Culture

Today we continue talking about important elements of the lesson and culture is definitely one of them. As we all know language is the primary vehicle for expressing cultural perspectives and participating in social practices, the study of a language provides opportunities for students to develop insights in a culture that are available in no other way. In reality, then, the true content of the foreign language course is not the grammar and vocabulary of the language, but the cultures expressed through that language.

There can be different aspects of culture to teach.

Cultural Products
— Examples include books, arts and crafts, tools, foods, laws, dress, types of dwellings, music, dances, and games.

Cultural Practices
— “What to Do?” “When to do?” and “Where to to it?”. Patterns of social interactions or behaviors accepted by a society, for example greetings or use of space.

Cultural Perspectives
— Culture’s view of the world, including meanings, attitudes, values, and ideas.

Choosing what we share with students when we pick a theme or topic has to be something that is going to provoke discussion and conversation and the best way to do that is through the culture. Why would I want to talk about schools? Why would I want to talk about family? It’s because of the insights my students can gain by thinking on that topic.

So when we say we ‘do’ culture it shouldn’t be just vocabulary and objects related to it. Instead we should always be thinking as teachers: How does this help shape my students’ view of the world? What are they going to leave understanding about themselves and the cultures they are learning about?