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On Methodology of Culture Teaching

By Diana Bennett,2014-09-12 14:58
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On Methodology of Culture Teaching

    On Methodology of Culture Teaching

    Abstract: Culture teaching has to be carried out systematically. It not only depends on the teacher‟s occasional input knowledge concerning cultures but demands fundamental changes in educational structures, philosophies and methodologies. This paper attempts to build up a conceptual framework guiding the practice of culture-oriented English teaching. The literature review includes three main aspects: aim for strengthening awareness of culture teaching; methodology of culture teaching; culture teaching techniques. The paper also points out awareness of cultural differences for the college students call for the intensive acquisition and learning of other cultures besides the learning of the foreign language, for language and culture are extensively considered to be inseparable and co-existing. The formulation of culture teaching syllabus and arrangement for culture teaching made up methodology of culture infiltration. Only by the combination of language teaching and culture teaching can students reach the purpose of enhancing the intercultural communicative competence.

    Key words: culture teaching, methodology, intercultural awareness

     要,文化教学必须被系统地执行。它不但依靠老师不时的关于文化知识

    的输入?而且要求在教育结构、哲学上和方法学上进行根本的转变。这篇论文尝试

    如何在英语教学中关于东方文化在概念上实践的指导。这篇论文的评论包括了三个

    主要部分,针对文化教学的领悟?文化教学的方法论、文化教学技巧。这篇论文同

    样指出了大学生在对文化了解方面的差异?不但要求大学生必须透彻地理解、学习

    外语?而且还要学习其它文化知识。语言和文化两者都是一个广泛地概论?但它们

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    两者之间是一个不能分离的共存体。文化教学的方法论明确地表达了文化教学大纲公式化和文化教学的组织形式?语言教学和文化教学的综合是使学生达到语言间直言能力目的唯一依据。

     关键词,文化教学!方法论!文化间的了悟

    Contents

    Abstract…………………………………………………………………i Contents…………………………………………………………………iii Introduction…………………………………………………………………1 1. Aim for Raising Awareness of Cultural Differences……………2 2. Methodology of Culture Teaching ……………………………………4 2.1 The Formulation of Culture Teaching Syllabus………………………5

    2.1.1 Content of Cultural Behaviors……………………………………6

    2.1.2 Content of Cultural Psychology…………………………………8 2.2 Arrangement for Culture Teaching …………………………………8 3. Culture Teaching Techniques…………………………………………11 3.1 Culture Infiltration…………………………………………………11 3.2 Culture Comparison……………………………………………12 3.3 Intercultural Activities……………………………………………14 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………17 Bibliography………………………………………………………………19 Acknowledgement…………………………………………………………20

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Introduction

    Foreign culture needs to be taught through English teaching; therefore it has a close link with English education. With regards to College English Teaching (CET), its aim is to develop the students‟ intercultural communicative competence that consists of four components: grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence. As far as sociolinguistic competence is concerned, it demands language user‟s exactness of interpreting, understanding or transmitting of information in accordance with the conversation topics, social status of participants, communicative intentions and other factors in various communicative contexts; that is, it concerns the appropriateness of language use in actual communication. Thus it is directly linked to specific culture. It is very difficult, but actually essential. To develop learners‟ intercultural communicative competence, culture teaching is the obligatory content of CET, and it is for the purpose of increasing learners‟ intercultural awareness, which, according to “sensitivity to the impact of culturally-induced behavior on

    [1]language use and communication”. This paper will share with you my study

    on methodology of culture teaching. It is stated in three aspects: 1) aim for strengthening awareness of culture teaching; 2) methodology of culture teaching; 3) culture teaching techniques.

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    1. Aim for Strengthening Awareness of Cultural Differences

    Awareness of cultural differences for the college students calls for the intensive acquisition and learning of other cultures besides the learning of the foreign language, for language and culture are extensively considered to be inseparable and co-existing. Language reflects culture and forms the keystone of culture while culture conditions shape language, so language teaching naturally involves culture teaching. “If we teach language without teaching at the same time the culture in which it operates, we are teaching meaningless

    [1]symbols or symbols to which the students attach wrong meaning. ”

    Learning a foreign language well means more than merely mastering the pronunciation, grammar, words and idioms. It means learning also to see the world as native speakers of that language see it, learning the ways in which their language reflects the ideas, customs, and behavior of their society, learning to understand their “language of the mind”. Learning a language, in fact, is inseparable from learning its culture.

    It is difficult for people to enhance the awareness of intercultural differences although people have acknowledged that differences exist. As we have fully been socialized by our native culture, we take our rules of communication for granted. When we are in intercultural communication, the rules we are brought up with and are accustomed to often interfere in the effective use of the target language. From a cultural perspective, intercultural communication is a situation that calls for the awareness of cultural

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differences.

    There is a good case in point that can illustrate the importance of raising cultural awareness. The title “First Lady” for the wife of the U. S. President or of an American State Governor likewise may cause misunderstanding when some Chinese read about it. As lack of cultural awareness, they may respond: “So the President has several wives, eh?” The assumption is that if there is a

    first lady, there must be a second lady, and maybe even a third, fourth, or even more. Polygamy in the White House!

    In order to attain intercultural awareness, we have to make the students

     know Huwenzhong‟s statement of four levels of intercultural awareness.

    At level I, a person might know some practice in other cultures, for instance, the fact that Japanese are exaggerated in their politeness. At level II, a person knows, through either direct or secondhand experience, of cultural traits that significantly contrast with one‟s own practices. At level III, a person might know, for example, that the really distinctive aspect of the Japanese social hierarchy has nothing to do with the forms of politeness but rather exists in the keen sense of mutual obligation between superior and inferior. At level IV, a person has the awareness of how another culture feels

     [2]from the standpoint of the insider.

    Thus it is vitally important that foreign language teachers should provide learners with maximum experience to reach the higher level of intercultural awareness. In the process of increasing awareness of intercultural differences,

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    pragmatic failure which frequently gives rise to breakdown in intercultural communication should be singled out for special attention. Such failure occurs not due to wrong grammar, but due to the unsuitable speaking manner, or speaking in an unsuitable time or place etc. “In interacting with

    foreigners, native speakers tend to be tolerant of errors in pronunciation or syntax but violations of conversational principles of speaking are often

    [3]interpreted as bad manners”. In foreign language teaching and learning, the

    goal of increasing awareness of intercultural differences is to avoid pragmatic failure and improve the quality of intercultural communication.

2. Methodology of Culture Teaching

    Culture teaching has now widely recognized as an important aspect in language teaching, but its practice is remaining at initial stage both at home and abroad. How can culture teaching be embodied through the whole process of language teaching: the formulation of syllabus, its content, course arrangement, teaching methods and techniques and tests? It is waiting for us to sum up and explore an even wider, maturer and properer way for culture teaching.

    Culture teaching is related to language teaching, but different from language teaching. However, it is usually thought that the major task of foreign language teaching is to teach the basic techniques of listening, speaking, reading and writing. If we input culture teaching, we have to adjust,

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    in theory, the relationship between language teaching and culture teaching; in practice, we have to handle the contradiction between them in the limited time.

    As for the position and relationship of cultural factors in language teaching, some scholars in our country have suggested the theory of culture guidance, the theory of culture enlightenment, the theory of culture melting and the theory of culture combination. On the whole, these theories all advocate that language teaching should be combined with the cultural background teaching. Culture teaching should keep up with the step of the language teaching and melt each other together, and in the process of it, teachers enlighten the students on the cultural connotation of language and appropriateness of communication. On the other hand, these theories all regard language and culture as a whole and they affect each other. The following is my understanding and suggestions based on the above theories. 2.1 The Formulation of Culture Teaching Syllabus

    At present, our country has no culture teaching syllabus in foreign language teaching. However, the current “English Teaching Syllabus for English Majors of Higher Education” has, to some degree, attached some

    importance to the cultural factors. It says in the chapter of “Teaching Principle” that we must “enrich the students‟ cultural background knowledge, enhance the sensitivity to cultural differences, increase the competence of logical thinking and lay a solid foundation for culture learning (2000: 12)”.

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    And it also draws up four charts for pronunciation, grammar, function and communicative competence. Only in the last chart, cultural factor is once again mentioned that the students must obtain the competencies of affection, appreciation, thinking and judging in intercultural communication (2000: 90). Generally speaking, our syllabus for culture teaching is lack of systematization. Our syllabus ought to stress the importance of cultural factors and make a systematic classification and draw up a chart for “content of culture teaching” paralleled with the other four charts, which include the behaviors and concepts of cultural communicative activities. The make-up of “content of culture teaching” should be related to the general aim for the

    student‟s needs and education. In its classification, some scholar in our country advocate that it can be divided into two parts: Cultural Behavior and Cultural Psychology, the former again is divided into “participating and

    [4]non-participating cultural behaviors”, the former refers to the fact that

    under English-speaking cultural surrounding, the learners can have a lot of chances to participate in cultural behavior activities of target language, such as greeting and appointment, etc., the latter refers to the opposite.

    On this basis, summed up the chart of the content for culture teaching: 2.1.1 Content of Cultural Behaviors

    A) Participating Cultural Behaviors

    (i) The Necessity of Life: eating, living, shopping, taking transportation means, seeing the doctor.

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    (ii) Interpersonal Relations: greeting, compliments, introduction, telephoning, corresponding, invitation, acceptation, refusal, visiting, receiving friends, having dinner, gathering-up, helping, making friends, sending gifts, congratulating, and farewell.

    (iii) Entertainment: seeing films, going to operas or concerts, watching TV, traveling.

    (iv) Emotion and Attitude: excitement, anger, disappointment, disgust, surprise, request, demand, doubt, thanks, sympathy, praise, obedience, regret, compromise.

    (v) Opinion: discussion, comment, suggestion, agreement, objection, asking for opinion.

    (vi) Privacy: age, salary, marriage condition, religion, political stand.

    (vii) Space: body contact, interpersonal distance, private time, punctuation.

    B) Non-Participating Cultural Behaviors

    (i) The Necessity of Life: dressing, diets, holiday diet, housing, moving, health-care.

    (ii) Family Life: family reunion, household work, family dispute, family expense, generation gap, and relative contact.

    (iii) Leisure: week end amusement, villa life, holidays, enjoying concerts and sports.

    (iv) Marriage Convention: love, marriage, divorce, off spring.

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    (v) Knowledge and Education: school education, social education, after-class activities.

    (vi) Social Duty: looking for jobs, social activities, volunteer, and crime.

    (vii) Religious Activities: religion and its branches, religious ceremony, religious holidays, religious taboos.

    2.1.2 Content of Cultural Psychology

    (i) The Concepts of Social Values: individualism and collectivism, competition and harmony, male and female position, power and equality.

    (ii) Values: achievement, fate, money and friendship.

    (iii) Ethics: justice and kindness, others and self, ritual, face.

    (iv) Aesthetics: color, number, and posture.

    (v) Conceptions on Nature: conquer or adapt to, taboo, luck.

    This culture teaching list serves as a reliable framework for the teachers to make their teaching arrangement, write or choose English text-book and decide texts of teaching and testing. If the teacher covers the items in the list step by step with language teaching, culture teaching will be systematized. 2.2 Arrangement for Culture Teaching

    As we know, CET is divided into two sides: one for English majors, the other for non-English majors. As for English majors, they have specific course arrangement for culture teaching. So we will not discuss it here. We will only single out the vast majority non-English majors for special attention

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