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Strategies and techniques for teaching culture

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Strategies and techniques for teaching culture

  1. 1. In order to translate the goals for teaching culture into classroom practice, we need to followspecific Strategies and Techniques:Strategies:• The lecture• Native informants• Audio-taped interviews• Video-taped interviews/Observational dialogs• Using authentic readings and realia for cross-culturalunderstanding (a four-stage approach to a cultural reading ofauthentic materials is very effective to lead students through theprocess of guided exploration and discovery :1- Thinking, 2-Looking, 3- Learning, 4- Integrating) Strategies for Teaching the Value of Diversityby Christine Elmore- Yale-New Haven Teachers InstituteTechniques: Cultural Islands Culture Capsules Culture Clusters Culture Assimilators Critical Incidents/Problem Solving Culture Mini-Dramas Audio–Motor Units Cultoons Media/Visuals Celebrating Festivals Kinesics and Body Language Cultural Consciousness-Raising Independent Activity Sheets Cultural Artifacts/Artifact Study Cultural Scavenger Hunt Getting to Know your Classmates Deriving Cultural Connotations Hypothesis Refinement Decreasing Stereotypic Perceptions Using Proverbs in Teaching Cultural Understanding Humor as a Component of Culture: Exploring Cross-Cultural Differences Stimulating Discussion: Email & Listservs
  2. 2. 1.Information Sources2. Additional ActivitiesA- QuizzesB- Action LogsC- ReformulationD- NoticingE- PredictionF- Research3. Selling Points* Cultural IslandsFrom the first day of class teachers should have prepared a cultural island in theirclassrooms. Posters, pictures, maps, signs, and realia of many kinds are essential in helpingstudents develop a mental image. Assigning students foreign names from the first day canheighten student interest. Short presentations on a topic of interest with appropriate pictures orslides add to this mental image. Start students off by making them aware of the influence ofvarious foreign cultures in this country. Introduce students to the borrowed words in their nativelanguage or the place-names of our country. This helps students to realize they already knowmany words in the target language (i.e. poncho, fiesta, rodeo). Some of the foods they eat areanother example of the influence of foreign cultures (i.e. taco, burrito, chili).A good introductory activity is to send students on cultural scavenger hunts to supermarketsand department stores and have them make lists of imported goods.* Culture Capsules (developed by Taylor & Sorenson, 1961)Culture capsules are generally prepared out of class by a student but presented during class timein 5 or 10 minutes. The concept was developed by Taylor & Sorenson (1961). A Culture capsuleconsists of a paragraph or so of explanation of one minimal difference between a Lebanese andan Americans custom along with several illustrative photos and relevant realia. Miller (1974)has developed well-defined culture capsules into classroom activities.In Ursula Hendron’s article on teaching culture in the high school classroom, she suggests usingculture capsules. The culture capsule teachers through comparison by illustrating one essentialdifference between an American and a foreign custom (i.e. dating, cuisine, pets, sports). Thecultural insights from the culture capsule can be further illustrated by role playing. For example,Hendron suggests teaching dating customs in Spanish-speaking countries by creating an illusionof a plaza mayor in the classroom with posters, props, music or slides. Students pretend to beyoung Latin-Americans and act out a Sunday paseo.Brigham Young University also publishes culture capsules entitled “Culturgrams” for 100different countries. Each “culturgram” is divided into sections on family lifestyle, attitudes,customs and courtesies, and history. After studying these, students can compare and contrast theforeign customs and traditions with their own. "Infograms" which cut across cultures withtopics such as travel stress, keeping the law, and families, have been published.Culture capsules are one of the best–established and best–known methods for teaching culture.They have been tried mostly in classes for foreign languages other than English. Essentiallya culture capsule is a brief description of some aspect of the target language culture (e.g.,
  3. 3. what is customarily eaten for meals and when those meals are eaten, marriage customs,etc.) followed by, or incorporated with contrasting information from the students nativelanguage culture. The contrasting information can be provided by the teacher, but it isusually more effective to have the students themselves point out the contrasts.Culture capsules are usually done orally with the teacher giving a brief lecture on the chosencultural point and then leading a discussion about the differences between cultures. Forexample, the information which a teacher might use about the grading system at U. S.universities is included in the link. The teacher could provide all of the information at once orcould pause after the information in each paragraph and ask students about the contrasts they see.Some visual information, such as in handouts or overhead transparencies or pictures,supporting the lecture can also be used.* Culture Clusters (developed by Meade & Morain, 1973)A culture cluster is simply a group of three or more illustrated culture capsules on relatedthemes/topics (about the target life) + one 30 minute classroom simulation/skit that integrates theinformation contained in the capsules (the teacher acts as narrator to guide the students). Forexample, a culture cluster about grades and their significance to university students could containthe capsule about how a grade point average is figured plus another about what kind of decisions(such as being accepted in graduate study, receiving scholarships, getting a better job, etc.) areaffected by a persons grade point average.Culture capsules and clusters are good methods for giving students knowledge and someintellectual knowledge about the cultural aspects being explained, but they generally do notcause much emotional empathy.* Culture Assimilators (Developed by Fiedler et al., 1971)The culture assimilator provides the student with 75 to 100 episodes of target cultural behavior.Culture assimilators consist of short (usually written) descriptions of an incident or situationwhere interaction takes place between at least one person from the target culture andpersons from other cultures (usually the native culture of the students being taught). Thedescription is followed by four possible choices about the meaning of the behavior, action, orwords of the participants in the interaction with emphasis on the behavior, actions, or wordsof the target language individual(s).Students read the description in the assimilator and then choose which of the four optionsthey feel is the correct interpretation of the interaction. Once all students have made theirindividual choices, the teacher leads a discussion about why particular options are correct orincorrect in interpretation. Written copies of the discussion issues can be handed out to studentsalthough they do not have to be. It is imperative that the teacher plan what issues the discussionof each option should cover.Culture assimilators are good methods of giving students understanding about culturalinformation and they may even promote emotional empathy or affect if students have strongfeelings about one or more of the options.* Critical Incidents/Problem Solving
  4. 4. Critical incidents are another method for teaching culture. Some people confuse them withculture assimilators, but there are a couple of differences between the two methods.Critical incidents are descriptions of incidents or situations which demand that aparticipant in the interaction make some kind of decision. Most of the situations couldhappen to any individual; they do not require that there be intercultural interaction asthere is with culture assimilators.Individual critical incidents do not require as much time as individual culture capsules orindividual culture assimilators, so generally when this method is used, more than onecritical incident is presented. It is probably most effective to have all the critical incidentspresented at one time be about the same cultural issue. For example, the critical incidentslisted in the appendix to this chapter all deal with the issue of time, promptness, andscheduling.Generally, the procedure with a critical incident is to have students read the incidentindependently and make individual decisions about what they would do. Then the studentsare grouped into small groups to discuss their decisions and why they made them they waythey did. Then all the groups discuss their decisions and the reasons behind them. Finally,students have to be given the opportunity to see how their decision and reasoning compareand contrast with the decisions and reasoning of native members of the target culture. Ifthe ESL class is occurring in an English–speaking environment, students can be assigned togo out and survey native English speakers about how and why they would solve theproblem or make the decision required by the critical incident. Reports on the reasoningand the differences can be made in a following class session. If the class takes place in anEFL environment, the native speaker information would have to be gathered by theteacher from reading or from contact with expatriates. Sometimes advice columns like the"Dear Abby" or "Ann Landers" columns, can provide teachers both with critical incidentsor problems to be solved and with information about what native speakers would do andwhy.Critical incidents are very good for arousing affect (emotional feelings) about the culturalissue. Discussion or surveys about what native English speakers would do also promoteintellectual understanding of the issues and give learners basic knowledge about the targetculture.* Mini–Dramas (Gordens prototype minidrama, 1970)Mini–dramas consist of three to five brief episodes in which misunderstandings are portrayed, inwhich there are examples of miscommunication. Additional information is made available witheach episode, but the precise cause of the misunderstanding does not become apparent until thelast scene. Each episode is followed by an open-ended question discussion led by theteacher. The episodes are generally written to foster sympathy for the non–native of the culturethe "wrong" that is done to him or her by a member of the target culture. At the end of the mini–drama, some "knowing" figure explains what is really happening and why the target culturemember was really not doing wrong.With mini–dramas, scripts are handed out and people are assigned to act out the parts. Aftereach act, the teacher asks students (not necessarily the ones performing in the drama) what theactions and words of the characters in the drama mean and leads them to make judgments about
  5. 5. the characters in the play. After all of the scenes have been portrayed and the "knowing" figurehas made his or her speech, students are asked to reinterpret what they have seen in view of theinformation which the knowing figure provided.The first time mini–drama is used in an ESL classroom, it should promote quite a lot ofemotional feeling of the kind that really happens in intercultural misunderstandings. Mini–dramas always promote knowledge and understanding, but the great emotional impact usuallyonly happens the first time. Mini–dramas work best if they deal, therefore, with highly chargedemotional issues.Brislin et al. (1986) prepared 100 critical intercultural incidents in English.Intercultural Interactions : A Practical Guide (Cross Cultural Research and Methodology)(Hardcover)by Richard W. Brislin, Kenneth Cushner, Craig Cherrie - 1986* Audio–motor UnitsAudio–motor units consist of verbal instructions for actions by students which the studentsthen carry out. They work very well for any cultural routine which requires physicalactions (e. g., eating with a knife and fork, shaking hands, listening actively, standing in lineto buy a ticket, etc.).With an audio–motor unit, the classroom is set up as the required setting and with therequired props. Individual students are then directed orally by the teacher to carry outappropriate actions. The process can be repeated several times with different studentscarrying out the instructions. Once appropriate behavior is established, minor but relevantchanges can be made and students can see what factors require adjustment (e.g., Is itproper to shake hands with adults and children in the same way? If two come in togetherand have to pass in front of people, does it alter what anyone says or does?, etc.)Audio–motor units give knowledge and practice with correct behavior. They do notnecessarily promote understanding nor empathy.* CultoonsCultoons are like visual culture assimilators. Students are given a series of (usually) fourpictures depicting points of surprise or possible misunderstanding for persons coming intothe target culture. The situations are also described verbally by the teacher or by thestudents who read the accompanying written descriptions. Students may be asked if theythink the reactions of the characters in the cultoons seem appropriate or not.After the misunderstandings or surprises are clearly in mind, the students readexplanations of what was happening and why there was misunderstanding.Cultoons generally promote understanding of cultural facts and some understanding, butthey do not usually give real understanding of emotions involved in culturalmisunderstandings.* Media/Visuals
  6. 6. Magazine pictures, slide presentations, and/or videos are among the kinds of media/visualpresentations which can be used to teach culture. Usually with this method, the teacherpresents a series of pictures or slides or a video with explanation of what is going on andwhat it means in terms of the target culture. Many aspects of culture, such as appropriatedress for activities, kinds of activities students participate in or the weekend, publictransportation, etc., can be effectively presented with such visuals. The appendix for thischapter contains the script which might be used for a slide presentation about theimportance of the automobile and the independence it allows in the U. S.Media/visuals are usually very good at giving information and intellectual understanding,but, like several other methods of teaching culture, they do not cause students tounderstand the emotion which is involved with so many cultural issues.http://humanities.byu.edu/classes/ling577lh/culture.html* Celebrating FestivalsCelebrating foreign festivals is a favorite activity of many students. Even though thisactivity takes a lot of planning, it works well as a culminating activity. My Spanish-speaking students start by bringing in recipes from home and then we put our owncookbook together (See bibliography for Cooper’s book). We then prepare for the festivalby drawing posters, decorating the room, and preparing some of the foods in ourcookbook. At Christmas time, we fill a pinata with candy and learn some folk songs andfolk dances (Most textbooks have songs at the back of the book). This kind of activityenables student to actively participate in the cultural heritage of the people they arestudying.* Kinesics and Body LanguageCulture is a network of verbal and non-verbal communication. If our goal as foreignlanguage teachers is to teach communication, we must not neglect the most obvious form ofnon-verbal communication which is gesture. Gesture, although learned, is largely anunconscious cultural phenomenon. Gesture conveys the “feel” of the language to thestudent and when accompanied by verbal communication, injects greater authenticity intothe classroom and makes language study more interesting. Gerald Green in his book"Gesture Inventory for Teaching Spanish" suggests that teachers use foreign culturegestures when presenting dialogues, cueing students’ responses, and assisting students torecall dialogue lines (Examples of dialogues and appropriate gestures are given in thebook). At the beginning of the year, teachers can also show foreign films to students just tohave them focus on body movements.* Cultural Consciousness-RaisingAttitude is another factor in language learning that leads to cross cultural understanding.Helen Wilkes believes that the totality of language learning is comprised of three integratedcomponents: linguistic, cultural, and attitudinal. As foreign language teachers, we all teachthe basic sounds, vocabulary, and syntax of the target language. Above we have seenmethods of introducing culture into the classroom. The remainder of this paper will focus
  7. 7. on effecting attitudinal changes.Most foreign language teachers would agree that positively sensitizing students to culturalphenomena is urgent and crucial. Studies indicate that attitudinal factors are clearpredictors of success in second language learning. However, effecting attitudinal changesrequires planned programs which integrate cultural and linguistic units as a means tocross-cultural understanding. The following method for effecting attitudinal changes isadapted from Helen Wilkes’ article “A Simple Device for Cultural Consciousness Raisingin the Teenaged Student of French.” The organization of the notebook can be a useful toolin any discipline, but it can be of special importance in the foreign language classroom as acultural consciousness raising tool. Helen Wilkes suggests that from the very first day ofschool the foreign language teacher should have students begin organizing theirnotebook. The notebook should be divided into four sections: Vocabulary, Maps,Grammar, Symbols. Each section of the notebook will have an illustrated title page.* Independent Activity SheetsCULTURAL NAMESDIRECTIONS:Write the names of each of your classmates below. Ask each of them what cultural groupstheir parents and grandparents are from and list them next to their name. At the bottom ofthe page total the number of cultural groups in the whole class. Decorate the classroomwith flags or symbols for each cultural group.NAME CULTURAL GROUPClass Total:CULTURAL NAMES:NEIGHBORHOOD EXPLORATIONDIRECTIONS:Walk around your neighborhood and make a list of streets and stores that are named afterpeople. Next to each name write the cultural group that the name comes from. Ask yourteacher or parents for help. This will give you a record of the groups that have been or stillare in your neighborhood.STREET NAMES: CULTURAL GROUPS:STORE NAMES: CULTURAL GROUPS:* CULTURAL ARTIFACTS
  8. 8. DIRECTIONS:An artifact is an object or a thing. Some artifacts are of special importance or meaning to acultural group. Ask your parents or grandparents if they have an artifact from theircultural group that you could bring to school to tell the class about.ARTIFACT:WHERE IS THE ARTIFACT FROM?IMPORTANT OR INTERESTING INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARTIFACT:* CULTURAL SCAVENGER HUNTDIRECTIONS:Many of the things we buy are made in other countries. Read the labels on your clothes,shoes, household appliances, and other objects in the house. List where they come from.OBJECT: COUNTRY:* GETTING TO KNOW YOUR CLASSMATESDIRECTIONS:Many times we think we know students in class because we see them every school day. Butthere are many things about our classmates that we probably don’t know. Make a list ofquestions to ask students you don’t know very well. Interview them using your questions.As a conclusion to this activity each of you might introduce the person you interview to theclass.SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:What do you like to do in your spare time?If you could make three wishes what would they be?(Teaching Culture: Beyond Language by Deborah PeckYale-New Haven Teachers Institutehttp://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1984/3/84.03.06.x.html)Search this Site with Google:1. Information Sources
  9. 9. In order to get a comprehensive picture of the target culture from many angles, we need topresent our students with different kinds of information. The list below shows somepossible sources of information which can be used as materials for teaching culture. Byusing a combination of visual, audio and tactile materials, we are also likely to succeed inaddressing the different learning styles of our students.Videos, CDs, TV, Readings, Internet, Stories, Students own information, Songs,Newspapers, Realia, Fieldwork, Interviews, Guest speakers, Anecdotes, Souvenirs,Photographs Surveys, Illustrations, Literature2. Additional ActivitiesMany books which attempt to teach culture offer only discussion activities. Discussion is avaluable form of learning in culture, but we cannot expect all students to be able to discusscomplex issues at a high level in a foreign language. Often, even high-level students needsome preparatory activities with clear goals before they can proceed to discussion. Some ofour favorite activities are discussed below.A- QuizzesWe have found that quizzes are one of the more successful activity types. Quizzes can beused to test materials that you have previously taught, but they are also useful in learningnew information. For example, look at the simple true/false quiz about Ireland below.With a partner, answer true or false to the following questions.Ireland is totally dark during the winter.There is little snow except in the mountains.The population of Ireland is less than that of Aichi Prefecture.Ireland is about the same size as the island of Honshu.The United Kingdom includes the Republic of Ireland.The Coors, the Cranberries, U2, the Beatles and Enya are Irish musicians.Some Irish people think the Shinkansen connects Tokyo to Hong Kong.You should ask the students to answer true or false to each of the questions in pairs orgroups. They will share their existing knowledge and common sense to give answers. It isnot important whether students get the right answer or not, but by predicting, students willbecome more interested in finding out the right answer. The right answers can be given bythe teacher, through a reading, listening, or video. At this point, extra information can beprovided. For example, in answering question 7 above, I tell the story of the Irish mansitting next to me on an airplane who gave me this lovely nonsense.Here is a different type of quiz that can be useful for introducing the differences andsimilarities across cultures.Choose the odd one out of the following items:a) Earthquakes b) Sushi restaurants c) Snow d) High level of educationThe correct answer is earthquakes because you can find all the others both in Ireland and
  10. 10. in Japan, but there are no earthquakes in Ireland. Again, getting the correct answer is lessimportant than thinking about the two cultures.You can also ask students to quiz their partner about readings or other materials. Quizzesoffer a high-interest activity that keeps students involved and learning.B- Action LogsAn action log is a notebook used for written reflection on the activities done during classwhich also provides useful feedback for the teacher. Students write it up after each class orat the end of each class. By requiring students to evaluate each class activity for interestusefulness, difficulty, and , they must reconsider what they have learnt. Each student alsorecords their target for speaking English, what they think they actually achieve, the namesof their discussion partners, and their own comments on the activities. Some students get sointerested in the target culture that they write several pages in comments each week.C- ReformulationWhen students have read an activity or listened to a story, you may like to usereformulation to allow them to check what they have learned and to reinforce it byretelling it to a partner. Reformulation simply means : Explain what you just learned toyour partner in your own words. It is a very simple technique, but has proved verysuccessful for learning both culture and language. We often give readings for homeworkand require students to take notes on the content. These notes can be in the form ofpictures, keywords, or mind-maps.In the next class, we ask the students to reformulate the content of the reading with apartner using their notes without looking at the original paper. Reformulation is alsoeffective after watching a short video extract or listening to a story. Throughreformulation, students check what they have learnt, find out things that they have missedfrom their partner, and improve their language by noticing gaps in their own ability toexplain.D- NoticingAs students watch a video or are engaged with some other materials, you can ask them tonotice particular features. For example, they could watch a video of a target-culturewedding and note all the differences with their own culture. Asking students to noticegives a focus to the materials by making it into a task, rather than simply passive viewingor listening.E- PredictionAs mentioned above, prediction can be a useful tool in quizzes, but it can be equally usefulin using almost any materials. Like noticing, prediction can engage the students moreactively. For example, when you are telling a story, you can stop at a certain point and askthe students to predict how it will continue. Or, when you are giving out a reading forhomework, first give the title of the reading and ask students to predict what they willlearn. This will force them to review their existing knowledge of the topic and raise theircuriosity about whether their prediction is correct or not.
  11. 11. F- ResearchStudent research is one of the most powerful tools that we can use with college studentsbecause it combines their interests with the classroom. For example, after the first class, weask students to search the internet or library and find information on any aspect of thetarget-culture that interests them. In the following class, students explain to their groupwhat they have learned and answer any questions about it. This can lead to poster-sessionsor longer projects. For some students, it can even lead to a long-term interest in the target-culture.Some other types of activity that we have found useful include the following but with a bitof thought, most standard EFL activities can be easily adapted for use in the cultureclassroom. The most important point is to ensure that the students are actively engaged inthe target culture and language.GamesRole PlayField tripsReading activitiesListening activitiesWriting activitiesDiscussion activitiesSinging3. Selling PointsIn order to create cultural texture, we must be careful not to portray the culture asmonolithic, nor to only teach the pleasant aspects. Activities and materials should portraydifferent aspects of the culture. In other words, we need to sell different views of theculture to our students. Introducing deliberate contrasts within a culture can be useful.Some different selling points are contrasted below.Attractive vs. ShockingSimilarities vs. DifferencesDark aspects of culture vs. BrightFacts vs. BehaviorHistorical vs. ModernOld people vs. Young peopleCity life vs. Country lifeStated beliefs vs. Actual behavior
  12. 12. Lesson Plans by Grade LevelLessons that provide students with opportunities to reflect on the cultural patterns thatshape their perceptions. Activities are included to help students develop awareness of themany groups to which they belong and to build appreciation for the diverse cultures thatshare the planet.The activities included in this section address these goals by helping students identify thefactors that shape their individual views, promoting active appreciation for diversity intheir classroom and world communities, and providing tools for analyzing informationsources. Teachers are encouraged to review all the activities and to select or adapt thematerials that are most appropriate for their students.http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/guides/looking/contents.html#grade35+A Standards-Based Thematic Unit Using the Learning Scenario as An OrganizingFrameworkAn ACTFL Issues Paper by Alfred N. Smith, Utah State University
  13. 13. A Conceptual Model of Culture Learning:Earlier models (Brooks, 1975; Nostrand, 1974) tended to view culture as a relativelyinvariate and static entity made up of accumulated, classifiable, observable, thus eminentlyteachable and learnable "facts." This perspective focused on surface level behavior, but didnot look at the underlying value orientations, nor did it recognize the variability ofbehavior within the target cultural community, the participative role of the individual inthe creation of culture, or the interaction of language and culture in the making of meaning(Moore, 1991). By contrast, the more recent models mentioned above see culture asdynamic and variable, i.e., it is constantly changing, its members display a great range ofbehaviors and different levels of attention to the guiding value orientations, and meaning iscontinuously being constructed through human interaction and communication. Thismajor transformation in perspective has also been characterized by conceptual shifts fromculture-specific to culture-general models of intercultural competence, cultural stereotypesto cultural generalizations, cultural absolutes to cultural variations (within and acrosscultures), and culture as distinct from language to culture as integral to language.Language in this process plays a fascinating and complex double role: it is a medium for aswell as shaper of culture.Definition of culture learning:"Culture learning is the process of acquiring the culture-specific and culture-generalknowledge, skills, and attitudes required for effective communication and interaction withindividuals from other cultures. It is a dynamic, developmental, and ongoing process whichengages the learner cognitively, behaviorally, and affectively."Culture learning goals and outcomes:In this newer perspective, the learning goals shift from the memorization of cultural facts(including sociolinguistic conventions for language use) to higher order learning outcomesincluding: the acquisition of "interactional competence" (a term suggested by Allen andMoore at the 1996 culture conference in Minneapolis) and learning how to learn aboutculture. According to Paige (1997), such learning would include:1. learning about the self as a cultural being,2. learning about culture and its impact on human communication, behavior, andidentity,3. culture-general learning, i.e., learning about universal, cross-cultural phenomenasuch as cultural adjustment,4. culture-specific learning, i.e., learning about a particular culture, including itslanguage, and,5. learning how to learn, i.e., becoming an effective language and culture learner.
  14. 14. A Conceptual Model of Culture LearningBy Michael Paige, Helen Jorstad, Laura Siaya, Francine Klein, Jeanette ColbyA. Knowledge1. Culture-General: Intercultural Phenomenao cultural adjustment stageso culture shocko intercultural developmento culture learningo cultural identityo cultural marginality2. Culture Specifico "little c" target culture knowledgeo "Big C" target culture knowledgeo pragmaticso sociolinguistic competenceB. Behavior1. Culture General: Intercultural Skillso culture learning strategieso coping and stress management strategieso intercultural communicative competenceo intercultural perspective-taking skillso cultural adaptabilityo transcultural competence2. Culture Specific: Target Culture Skillso little "c" culture-appropriate everyday behavioro Big "C" culture-appropriate contextual behaviorC. Attitudes1. Culture Generalo positive attitude toward different cultureso positive attitude toward culture learningo ethnorelative attitude regarding cultural differences2. Culture Specifico positive attitude toward target cultureo positive attitude toward target culture personsCulture Learning in Language Education: A Review of the LiteratureMichael Paige, Helen Jorstad, Laura Siaya, Francine Klein, Jeanette Colbyhttp://carla.acad.umn.edu/IS-litreview/litreview.html
  15. 15. PersonalizationOnly by personalizing activities and content can we hope to lead students to better culturalunderstanding. We can start off by talking about a distant country, but this will only resultin stereotyping if we do not allow students to relate the same issues to their own lives. Andas every language teacher knows, students love to talk about themselves.Activities, not just DiscussionI was reading a book on teaching culture recently and had to laugh at one activity. Step 1 -introduce the material. Step 2 - Lead a lively discussion. This is probably possible withsome high-level students in some parts of the world, but for most foreign-languagestudents, instant lively discussion is an unlikely scenario. We have found that activities withsimple instructions and a clear goal such as quizzes or surveys are very successful evenwith low-level learners. It is very easy to extend such activities into open-ended discussionsif the opportunity arises. On the other hand, it is often impossible to transform open-endeddiscussion activities (usually with no clear goal) into activities which work effectively withlow-level learners.Suitable Level of DifficultyKnow your students. Even though you may see yourself primarily as a teacher of culture, ifyou are working with EFL students, you must constantly remember that they probably willnot understand everything that you say. It is not necessary that they understand everyword and indeed a challenge is wonderful for learning, but consistently using material or away of speaking that is too difficult is a sure way to make students lose their interest in atarget-culture.Make It InterestingOf course, the culture is interesting to you, so you presume that it will be interesting foryour students. However, imagine sometimes that you are studying the culture of a foreigncountry, one that you may have no intention of visiting. Pick out the interesting aspects of aculture and present them in a way that will engage students. By using the variety ofapproaches described above to create cultural texture and by employing your ownenthusiasm, you should also be able to create an exciting class for your students.Group-workStudents learn more in groups. They have more opportunities for using the targetlanguage, discussing the target culture, and gaining additional perspectives on their owncultural.
  16. 16. Dont Try to Cover EverythingYou cant. A culture is enormous. It consists of all the institutions, all the behavior, in factall the man-made aspects of a very large group of non-homogeneous people. All that we cando is provide some pathways to enter into learning more about the culture. After all, wenever know everything about our own culture. We should not be disappointed that wecannot teach everything but rather be happy that we are able to raise interculturalawareness at all.Learn Your Students Language and Culture and Understand Your Own CulturalBaggageOne of the oddest things in the world must be a language teacher who only speaks onelanguage or a culture teacher who only knows one culture. We are so immersed in our ownculture that we can only understand it by trying to see it from the outside. Imposing ourown values without making an attempt to understand our students values is imperialisticand arrogant. We must remember that intercultural understanding runs both ways.Practical Techniques for Teaching Culture in the EFL ClassroomBrian Cullenhttp://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/Techniques/Cullen-Culture.htmlCONCLUSIONThere is no question that the successful integration of culture and language teaching cancontribute significantly to general humanistic knowledge, that language ability and culturalsensitivity can play a vital role in the security, defense, and economic well-being of anycountry, and that global understanding ought to be a mandatory component of basiceducation.* Brooks, N. 1975. The analysis of foreign and familiar cultures. In Lafayette, R. (ed.). TheCulture Revolution in Foreign Language Teaching. Skokie, Illinois: National TextbookCompany.Buttjes, D. (1990). Teaching foreign language and culture: Social impact and politicalsignificance. Language Learning Journal, 2, 53-57.Finnocchario M. (1964), English as a second language: From theory to practice. New York:Simon and SchusterNostrand, F.B. & Nostrand, H.L.. 1970. Testing Understanding of the Foreign Culture//Seelye,H.N. ed. Perspectives for Teachers of Latin American Culture. Springfield, IL: Office of PublicInstruction, 123-127.Lafayette, R.C. (1978), Teaching Culture: Strategies and Techniques, Virginia: Arlington.
  17. 17. Lafayette, R. (1988). Integrating the teaching of culture into the foreign language classroom. InAllan J. Singerman (Ed.)., Towards a new integration of language and culture. Reports of theNortheast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Middlebury, VT: The NortheastConference.Page created on April 25, 2001 | Last updated on May 10, 2009Copyright © 2001-2009 Nada Salem Abisamrahttp://www.nadasisland.com/culture/Go to "Related Links"Nadas University Projects || Nadas Online MaterialsSecond Language Acquisition || Teaching Reading || Teaching Writing || Teaching IdiomsAffect in Language Learning: Motivation"Error Analysis: Arabic Speakers English Writings"

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