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Integrating Culture

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Integrating Culture

Culture: Learn...

"Every student who learns another language really increases his or her future oppportunities and expands our entire society's capacity for world understanding. Students really need to appreciate and have a respect for the backgrounds and perspectives of people from around the world." (Elizabeth Burmaster, WI state superintendent of public instruction, 2004. Quoted in the Post-Crescent, Nov. 2004.)

"I'm keeping my culture going." (Mainhia Vang, 15 year old heritage learner, credits her Hmong literacy class as she is now able to write essays in her native language.) (Patterson, Kara. "Language learning helps expand students' world." Post-Crescent Nov. 2004.)

"Culture is so vitally bound up with one's common identity that there is no need to argue for its relation to political struggle. It is arguing against it which would seem incomprehensible." (Eagleton, T. (2000). The idea of culture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.)

"Learning to see things culturally can be one of the best possible end products of our language courses, and it can be a part of the learner's experience from the very beginning." (Brooks, N. (1971). Culture-A new frontier. Foreign Language Annals, 5(1), 54-61.)

"Languages are embedded in culture and are born in culture." (Berman, R. A. (2002). Foreign languages and foreign cultures. ADFL Bulletin, 33(2), 5-7. )

"Study of language without access to cultural material is empty and represents a technical dumbing down of the curriculum." (Berman, R. A. (2002). Foreign languages and foreign cultures. ADFL Bulletin, 33(2), 5-7. )

"Too many culture courses emphasize only the rote memorization of cultural "facts" and fail to help students acquire the sensitivity to understand deeper cultural values." (Heusinkveld, P. R. (1985). The foreign language classroom: A forum for understanding cultural stereotypes. Foreign Language Annals, 18(4), 321-325.)

"Worst of all, students are apt to conclude that the rote memorization of a series of cultural facts is tantamount to gaining cultural insight and sensitivity." (Heusinkveld, P. R. (1985). The foreign language classroom: A forum for understanding cultural stereotypes. Foreign Language Annals, 18(4), 321-325.)

"It is my firm belief that the essential first step to cross-cultural sensitivity is the recognition that our own priorities, likes, and dislikes are shaped by our cultural background." (Heusinkveld, P. R. (1985). The foreign language classroom: A forum for understanding cultural stereotypes. Foreign Language Annals, 18(4), 321-325.)

"Our task as teachers is to make these constructs apparent and observable to students in the classroom, without putting the students on the defensive or reinforcing stereotypes." (Kramsch, C. (1983). Culture and constructs: Communicating attitudes and values in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 16(6), 437-448)

"Students are "exposed to" or "acquainted with" another culture only passively, on a tourist level so to speak, while retaining their American perspective." (Kramsch, C. (1983). Culture and constructs: Communicating attitudes and values in the foreign language classroom. Foreign Language Annals, 16(6), 437-448)

"The beauty of being a ruler is that one does not need to worry about who one is, since one deludedly believes that one already knows. It is other cultures which are different while one's own form of life is the norm, and so scarcely a 'culture' at all. It is rather the standard by which other ways of life show up precisely as cultures, in all their charming or alarming uniqueness. It is not a question of Western culture but of Western civilization, a phrase which in one sense implies that the West is a particular way of life, and in another sense that it is simply the locus of a universal one. Imagination, or colonialism, means that what other cultures know is themselves, whereas what you know is them. If this makes you disturbingly less settled than they are, it also gives you a cognitive and political edge over them, the practical result of which is that they, too, are unlikely to be settled for long." (Eagleton, T. (2000). The idea of culture. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.)

In order to develop intercultural sensitivity, one must understand the stages of this sensitivity and move beyond seeing sameness as fairness. Read about the Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity by Milton Bennett in the following 2 articles.

Milton J. Bennett, M.D.: A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity

Multiculture Toolkit For Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Summary

Next: Culture: Learn 2


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Last updated: August 15, 2006
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