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English 343
   Cross-cultural issues in TESOL: Examining cross-cultural
practices in the context of teaching English as a global language

                       Dr. Lisya Seloni
                    Department of English
                      lseloni@ilstu.edu
Learning to teach is not just about learning a body of knowledge and
techniques; it is also about learning to work in complex sociopolitical and
cultural political space and negotiating ways of doing this with our past
histories, fears, and desires; our own knowledges and cultures; our
students’ wishes and preferences; and the institutional constrains and
collaborations.




        Alan Luke from Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning
Agenda
PART 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 syllabus
Part 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 Descriptions
Course Projects
Class 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 culture
Big C                                     Small c




Big C: “classic or grand themes” (Peterson, 2004, p. 25)-visible
Small 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: lseloni@ilstu.edu 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 articles

2)   Your reflections, critique.

3)   Connection to your own teaching and learning experiences

4)   Further questions

Recommended: Bring a copy of your blog entry/critical response paper to class each week.
Two paradigms
Small Cultures: any cohesive group with   Large Cultures: Essential differences
no subordination                          between ethnic, international and
                                          national entities

Non-essentialist, non-culturist           Essentialist
No ONION SKIN RELATIONSHIP, No            Small and subcultures are subordinate to
necessary subordination                   large cultures

Interpretive, 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 behaviors
of shifting, overlapping , swirling,      connected with nationality”—African
combining 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 and
engaging in a dialogue on the critical intersections:

                        Identity




           Power                          Agency
                    Culture and
                     Language
                    Education


            Representation         Difference
Recent examinations of
           culture
Post-modern/post structural: Culture is no neatly packaged
entities. They are NOT exclusive bodies of customs, values and
thoughts. They are NOT perfectly shared by all who subscribe to
them.
Contact zone: The social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and
grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of
power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they
lived 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,
                  power
Subjectivity

    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.

Agency

The will of individuals, especially those in positions of disempowerment to decide their own life
courses. The ability of individuals to resist the influence of dominant ideologies and discourses.

Power

Power is diffused throughout the social world. The groups who have power in the society also
define and represent culture in ways that tend to benefit them and promote as natural their own
social practices.
Six principles of culture
         (Atkinson, 1999)
1.   All humans are individual
2.   Individuality is also cultural
3.   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, do
you 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)
Assignment
 Readings

 Blog entries

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343 week 1

  • 1. English 343 Cross-cultural issues in TESOL: Examining cross-cultural practices in the context of teaching English as a global language Dr. Lisya Seloni Department of English lseloni@ilstu.edu
  • 2. Learning to teach is not just about learning a body of knowledge and techniques; it is also about learning to work in complex sociopolitical and cultural political space and negotiating ways of doing this with our past histories, fears, and desires; our own knowledges and cultures; our students’ wishes and preferences; and the institutional constrains and collaborations. Alan Luke from Critical Pedagogies and Language Learning
  • 3. Agenda PART 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 syllabus Part II  Essentialist and non-essentialist views of culture  Personal definition of culture  Assignments for next week
  • 4. 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/
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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?
  • 7. Reading the syllabus  Read: Course Descriptions Course Projects Class 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?
  • 8. 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.
  • 9. Culture never just “is” but instead “does” Heath & Street, 2008
  • 10. Five dimensions of culture  Products/artifacts  Practices  Persons  Perspectives  Communities
  • 11. The iceberg of culture Big C Small c Big C: “classic or grand themes” (Peterson, 2004, p. 25)-visible Small c: “minor or common themes”-invisible
  • 12. 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.
  • 13. 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?
  • 14. Assignments  Open a blog account  Create a first entry  Send it to: lseloni@ilstu.edu by Wednesday morning .  Readings and blog assignment for MLK day.
  • 15. 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 articles 2) Your reflections, critique. 3) Connection to your own teaching and learning experiences 4) Further questions Recommended: Bring a copy of your blog entry/critical response paper to class each week.
  • 16. Two paradigms Small Cultures: any cohesive group with Large Cultures: Essential differences no subordination between ethnic, international and national entities Non-essentialist, non-culturist Essentialist No ONION SKIN RELATIONSHIP, No Small and subcultures are subordinate to necessary subordination large cultures Interpretive, 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 behaviors of shifting, overlapping , swirling, connected with nationality”—African combining and splitting cultures” culture, Chinese culture…Culture is a (Holliday,2005) geographical place.
  • 17. 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.
  • 18. 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)
  • 19. How can we avoid the trap of over-generalization? By Deconstructing images and representations and engaging in a dialogue on the critical intersections: Identity Power Agency Culture and Language Education Representation Difference
  • 20. Recent examinations of culture Post-modern/post structural: Culture is no neatly packaged entities. They are NOT exclusive bodies of customs, values and thoughts. They are NOT perfectly shared by all who subscribe to them. Contact zone: The social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they lived 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.
  • 21. Subjectivity, Agency, power Subjectivity  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. Agency The will of individuals, especially those in positions of disempowerment to decide their own life courses. The ability of individuals to resist the influence of dominant ideologies and discourses. Power Power is diffused throughout the social world. The groups who have power in the society also define and represent culture in ways that tend to benefit them and promote as natural their own social practices.
  • 22. Six principles of culture (Atkinson, 1999) 1. All humans are individual 2. Individuality is also cultural 3. 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?
  • 23. 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, do you 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?
  • 24. 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)

Editor's Notes

  1. I will begin with discussing the difference between essentialist and nonessensitalist schools of thought in the concept of culture. Unfortunately essentialist views still sit at the center of common perceptions of culture both in academy and in our everyday life. Basically essentialist views of culture says that people’s behaviors are essentially defined by and constrained by the culture in which they live…So the stereotypes we hear becomes the essence of who they are.We usually associate culture with a specific set of values and believes that define and sometimes constrain people’s ways of behaving , thinking, writing and speaking. However this view of culture does not really hold truth when we look at the hybridity and multiplicity of discourses, languages varieties and cultures we come across within a society. This view really comes from our nationalistic views which divides the countries into mutually exclusive national cultures. So, we get to hear people say “European culture, Black culture, Japanese culture” The problem with this view is that it does ignore the fact that people in the globalized world do not live in confined communities. So regardless of national boundaries, cultures change and flow. They are never static and unchanging.If you are not born in the U.S. like me and came here in your young adulthood, you will get this a lot. People will ask you “so, what culture do you come from?” You are from Turkey that must be why you are writing or speaking in this manner. No matter how long you live in one place, you will always be Turkish, Italian, Japanese” The problem with this view really is that it perceived people as almost agentless bodies who doesn’t have much choice over how they behave, Their behaviors will always be confined by where they originally come from. People really can belong to and move across multiplicity of cultures. So, you learn as time goes not to give a detailed response when someone jist asks you “ what’s up? How are you doing”—This one is especially important for language educators—we have to understand that students do not necessarily conform to the stereotypes of where they come from. If we meet a Middle Eastern women, we need to remember that she may not conform to the stereotypes that we often see in the media, which 1) she considers false and ignorant representation of who she is as a person 2) she may be quite different to what you are expecting her to be…
  2. Small cultures: non-essentialist in that it does not relate to the essence of ethnic, national entites.—when there is a discernable characteristics of a group: a group of TESOLers, a group of conference goers, a neighborhoodLarge cultures: it aims to explain behaviors in terms of ones ethicity and nationality—Small cultures are more concerned with social processes.
  3. We will deconsturct the images and representations we see in language education (media, textbooks, standards, beliefs by etc.)
  4. Political movement in reaction to modernism. Postmodern perspectives were born in early 21stcentur. —it rejects only one objective truthRealities are social consrtructs and therefore are subject to change. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, repfresentation, difference and agency. And, it basically attacts binary dichotomizations such as native speaker—nonative speaker, male vs female, white vs black…it holds realities to be plural and multiple. Philosohers and weriters associated with this paradigm include Jacques Derrida, Samuel Kuhn, Michel Foucault. iN literature: samuelbackett, ernesthemingway, Franz Kafka
  5. African-Americans, women, disabled, gays, learners if ESL,