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Culture & Comparisons


Connections & Communities

Connect-Reflect: Part 1
Connect-Reflect: Part 2



Integrating Communication

Integrating Culture


Curriculum Planning

Knowledge Base

Introduction to Wisconsin Standards
for Learning World Languages

Culture & Comparisons: Learn...

In the curriculum, the communication standards are overarching, with the culture providing the underpinning of all communication. Communication and culture cannot be learned in isolation from each other. Learning becomes enduring, meaningful, and valuable when communication and culture are linked in each instructional unit.

Comparisons lead us to see common concepts about language and about culture. The comparisons help students understand that as many similarities exist as differences. Furthermore, students gain a greater understanding of their own language and culture through these comparisons.

As stated in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century, Executive Summary (

Practices of Culture: This standard focuses on the practices that are derived from the traditional ideas and attitudes (perspectives) of a culture. Cultural practices refer to patterns of behavior accepted by a society and deal with aspects of culture such as rites of passage, the use of forms of discourse, the social "pecking order," and the use of space. In short, they represent the knowledge of "what to do when and where."

Products of Culture: This standard focuses on the products of the culture studied and on how they reflect the perspectives of the culture. Products may be tangible (e.g., an oral tale, a dance, a sacred ritual, a system of education). Whatever the form of the product, its presence within the culture is required or justified by the underlying beliefs and values (perspectives) of that culture.

Language Comparisons: This standard focuses on the impact that learning the linguistic elements in the new language has on students' ability to examine English and to develop hypotheses about the structure and use of languages. Through comparisons, students reflect back on their knowledge of their own language and culture and are able to recognize linguistic and cultural patterns present in a variety of interactions.

Please read Planning Curriculum for Learning World Languages guide, pp. 10-14 (middle of the page.) Focus on content related to culture and comparisons. Then read pp. 152-157, "The Role of Enrichment in Enhancing Language Acquisition."

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© 2004 Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers
Last updated: July 11, 2005