How to deal with culture in English as an additional language classroom. Inteculturality. Intecultural activities in the classroom.
Text of What does it mean to teach culture in the classroom (final version with references) (2)
What does it mean to teach culture in the classroom? Dilemmas
and possibilities Gloria Gil UFSC ! XX Convention APIRS Greatest
Hits: English Teaching Then & Now
Discussing the intercultural approach to English as an
additional language from a 'practical' perspective First, I will
briefly present the different meanings that culture has in language
teaching. Then, I will make a parallel between the communicative
approach and the intercultural approach, pointing out their main
differences. After that, to illustrate interculturality, I will
talk about the characteristics of an intercultural communicator.
Then, I will provide some examples of some intercultural tasks.
Finally, I will show some of main problems and limitations that
teachers have to be 'intercultural' and offer some ways to overcome
Teachers dilemmas What does teaching culture in the classroom
mean? What comes to our mind? ! Food, customs, historical facts,
geographical facts, festivals, paintings, music, ways of saying
goodbye, values, ideologies.
Teachers dilemmas How do I teach culture in the classroom? By
talking about the culture of the other? Do I feel safe or
comfortable? Do I know enough? Is this appropriate? By talking
about our own culture? How can I do this?
Teachers dilemmas How can I deal with stereotypes? Do I have
stereotypes? What about students stereotypes?
What does it mean to teach culture in the classroom? Very
difficult to answer. ! Most empirical research show that teachers
when asked this question say that they do not teach culture.
Different meanings that culture has in additional language
Culture as information or a set of facts Culture as an object
or set to facts to be learned about cultures. Culture as
information About the other About oneself. Usually brought by the
course-books. Big C Culture vs. small c culture. Culture is
separated from language.
Culture as pragmatic behaviour Culture is embedded in the
pragmatic dimension of language, that is, what we do with words.
Culture as pragmatic behavior: ways of apologizing, ways of
initiating a conversation, turn-taking rules. Also it usually
included in course-books.
Culture as language Some authors emphasize that by using and
talking about some linguistic aspects such idioms, slang,
metaphors, proverbs, we are dealing with culture as language. These
are examples of how communities have different ways of inscribing
Culture as pedagogy Pedagogy = the way we teach:!
teacher-centered, student-centered; using authentic materials,
using contrived materials; fostering student-student interaction;
being language structure-oriented or communication oriented (or in
Culture as awareness (attitudes) that: culture is a process;
culture means dialogue and understanding; cultural issues can be
seen from multiple perspectives which lead to the complex
understanding of difference (Byram, 1997; Kramsch, 2005).
Culture as classroom interaction Culture as attitudes &
awareness Culture as pedagogy Culture as information Culture as
language Culture as pragmatic behavior
Culture as classroom interaction Culture as interaction Teacher
How can we teach culture? We do not teach culture, culture is
inside the classroom whether we like it or not. ! A better question
then is: ! How do we deal with culture?
In what way does communicative language teaching deal with
language and culture
Some Communicative Language Teaching - CLT - characteristics: A
STANDARD CULTURE A STANDARD LANGUAGE A PROCESSUAL OBJECTIVE USA or
BRITISH CULTURE USA or BRITISH LANGUAGE TO BECOME A NATIVE
!A Standard Culture USA or British Culture CLT deals with
cultures as national cultures. CLT avoids dealing with culture as
difference and stresses monolithic or essentialist views of
cultures. CLT disregards cultural factors related to age, gender,
social class, race, profession, etc. and presents a homogenous view
!A Standard Language USA or British Language CLT deals with
languages as national languages. CLT avoids dealing with other
varieties of English. CLT emphasizes the informational dimension of
The main cultural function of language is the transactional
function Exchange of information function CULTURAL INFORMATION IS
USUALLY USED AS A PRETEXT FOR SPEAKING/WRITING.
!A PROCESSUAL OBJECTIVE: TO BECOME A NATIVE SPEAKER The native
speaker is the ideal objective. Standard grammar, pronunciation and
accent are valued.
How can the intercultural approach fix those drawbacks?
By re-interpreting the main objectives of the communicative
approach How can the intercultural approach fix those
OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERCULTURAL APPROACH TO BE FLEXIBLE
REGARDING LANGUAGE AND CULTURE PATTERNS LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL
VARIETY AND DIFFERENCE
OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERCULTURAL APPROACH INCLUSION OF THE
IDENTITY FUNCTION OF LANGUAGE TRANSACTIONAL + IDENTITY FUNCTIONS to
establish and maintain contact between people, being strongly
connected to a persons or group identities
Identity function: negotiating who we are. Every time language
learners speak, they are not only exchanging information with their
interlocutors; they are organizing and reorganizing a sense of who
they are and how they relate to the social world. They are, in
other words, engaged in identity construction and negotiation.
(Norton 1997: 410)
OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERCULTURAL APPROACH NATIVE SPEAKER
! What is the intercultural communicator like?
! HIS/HER OWN CULTURE STARTING POINT
Culture as information She/He needs to know how to deal with
culture(s) as information: his own and other cultures
She/He should be aware although culture is in the
understandings and practices that are shared within groups of
people (Phillips, 2003), these shared understandings and practices
are loosely bounded, constantly changing, and subjectively
experienced. (Menard-Warwick, 2009, p. 30) The ever-changing nature
She/He needs to have a critical stance in relation to the
issues of power related to the languages and cultures at play.
She/he needs to understand how participating in a community and
sharing a language determines his/her perceptions of the world
Linguistically and culturally determined modes to see the world
There are complex linguistically and culturally determined modes to
see the world
She/he needs to be confident to use language and other semiotic
resources (images, sound, music, etc.) in a creative way and
understand their creative power. This is essential for the language
learners who live in the current era, when creativity is one of the
keys for successful communication. (New London Group, 1996)
How can interculturality be dealt with the classroom
! ! Through spontaneous intercultural dialogue.! ! Through
planned intercultural tasks. Two main ways
Example of intercultural dialogue
1. S1: Recently I broke my earphone, so when I am in the bus I
have to listen to another ones stories. So I was going to
Canasvieiras and we have like this couple of Argentinos, oh its so
boring, the voice, the tone of the voice, the fast they speak. Its,
its, make me uncomfortable, but Ill not tell them that. I was like,
oh my God. 2. T: But they were speaking in Spanish? 3. S1: Yeah. 4.
T: In the bus? 5. S1: Yes. 6. S2: I think thats wrong. 7. T: Wrong?
8. S2: Only if they dont know to speak Portuguese, but they know.
9. T: Yeah, but they were in a group of (interrupted). 10. S1:
Couple, two. 11. T: They are probably friends. 12. S1: Yeah,
probably. 13. T: Thats why they were speaking. 14. S1: Oh, they
were screaming. 15. T: So you didnt like because they were loud?
16. S1: Too (laughs). 17. S3: It seems that their voice, its kind
of annoying. 18. S1: Yes. 19. S3: The sounds its annoying, it seems
there (inaudible). 20. T: And do you think that they think
Brazilians can be annoying too? 21. S1: I think everything is
possible. 22. T: Everything is possible? Because sometimes we say
people from other places are annoying but we never thought that
might be, they might think that we are also annoying, right?
Example of (planned) intercultural tasks
Jokes & Stereotypes
In heaven, the cops are British, the lovers are French, the
food is Italian, the cars are German, and the whole thing is run by
the Swiss. ! In hell, the cops are German, the lovers are Swiss,
the food is British, the cars are French, and the whole thing is
run by the Italians.
Read individually the following jokes. Get in small groups and
discuss: Jokes & Stereotypes - What elements bring the comic
effect in each of them? - Try to find the mechanism of the joke. -
Do they make use of stereotypical information? - Do you believe
that they are politically correct?
Q: A rich Mexican, a poor Mexican, Santa, and the Easter bunny
areeach in a corner of a room, and a dollar is in the middle. Who
gets it?A: The poor Mexican, the other three don't exist. Jokes
Intercultural tasks prompt learners to engage more deeply with
the cultural assumptions implicit in texts and images.
Students read an analyze some chapters of the book How to be an
alien by George Mikes. Students decide on a topic to create a ppt
presentation using text and images. Students develop the ppt with
help of the teacher. Students present the ppt to the other students
and generate a dialogue. How to be an alien
gachos,andcatarinenses.Jokesareverycommon. So,youneed toknow that
Youwillonlyfindcompanyforit if youknowanothergacho orif
gowest.InFloripa,just gachosdrinkchimarro. But dont forget
Foryou,gacho, thisisaestojo, right???Forget!
InFlorianpolis,just saypenal. Otherdifferent words If youhave
thewish toeat somethingsweet. Remember:dont say
negrinho.Saybrigadeiro P.S: When I was looking for this picture, I
put on Google estojo, and found it. But, when I put penal I found
just criminal subjects.
But, takecare.Just talkabout footballwith
thispeople.Theotherscannot understand. Otherdifferent words Dont
besurprisedif youpassbyasport storewindowand
findInterandGrmiosoccer teamshirts.Manypeoplehere aresupportersof
thegacho teams. So,in thisway,youwillfeelat home.
Main components of intercultural tasks Ethnografic Multi-modal
Critic and creative
Multimodal texts (verbal, auditory and/or visual) which involve
the imagination of the reader/viewer: comics and graphic novels,
jokes, advertisements, graffiti, song lyrics, films, video clips
and blogs. In those texts, cultural content is often metaphorically
limited time and resources, textbooks without proposals for
inter-cultural activities, Syllabuses that emphasize linguistic
goals and lack of teacher knowledge about how to deal with (s)
culture (s) involved, which creates uncertainty and fear of the
reactions of the students. Some reasons for the difficulties to
implement an intercultural approach
The last reason, in turn, related to additional language
teacher education, is that the relationship between language(s) and
culture(s) is not usually included in the curriculum, i.e. language
and culture issues are not dealt with and problematized at college.
In teacher education