Presentation on theme: "Techniques for Teaching Culture in the Classroom"— Presentation transcript:
1Techniques for Teaching Culture in the Classroom Joe McVeighMiddlebury, Vermont, USA
2a question of perspective Culturea question of perspective
3The Blind Men and the Elephant A Hindoo Fableby John Godfrey Saxe( )
4The Blind Men and the Elephant It was six men of IndostanTo learning much inclined,Who went to see the Elephant(Though all of them were blind),That each by observationMight satisfy his mind.
5The Blind Men and the Elephant The first approached the Elephant,And happening to fallAgainst his broad and sturdy side,At once began to bawl:“God bless me! But the ElephantIs very like a ______!”
6The Blind Men and the Elephant The second feeling of the tusk,Cried, “Ho! What have we hereSo very round and smooth and sharp?To me ‘tis mighty clearThe wonder of an ElephantIs very like a _______!”
7The Blind Men and the Elephant The third approached the animal,And happening to takeThe squirming trunk within his hands,Thus boldly up and spake:“I see,” quoth he, “the ElephantIs very like a ________”
8The Blind Men and the Elephant The fourth reached out an eager hand,And felt about the knee,“What most this wondrous beast is likeIs mighty plain,” quoth he;“ ‘Tis clear enough the ElephantIs very like a __________”
9The Blind Men and the Elephant The fifth who chanced to touch the ear,Said: “E’en the blindest manCan tell what this resembles most;Deny the fact who can,This marvel of an ElephantIs very like a __________”
10The Blind Men and the Elephant The sixth no sooner had begunAbout the beast to grope,Than, seizing on the swinging tailThat fell within his scope,“I see,” quoth he, “the ElephantIs very like a __________”
11The Blind Men and the Elephant And so these men of IndostanDisputed loud and long,Each in his own opinionExceeding stiff and strong,Though each was partly in the right,And all were in the _______ !
12a question of perspective Culturea question of perspective
16A Definition of Culture (Kohls 1996) Culture is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the total way of life of a given society.It includes everything that a group of people thinks, says, does, and makes — its customs, language, material artifacts and shared systems of attitudes and feelings.Culture is learned and transmitted.
18Exploring ValuesWhat are some key values of the target culture that you teach to?
19Exploring Values Traditional American values and beliefs Individual freedom and self-relianceEquality of opportunity and competitionMaterial wealth and hard work(Datesman, Crandall, & Kearny, 2005)
20Exploring Values: Cleanliness Bathing: do you use the same water?Eating: silverware vs. handsBlowing your nose: take it with you?Where do you keep your toilet?
21Exploring Proverbs The squeaky wheel gets the grease. You’ve made your bed now lie in it.
22Exploring Proverbs There’s more than one way to skin a cat. God helps those who help themselvesA bird in the hand is worth two in the bushCleanliness is next to Godliness
23Survival BasicsWhat are some elementary cultural norms that will help people adapt to the target culture that you teach to?
24Survival BasicsYou and a friend have gone to a restaurant in the United States. How do you pay for your meal?A) Pay the person who takes your order before your food comes.B) Pay the person who brings your food after your meal. Wait for them to bring change.C) Get up from your table and pay someone near the door before you leave.How do you know?
25Classroom CultureWhat types of cultural norms do ESL students need to learn in order to thrive in the academic world?
26Classroom Culture Plagiarism – proper source citation Participation – grades for “class participation” not too much or too littleMoving beyond repetition to critical thinking
27Register and Politeness How are you?Shut the damn doorIt’s getting very lateWe really should have lunch some time
28What does red mean?She turned red.He felt blue.He seems a bit green
29Culture AssimilatorsDescribe an incident in which an international visitor is faced with a dilemma, problem, or situation that has a cultural basis.Suggest four multiple choice explanations for why things happened the way they did.Prepare answers to explain.
30Culture AssimilatorA male American exchange student in Britain is in conversation with an English girl during a break between classes. The conversation is friendly enough until the boy compliments the girl on her pants. After this exchange, the tone of the conversation becomes decidedly frosty and the girl leaves abruptly. What, the American wonders, did he do wrong?
31Culture AssimilatorIn English culture, compliments between boys and girls imply a closer relationship than the two had.The girl viewed the compliment as an effort to persuade her to go out with him.The girl viewed the remark as inappropriate.The English regard Americans as overly aggressive and the boy proved their point.
32Culture Assimilator C. The girl viewed the remark as inappropriate. The American was unaware that in British English, the word “pants” is short for “panties” or “underpants.”
38Causes of Culture Shock being cut off from the cultural cues and known patterns which are familiar to you -- especially subtletieshaving your own values called into questionliving for an extended time in a situation that is ambiguousliving in a situation where you are expected to function normally but where the rules have not been explained
39Actions to take against Culture Shock Learn about the host country and actively pursue more information about itLook for logical reasons for everything (even if things don’t make sense to you at the time)Don’t succumb to the temptation to disparage the host culture.Identify a sympathetic host national and talk with themHave faith in yourself and know that the situation will improve with time
40Students as ExpertsStudents research a particular area of the target culture, then present their findings in written, oral, or poster form.Possible topics: food, work, holidays, attitudes towards money, family structure and life, education.
41What should we teach?What topics or content should we include when teaching students about culture?
42How should we teach culture? What are some techniques or ideas that you have for teaching culture as part of your class?
44Resources Althen American Ways (Intercultural Press) Clark ESL MiscellanyDatesman, Crandall & Kearny: American Ways (Pearson)Kohls Survival Kit for Overseas Living
45Additional Techniques Experiential learning (contact assignments)Intercultural lunchesObservation vs. interpretationTexts (Datesman, Gardner)Films and TV showsNon-verbal communication
46Non-verbal communication GesturesFit for a dogCome here -- It’s meFacial expressionsEye contactSpaceIntonationThe angry lunch ladies
47Cultural AwarenessI do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.—— Mahatma Gandhi
51More Tools for teaching culture Film, Video and TVSongs1:00pm Language Center Lounge
52Generalizations about culture To be human means to be part of a cultureCultures are complex and interrelated.There is no intrinsically “right” or “wrong” culture.
53More generalizations about culture All cultures are ethnocentricEvery group “enculturates” its young.If you stay within your own culture you don’t need to confront your own ethnocentrism.There are problems when people from one culture enter another, very different culture.
54What do colors mean in the language you are teaching? RedBlueGreenYellowOther?
55Language and cross-cultural thought patterns Language is a guide to social reality. (Boaz, 1911)Language is what defines experience (Sapir-Whorf)You can’t think what you can’t nameYou write the way you think (Kaplan, 1966) (USC)Contrastive Rhetoric
56Why language is not enough “Whopper” is not in the dictionary.Have you eaten yet?Would you like something to drink?