Culture Learning and Teaching; A Birthday

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The Cultural Knowings Framework (Moran, 2001) is adapted to consider the ways to teach about a birthday party. Students learn the cultural significance of a birthday celebration, the cultural behaviors they will be able to participate in, and the opportunity to reflect in groups or individually about the importance of acknowledging age in their own culture and compare or contrast their knowledge with the new learned cultural knowledge, resulting in opportunities to consider oneself, how one feels about this cultural practice.

Reference:
Moran, P. (2001). Teaching culture: Perspectives in practice. (1 ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Heinle, Cengage Learning.

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Culture Learning and Teaching; A Birthday

  1. 1. Knowing About a Birthday Celebration <ul><li>What is the cultural information students need to acquire? </li></ul><ul><li>Students Learn: </li></ul><ul><li>Birthday celebrations are meant to honor a person. </li></ul><ul><li>They can be planned with the honoree's knowledge or made to surprise the one who is having the birthday. </li></ul><ul><li>There are common elements to a birthday celebration; a cake, candles, a song, gifts, jokes, cards and invitations. </li></ul><ul><li>There are different types of birthday celebrations depending on the honoree's age. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Knowing About Content: provide access to cultural information What we say (Happy Birthday!) . What we do (make a cake, provide a gift, sing “Happy Birthday” to the recipient.). Plan a birthday party or read about a birthday party. Write an invitation for a friend. Plan the day of the party considering the honoree's age, gender, and situation. Search for cards, presents, and jokes on the web. Language function: describing Activities: gathering information Outcomes: cultural knowledge Teacher Role: source/resource/elicitor
  3. 3. Knowing About Teacher Role: source/resource/elicitor Teacher supports discussion about aging. Teacher ask students to describe how birthdays in their culture are acknowledged and celebrated. (Group discussion and individual writing) Teacher ask students to consider a person they would honor with a birthday celebration. Teacher provides resources for discovery and brings in regalia. Content: self Language function: responding Activities: reflection Outcomes: self awareness/personal confidence
  4. 4. Knowing how to participate in a birthday celebration <ul><li>What are the cultural behaviors and language that students need to develop? </li></ul><ul><li>Students Experience: </li></ul><ul><li>Learn the words and tune of a common birthday song. </li></ul><ul><li>Student's sing the birthday song. </li></ul><ul><li>Students count and light the candles on a birthday cake. </li></ul><ul><li>Students choose an age appropriate gift and card. </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone shouts “surprise” or “Happy Birthday!” together. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Knowing How Content: cultural practices In groups, students sing Happy Birthday to one individual. Count and light candles on a birthday cake. (beginners-draw the correct amount of candles on a picture of a cake.) Choose an age appropriate gift and card from the web or a magazine. In groups, talk about how to throw a surprise birthday party. Language function: participating Activities: developing skills Outcomes: cultural behaviors Teacher Role: model/coach
  6. 6. Knowing How Teacher Role: model/coach Introduce the topic of birthdays. Teacher provides the music and encourages students to sing. Teacher ask students to consider feelings after singing the song. Teacher acts as party consultant while students discuss in groups ways of throwing a surprise party. (Teacher provides language to talk about feelings one might have if surprised on their birthday; fear, amazement, tears, shock, etc.) Content: self Language function: responding Activities: reflection Outcomes: self awareness/personal confidence
  7. 7. Knowing why people celebrate birthdays and do the things they do at birthday celebrations <ul><li>Key Cultural Perspectives Students Need to Discover : </li></ul><ul><li>Students explore how a birthday is celebrated in their culture of origin, and how this is the same or different than in the TL culture; kinds of foods prepared, gift giving, significance of age </li></ul><ul><li>Students explore jokes about birthdays and age in their own culture comparing them with the target language culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Students explore the difference between a child's birthday celebration and an adult's birthday celebration. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Knowing Why Content: cultural perspectives List several reasons why a birthday party might be meaningful to the people involved. Talk about possible reasons for making jokes about age. In what ways does the learner's culture acknowledge age and the passing of years/time? Do you celebrate youth or old age in your culture? Language function: interpret Activities: discovering explanations Outcomes: cultural understanding Teacher Role: guide/co-researcher
  9. 9. Knowing Why Teacher Role: guide/co-researcher Teacher provides resources for learning; list of websites, places to find greeting cards. Teacher asks students to consider the kinds of presents and the expense. Teacher can talk about language used to express feelings. Content: self Language function: responding Activities: reflection Outcomes: self awareness/personal confidence
  10. 10. Knowing oneself through personal responses to learning about birthday celebrations What are Students' Personal Responses? Students reflect upon their feelings about growing older. Students reflect on their attitudes towards birthday celebrations, considering their feelings about celebrations. Students reflect on the aspects of the birthday celebration and consider how they would feel if a surprise party was given in their honor.
  11. 11. Knowing Oneself Content: self Consider the average life expectancy of people in both cultures. Consider your attitude towards aging. (Group discussion) Talk and write about how you would feel if a surprise party was given in your honor. (Group and individual tasks) Language function: responding Activities: reflection Outcomes: self awareness/personal confidence Teacher Role: listener/witness/co-learner
  12. 12. Knowing Oneself Teacher Role: listener/witness/co-learner Teacher notes student's responses. Teacher helps with writing task. Teacher helps students use language of feeling; “I'm so surprised!”, “I can't believe it!”, “Thank you.” (Group work-Discuss how you would feel if a surprise party is given in your honor.) Content: self Language function: responding Activities: reflection Outcomes: self awareness/personal confidence

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