Integrating global issues in genre based approach


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Integrating global issues in genre based approach

  1. 1. Integrating Global Issues in Genre Based Approach to Introduce Culture in the EFL Classroom By: TITIK WINARTI I. INTRODUCTION : THE IMPORTANCE OF CULTURE IN EFL Culture is a term that has various meanings. Culture is the way peopleapproach and resolve dilemmas. One of the key components in language teachingis culture. Culture helps guide an individual how to use the language. According toSamovar (1981:11) Culture not only dictates who talks to whom, about what, andhow the communication proceeds, it also helps to determine how people encodemessages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions andcircumstances under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, orinterpreted. Culture is the foundation of communication. The concept of culture and how it is to be described and understood iswidely debated, as is the idea of cultural practices. de Haan (1999: 22) says thatculture can be understood as those features of social practice that sustain andrepresent practice, and that at the same time are able to reproduce andreconstruct it. Social practices are negotiated forms of interaction with the (socialand natural) world within recognized contexts of interaction. Liddicoat et al. (2003:45) define culture as a complex system of concepts,attitudes, values, beliefs, conventions, behaviours, practices, rituals, and lifestylesof the people who make up a cultural group, as well as the artefacts they produceand the institutions they create. Based on the theories above, it can be concluded that culture is a termthat has various meanings. Culture is not only a learned set of shared messages,meanings, and interpretations but also about beliefs, values, and norms thataffects the behaviour of a relatively large group of people. Culture, however, varies from one country to another and from onecommunity within that country to another. Due to the diversity of culture, it isimperative for teachers to know which culture to teach in the language-learningclassroom. According to Lazar (1993:66), our students comprehension is frequentlyimpeded not by linguistic features in a literary text, but by cultural ones. We oweit to them to help them understand what these might be. Language can never bedivorced from culture. Kramsch (1993:8) claims that culture awareness must be viewed both asenabling language proficiency and as being the outcome of reflection on languageproficiency. Omaggio (1993:358) says that a teacher’s role is not to impart facts
  2. 2. about the target culture, but to help students obtain the skills to understand thefacts that they will discover for themselves in studying the target culture. In thisway, students will be prepared for various cultural situations they have neverpreviously encountered. Mitchell and Myles (2004:235) argue that language andculture are not separate, but are acquired together, with each providing supportfor the development of the other. Language and culture interact with each otherin a way that culture connects to all levels of language use and structures. From the explanation above, it can be concluded that language learnersneed to develop not only their linguistic competence but also their interculturalcommunicative competence to overcome both linguistic and cultural barriers theymay encounter in interaction with people from other cultures. It seems thatstudents with better linguistic competence should have more cultural knowledgeand awareness or vice versa. EFL, English as a foreign language, indicates the use of English in a non–English-speaking region. Study can occur either in the students home country, aspart of the normal school curriculum or otherwise, or, for the more privilegedminority, in an Anglophone country that they visit as a sort of educational tourist,particularly immediately before or after graduating from university. Typically, EFLis learned either to pass exams as a necessary part of ones education, or forcareer progression while working for an organization or business with aninternational focus. There are many things teachers should consider when including culturalinformation in their classrooms. Culture in EFL classrooms encompasses manyareas. The best instructional practices help students negotiate unfamiliarsituations while still recognizing the importance of their own cultures. Cultural awareness helps learners broaden the mind, increase toleranceand achieve cultural empathy and sensitivity. According to Tomalin andStempleski (1993: 5), cultural awareness encompasses three qualities: 1. Awareness of one’s own culturally-induced behaviour 2. Awareness of the culturally-induced behaviour of others 3. Ability to explain one’s own cultural standpoint Teaching in EFL classrooms from an intercultural perspective involvesdeveloping in learners critical cultural awareness of their own culturally-shapedworld view and behaviours as well as the skills and attitudes to understand andsuccessfully interact with people from other cultures, that is, to becomeinterculturally as well as linguistically competent. EFL teachers therefore need toshift from a traditional stance to an intercultural one to develop both linguisticand intercultural competences of learners.
  3. 3. II. GLOBAL ISSUES As language and culture are symbiotic, cultivating global issues for apeaceful world is one of the most urgent tasks for teachers. Global awareness,respect for other cultures and communication skills, especially communicativecompetence in English will be more vital for multicultural citizens of the world.Cates (1990) states that a global issues curriculum aims to enhance students’linguistic skills while also providing them with the knowledge and skills requiredto deal with world problems. On the other hand, imitation without any filter of a foreign culture is asuicide. People should respect themselves without copying every culture theyget. We establish good relationships with people from different cultures of theworld but young people tend to pretend to be someone else due to a sense ofinferiority complex and adoration for Western cultures. In the age ofglobalization, we need to be proud of being ourselves and contribute to theworld, representing our own culture and traditional values. A review of the relationship between language and culture reveals thatthe integration of culture into the EFL curriculum with a view to fostering culturalawareness seems important and necessary. Being aware of the foreign languagecultural norms does not mean that EFL learners have to become native-like,rather such a cultural awareness allows them to develop an understanding of thenature of the target culture as well as their own culture. Haratmeh (2003) says that the importance of developing interculturalcommunicative competence alongside linguistic competence has resulted fromlearners’ needs for acquiring intercultural skills for cross-cultural communicationin which they may encounter linguistic and cultural barriers. According to Nakamura, there are some rationales why teachers shouldinclude global education in the syllabus. First, world problems, especially globalissues affect every member of the human family on this planet. Second,globalization has created an interdependent context on the earth, namely whathappens in one place affects others in different parts of the world. Third, theattitude of many young people in the "North" is that they need little knowledgeabout other cultures. Fourth, in the "South" young people tend to copy theirpeers in the North without giving a critical thought of the effects such a life stylehas on their families, communities and the earth. Fifth, teaching of interculturaltolerance towards diversity and respect of nature and human rights must start asearly as possible at school. With these five rationales in the midst of today’sconfused world, it seems self-evident that EFL instructors should be encouragedto play key roles in integrating controversial global issues into the EFL class as apart of global education (Nakamura, 2002). It is hoped that students will enjoy studying global issues and at thesametime they are able to improve their linguistic skills.
  4. 4. III. GENRE BASED APPROACH Genre based approach started with the Systemic Functional School ofLinguistics inspired by the work of MAK Halliday during the 1960s and 70s. Theyviewed language as a resource for making meanings, and so started looking atwhole stretches of discourse in context rather than looking at isolated chunks touncover a set of rules. So far, so familiar. Their claim, however, is that allextended discourse can be categorised into just seven basic types. These sevengenres are recount, narrative, information report, discussion, exposition,explanation, and procedure. ( Furthermore, genre based approach developed in the 2004 Englishcurriculum include transactional conversations (to get something done),interpersonal conversations (to establish and maintain social relations), shortfunctional texts (announcements, greeting cards etc.), monologues and essays ofcertain genres. In other words, these are the communicative competence to bedeveloped. Along with the competence, the literacy levels are also determined basedon the government regulation that senior high school graduates are supposed tobe ready for handling the kinds of text they face at university level. In otherwords, they are supposed to be able to access accumulated knowledge typicallyobtained at higher learning institutions. For this reason, the text typesdetermined for senior high school levels include recount, descriptive, report,news item, narrative, discussion, explanation, exposition, and review. The short explanation and examples of text about famine as global issuesgives an idea of what each one means in more detail.RecountPurpose: to retell events in order to inform.Generic Structure : 1. Orientation/scene-setting 2. Retelling of events 3. Reorientation Kevin Carter was born in apartheid South Africa and grew up in a middle-class, whites-only neighborhood. In March 1993 Carter made a trip to Sudan. Carter was quite shocked as it was the first time that he had seen a famine situation and so he took many shots of the children suffering from famine. One of his photographs was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 1993. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editors note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown. On April 2, 1994 Nancy Buirski, a foreign New York Times picture editor, phoned Carter to inform him he had won the most coveted prize for photojournalism. Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature
  5. 5. Photography on May 23, 1994 at Columbia Universitys Low Memorial Library. (Taken from : to retell events in order to entertain.Generic Structure : 1. Orientation 2. Complication 3. Resolution Sudanese Girl Dying of Hunger as a Vulture Patiently Waits Kevin Carter went to Sudan to capture images of that nation’s dismal and unending civil war in 1993. One of the pictures he took was of a starving little girl, she had collapsed in the bush and a vulture nearby seemed to be waiting for her to die. The photo was reproduced all over the world, touching thousands of people, becoming an icon of African misery, winning a Pulitzer Prize, and, a year later, apparently contributing to Carter’s own suicide. Carter only spent a couple of days in Sudan. According to Susan D Moeller, who tells Carter’s story in Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death, he had gone into the bush seeking relief from the terrible starvation and suffering he was documenting, when he encountered the emaciated girl. When he saw the vulture land, Carter waited quietly, hoping the bird would spread its wings and give him an even more dramatic image. It didn’t, and he eventually chased the bird away. The girl gathered her strength and resumed her journey toward a feeding centre. Afterwards, writes Moeller, Carter “sat by a tree, talked to God, cried, and thought about his own daughter, Megan.” When the image of the prostrate girl and the patient vulture appeared, many people demanded to know what had happened to her. The New York Times explained in an editors’ note that while she resumed her trek, the photographer didn’t know if she had survived. Carter stood accused; callers in the middle of the night called him unethical and denounced him. The girl began to haunt the photographer. In June 1994, Carter, beset by difficulties, killed himself. His suicide note read: "I am depressed … without phone … money for rent … money for child support … money for debts … money!!! … I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky." (Taken from: P.A.P.-BLOG – HUMAN RIGHTS ETC.)DescriptivePurpose : to describe a particular person, place or thing.
  6. 6. Generic Structure : 1. Identification 2. DescriptionReportPurpose: to describe the way things areGeneric Structure : 1. General classification 2. Description: qualities, parts & their function, habits, behaviour, uses A famine is a widespread scarcity of food that may apply to any faunal species. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Emergency measures in relieving famine primarily include providing deficient micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, through fortified sachet powders or directly through supplements. Food shortages in a population are caused either by a lack of food or by difficulties in food distribution; it may be worsened by natural climate fluctuations and by extreme political conditions related to oppressive government or warfare. Famine strikes Sub-Saharan African countries the hardest, but with exhaustion of food resources, over drafting of groundwater, wars, internal struggles, and economic failure, famine continues to be a worldwide problem with hundreds of millions of people suffering. These famines cause widespread malnutrition and impoverishment; the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s had an immense death toll, although Asian famines of the 20th century have also produced extensive death tolls. Modern African famines are characterized by widespread destitution and malnutrition, with heightened mortality confined to young children. The demographic impacts of famine are sharp. Mortality is concentrated among children and the elderly. Famine may thus be viewed partially as a social phenomenon, involving markets, the price of food, and social support structures. A second lesson drawn was the increased use of rapid nutrition assessments, in particular of children, to give a quantitative measure of the famines severity. Since 2004, many of the most important organizations in famine relief, such as the World Food Program and the U.S. Agency for International Development, have adopted a five-level scale measuring intensity and magnitude. The intensity scale uses both livelihoods measures and measurements of mortality and child malnutrition to categorize a situation as food secure, food insecure, food crisis, famine, severe famine, and extreme famine. (Taken from
  7. 7. News ItemPurpose : to inform about events of the day which are considered newsworthy or impotant.Generic Structure : 1. News worthy events 2. Background events 3. Sources. Famine haunts the population of Simeuleu Island Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Famine haunts the population of Simeuleu Island. So far no one has come to the rescue of the small island of 73,000 people. According to Indonesian daily Kompas, no relief and humanitarian aid has reached it since Sunday, December 26. The paper reports that people on the island are already going hungry and might soon suffer from epidemic outbreaks because of lack of medicines. Simeuleu is a small island off Banda Aceh near the epicentre of the quake that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26. Whilst survivors in Banda Aceh have started building makeshift shelters out of salvaged material from the citys ruins, residents on Simeuleu seem to have been forgotten. Ibnu Abbas, Simeuleu Deputy Mayor, reached Kompas by satellite phone to complain that the island is being neglected. "We are very concerned about the governments statement that Simeuleu is not urgent," Mr Abbas is quoted as saying. "This is very wrong since this island was one of the most tsunami-affected areas. If humanitarian relief does not come soon, there will be mass famine among the islands 73 thousands people." The Deputy Mayor added that although the "number of victims is very small with only six people dead and 50 badly injured, the main problem is how people will survive [when] 50 percent of the islands 15 thousand homes have been destroyed by the tsunami". Meanwhile, the Health Ministry reported today that "at least 500,000 Indonesians have become refugees". At the same time, aftershock are still been felt. In Banda Aceh people were woken by a 5.7 quake measuring at around 1.30 am. No victims were reported. Singapores Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday visited Aceh bringing heavy machines. US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Florida Governor Jeb Bush travelled to Banda Aceh. Strong criticism is now being voiced at former presidents B. P. Suharto, B. J. Habibie, A. Wahid and M. Sukarnoputri who so far have said little or nothing about the national tragedy. Only B. J. Habibie, who is now living in Germany, released a statement today through his Jakarta-based Habibie Center saying that it would soon help tsunami victims through a foster parent plan.
  8. 8. (Taken from to present arguments from different viewpoints.Generic Structure : 1. Statement of the issue 2. Argument(s) for+ evidence 3. Argument(s)against +evidence 4. (recommendation-summary/conclusion)ExplanationPurpose: to explain natural or social processes, or how something works.Generic Structure : 1. General statement of introduction 2. Series of logical stepsExpositionPurpose: to promote a particular point of viewGeneric Structure : 1. Opening statement of position (thesis) 2. Arguments - point+elaboration 3. Restatement of opening position Why is there mass starvation? Why is there mass starvation? The answer seems obvious – mass starvation occur because of a mass scarcity of food. The obvious answer, however, is wrong. Sometimes mass starvation occurs when food per capita is low but mass starvation has also occurred when there was plenty of food per capita. Famines occur not only from a lack of food, caused by drought, crop failures or floods, but also from a lack of information. Rumors of a famine, even false rumors, are often enough for people to start hoarding and panic buying, which pushes up the price of goods, and which makes it impossible for poor people to get enough food. As a result, they may starve in the midst of abundance. A war may have the same effect or make it worse. Moreover, so can ineffective food distribution mechanisms. While Famines involve widespread acute starvation, there is no reason to think that it will affect all groups in the famine-affected nation. Indeed, it is by no means clear that there has ever occurred a famine in which all groups in a country have suffered from starvation, since different groups typically do have very different commanding powers over food, and an over-all shortage brings out the contrasting powers in stark clarity. Free information can counter these risks. It can debunk myths and rumors about food availability. It can inform accountable governments of certain risks and force them to act in order to remedy the food distribution, to impose price controls etc. Price controls, however, are a risky business. Higher food prices may lead to a larger volume of food production because food producers will be encouraged to produce. Hence, higher prices may increase the overall availability of food and reduce the risk of famine.
  9. 9. However, as we have seen, availability is not enough to stopfamines. Distribution and equality of availability is just as important, andhigher prices may result in very unequal availability and may put poorpeople at risk. Then, again, these poor people may find a better paying jobin food production if food prices are higher. This is all very complicatedindeed. (Taken from: P.A.P.-BLOG – HUMAN RIGHTS ETC.) The Coming World Famine A "perfect storm" of circumstances is coming together that isleading many agriculture experts to predict that we will soon beexperiencing a worldwide food crisis of unprecedented magnitude. Even in such technologically advanced times, the reality is that thefood supply is not immune to droughts and plagues. Even the United Stateshas been dramatically affected. Just consider the following examples. All time record breaking heat and drought continues to plague thestate of Texas. In fact, extreme drought conditions can be found in manyagricultural areas throughout the United States this summer. In addition, farmers all over the United States are reporting verydisappointing harvests. For example, the very weak wheat harvest this yearis seriously disappointing farmers across the state of Illinois. But it is not just the U.S. that is experiencing seriousagricultural problems. In fact, the news from the rest of the world is evenmore troubling. Agricultural scientists fear that Ug99, a devastating wheat fungusalso known as stem rust, could wipe out over 80 percent of the worldswheat crop as it spreads out from Africa. Harvests all across the globe are frighteningly low. When you add up all of the recent agricultural news stories it meansone thing: a massive food crisis is on the way. Harvests around theworld are going to be much smaller at a time when world demand for foodis at an all-time high. In other words, there are going to be food shortages.Very serious food shortages. Are you all starting to get the point? In just a few months, the worldis going to have a lot less food than what it needs. When people around theworld find that they cant feed their families, there will likely be food riots.In the United States, there will not be shortages of food - at least at first.But what this will mean is that there will be dramatic price increases at thesupermarket. Are you ready? Now is the time to ensure that you and your familyare prepared for the food crisis that is ahead. We encourage you to take
  10. 10. advantage of the low prices on emergency food that are out there right now while you still can. (Taken from to critique or analyze and evaluate an art work and make your point ofview know.Generic Structure : 1. Orientation 2. Interpretative Recount 3. EvaluationProcedurePurpose: to explain how to do somethingGeneric Structure : 1. statement of what is to be achieved 2. list of materials/tools needed 3. sequence of instructions 4. (diagram,illustration) Senior high school graduates are expected to achieve the informational levelwhere they can carry out more extended and interpersonal conversations, anddeal with texts to access knowledge at university level and self-study. To implement the 2004 English curriculum the two cycles and four stagesrecommended are represented in the following diagram: Diagram: Cycles and Stages of Learning (Hammond et al. 1992:17)
  11. 11. IV. INTRODUCING CULTURE THROUGH GLOBAL ISSUES-TOPIC TEXT Teaching English in EFL Classroom presents global issues as part of culturalstudies. It can help students become familiar with common elements of popularculture and make them more critical consumers of other cultures. Another way tolook at culture in EFL classrooms is as a means of providing opportunities forstudents to share aspects of their own cultural backgrounds. For instance,Robinson (1985) proposed that reading about the target language’s culture couldhelp these students come to terms with what they experience in the target-language country, and therefore, be better prepared for it. Global issues can be serious and gloomy. It is a challenge to teach aboutconflict, famine, poverty and discrimination without the classroom atmospherebecoming heavy and the students depressed. One of the keys to maintaining apositive attitude towards the class is to focus on solutions to the problems.Moreover, it is hoped that studying global issues made students moreenthusiastic to learn English. Although students found studying a content-basedcurriculum challenging, they believed that learning about other countries andcultures enhances their understanding of the world. Students also thoughtstudying global issues will be of practical benefit to them in the future. Some practical activities to introduce culture through global issues-topictext in EFL classroom.A. Pre-Reading 1. Teacher explains the communicative competence to be developed in the text. 2. Teacher surveys the text with the students, looks at the title and pictures in the text. While students are reading the text, they can guess what the text is about. 3. Teacher can turn the title into a question. The questions prepare the teacher to help the students make predictions about the text by asking, "Given text entitles Sudanese Girl Dying of Hunger as a Vulture Patiently Waits, what do you think the text will be about?” Teacher asks students, "Why do you think that?" to encourage them to justify their responses and activate prior knowledge. 4. Teacher asks students to watch and give comment about ‘real life’ presentation which has correlation to the text. Moreover, teacher can ask students to make a small group, they can discuss and make comparison between Sudanene and their own condition.B. During Reading 1. Teacher asks students to read text at a time, keep their questions in mind. As students read each section, try to find answers to their questions. They reread all the paragraphs. 2. Students pay attention to any words that are difficult to understand. They study the pictures and other visual aids. Teacher asks the students what
  12. 12. they already know about any of the main ideas. If a passage is more difficult, teacher can ask students to read slowly. 3. Teacher asks the students to say or write what they have read about each paragraph in their own words. 4. At the end of this section, teacher asks students to look up from the text and in their own words recite an answer to their questions for that section. They can write down their answer. Teacher provides examples that support it. Finally, recite the answer in students’ own words and jot it down. The written questions and answers can help students study in the future.C. Post-Reading 1. After completing the questions, teacher can review students’ notes. Identify the main points by looking for the most important idea in each section. 2. After the students finish reading, students can then exchange them to see if they can guess what genre was being attempted, and identify the elements of the text that tell them why. 3. Teacher explains that the text is a narrative because it not only tells us about some past event but also contains the complication that Kevin Carter got. 4. Teacher can discuss what different condition and culture that students know after watching ‘real life’ presentation and reading text entitles ‘Sudanese Girl Dying of Hunger as a Vulture Patiently Waits’; furthermore, teacher can give closing by playing ‘something bothering’ presentation. 5. Finally, teacher can convey a great sense of sympathy about Sudanese condition to the students. V. CONCLUSION Teaching in EFL classroom should develop both students’ linguisticcompetence and their intercultural communicative competence. Culture is notonly a learned set of shared messages, meanings, and interpretations but alsoabout beliefs, values, and norms that affects the behaviour of a relatively largegroup of people. Cultural awareness helps learners broaden the mind, increasetolerance, and achieve cultural empathy and sensitivity. Global awareness,respect for other cultures and communication skills, especially communicativecompetence in English will be more vital for multicultural citizens of the world. Areview of the relationship between language and culture reveals that theintegration of culture into the EFL curriculum with a view to fostering culturalawareness seems important and necessary. There are some reasons why teachersshould include global education in the syllabus such as world problems and
  13. 13. globalization. Genre based approach views language as a resource for makingmeanings and looking at whole stretches of discourse in context rather thanlooking at isolated chunks to uncover a set of rules. This approach claims to beable to show EFL students where they are going wrong, not only in terms ofgrammar or lexis, but also in how they string things together at sentence andclause level. Furthermore, students will have good intercultural competent aswell as linguistics competent. VI. BIBLIOGRAPHYCates, K. 1990. Teaching for a better world: Global issues in language education. The Language Teacher, 14(5), Haan, M. 1999 Learning as Cultural Practice: How Children Learn in a Mexican Mazahua Community. Amsterdam: Thela ThesisHammond, J, A. Burns, H. Joyce, D. Brosnan, L. Gerot. 1992. English for Special Purposes: A handbook for teachers of adult literacy. Sydney: NCELTR, Macquarie University.Kramsch, Claire. (1993). Context and culture in language teaching . Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press.Lazar, G. 1993. Literature and Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP.Liddicoat, A.J., Papademetre, L., Scarino, A., & Kohler, M. 2003. Report on intercultural language learning. Canberra ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.Marzieh Sharifi Haratmeh PhD Incorporating Culture into the EFL Curriculum. Foreign Language Teaching Journal No.84.Fall.Vol.22 pp.58.Nakamura, K. 2002. Developing Global Literacy through English as an International Language (EIL) Education in Japan. International Education Journal Vol.3, No.5, 2002. WCCES Commission 6 pp.63-74.Omaggio, A. 1993. Teaching language in context . Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.Samovar, 1981. Understanding intercultural communication Wadsworth Pub. Co.Tomalin, B., & Stempleski, S. (1993). Cultural awareness. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. – HUMAN RIGHTS ETC.