English 343 Cross-cultural issues in TESOL: Examining cross-culturalpractices in the context of teaching English as a global language Dr. Lisya Seloni Department of English firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning to teach is not just about learning a body of knowledge andtechniques; it is also about learning to work in complex sociopolitical andcultural political space and negotiating ways of doing this with our pasthistories, fears, and desires; our own knowledges and cultures; ourstudents’ wishes and preferences; and the institutional constrains andcollaborations. Alan Luke from Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning
AgendaPART I: Welcome back! Who are we?—Introduction through “Six Words Memoir” activity Why are we here?—Course objectives, course materials, assignments, course blog. Reading the syllabusPart II Essentialist and non-essentialist views of culture Personal definition of culture Assignments for next week
Six word memoir examples For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.—Hemingway Lost voice. Gone to find it. Suddenly everyone seems younger than me. Mother, teacher, writer. In this order. My resolutions melted faster than snow. Well, I am still here, are you?http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/
Why are we here? What do we hope to achieve? develop a culturally sensitive vision of TESOL which de-centralized and de-colonize knowledge and English language teaching. examine macro issues such as language ideologies, multilingualism, language policies and planning. examine micro issues such as classroom interactions, participation patterns and cross-cultural issues in curriculum and material development. obtain an understanding on issues such as cultural assimilation, cultural globalization, otherization and how these apply to language learning and teaching. understand the intersection of race, class, gender and ethnicity in the global context. analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and interpretations, and engage in scholarly dialogues about different theories of language and culture.
Some critical questions we will tackle this semester: What is culture? What is the relationship between language and culture? What are some of the different perspectives in defining culture? Why does culture matter in English language teaching? What culture do we teach when we teach English as an international language? Are there privileged/underprivileged cultures that enhance ESL/EFL learning and teaching? What are ESL/EFL teachers‟ role in promoting culturally sensitive pedagogies?
Reading the syllabus Read:Course DescriptionsCourse ProjectsClass Blog: http://crossculturalissuesintesol.blogspot.com/Class Blog from Spring 2012:http://crossculturalissuestesol.blogspot.com/ Take about 5 minutes to skim through the syllabus: What questions do you have so far?
Definitions of culture Compose your definition of culture (e.g. write, draw, act)Culture is_______________________Culture is like ____________________ Share in your answers with your group. Discuss why culture matters in language teaching.
Culture never just “is” but instead “does” Heath & Street, 2008
Five dimensions of culture Products/artifacts Practices Persons Perspectives Communities
The iceberg of cultureBig C Small cBig C: “classic or grand themes” (Peterson, 2004, p. 25)-visibleSmall c: “minor or common themes”-invisible
Essentialist vs non-essentialist views on culture Essentialist view of culture Non-essentialist view of culture Culture as a noun: It has a specific Culture as a verb: Societies display entity. It‟s homogeneous. complex characteristics which are hard to pin down. Culture as “unbounded, kaleidoscopic and dynamic” (Heath & Street, 2008) People in one culture essentially Cultures flow as people intermingle. different from people in another Cultures have blurred boundaries People belonging exclusively to one People can belong to and move through national/linguistic/cultural group multiplicity of cultures within and across societies. For successful communication with Understanding the complexity of who someone foreign, we must first the person is. Moving beyond media understand the details and stereotype representations. Being open minded of their culture. and ready to problemitize representations.
Group discussion In your group, read the chart on essentialism and non- essentialism. What strikes you as important, eye- opening? What examples can you give representing both sides of the chart?
Assignments Open a blog account Create a first entry Send it to: email@example.com by Wednesday morning . Readings and blog assignment for MLK day.
Books are available @Alamo! Class readings are available in digital reserve. Bring them with you in each class. Class Blog: http://crossculturalissuestesol.blogspot.com/ Learning log contents (550 words minimum—2 pages, double space):1) Summary of the articles2) Your reflections, critique.3) Connection to your own teaching and learning experiences4) Further questionsRecommended: Bring a copy of your blog entry/critical response paper to class each week.
Two paradigmsSmall Cultures: any cohesive group with Large Cultures: Essential differencesno subordination between ethnic, international and national entitiesNon-essentialist, non-culturist EssentialistNo ONION SKIN RELATIONSHIP, No Small and subcultures are subordinate tonecessary subordination large culturesInterpretive, ongoing: a process of Normative, static: social world is divided(re)making in fixed categories“The world is made up of a vast complex “Mutually exclusive types of behaviorsof shifting, overlapping , swirling, connected with nationality”—Africancombining and splitting cultures” culture, Chinese culture…Culture is a(Holliday,2005) geographical place.
Discussion Atkinson (1999) writes: “ all human beings exist in multiple social worlds, have multiple social allegiances, and play multiple social roles—all of which are continuously changing” (p.643)What are some of the social allegiances you bring to your profession? What small cultures do you identify? Focus on one of them and discuss what discernable set of behaviors is characteristic of this small culture.
Positivist/Essentialist sequence National stereotypes are acknowledged as problematic but remain as starting point. Us-them overgeneralizations are made such as “While the west focuses more on the learning process as a means in itself, the Chinese tradition is more oriented in learning outcomes” A sense of uncrossable boundaries: “members of different cultures have certain beliefs, values and practices which suit them”. Cultural essentialism is not only practices by West: People from the east and the South also essentialize their own cultural identities., through the display of traditional dress, dances, rituals…tpo maintain and acquire power. “Exaggeration of Self to suit people‟s perception of other can help one to gain acceptance (Holliday et. al, 2004)
How can we avoid the trap of over-generalization?By Deconstructing images and representations andengaging in a dialogue on the critical intersections: Identity Power Agency Culture and Language Education Representation Difference
Recent examinations of culturePost-modern/post structural: Culture is no neatly packagedentities. They are NOT exclusive bodies of customs, values andthoughts. They are NOT perfectly shared by all who subscribe tothem.Contact zone: The social spaces where cultures meet, clash, andgrapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations ofpower, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as theylived out in many parts of the world today”. (Pratt, 1991, p. 34)—bordercrossing/borderlands by Andaldua.Cultures as travelling (Clifford): Unrooted, permeable, ever-developing and changing.
Subjectivity, Agency, powerSubjectivity Various social forces and their possible implications on our identities. Personhood is fragmented and conflicting (conflicting ways of looking and being in the world) People are NOT simply members of homogenous, unified cultural groups. They come from a particular class/ethnic/national/political/religious/sexual/educational/racial backgrounds.AgencyThe will of individuals, especially those in positions of disempowerment to decide their own lifecourses. The ability of individuals to resist the influence of dominant ideologies and discourses.PowerPower is diffused throughout the social world. The groups who have power in the society alsodefine and represent culture in ways that tend to benefit them and promote as natural their ownsocial practices.
Six principles of culture (Atkinson, 1999)1. All humans are individual2. Individuality is also cultural3. Social group membership and identity are multiple, contradictory, and dynamic.4. Social Group membership is consequential.5. Methods of studying cultural knowledge and behavior are unlikely to fit a positivist paradigm.6. Language (learning and teaching) and culture are mutually implicated, but culture is multiple and complex.What do these statements mean? What are the implications for TESOL?
Holliday et. al. book: B.0.1: Culture and community in everyday life Hannerz writes “We have an old habit of speaking about „cultures, the plural form, as if it were self-evident that such entities exist side by side as neat packages, each of us identified with only one of them—this is indeed a time-worn implication of at least one anthropological concept”. Bauman also writes that people see themselves “ as members of several communities at once, each with its own culture, and that making one‟s life meant ranging across them.In looking back at notes you made in identifying your small cultures, doyou see any overlaps, cross-cutting allegiances or hierarchical orders?How does your own life mean “ranging across” these communities?What are the significant parts of your own “personal cultural repertoire”as in-service and pre-service language educators?
Discussion: Definitions of culture Which, if any, of the descriptions do you feel successfully captures the complete of a partial meaning of culture? (p. 69)1) A culture is “a text the vocabulary and grammar of which its members learn” (Fay, 1996)2) “Culture is a verb” (Street, 1991)3) Culture is an “evolving connected activity, not a thing”. (Fay, 1996).4) Believing…that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs (Geertz, 1973)