAKING Framework  Use a framework for helping teachers analyze for and develop their own sociocultural awareness  Use a framework to develop questions or tasks that help students analyze and build their own awareness of how culture is reflected in communication
  • 4. When you think about “culture”, what kinds of things generally come to mind? ~Write down and provide examples~
  • 5. How much of the iceberg do you think you can see? Which part of the iceberg is more dangerous to your ship, the visible part or the hidden part?
  • 6. • Language • Food • Music • Dance • Clothes • Popular culture • Customs • Festivals • Etc. (Bennett, 1998) Big C: VISIBLE small c: HIDDEN
  • 7.  Culturally appropriate ways to:  Greet or address people  Express gratitude  Make requests  Agree/disagree with someone  Give or accept compliments  Interpersonal skills to:  Maintain an open and non-judgmental approach  Work with uncertainty and ambiguity  Be flexible and adaptable  Foster curiosity and empathy  Adapt oneself linguistically The BIG Question: How can we help? [verbal & non-verbal] [consider one’s own & others’ conditioning]
  • 8.  Language-based questions  Looking at language in context  Ex., how words’ meanings change depending on context  Function-based questions  Analyzing interactions and social functions of language  Ex., back channeling, language of agreement/following  Comparative questions  Comparing (own) interactional norms in given contexts  Ex., expectations of listener, similar interactions (what?)  Speculative questions  Fostering curiosity and interpretative skills  Ex., “Why do you think….?” (McConachy, 2009) “Oh, I see.” “Oh, is that right?”
  • 9. S Setting P Participants E Ends A Act Sequence K Key I Instrumentalities N Norms G Genre (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009) Questions Types: 1. Language 2. Function  3. Comparison 4. Speculation
  • 10.  The time, place and physical circumstances and the potential expectations or influences on communication (ex. party, doctor’s office)  Teacher Analysis  Does the setting affect the language used?  Would the students’ culture consider the setting appropriate for such an interaction?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Location, environment, overall topic (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 11.  The people involved in the setting and/or the interpersonal dimension on the language used (ex., professor, daughter, friend)  Teacher Analysis  How are the participants related?  How might their description affect the kind of language used in any way?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Relationship, age, familiarity, gender, position/title, etc. (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 12.  The purposes or goals of the participants (ex., persuasion, equality/hierarchy gain something)  Teacher Analysis  What are the different participants trying to achieve?  Is there any connection between the ends, participants, and setting?  How does the language effectively work toward the ends?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Goals/desired outcomes, different or the same for participants, how are they negotiated (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 13.  The types and sequence of speech acts or ways of interacting in a given context (ex., greeting)  Teacher Analysis  What are the different speech acts involved?  Is it important to notice the order of the speech acts?  Are there any strategies used to switch between speech acts?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Number and types of speech acts involved, the order of the speech acts, how the acts were negotiated (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 14.  The general tone or spirit of conversation and how emotions and nuances are conveyed (ex., clues in manner of speech, joking, change of topic)  Teacher Analysis  Are there any clues that notify the listener of the tone in the messages being conveyed?  Are there pauses or changes in mood reflected in the participants speech patterns?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Feelings, mood, or tone of the conversation; how are they recognizable (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 15.  The style of speech and sensitivity to registers or language variation used in certain contexts (ex., casual conversation versus academic setting)  Teacher Analysis  Is the language used polite, casual, or formal?  Are there useful examples that show how this is important in the context with respect to other variables?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Examples of polite, casual, formal, etc. types of language (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 16.  The social rules for interaction and how culture influences communication (ex., interruptions, turn taking, use of titles)  Teacher Analysis  What kinds of rules of conversation or interaction are exhibited (or should be) in the conversation?  Do such rules have a potential for creating a non-linguistic misunderstanding? If so, how?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  kinds of rules that govern a given social and/or communicative context (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 17.  The types of speech events and how they are generally characterized (ex., story, telephone, interview)  Teacher Analysis  What is the basic kind of interaction involved?  What are the common features of language found in this situation?  Potential Focuses of Questions (effect on interactions)  Differences roles or expectations of participants, or other interplays of different aspects of the framework (Hymes, 1974; McConachy, 2009)
  • 18.  AGAIN: It is NOT necessary to ask every kind of question every time. You can be selective and focus on key points for stimulating a healthy discussion.  Teachers can develop own sociocultural awareness, and pass it on to students through classroom tasks  Build socio-cultural awareness  Develop interpersonal skills  Work toward greater Socio-Linguistic Competence
  • 19. Having awareness of: 1. Social rules of language (e.g., formality, politeness, directness, etc.) 2. Nonverbal behaviors 3. Cultural references (e.g., idioms, expressions, background knowledge, etc.) (http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/eslapb/ about_communicative_competence.html)
  • 20.  Bennett, M. (1998). Current perspectives of intercultural communication. In M.J. Bennett (Ed.), Basic concepts in intercultural communication: Selected readings (pp. 191–214). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press  Damen, L.(1997). Culture learning: The fifth dimension in the language classroom. New York: Addison Wesley  Hymes, D. (1972). On communicative competence. In Sociolinguistics: Selected readings, edited by J. Pride and J. Holmes. Hammondsworth, UK: Penguin.  Hymes, D. (1974) Foundations of sociolinguistics: An ethnographic approach. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.  LaRay M. Barna (1994) Stumbling blocks in intercultrual communication. In Intercultural Communication : L.A. Samovar and R.E. Porter (Eds) : Belmont CA : Wadsworth Publishing Company. (pp. 337-346)  McConachy, T. (2009) Raising sociocultural awareness through contextual analysis: Some tools for teachers. ELT Journal 63(2).  McKay, S. (2002) Teaching english as an international language: Rethinking goals and approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Tomalin, B. (2008). Culture - the fifth language skill. Available at http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/culture-fifth-language-skill
  • 21. Kevin Hajovsky Senior English Language Fellow Galápagos, Ecuador August 2013 galapagoselt@gmail.com