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Integrating Culture

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Integrating Culture

Culture: Connect-Reflect...

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. Review the triangle model of the cultural framework linked below to reflect on products, practices and perspectives in your target culture.

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop. Annenberg Series. (

Activity 1: Now that you have read Bennett's stages of Intercultural Sensitivity and reviewed the cultural framework, answer the following questions. Try not to look back at the articles and see how much you remember.

Thinking about the stages of Intercultural Sensitivity according to Bennett, select which stage the student is at based on the quote. Feedback will appear in the box next to your selection.

1. These people don't value life the way we do.
2. I'm beginning to feel like a member of this culture.
3. The more cultures you know about, the better comparisons you can make.
4. Everywhere is home if you know how things work there.
5. I never experience culture shock.
6. I have this intuitive sense of other people, no matter what their culture.

Activity 2: Delving deeper into Bennett's stages of Intercultural Sensitivity, answer the following. Below are the skills needed to develop competence in the stages of Intercultural Sensitivity. Choose the stage for the appropriate intercultural skill level. Try not to look back at the articles and see how much you remember.

1. The ability to perceive others accurately/nonjudgementally
2. The ability to recognize difference
3. A culturally sensitive sense of humor
4. Tolerance and patience
5. Empathy and flexibility as well as risk-taking & interaction management skills.
6. Contextual knowledge of other cultures with respect for their values & beliefs

Personal Connection: Please copy and paste the following questions into your word processor or download the word document containing the questions. Then answer the questions and save the document for your professional development portfolio.

Integrating Culture Connect-Reflection: Word Document

Adapted from the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Workshop: Annenberg Media Series
Rooted in Culture > Put It Into Practice > Activity A

Integrating Culture Into Themes

  1. Select an organizing theme and write it in the center of the triangle. Using this theme, generate a list of products and practices you would like students to explore. Next, write down the perspectives embodied in these products and practices. When you are finished, review your list and narrow down the areas to the ones that best suit your curricular goals.

How will you integrate these products, practices, and perspectives into the thematic unit? You may use the following questions as a guide:

  • What authentic materials and sources of information, such as film, videos, texts, and artifacts, will you use? How will you use them?
  • What questions will students investigate as cultural observers?
  • Whom might students talk with to learn more about the target culture?
  • Through the use of assessment, what evidence will you seek to determine the extent to which students are moving through Bennett’s stages of Intercultural Sensitivity? 

© 2004 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. (

Next: Culture: Expansion

© 2004 Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers
Last updated: August 18, 2006