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1 Literary work: a medium to cross-cultural understanding and communication Within the workshop: The role of literary work in teaching and learning Isabelle.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Literary work: a medium to cross-cultural understanding and communication Within the workshop: The role of literary work in teaching and learning Isabelle."— Presentation transcript:


2 1 Literary work: a medium to cross-cultural understanding and communication Within the workshop: The role of literary work in teaching and learning Isabelle Lecomte M.A. (communication) February 9, 2008

3 2 Table of contents 1.Introduction 2.Literary work : What is it ? 3.What is culture ? 4.What is communication ? 5.What does cross-cultural communication mean ? 6.Literary work in English: cross-cultural communication ? 7.Two examples: The Kite Runner and Corruption 8.Literary work in the classroom

4 3 1. Introduction : concepts 1.Impossible to divorce from culture of language we are teaching 2.English is “globalized,” inc. through literary work in various types of English: cultural influence from location creates differences Speech (English), like behavior, is influenced by social variables 3.English words have cultural connotations 4.Cannot understand American or Australian perceptions of the world without studying texts from authors from these countries

5 4 2. Literary work : definition Includes Prose, drama, novels, essays, short stories, plays, etc., Text which are read (books on tapes or CDs)

6 5 8. Literary works in the classroom Material presenting issues important for that culture (to learn the appropriate vocabulary), ex.: books of Pramoedya Ananta Toer Purpose: learners link the values reflected in their own language, and those reflected in the new language

7 6 3. What is culture ? Def.: “The total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action.” Collins English Dictionary It is what we received from the past

8 7 Culture and traditional beliefs Local traditional practices dealt with rulers, authority, power, different ethnic groups, and languages. Earlier traditions are better than present values. (Golden Age of Rome, Renaissance…) Local values are retained. Whoever tries to reject, let alone, destroy them, risks sanctions by cultural authority. Whoever destroys local values will be excluded from the culture that dominates. (clothes) Community links based on shared past, a shared tribe, a shared nation and ethnic groups, and religious or educational background. People with different bases are not trusted as they are beyond this community. (intermarriage, business)

9 8 4. What is communication? Def.: “The imparting of exchange of information” Collins English Dictionary  Communication occurs between two agents. It is a two-way process. It is the result of negotiation of meaning –One person sends a message –The other person interprets the message according to his or her culture.

10 9 Theory of communication REPRODUCTION CULTURE I COMMUNICATION = NEGOTIATION The cross-roads between culture and communication History-based Geography- based © Bakti

11 10 Theory of communication Communication is radically different from culture 1. Culture is turned to the past 2. Communication is turned towards the future

12 11 Communication and negotiation Communication encourages people to work together Relationship based on mutual trust (from other ethnic group or religious background). (cities) A negotiation process promotes equality, and justice. Negotiation is supported based on the current and future needs. (uprooting, America) The past is not seen as the best of times. Present and future are opportunities to improve. One group of people is not higher than the others…. Trust between people and group becomes an objective, as opposed to links based on the past. (Bakti, 2004; Ravault, 1994)

13 12 5. What does cross-cultural communication mean? It is an exchange of information between individuals from two different cultures The sender of information is active, and the receiver is also active, as he or she interprets the information according to his or her own experience, background, religion and other values, etc.

14 13 Words need to be learnt in a context, in a cultural and geographical environment What is a “nice” café? What is an “ideal” dog? What is a “beautiful” house? What is a “good” looking girl?

15 14 6. Literary work in English: a cross-cultural communication A communication tool: As a medium, literary work is a bridge between the writer and the reader, 2 cultures Ex: books by Indian authors, Japanese authors, Indonesian authors Using literary work encourages cross-cultural communication By understanding another culture, students can apply a critical look at their own culture (they can compare)

16 15 Literary work addresses global / human issues Relationships between individuals Outlook on society Spiritual issues Gender issues Environmental issues Morality Class / hierarchy issues Behaviors Human rights Democracy Pluralism Lifestyle Civil society…

17 16 7. Two examples 1.The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Pulitzer Price 1.Corruption, Pramoedya Ananta Toer

18 17 7.1. The Kite Runner : Summary A well-off boy (the author) in Kabul, Afghanistan, and his friendship with the son of a servant. How the rich boy failed to protect the poor boy How this experience hauted him well after his emigration to the United States Able to escape to Afghanistan, he is however called back to Kabul by his dying uncle Finding out his friend has died and left a son, the author adopts this son, having been told that his friend was actually his half-brother.

19 18 The Kite Runner : What do we learn ? In Afghanistan The historical and geographical context The classes and their relations The symbols, behavior associated with status (impossible for servants to fight back : HR issues) Relationship between men and women The suffering associated with war

20 19 The Kite Runner : What do we learn ? In the United States The pluralism which exists in the US Please loose their previous status and rebuild a new status based on work The difficulty of immigration

21 20 The Kite Runner : What do we learn ? Back in Afghanistan Afghanistan is seen through the eyes of a new American Afghanistan is the old life, the US is the new life : represents the typical american dream

22 21 7.2. Corruption : Summary A civil servant is happy and proud of his honest life. His spouse and family, however, compare their life with that of other civil servants and they want to have more money. Little by little, he enters the spiral of corruption, seduced by his new wealthy lifestyle. He gets more and more caught in the rules of corruption and falls into a spiral of compromises from which he cannot get untangled.

23 22 Corruption : What do we learn ? The historical and geographical context The classes and their relations The life of civil servants The working of a bureaucracy The communication approaches in the society described The symbols, behavior associated with status (tie) Relationship between husband and wife

24 23 How to use literary texts in the English classroom Ask students to identify the issues addressed Ask them to identify vocabulary used Use to initiate debates, ask students to compare the way the issue is addressed here Look for the values implicit in the text * For ex.: does the text appeal to reason, to scientific knowledge, to emotions, to past beliefs, to traditions

25 24 Conclusion : Studying literary work in the language classroom Makes students more aware of belonging to the human civilization as a whole: bridge between cultures Makes students more aware of issues important in a specific culture and society Enables students to discuss the issues important in that culture (use of voc., ref.) Helps students become critical about their own values and other values Helps students to learn other cultures, in particular the culture of the language they study, and compare with their own.

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