The use of the linguacultural texts in teaching undergraduate degrees
Information about the language and culture and their interpretation in the course of a foreign language. Activities that can be used in the lesson, activities and role-playing games. The value of the teaching of culture together with the language.
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The theme of the course paper is Using linguacultural texts in teaching students of senior stages. …the teacher must relate language to culture if a coordinate system is to result from the learner's efforts. As language teachers we must be interested in the study of culture (in the social scientist's sense of the word) not because we necessarily want to teach the culture of the other country but because we have to teach it. If we teach language without teaching at the same time the culture in which it operates, we are teaching meaningless symbols or symbols to which the student attaches the wrong meaning; for unless he is warned, unless he receives cultural instruction, he will associate British/American concepts or objects with the foreign symbols.
This paper argues for a new interpretation of culture, which potentially challenges traditional views of culture common in discussions of foreign and second language learning. The progressive theory of culture allows us to restructure the curriculum in ways that highlight learner participation, the importance of social transaction, and the role of tension in promoting learning.
The novelty of this research is that it gives a new insight to the learning of lniguacultural texts and communication in general.
The aim of this work is to investigate the theoretical and practical sides of teaching language together with culture.
To achieve my aim I set forth the following objectives:
To study the interpretation of language and culture
To investigate the role and place of culture in language learning
To find out as much interesting ways to teach linguacultural texts
To single out peculiar features related to text, especially the context of culture.
Practical and theoretical value of this paper: The results of this work may be helpful to other students, to teachers who work in these sphere, and to anyone who is interested in that interesting theme.
While studying my theme I used methods of investigation, such as method of observation and analysis and method of comparison.
Structure of the course paper: The paper consists of Introduction, 2 parts: 1.Theoretical bases of linguacultural communication and education; 2. A practical analysis of using linguacultural texts in teaching; Conclusion, Bibliography and Appendix.
Introduction tells the theme, aim, objectives, structure and the titles of the parts.
Part 1 is devoted to Theoretical bases of linguacultural communication and education.
Part 2 finds out about how to make use of culture in language learning.
Conclusion of my research gives the results of my research with my own opinion on this theme.
Appendix includes the 8 texts used on the lessons.
Part I Theoretical bases of linguacultural communication and education
1.1 Language and culture
It has been seen that language is much more than the external expression and communication of internal thoughts formulated independently of their verbalization. In demonstration the inadequacy and inappropriateness of such a view of language, attention has already been drawn to the ways in which one's mother tongue is intimately and in all sorts of details related to the rest of one's life in a community and to smaller groups within that community. This is true of all peoples and all languages; it is a universal fact about language.
Anthropologists speak of the relations between language and culture. It is, indeed more in accordance with reality to consider language as a part of culture. “Culture” is here being used in the anthropological sense to refer to all aspects of human life insofar as they are determined or conditioned by membership in a society. The fact that a man eats and drinks is not itself cultural; it is a biological necessity that he does so for the preservation of life. That he eats particular foods and refrains from eating other substances, though they may be perfectly edible and nourishing, and that he eats and drinks at particular times of day and in certain places are matters of culture, something “acquired by man as a member of society”, according to the now-classic definition of culture by the English anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Tylor. As thus defined and envisaged, culture covers a very wide area of human life and behaviour; and language is manifestly a part, probably the most important part, of it.
Although the faculty of language acquisition and language use is innate and inherited, and there is legitimate debate over the extent of this innateness, every individual's language is “acquired by man as a member of society”, along with and at the same time as other aspects of that society's culture in which he is brought up. Society and language are mutually indispensable. Language can have developed only in a social setting, however this may have been structured, and human society in any form even remotely resembling what is known today or is recorded in history could be maintained only among people speaking and understanding a language in common use.
There is no reason to believe that animal behaviour has materially altered during the period available for the study of human history, say the last 5,000 years or so, except, of course, when man's intervention by domestication or other forms of interference has itself brought about such alterations. Nor do members of the same species differ markedly in behaviour over widely scattered areas, again apart from differences resulting from human interference. Bird songs are reported to differ somewhat from place to place within species, but there is little other evidence for areal divergence. By contrast with this unity of animal behaviour, human cultures are as divergent as are human languages over the world, and they can and do change all the time, sometimes with great rapidity, as among the industrialized nations of the 20th century.
The processes of linguistic change and its consequences will be treated below. Here, cultural change in general and its relation to language will be considered. By far the greatest part of learned behaviour, which is what culture involves, is transmitted by vocal instruction, not by imitation. Some imitation is clearly involved, especially in infancy, in the learning process, but proportionately this is hardly significant.
Though the use of language, any skills, techniques, products, modes of social control, and so on can be explained, and the end results of anyone's inventiveness can be made available to anyone else with the intellectual ability to grasp what is being said. Spoken language alone would thus vastly extend the amount of usable information in any human community and speed up the acquisition of new skills and the adaptation of techniques to changed circumstances or new environments. With the invention and diffusion of writing, this process widened immediately, and the relative permanence of writing made the diffusion of information still easier. Printing and the increase in literacy only further intensified this process. Modern techniques for almost instantaneous transmission of the written and spoken word all over the globe, together with the rapid translation services now available between the major languages in the world, have made it possible for usable knowledge of all sorts to be made accessible to people almost anywhere in the world in a very short time. This accounts for the great rapidity of scientific, technological, political, and social change in the contemporary world. All of this, whether ultimately for the good or ill of mankind, must be attributed to the dominant role of language in the transmission of culture.
Language is transmitted culturally; that is, it is learned. To a lesser extent it is taught, when parents deliberately encourage their children to talk and to respond to talk, correct their mistakes, and enlarge their vocabulary. But it must be emphasized that children very largely acquire their mother tongue (i.e., their first language) by “grammar construction” from exposure to a random collection of utterances that they encounter. What is classed as language teaching in school either relates to second-language acquisition or, insofar as it concerns the pupils' first language, is in the main directed at reading and writing, the study of literature, formal grammar, and alleged standards of correctness, which may not be those of all the pupils' regional or social dialects. All of what goes under the title of language teaching at school presupposes and relies on the prior knowledge of a first language in its basic vocabulary and essential structure, acquired before school age.
If language is transmitted as part of culture, it is no less true that culture as a whole is transmitted very largely through language, insofar as it is explicitly taught. The fact that mankind has a history in the sense that animals do not is entirely the result of language. So far as researchers can tell, animals learn through spontaneous imitation or through imitation taught by other animals. This does not exclude the performance of quite complex and substantial pieces of cooperative physical work, such as a beaver's dam or an ant's nest, nor does it preclude the intricate social organization of some species, such as bees. But it does mean that changes in organization and work will be the gradual result of mutation cumulatively reinforced by survival value; those groups whose behaviour altered in any way that increased their security from predators or from famine would survive in greater numbers than others. This would be an extremely slow process, comparable to the evolution of the different species themselves.
1.2 Role and place of culture in education
The fact that culture is part of education can be derived from Tylor's definition of culture:
Culture or Civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.
There are then, beliefs, customs and habits which can be roughly qualified under a small “c”, that is culture associated with the way people live and the big “c” is a culture which encompasses knowledge, art, morals and law which forms the framework for the popular culture and becomes the cultural heritage of a target language country.
As the Practical English module forms a substantial part of the learning curriculum it might be justifiable to say that, if it is feasible, it should at least partially be the role of Practical English teachers to impart some knowledge about “ways of all people” to students in Years Three would then be to focus on those elements of culture that would complement well-established courses like history, literature and British Studies. The British Culture course cannot however, be perceived as mere information, as it is a content subject with educational objectives. The main one being the achievement of cultural competence within specified subject areas such as art, architecture, cinema, music, sport or theatre.
The culture of the target language and sociocultural aspects of the language enhance the knowledge of that country which in turn promotes international understanding. The Polish borders being open means that there are a lot of possibilities for young people to travel and to get to know the world. But most of all, it is the planned European Union expansion to the east that will bring change into foreign language methodology and the choice of teaching materials in the classroom.
Continuing education and teacher development. When in 1868 James Stuart, the first University of Cambridge professor of Mechanical Engineering, started a series of lectures to the workmen of Crewe he meant to deliver them:
…in the hope of perhaps commencing in some of you a thread whose strands are pleasure and instruction, which some of you may perhaps keep spinning all through your lives.
If we agree that education means permanent education then the aim of education is no longer restricted to youth and specific qualifications but it always open to questions and review. If teachers of English pursue their interests through culture they will not only continue their education but they will develop as teachers.
As Piaget asserts:
The precondition of all future pedagogical reform is the training of teachers.
( Fragniere 1976)
Autonomous Learning. The role of the English language culture teacher is to assist and guide the independent exploring of culture by students at any level.
In “education Without Frontiers” from 1976 the author foresees that:
With autonomous learning, this one way teaching relationship will give way to more spontaneous behaviour on the part of the pupil. The process of teaching will become an exchange and not a passive pupil facing a dominant and knowledgeable teacher.
The teaching of culture can become, then:
…an education based on contract.
(Schwartz in Fragniere 1976)
In the classroom students will work on activities offered by the teacher and learn how to pursue their interests in culture through books, multimedia or the Internet.
Why activity based learning of culture?
Culture can provide a basis for a great number of activities which in turn offer students opportunities to get away from stereotyped and conditioned responses and develop their own critical-thinking skills. As to the methodology of the teaching of culture there are no hard and fast rules concerning it. Chastain (1989) talks about Modes of Presenting Culture such the culture aside approach, a slice of life technique or a culture capsule. However, in view of what Byram says about a largely intuitive practice in culture teaching the model of teaching culture adopted on the Bydgoszcz TTC British Culture course seems to be justified.
In the absence of a fully developed methodology(of teaching culture), however, intuitive techniques may be equally valid and ultimately absorbed into methodology.
Another point made by Buttjes is worth considering:
…a view of cultural studies as an acquisition of foreign socio-cultural meanings is particularly well served by working through visual and spoken media and texts as well as written ones.
Paintings, architecture and film are based on visual concepts and these concept appeal to students. In order to present these elements of culture we can use the following visual aids: xerox-copies, black and white or colour ones, transparencies, both black and white or colour ones, slides, posters, video documentaries, featuring films, film experts or stills, postcards, tourist brochures and leaflets.
In this way students' interests in the target culture are stimulated. The aim of these activities is to show students that when talking about painting, for example, there is more to it than personal reaction. Frances Sword, Education Officer at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, says:
You have to work them to a pitch where they're not just going to say “I don't like it” or “This doesn't make sense.”
Thanks to these suggested activities students' thinking is stretched, unexpected reactions are heard and also all the four skills are practised. In this way introducing culture in the foreign language classroom leads to creativity and offer inspiration both to learners and teachers who can so easily get lost in the daily grind.
1.3 Theory of teaching linguacultural texts
What a text is? What do we mean by text? We can define text, in the simplest way perhaps, by saying that it is language that is functional. By functional, we simply mean language that is doing some job in some context, as opposed to isolated words or sentences that I might put on the blackboard. (These might also be functional, of course, if I was using them as linguistic examples.) So any instance of living language that is playing some part in a context of situation, we shall call a text. It may be either spoken or written, or indeed in any other medium of expression that we like to think of.
The important thing about the nature of a text is that, although when we write it down it looks as though it is made of words and sentences, it is really made of meanings. Of course, the meanings have to be expressed, or coded, in words and structures, just as these in turn have to be expressed over again - recoded, if you like - in sounds or in written symbols. It has to be coded in something in order to be communicated; but as a thing in itself, a text is essentially a semantic unit. It is not something that can be defined as being just another kind of sentence, only bigger.
Thus, we cannot simply treat a theory of text as an extension of grammatical theory, and set up formal systems for deciding what a text is. It is by no means easy to move from the formal definition of a sentence to the interpretation of particular sentences of living language; and this problem is considerably greater in the case of the text. Because of its nature as a semantic entity, a text, more than other linguistic units, has to be considered from two perspectives at once, both as a product and as a process. We need to see the text as product and the text as process and to keep both these aspects in focus. The text is a product in the sense that it is an output, something that can be recorded and studied, having a certain construction that can be represented in systematic terms. It is a process in the sense of a continuous process of semantic choice, a movement through the network of meaning potential, with each set of choices constituting the environment for a further set.
Context of culture. Much of the work of learning a foreign language consists in learning to make the right predictions. If the student coming into school with a first language other than English finds difficulty in using English to learn with, this is likely to be in part because he has not yet learnt to expect in English - to use the context in this predictive way. T
The context of situation, however, is only the immediate environment. There is also a broader background against which the text has to be interpreted: its CONTEXT OF CULTURE. Any actual context of situation, the particular configuration of field, tenor, and mode that has brought a text into being, is not just a random jumble of features but a totality - a package, so to speak, of things that typically go together in the culture. People do these things on these occasions and attach these meanings and values to them; this is what a culture is.
The school itself provides a good example of what in modern jargon could be called an “interface” between the context of situation and the context of culture. For any “text” in school - teacher talk in the classroom, pupil's notes or essay, passage from a textbook - there is always a context of situation: the lesson, with its concept of what is to be achieved; the relationship of teacher to pupil, or textbook writer to reader; the “mode” of question-and-answer, expository writing, and so on. But these in turn are instances of, and derive their meaning from, the school as an institution in the culture: the concept of education, and of educational knowledge as distinct from commonsense knowledge; the notion of the curriculum and of school “subjects”; the complex role structures of teaching staff, school principals, consultants, inspectorate, departments of education, and the like; and the unspoken assumptions about learning and the place of language within it.
All these factors constitute the context of culture, and they determine, collectively, the way the text is interpreted in its context of situation. It is as well to know what we are assuming, as teachers, when we stand up in front of a class and talk, or when we set pupils a task like writing a report or an essay, or when we evaluate their performance in that task.
We have not offered, here, a separate linguistic model of the context of culture; no such thing yet exists, although there are useful ideas around. But in describing the context of situation, it is helpful to build in some indication of the cultural background, and the assumptions that have to be made if the text is to be interpreted - or produced - in the way the teacher (or the system) intends.
A lesson in culture. This paper argues for a new interpretation of culture which potentially challenges traditional views of culture common in discussions of foreign and second language learning. It also proposes ways to restructure curriculum around this new interpretation. Three different perspectives on culture are developed: first, culture creates differences and tension, both of which propel learning; second, culture is not a fact but a process of learning; third, culture can be used in a monolingual/monocultural and multilingual/multicultural setting. The theoretical perspective explained here is grounded on the premise that knowledge, or meaning generation, is constructed as the result of a transaction between an individual's conception of the world (individual culture) and the world outside the individual (social culture). From this standpoint, culture resides in, rather than being separate from, each individual. This progressive theory of culture allows us to restructure the curriculum in ways that highlight learner participation, the importance of social transaction, and the role of tension in promoting learning. After an explanation of this alternative interpretation of culture, suggestions for creating a classroom environment consistent with that interpretation are explored.
This paper potentially challenges the ways in which traditionally existing perspectives view culture and its relationship to language learning. In what follows, the traditional views on the role of culture in foreign or second language learning and teaching will be discussed, and contrasted to a new interpretation of culture. Finally, the creation of an environment that supports learning, and which involves the introduction of classroom activities, will be suggested.
Culture is often neglected in EFL and ESL teaching/learning, or introduced as no more than a supplementary diversion to language instruction. Yet changes in linguistic and learning theory suggest that culture should be highlighted as an important element in language classrooms. Efforts linking culture and language learning are impelled by ideas originating in sociolinguistic theory and schema learning theory. Sociolinguistic theory focuses on the social and cultural aspects of language. From a sociolinguistic perspective, competence in language use determined not only by the ability to use language with grammatical accuracy, but also to use language appropriate to particular contexts. Thus, successful language learning requires language users to know the culture that underlies language.
Common to both EFL and reading instruction is the premise that deficiencies in cultural background knowledge create learning difficulties. It follows that understanding the culture of the text is essential to successful language learning; without the appropriate cultural schema to aid understanding, what is learnt must necessarily be incomplete.
A new interpretation of culture. A new interpretation of culture, which focuses on culture as a process of learning rather than an external knowledge to be acquired incidental to the “facts” of language, reconceptualizes our view toward culture in EFL. This reconceptualization helps us to reposition the role of culture in learning. Sociolinguistics, schema learning, and cultivation theories all focus on cultural knowledge as an essential component for gaining competence in learning second and foreign language.
Actually, that triggers learning is not culture but the process of meaning generation, and the differences and tensions that come from encountering various cultures. As valuable as sociolinguistics, schema, and cultivation theories are for pushing us into more effective ways of conceiving language learning, if we examine Peircian semiotics (1992), then these theories present several problems.
Peirce (1868) wrote that “no cognition not determined by a previous cognition , then, can be known”. In other words, we must use our inner, pre-existing cognition to make sense of the outer world, to detect and expand meaning. That inner text is formed through our multiple experiences with the world. As a result, each individual has his or her own uniqueness, and carries his or her own culture. Second, any meaning-making is a transaction between our own inner world and the external world (environment). Meaning is generated as a result of transactions between our conception of the world and our confrontation with that world. In other words, all knowledge is a dynamic construction orchestrated by language users. As an example, think of the differing concepts held by Americans of the words “Michael Jordan”, conceptions developed from previous experiences as consumers of news, television, or other entertainment media. When an American sees the words “Michael Jordan” on a bulletin board, one may recall a Chicago Bulls basketball game that he or she has watched, that brings to mind the grace in movement of a particular play, while another may recall some sporting shoes they purchased and which may be needing repair. Yet the bulletin board may refer to a wholly different context, such as an attack on the athlete for endorsing Nike shoes. In this way, any meaning we construct is a transaction between our own perspectives - developed from our past experiences in the world - and the reality of that present world.
We can infer from this meaning-making process an interpretation of culture. Every new perspective on culture is the transaction between each individual's culture (developed from a personal history of the world) and social culture (composed of the histories of others). An individual culture (IC) refers to each individual's conception, which becomes a culture in itself. The world outside the individual - other people and their environments - becomes the social culture. (SC). When we apply these terms to the language classroom, SC will include not only people in the immediate society of the language learners, but also those who live in the target language culture (TC) - the culture of the second or foreign language being learned. Any knowledge or meaning that we generate is the result of transactions between IC and SC. As a consequence of the interaction between them, a new perspective on culture is developed through a process that is always incomplete, and continuously evolving. The triad relationship among these terms, which draws on Peirce's theory, is illustrated in Figure 2.
language culture foreign game
It is the differences between IC and SC that allow us to generate new meaning and knowledge and to gain new perspectives. The process is unlimited, however, because individuals have separate and unique cultures. That is, we can never duplicate the SC in our IC, nor are we in danger of doing so, because we never share identical histories. Each of us will always create our own unique meanings based on our differing experiences (Pierce 1992). For example, people may belong to the same social culture, but have different interpretations about the role of women in society, because each person's life trajectory will have assumed a different shape in relationship to ideas about women. This uniqueness creates an availability of alternatives, a rich bank of differing viewpoints, which allow transactions between IC and SC to continually generate differences.
When a difference us beyond our understanding or expectation, an anomaly occurs. Characterized by ambiguity, difficulty, conflict, and uncertainty, anomalies are unexpected situations, which generally result in frustration, struggle, dissatisfaction, and surprise. While anomalies may occur in any setting, they are especially prevalent when speakers operate from different communication rules. Bodily contact, for example, can be very different between cultures, as is indicated by distinctions between contact cultures - those of the Middle East, Latin America, and Southern Europe - and those of the non-contact cultures, such as the United States and England. Speakers interacting who come from a mixture of non-contact and contact cultures can find themselves irritated and frustrated by their conversational partners' apparent failure to understand. However, such a difference can also create a tension that actually propels learning. Tension increases when an anomaly occurs. Uncertainty forces us to rethink our experience, and to search until we find answers, or generate new thoughts for solving what puzzles us about unfamiliar situations. In this search, our thinking and meaning-making constantly moves forward.
Peircian semiotics lends credence to a new theory of culture, one in which culture is no longer a set body of information or “facts” to be memorized, but a process for generating frameworks of perception, a value system, and a set of perspectives. It is a mistake to assume that knowledge is a static object `out there' to be acquired by the first or second/foreign language learner. Changes in culture rely not on gaining `knowledge products' but on the process of transaction.
We can draw on Peircian semiotics in explaining all learning from a perspective of cultural differences. Such anomalies will always have to be faced, whether in the foreign language (FL) classroom, where learners from the same country are learning a target language, or in the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom, where learners from different countries are learning English. Cultural differences can exist between people from different cultures and within the same culture. However, individuals who share the same culture may encounter fewer differences than do individuals from differing cultures, because each person's interpretation is limited by the social group in which he or she resides.
1.4 Creating an environment that supports learning
Integration of culture in the curriculum. If we define culture as knowledge apart from the individual, it is easy to consider it as content, a body of knowledge that should be the focus of the curriculum. However, if culture or cultural differences are to be integral to the process of learning language, then the foundation of curriculum shifts from content to learning processes. A curriculum which views culture as a process rather than as a body of facts can be illustrated. These illustrations, however, will be clearer if the pedagogical premises are discussed in advance. If culture is viewed as a process of transaction, then students need opportunities to generate meaning in transaction. Therefore, classroom environments must allow and encourage students to their own culture, to transact with cultures (SC) outside their unique, individual cultures (IC), and to reflect on these transactions. The tension produced by the resultant anomalies can only be a useful learning tool if learners first recognize their own beliefs, conflicts, struggles, and difficulties. Recognition of this individual stance, however, is insufficient for growth; we must also encounter alternative perspectives by actively exploring meaning with others. In shared exploration , learners use others as vehicles to help them to generate new tension, for `it is in talking with others that we begin to be able to hear ourselves and to consider other perspectives'. Thus, sharing individual meaning constructs with others, and reflecting upon those episodes of sharing, helps students to clarify and interrogate the assumptions, which underlie those beliefs, while reflection allows them to rethink their meaning constructs. However, tension may occur during the process of rethinking because students may be critical of what they have to come to know. In addition, `this reflection leads to decisions about whether and how we will revise those constructions. In such processes, we generate additional meaning and gain new perspectives that foster learning and change. A new perspective may allow us to arrive at a generalized understanding of our previous meaning or to take new action. In the face of such concepts we are required to define culture as an integral process of learning and thinking rather than as discrete facts.
Techniques for teaching cultural awareness. There are numerous expert language teachers and teacher trainers who have written extensively about the many vehicles that have proven successful for the teaching of cultural awareness. Only a very brief sketch can be included here of those deemed most practical:
Comparison method. The teacher begins each discussion period with a presentation of one or more items in the target culture that are distinctly different from the students' culture. The discussion then centers on why these differences might cause problems.
Culture assimilators. Developed by social psychologists for facilitating adjustment to a foreign culture, the culture assimilator is a brief description of a critical incident of crosscultural interaction that would probably be misunderstood by the students. After the description of the incident, the students are presented with four possible explanations from which they are asked to select the correct one. If they make the wrong choice, they are asked to seek further information that would lead them to the correct conclusion.
Culture capsule. This technique is somewhat similar to culture assimilator, but cannot be assigned as a silent reading exercise. The teacher gives a brief presentation showing one essential difference between an American and a foreign custom. It is accompanied by visuals which illustrate the difference, and set of questions to stimulate class discussion.
Drama. This technique is especially useful for directly involving students in crosscultural misunderstandings by having selected members act out in a series of short scenes a misinterpretation of something that happens in the target culture. The cause of the problem is usually clarified in the final scene.
Audiomotor unit or Total Physical Response. Primarily designed as a listening exercise, this method employs a carefully constructed list of oral commands to which students respond. The commands are arranged in an order that will cause students to act out a cultural experience.
Newspapers. Many aspects of culture that are not usually found in a textbook are present in the newspaper. The teacher asks students to compare a certain item in the foreign newspaper with its equivalent in their newspapers. Good cultural insights can readily be found in headlines, advertisements, editorials, sports pages, comics, even the weather report. The humour found on the comic page is especially revealing.
Projected media. Films, filmstrips and slides provide cultural insights as well as providing a welcome variety of classroom activities. Excellent filmstrips on culturally related subjects are available commercially, and slides that teachers have collected in their travels can be worked into short, first-hand cultural presentations.
The culture island. The teacher maintains a classroom ambiance that is essentially a culture island through the use of posters, pictures, a frequently changing bulletin board, all of which are designed with the purpose of attracting student attention, eliciting questions and comments.
Part II A practical analysis of using linguacultural texts in teaching
2.1 Lesson plans on linguacultural texts
Aim: To compare relationships between men and women in the UK and the US with the relationships between men and women in Kazakhstanee culture.
Materials: A task sheet for each student, copies of texts.
Preparation: Photocopying the task sheet overleaf. Making enough copies to give one to each student.
Time: 45 minutes
Explaining to the class that they are going to compare relationships between men and women in two cultures.
Dividing the class into pairs, and distributing the texts.
The students read the text divided in two parts: the student A reads the first part; the student B reads the second part. Then after reading in pairs each of them explains his or her part to the partner.
Following the pair work, volunteers take turns to report their opinions.
After the discussion of the text, for consolidation giving task sheet with multiple choice questions.
Students work in groups of 4-5, discussing the customs listed on the task sheet, and indicating whether each practice is the same or different in their culture.
Following up with a whole-class discussion on the following questions:
What have you learned about relationships between men and women in the UK and the US from these activities?
Can you make any generalizations about relationships between men and women in the UK and the US?
In what ways are the relationships different from the relationships in your culture?
In what ways are they similar?
As homework, you could ask the students to write a short composition, comparing and contrasting behaviour between men and women in the UK and US with behaviour between men and women in their culture.
Aim: To widen students' knowledge of weddings in the country of the target culture.
Materials: Copies of texts
Preparation: To do a “ Wedding” presentation, it is important to find out what the students already know about the topic, and to get them involved from the start.
Time: 45 minutes
1.Writing the topic in a circle in the center of the board.
2. Asking the class to call out any words or phrases they know associated with the topic. They may volunteer things like `proposal', `bride', `groom', `ceremony', `wedding dress', `flowers', `children', etc.
3. Then, writing these associations in the spidergram.
4. Making sure that everybody in the class understands all the words and phrases.
5. Then giving the activity to compare and contrast the customs of wedding of English-speaking countries and their own culture. Finding the equivalents to beliefs and habits from their culture, asking to find equivalent to the saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue…”
6. Drawing a line with a question mark on it between words or phrases that seem to contradict each other. For example:
Wedding in Britain/USA _______?_____ Wedding in Kazakhstan
Aim: to give more information about the leisuring activities in the target language country.
Materials: News article about the “Cricket”, visual materials on the theme.
Time: 50 minutes
Preparation: Selecting a relatively short article about this kind of sport, to prepare enough copies of text to each student.
1.Dividing the class into groups of two or three students. Distributing the copies of the news article.
2.Explaining the task to the students. Half of the groups are to read the news article and then write a brief radio news report for their home culture, describing what has happened in the target culture. The other groups are to write a radio news report for the target culture.
3. The students work in their groups, reading the news article and writing their radio news reports.
4. One member of each group role-plays a radio news announcer and reads the group's news report.
5. Next, conducting a whole-class discussion on the different perspectives presented by each group in its news report. The discussion should center on the following questions:
How did the news reports for the home culture differ from the news reports for the target culture?
In what ways, if any, were the reports similar?
Aim: To provide students with newest information about the horse-racing in Britain/USA, to teach them to work efficiently with the text.
Materials: A text about the “Horse racing” in the target language country.
Time: 45 minutes.
Preparation: To choose the text about the horse-racing.
To ask students to sit in a circle in two separate groups. To give two different parts of the text in pieces cut beforehand. The students complete the text, then with the instruction of the teacher each group checks if they did it in the right order.
The next activity is devoted to the sharing of the information. The members of the first group stand in the inner circle and the members of the second group stand in the outer circle. The group standing in the inner circle stands facing the members of the second group. Then each student explains his or her part of the text to the partner.
After that the students work in a whole class, ask and answer questions.
Dividing the class into two groups, asking them to find the similar information about this sport from their own culture.
Discussing similarities and differences of “horse racing” in two cultures.
Aim: To make students aware of the holidays of the target language country. To make them work efficiently on the texts.
Materials: texts on the “New Year's Day”, “Christmas”, “St. Valentine's Day”,
Time: 80 minutes
Preparation: Preparing four texts, dividing them between the students.
To ask students to divide into two groups, to distribute the texts, one text to one group. Students quickly read their text for general understanding.
Then each team selects a leader who tells a summary of the text in 5 sentences. The activity is conducted as a competition; the team, which tells the best summary, wins.
Each team gets a task to prepare 10 true/false sentences about their text in details, and they ask their rivals.
The next activity is devoted to writing. Each group prepares a good summary in a written form; they are given a sheet of paper beforehand.
In the end, in turn the leaders of the groups read out their summaries loudly, so that all the students understand the content very well.
As a home task students are given to prepare a report about the holidays and traditions to celebrate them in our country. Each student consults his or her theme with a teacher.
2.2 A critical analysis of lessons devoted to linguacultural communication
During applying linguacultural texts in teaching cultural awareness of students different techniques were used by me. They were comparison method, the method of culture capsule, newspapers, projected media, drama and etc. All the four aims were to be achieved: practical, educational, cultural and developing.
Through learning a foreign language students had a chance to learn the traditions, life, customs of the people of whose language they study. They could get this information through visual material before, such as postcards with the views of towns, countryside, people, filmstrips and of course reading material. During my school practice I paid a great attention to teaching linguacultural texts. Visual and other materials were additional.
Foreign language teaching should promote students' educational and cultural growth by increasing their knowledge about countries and by introducing them with progressive tradition of people whose language they study. The most efficient way to this purpose is to read more texts connected with the target culture. I think this aim was achieved well.
However, there were some difficulties through which my students went through. The first problem to my mind was misunderstanding of some students of English traditions such as inviting a chimney sweep if he is met on the way to the wedding, or that the bad weather is thought to be an omen of an unhappy marriage. The second difficulty was insufficient background knowledge of students and also their low-level language knowledge. Some of them couldn't participate in some of the communicative activities.
To overcome these difficulties, I used different techniques and tried to follow the principle of accessibility very strictly. I tried to supply with the background information first, before giving a certain task. To waken the inner motivation of the students to learn the language, I used different warm-up activities, to stimulate their interest to language learning, and to create the foreign language atmosphere.
As for the intercultural misunderstanding, the debatable questions were discussed in a classroom, compared and contrasted with the mother culture.
In general the principles of activeness, accessibility, consecutiveness, visuality, consciousness were taken into account and were accurately observed.
In my course paper I tried to study the theory and usage of linguacultural texts in senior stages.
My aim was to research the theoretical and methodological bases of linguacultural communication, and also find out some peculiarities of teaching texts of cultural character.
Using methods of observation, analysis and comparison I tried to find out more interesting and possibly new information about the connection between the language and culture, the interpretation of culture in the foreign language classroom, the role of culture in education, the importance of the background knowledge while learning a foreign language, the profit of using autonomous learning in teaching cultural awareness.
This paper potentially challenges the ways in which traditionally existing perspectives view culture and its relationship to language learning. In what follows, the traditional views of the role of culture in foreign or second language learning and teaching will be discussed, and contrasted to a new interpretation of culture. Finally, the creation of an environment that supports learning, and involves the introduction of classroom activities were suggested.
Practical and theoretical value of the course paper.
In practical part I mostly dwelled upon investigating some new kinds of activities that could be used on the lesson, as my work is connected with the text, the activities were based on the reading priority. In order to interest students to read these texts and get the information, I had to use different original and interesting activities, role-plays, and games. Theoretically I tried to explain the importance and meaning of teaching culture together with the language. It is said that the foreign language teacher should promote the educational and cultural aims while teaching language, which is to give a good and deep knowledge of language and its culture. Also the interpretation of the notion `text' was distinctly explained in my paper.
Alongside with the theoretical bases of linguacultural communication, I examined and investigated numerous techniques for teaching cultural awareness, which helped me to conduct a successful lesson.
In general, I think that I successfully achieved my aim and my research gave insight to modern perception of this theme.
1. “Culture Bound” edited by Joyce Merril valdes
2. “ Language and Culture” by Claire Kramsch
3. “Language and Language Learning” Brooks, N.
4. “ Cultural Studies in Foreign Language Education” Byram, M.
5. “Developing Second Language Skills: Theory and Practice” Chastain. K.
6. “Linguistics Across Cultures, Applied Linguistics for Language Teachers.” Lado, R.
7. “Focus on Britain today. Cultural Studies for the Language Classroom” Lavery, C.
8. “Customs, Traditions and Festivals of GB” Timanovskaya
9. Internet resources.
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