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Teaching Cultural Competence

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching Cultural Competence"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching Cultural Competence

2 Agenda Introductions What is culture in your classroom?
Teaching culture and cultures at EF What the Common European Framework says From theory to practice Personal directions The aim of this presentation is to talk about the Council of Europe Common European Framework’s approach to recognizing the role of culture in language learning. We will look at a detailed list of cultural topics we can include in our courses. We will also look at specific projects EF has done to highlight culture in the classroom. This includes textbooks, software, activities and exchange programs. First of all, I’m ( INTRODUCE YOURSELF). Can I ask you to introduce yourselves? Where are you from and who do you teach? You can use the text chat feature to have people write more about themselves as well if they are shy or having trouble with microphones. Then, walk through the agenda so they know what is coming. Suggest that at the end we can share more about what we can do in the future.

3 Over 400 schools and offices
English immersion in 8 countries UK Ireland Malta USA Canada Australia New Zealand South Africa English in other environments English First English First Smart Schools English First Kids EF Corporate Language Training Additional languages taught: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese ILS London ILS Cambridge Within EF there are over 400 schools and offices located throughout the world. Most of our programs are for learning English, but we also teach a number of other languages. Our students may study at home, online, in their company or abroad. This can be done in groups or individually. This gives us lots of experience with working across cultures, both at home and in the classroom. For over 40 years we have been designing and refining how we teach both language and culture to help students in all these environments. ILS Boston

4 125 nationalities in our schools
As an illustration, this chart shows how we have over 125 nationalities represented in our overseas schools. It’s too small to read the countries, it’s just an illustration. These students come from everywhere, so in any school, in any classroom, there will be a fantastic mix. When studying abroad, students are learning not only the language but also skills to succeed in the host culture. Immersion both in the language and the culture. Having this international mix gives both students and teachers the opportunity to make the most of the classroom time to explore culture. This is also between students as well as with the host culture. We encourage students to get to know not only the host culture, but also more about other cultures. This helps prepare them for work, study, travel and life in general. Perhaps you would like to share your experiences here. Where do your students come from? One place or many?

5 Discussion How do you define culture?
What do our students think culture is? What is the difference between ‘Culture’ and ‘culture’? Culture culture Depending on how talkative your audience is, this is a good discussion pause. We often talk about culture, but it can mean so many things to people. What does culture mean to you? Is it art, literature, or body language, for example? Suggest some of your own thoughts. What do students think of as culture and what do they think is important to learn? Explain that anthropologists and educators sometimes refer to culture as big C culture and little c culture. Big C ‘Culture’ is used to mean things like fine arts, theatre, music, literature: works and ideas representing ideals of a people. Little c ‘culture’ is used more generally to look at behaviour and how people agree to invisible ‘rules’ or shared values. There are different ‘cultures’ within what we refer to as ‘culture’ – business culture may differ from normal social behaviour and there are aspects of youth culture with some students will appreciate learning. Use the text tool of the whiteboard to note items under each column as you go along. Write words like ‘music’ under Culture and ‘body language’ under culture. You can use any of the topics following this under culture. Etiquette Sports

6 Teaching culture and cultures at EF
Going back to my context in EF. At EF, students can be taught in a number of environments. We teach them overseas in the host language and culture, where they often live with families or international residences. When overseas they may be in school environments with an academic focus (International schools, Brittin College)), or they may be in seasonal holiday language programs in groups (LT). We teach professionals in companies or online as well as overseas (Corporate Training). We teach students in their own countries (English First) where the students will be from the same first language and country. We also teach students purely online, where they can come from anywhere at all at any time of day or night in our live classes online (ENGLISHTOWN). No matter where they come from, our curriculum is designed to expose students to native speakers and to show them interacting in real situations. Showing them how people behave in real life helps students to see models they can learn from. So, in the middle of the circle here is really what is shared among all these learning environments: the core language and cultural topics that we teach.

7 The Common European Framework
Beyond language teaching… Knowledge of the world Sociocultural knowledge Practical skills: social, living, vocational Intercultural skills Self-knowledge: attitude, motivation, values, believes, cognitive style, personality Culture and language are both complex areas of knowledge. The Common European Framework, designed by the Council of Europe, is a document that helps explain what people can do at different levels. It discusses in detail all the different key skills and competences. These are mostly from a language perspective (intermediate students can read these texts with X amount of understanding, etc) Crucially, the Framework was designed to be language-neutral. It can be used for any language, not just English. It look at behaviour rather than specific language items like English spelling or French verbs. Beyond language teaching, though, the Framework also describes other skills that relate to performance in a language or culture. There are sections on culture, practical skills, and even personality and motivation. For this seminar we are focusing just on culture. The Framework provides a list of cultural competences that can be part of your language teaching. We will go over these skills one by one, then look at some examples of projects we at EF have been doing to help use them in our teaching.


9 Living conditions living standards (with regional, class and ethnic variations) housing conditions welfare arrangements

10 Everyday living food and drink, meal times, table manners
public holidays working hours and practices leisure activities (hobbies, sports, reading habits, media) Knowledge of the society and culture of the community in which a language is spoken is only one aspect of knowledge of that milieu. It is however important, because unlike other aspects of knowledge it is likely to lie outside the learner’s previous experience and may be distorted by stereotypes.

11 Interpersonal relations
relations of power and solidarity relations between classes relations between sexes (gender, intimacy) family structures and relations relations between generations relations in work situations relations between public and police, officials, etc. race and community relations relations among political and religious groups

12 Values, beliefs and attitudes
social class occupational groups (academic, management, public service, skilled and manual workforces) wealth (income and inherited) regional cultures security institutions tradition and social change history, especially iconic historical personages and events minorities (ethnic, religious) national identity foreign countries, states, peoples politics arts (music, visual arts, literature, drama, popular music and song) religion humour

13 Body language Knowledge of the conventions governing such behaviour form part of the user/learner’s sociocultural competence

14 Social conventions punctuality presents dress
refreshments, drinks, meals behavioural and conversational conventions taboos length of stay leave-taking

15 Ritual behaviour religious observances and rites
birth, marriage, death audience and spectator behaviour at public performances and ceremonies celebrations, festivals, dances, discos, etc.

16 Intercultural awareness
Negotiating the relationship from ‘origin’ to ‘target community’ Knowledge, awareness and understanding of the relation (similarities and distinctive differences) between the ‘world of origin’ and the ‘world of the target community’ produce an intercultural awareness. It is, of course, important to note that intercultural awareness includes an awareness of regional and social diversity in both worlds. It is also enriched by awareness of a wider range of cultures than those carried by the learner’s L1 and L2. This wider awareness helps to place both in context. In addition to objective knowledge, intercultural awareness covers an awareness of how each community appears from the perspective of the other, and again we are back to the possibilities of national stereotypes.

17 From theory to practice
How do you get culture in front of students? Materials? Activities? Networking? Exchanges? Host families?

18 Culture Files Guides to host culture Destinations and topics New language Practice activities Personal reflections Diary and sketchbook Contact list Developed by teachers

19 Culture Files Guides to host culture Destinations and topics New language Practice activities Personal reflections Diary and sketchbook Contact list Developed by teachers


21 Englishman on the Road Guest teachers Sent from ILS Great reviews
Fun topics Contact your local EF office to request a guest teacher.

22 Conclusion What is culture in your classroom?
Teaching culture and cultures at EF What the Common European Framework says From theory to practice Text to come

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