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Buckingham Uni PGCE Feb 2017 Teaching culture

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Aspects of teaching culture in MFL

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Buckingham Uni PGCE Feb 2017 Teaching culture

  1. 1. TEACHING CULTURE Buckingham University Feb 2017 Steve Smith
  2. 2. Some quotations – how apt are they? • “A different language is a different vision of life.” (Fellini) • “Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” (Goethe) • “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” (Wittgenstein) • “Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift. Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club -the community of speakers of that language.” (Frank Smith – psycholinguist)
  3. 3. MFL’s unique contribution to the curriculum? “One unique aspect of language learning for students is its capacity to open their minds to different cultures, to enable them to value and evaluate both the new culture and their own and thus to become better educated, tolerant and discerning citizens. What is commonly called 'intercultural understanding' or ‘cultural awareness’ is rightly considered to be a hugely important aspect of citizenship and social cohesion in our multi-cultural societies. “ • Smith and Conti, 2016. The Language Teacher Toolkit
  4. 4. Sources of cultural input • Spoken and written non-fiction texts (authentic?) • Songs • Film • Pictures • The teacher • Visitors, e.g. FLAs • Literature • Visits and exchanges
  5. 5. L1 or L2? • There is plenty of room in language lessons for talking about culture in your first language (L1). Most teachers have personal knowledge and experience they want to share with classes and with younger classes, this is better done in L1. • Interesting discussions to be had comparing L1 and L2 culture and this is a superb opportunity for teachers to explain, dispel myths, open minds, share anecdotes and seek students' own views and perspectives. • At Higher GCSE and A-level L2 can be the main medium for transmitting and sharing cultural knowledge.
  6. 6. Special events and memorable lessons • Food tastings and making recipes. • Inviting a TL-speaking member of the community. • Project-based learning (PBL) – examples. (CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning) • Task-based learning – examples. • E-Twinning or letter/email/Skype exchange. • Individual research projects – not just A-level. • Study visits and exchanges.
  7. 7. Running an exchange • School pairing • Pupil pairing • Pre-exchange preparation • Vetting • Meeting(s) • Exchange activities • Post-exchange follow-up
  8. 8. Culture: discussion questions • What is the motivational value of teaching “culture”? • What is integrative motivation? (Gardner and Lambert) • Should you adapt your teaching to different classes – more culture with some than others? • Should we focus on similarities or differences between L1 and L2 culture? • Which culture do we teach? • A-level: general studies through the TL?

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