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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    5: Rooted in Culture

Examine the Topic

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

Library Video Chart
AssignmentNow that you have read the research and viewed the video discussion on integrating culture with foreign language study, you will examine the topic further by exploring the three components of the cultural framework: products, practices, and perspectives.

One of the challenges teachers face when introducing cultural products or practices is that these pieces of information can appear to be disconnected, like bits of trivia, and possibly lead to the stereotypes teachers hope to prevent. By using the cultural framework in their planning, teachers can instead ensure that culture is explored in a systematic and contextual way. The framework helps teachers tie together the disparate knowledge that they have about products and practices, and helps students begin to relate products and practices to perspectives and acquire a deeper understanding of culture overall.

A. Exploring the Cultural Framework

In the following interactive activity, you will use the triangle model of the cultural framework to explore how products, practices, and perspectives are interrelated and begin reflecting on how you might use it to plan lessons.
  1. First, read about a product common to many cultures. Then consider the practices and perspectives that could be associated with this product in your target culture. You will have the opportunity to do this with two different products and be able to see sample answers from two different cultures.
  1. Next, read about a practice that is common across different cultures. Consider the products and perspectives that you might derive from this practice based on your target culture. Again, you will have the opportunity to do this with two different practices, and sample answers will be available from different cultures.
  1. Finally, read about a general cultural perspective. Then think about the products and practices that could be derived from that perspective within your target culture. You will again be able to do this with two different perspectives, and read sample answers based on different cultures.
 Click on the image to begin. Click on the image to begin.

B. Reflect on the Activity

Now that you have explored the three Ps of the cultural framework, select a target culture for the language that you teach and use the triangle model to think about the interrelationship of products, practices, and perspectives associated with that culture. Also, consider the following:
  1. What are some of the key perspectives of your target culture? For example, what family values do the majority of people support? What beliefs about government, society, and religion predominate? What lifestyle patterns are evident? How is the past viewed? As you hypothesize about these perspectives, what products and practices do you see evolving from them?
  1. Go to a Web site written from within your target culture (e.g., an online newspaper or a city or provincial site) and scan for articles that either explicitly or implicitly address cultural practices. Then use these practices to begin reflecting on the perspectives and any potential products that connect to the target culture. Also, be sure to think about the historical roots of the practices and how the practices may have changed over time.
  1. The products of a culture can be tangible or intangible. Reflect on some of the intangible products of your target culture (e.g., music, the language itself, or literary characters) and consider how they may represent perspectives of the culture in the past and today.
AssignmentWrite a brief summary of what you learned from this activity to submit as an assignment.

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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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