Teaching Culture:
        Problems & Solutions

In the following paragraphs I will try to explore as many problems as I can and to suggest solutions to them.

The First problem teachers are facing is: Overcrowded Curriculum.

The study of culture involves time that many teachers feel they cannot spare in an already overcrowded curriculum; they content themselves with the thought that students will be exposed to cultural material later, after they have mastered the basic grammar and vocabulary of the language.

Solution: Teachers should be made aware of the fact that this "later" never seems to come for most students. Therefore, instead of teaching language and culture in a Serial fashion, they should teach them in an integrative fashion, which means that they have to: (Lafayette 1978, 1988)

  1. Plan cultural lessons and activities as carefully as language activities and integrate them into lesson plans.
  2. Use cultural contexts for language-practice activities
  3. Use a variety of techniques for teaching culture that involves the four skills (from the beginning through the more advanced levels of proficiency).
  4. Make good use of textbook illustrations and photos – have students analyze their cultural significance.
  5. Teach students about the connotative meaning of new words when teaching vocabulary.
  6. Use discussions, brainstorming, and role-plays for cultural instruction.
  7. Test cultural understanding as carefully as language is tested.
Some of the questions that teachers might ask themselves in determining the value of a given cultural activity are: Does the activity…
Page Created on September 8th, 1998
 Last updated on April 19th,1999
   Copyright (C) 1998/1999 by Nada AbiSamra.

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