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Teaching Foreign Languages Workshops Home
    5: Rooted in Culture

Put It Into Practice: Activity B

Introduction
Before You Watch
Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic
Put it Into Practice
Action Research Project
Reflect on Your Learning

Resources
Library Video Chart
Printouts
Assignments
Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B

Activity B: Ongoing Cultural Exploration

Although no one person can become fully versed in all aspects of a culture, you can continue to learn new information and expand upon your current knowledge by engaging in ongoing cultural explorations. When viewing films, reading newspaper articles or Web pages, interacting with native speakers, or otherwise engaging with the target language and culture, you can begin by identifying a new product, practice, or perspective that interests you -- one of the three Ps of the cultural framework triangle. Then you can speculate about the other points of the triangle (the other two Ps). Doing this regularly allows you to gradually extend your cultural knowledge, particularly in the complex area of linking contemporary aspects of the culture to their historical roots.

For example, a French newspaper article recently described the new licenses being awarded to musicians who wish to play music in the Paris métro (subway). Previously, players simply picked any spot they wanted to play in. However, complaints about the proliferation of musicians and the quality of their music forced the transportation authority to address the issue. Now there are a limited number of licenses available (they are good for six months), and musicians must audition to receive one. The following table shows how this article could trigger cultural insights within the three-P structure:

Product Practice Perspective
License to play music in the métro Playing music for donations in the métro stations and on trains

Licensing requirements and how the bureaucracy functions
Value of social consciousness (letting musicians play to earn money); people's expectations of their government -- that it will regulate to accommodate both the commuters and musicians

A teacher could then use this article to expand his or her cultural awareness by looking at other ways in which the French government addresses social issues, particularly those affecting the economically disadvantaged, such as the allocation familiale (a subsidy for children), the allocation scolaire (a subsidy for school materials in September), and asile (shelter for the homeless and for immigrants).

You will now start a journal of insights about the culture(s) whose language you teach. You can then use the journal to further analyze both the target language and culture(s).

Begin the process with a weekly scan of Web pages and newspaper or magazine articles from the target culture. Take notes about products, practices, and/or perspectives that are new to you and that interest you. Each week, expand your search to further analyze the products, practices, and/or perspectives that you have already identified, as well as to identify any new cultural aspects that you would like to learn about.

As you record your findings, consider using a graphic organizer that serves as a reminder of the three Ps. For example, you can use a chart like the one above or a drawing of the triangular framework. The key is to develop a format that allows you to begin with any one of the three Ps, regardless of which one is first apparent through your research, and then allows you to address the other two Ps in any order as you continue your exploration.

AssignmentSubmit five entries from your journal as an assignment. For each entry, be sure to include your initial notes about the product, practice, or perspective that you observed or read about, as well as any additional research you did to address the other Ps of the cultural framework.

Choose an Activity | Activity A | Activity B


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5: Rooted in Culture > Introduction | Before You Watch | Analyze the Video
Examine the Topic | Put It Into Practice | Action Research Project | Reflect on Your Learning
Resources | Library Videos Chart | Printouts | Assignments

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