Including cultural perspectives—The “why”
Jean LeLoup, USAFA & FLTEACH
Robert Ponterio, SUNY Cortland & FLTEACH
Bill Heller, Perry NY School District
NECTFL 2009; New York
April 16, 2009
What are we doing here?
II. Culture is not “the other”; Culture IS communication.
a. Culture & Communication can't be separated
We are interested in culture as closely integrated w/communication and represented through authentic materials, be they products or practices (artifacts or behaviors).
National Standards Executive Summary fom ACTFL (5Cs)
ACTFL/NCATE Program Standards for the Preparation of Foreign Language Teachers
3 Ps : Products, Practices, Perspectives (Triangle)
i. Why do they do this? Where does it come from? What does it mean?
ii. Culture as a system: Does one cultural Perspective relate to another? Are there many Perspectives interconnected with the Perspectives of other Products and Practices? IOW Might the culture be a complete system rather than a collection of isolated artifacts and behaviors?
b. What kind of culture Ps (products and practices) show up in your classroom?
Re-integrating culture into language lessons (WITH communication): It's not always easy.
The fact that culture is a separate standard doesn't mean it should be a separate lesson.
c. Examples, lots of examples...
i. Big "C" culture is culture too.
ii. Weather from my point of view....
iii. Numbers in real life:
- addresses / directions
- date - month, day, year?
- counting on fingers - video
- units - metric, containers
- US - first, middle, last (family name, given name)
- Vietnam - Nguyen, Le, Tran (family or clan), Thi = poem, Manh, Trong, Qui, Gia (order), Van (middle sometimes generation), Sen=lotus flower , Hoa=Flower, Anh=peace or safety - address by given name - 2 ways to refer to a married woman Mrs. + husband's given name or Mrs. + woman's full maiden name.
- Spain: first (María de algo), second or “algo”, then father’s surname, then mother’s surname - local video 5 meg / online video 1 meg / old RM video / new RM video 1.5 meg , new RM video 1 meg, /new RM video .6 meg3
- China: last name (father’s family name), first name; no middle name; in Taiwan, husband’s family name, then woman’s family name, then first name (Fan Hongli -> "first name" has 2 characters, Hong and Li)
- Iceland: surnames are just father’s or sometimes mother's name so phone book is organized by first names and people are addressed by first name. Halldór Ásgrímsson (former prime minister)
d. Finding the culture hook - activity
i. Sample skits w/o attention to culture (What's wrong here? Communication doesn't work if the grammar is right but the culture is wrong.)
ii. Lots of real-life examples
- Bricolaje? e.g. Laying tile, Do your own plumbing?
- Well behaved = bien élevé in France
- Local specialties & cultural identity: e.g. French cheeses, foie gras, US maple festival
- Health care : Sarkozy's recent talk at Columbia - (Societal responsibility of providing "universal" health care seems self-evident across the political spectrum in France.)
- Symbols: Colors & flowers (chrysanthemums, white, red)
- "Interpreting" the rules of the road - center line in Vietnam, red light, speed limit in France (obeying rules good/bad vs. arbitrary)
- Bargaining in the market - only a practice or "game" or is there a deeper meaning?
- Intra-cultural differences, b/w city and country, e.g. -> same country, different perspectives
iii. Your turn :
- Take a linguistic structure, a game, an activity, something you already do to present grammar.
- Is there a cultural perspective, a cultural hook that can take it up a notch? IOW highlight the meaning behind a related cultural component as a part of the activity.
III. Background on the 3 Ps
a. Mini-lesson on the 3Ps: culture triangle
b. Moving from Products & Practices to the Perspective.
c. Why do they do this? What does it mean? Where does it come from?
IV. Culture begins at home
a. US kids and their culture sensitivity
- Comparisons can be misinterpreted. (bigger, faster, more)
- If someone else's is "good", does that mean that mine is "bad"?
- Be wary of value judgments. Different doesn't mean better or worse.
b. US cultural syllabus - Activity (5 topics)
c. Thinking about our own culture
- Lámina educativa
- Alien: How would an ET view your school?
- El huevo de chocolate – website for childlore?
- Automobile in US culture lesson - historical perspective
- McD cup lesson
- Got Milk?
d. Human universals vs. cultural relativity (maternal instinct, war, food, education, health care, etc. - We all do these things, just not quite in the same ways.)
V. How do we get the perspective information?
- How do we find out more about what native speakers think or feel?
- Where do we get more information about why things are the way they are?
- What can we do to get a better understanding of what is lurking behind those products and practices?
- ACTFL/NCATE Culture Rubrics for FL teachers
- La Niñez (doc), Joaquín Torres García (doc)
b. Sample sources
- Personal experience - living in country
- Historical information - How does the past influence the present?
- Sociology & anthropology - Jamieson - Understanding Vietnam
- Intercultural communication / cross-cultural studies
Culture Shock (series - Vietnam, France, Cuba, Costa Rica)
Raymonde Carroll - Évidences invisibles , Polly Platt - French or Foe
- Web sites:
- Studies of the culture - Nadeau & Barlow - 60 million Frenchmen can't be wrong
- Interview native speakers
Research, living in the culture, native speakers, media, ... .
- Downloaded online videos (Lesson on downloading video from Bob's technology course:
VI. Manos a la obra:
a. Graphic organizers
b. NYS Syllabus topics
c. Sample lessons: demonstrations: (When you get home: We hope that you will be ready to draft a learning scenario that tackles a Product or Practice that you like to incude in your curriculum and help your students begin to get at possible Perspectives underlying it. )
VII. Questions? Comments?