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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    5: Rooted in Culture

Put It Into Practice: Activity A

Introduction
Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Resources
Library Video Chart
Printouts
Assignments
Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

Activity A: Integrating Culture Into Themes

In this activity, you will use a thematic approach to organize the cultural content of a unit that you are planning to teach.
  1. Select a theme. Begin by selecting an organizing theme, such as a unit on school life in a target country. If you are using a textbook, you may be able to identify a theme that connects to chapter content. Draw a triangle representing the cultural framework from the National Standards, or use the Integrating Culture Into Themes (PDF, 55 K) form. Write your theme in the center of the triangle.

     triangle representing the cultural framework from the National Standards

  1. Identify products and practices. Using your selected theme, generate a list of products and practices that you would like students to explore. For example, products for a unit on school life might include the school curriculum, daily/yearly schedules, exams, dress codes, school facilities, and materials students are expected to provide. Practices might include state and school rules and regulations, classroom behavior, and dining practices. Be sure to include opportunities to show students how the products and practices have changed over time.
  1. Consider the perspectives. Next, consider the perspectives embodied in the products and practices, both past and present, that you would like students to reflect on. For example, products and practices related to school life can address perspectives such as the roles of the state, parents, and professionals in determining the curriculum, orientation of the school (e.g., religious versus secular, open access versus entrance exams), and expectations for students. These perspectives often have a historical basis, but changes do occur over time; contemporary social issues are reflected in today's schools.
  1. Plan your unit. Once you have listed several possibilities for products, practices, and perspectives, you can begin to integrate some of these areas into your thematic unit. First, review your list and narrow down the areas to the ones that best suit your curricular goals. Then plan how you will integrate them into the unit. Use the following questions to guide you:
  • What authentic materials and sources of information, such as film, videos, texts, and artifacts, will you use? How will you use them?
  • How will you break up topics for group or individual research?
  • What questions will students investigate as cultural observers?
  • Whom might students talk with to learn more about the target culture?
  • How would you assess this unit on culture?
AssignmentSubmit your thematic unit that integrates cultural content with language instruction as an assignment.

Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B


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5: Rooted in Culture > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
Resources | Library Videos Chart | Printouts | Assignments

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