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Integrating Communication

Integrating Culture

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Integrating Culture

Culture: Expansion...

Adopted from WAFLT Summer Institute 2005 "Rethinking Culture: Broadening Students' Perspectives" (Pablo Muirhead)

Avoid Being Culture Bound

Hendon (1980) challenges the value-laden approaches used to study culture, as they tend to espouse an "us and them " (p. 192) manner of studying culture. Through the perpetuation of such a method of learning about culture, there is the added risk that students will become "culture-bound" (Hendon, 1980). She cites the Modern Language Association's Interdisciplinary Seminar in Language and Culture's definition of culture-bound individuals as those, "whose entire view of the world is determined by the value-perspectives he has gained through a single cultural environment-who thus cannot understand or accept the point of view of another individual whose values have been determined by a different culture-such a person may be considered culture-bound in his attitudes."(as cited by Hendon, 1980, p192)

As world language educators, our goal is to move students away from being culture bound. In order to do this, we must :

  • Be conscientious reflective beings: recognizes political nature of schooling, creates an environment where ethnocentrism, homophobia, and racism are challenged
  • Seek cultural and linguistic legitimacy: decenters dominant ways of viewing the world, legitimizes traditionally dominated cultures and non-standard language varieties, presents cultural perspectives from traditionally marginalized groups.
  • Develop intercultural communicative competence: recognizes this as a gradual process, moves beyond viewing "other" cultures from the outside in, but rather from the inside out.

To further explore the integration of culture, we recommend you view the video and related activities available from the Annenberg Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop: Rooted in Culture.

Additional videos demonstrating integration of culture in language classrooms that we recommend viewing include (VoD, video on demand is free and worth signing up to view them. This will not lead to spam email.):

Politics of Art - students read a letter written by prominent Colombian artists and intellectuals to Spain's prime minister. The letter is in protest of a new Spanish policy requiring Colombians to obtain a visa in order to enter Spain. VoD

Routes to Culture - students explore some historical and cultural aspects of the African presence in Latin America. VoD

Holidays and Seasons - students review the months, seasons, and German holidays. VoD

Touring a French City - students practice how to give and follow directions. VoD

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Last updated: August 14, 2006
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