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Instituto de Literatura y Ciencias del Lenguaje
An Essential Factor in the Teaching of English:
Cultural Awareness
An elective workshop for senior students
TRABAJO DE TITULACIÓN
p
ara optar al Título de Profesor de Inglés
y al Grado de Licenciado
en Educación
Estudiante:
Gabriela Chacana Fernández
Profesor guía: Ricardo Benítez
Figari
Primer Semestre 2010
Cultural Awareness
2
An essential factor in the teaching of English: Cultural Awareness
The task of incorporating cult
ural elements in the classroom has always been
a
students know is their own culture and their own reality; to look beyond is almost
such a
rewarding and fruitful experience that students will notice and pay attention not only to
another culture but to their own as well.
This syllabus will be oriented to senior high school students because it is their last
year of high school and soon
they will be facing the real word; a demanding world that
might seem less frightening if they are aware of the happenings around the planet and if
realities, of our surr
oundings, and of our culture can help students reflect upon themselves,
analyzing how much their own culture influences their attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs. In
addition, the development of cultural awareness in students will expand their view of
realit
y to other perspectives and points of view. The students are currently living in a
globalized world; therefore, to grasp the reality and practices of other cultures is no longer a
far
-
fetched dream; it is out there, but they are just not aware of it.
This
-
based
-
based syllabus will provide the necessary
information to know more about the target culture, while the situational part of the sylla
bus
will put into practice the content that was taught. The idea is that the learners can learn
more from other cultures and, at the same time that they participate in situations requiring
understanding of other cultures and of their own.
Cultural Awareness
3
Nowadays, when
teaching a foreign language, it is not only grammar and its
functions what matters the most, but what lies behind the language. What teachers must
always keep in mind is that a foreign language cannot be taught in isolation. The origin of
the language cann
ot be ignored and, most importantly, the culture that is behind that
language is essential when teaching and learning because the language is deeply connected
with culture and is shaped by it.
Therefore, language and culture go hand in hand.
The
expression
s we use, how we react in certain circumstances, and our interactions with
friends are all shaped by the culture in which we are immersed; the language becomes a
social and cultural practice. As a
Member of TESOL Greece and the AILA Scientific
Commission o
n Learner Autonomy,
Dimitrios Thanasoulas
, stated in his article
The
Importance of Teaching Culture in the Foreign Classroom
:
Culture and communication are inseparable because culture not only dictates who talks to
whom, about what, and how the communicati
on proceeds, it also helps to determine how
people encode messages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and
circumstances under which various messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or
interpreted... Culture...is the foundation of com
munication
(2001)
.
Culture is present whenever we hold a conversation with someone; it is in the gestures we
make, in eye contact, on the expressions we use, in our turns to speak and, essentially, in
the language we use. These are cultural elements that w
e must notice and pay attention to
when we analyze a new culture; they are cultural practices that can be easily spotted, but it
is our task to identify them and interpret them, detecting the differences from our own
culture and reflecting on them. For tha
t reason, this syllabus will concentrate mainly on the
culture.
Cultural Awareness
4
Cultural awareness provides the learner with the opportunity to identify not only the
differences between on
e culture and another but also the understanding of another ways of
thinking and life styles. When we reflect on our culture, we are practically analyzing
ourselves; that is, the way we act, the way we behave, how we communicate, our
perspectives of the wo
rld and, most importantly, how we see the world because our lives
and our way of living and interacting is shaped by culture. However, sometimes we are not
aware of our own cultural practices; sometimes we ask ourselves: what is essentially
Chilean? Or wha
t are our main traditions or customs? When we cannot answer these
questions, it means that we are not truly aware of our own culture. The significance of
developing cultural awareness is that only by stepping into another culture, one can start
recognizing
developing an awareness of the values and
traditions of the people w
hose language is being studied can we realize how our own
culture has shaped and influenced our behavior and attitudes. As Thanasoulas (2001)
To foster cultural awareness by dint of teaching culture means to bring to our
conscience
the latent assumptions and premises underlying their belief and value
systems
th
the opportunity to reflect on their own culture and, consequently, on their own behavior and
beliefs.
This workshop will deal in more detail with
the American culture, and in every unit
the students will identify elements that are specific to that cul
ture in contrast to their own.
first task as teachers is to give the learners the tools to identify those differences and to
notice how they vary in their own culture
. From this point on, the learners can form their
own opinions about the information they have started to gather on the target culture, and
Cultural Awareness
5
they can start to make comparisons with their own culture; it is the first step to develop
cultural awareness: the s
tudents will cross the boundaries of their own way of life and
culture into another and meet other ways of life
(Moran, 2001)
. Once the learners take this
first step, they can overcome the first degree of cultural awareness; that is, to put in the
picture
other cultures and to notice them instead of ignoring them or being oblivious to
My way
is the only
of
(Kuang, 2007)
.
Nowada
ys, it is impossible not to notice how other cultures have influenced our own;
sometimes it can be seen in advertisements, while other times on television. Therefore, it is
important to recognize these elements in our culture and analyze the impact they ha
ve on
our lives.
Once the students have identified and described aspects and elements of the
American culture, they will put into practice the language skills to report different aspects
of the target culture. For this purpose, students will apply the in
formation they have
gathered
of the targe
t culture or of other cultures by using English; they will analyze the
information and will share their opinions with their classmates. In addition, in some cases,
the students will have to face and solve situationa
l problems, where they will act or respond
to specific circumstances according to the set of rules of the target culture. The idea is that
the students have the opportunity to participate in activities that will promote reflection,
where the cultural eleme
nts of one culture are in contrast with their own. As
Quappe and
Cantatore
(2005) elaborated on
their definition of cultural awareness in their article
What is
Cultural Awareness, anyway?
Cultural awareness becomes central when we have to
interact with pe
ople from other cultures. People see, int
erpret and evaluate things in
different ways. What is considered an appropriate behavior in one culture is frequent
ly
Cultural Awareness
6
establish co
mmunication and build relationships; however, when we are not aware of the
system of values of the target culture, misinterpretation might ensue if we use our own
perceptions of their reality or culture, as exemplified by
Quappe and Cantatore
In
a
bsence of better knowledge
we tend to assume, instead of finding out
what a behavior
means to the person involved
the target culture and to get acquainted with their sets of rules and behavio
rs to avoid
misinterpretations and miscommunications. The goal is to clarify the cultural similarities
and differences and then reflect upon them in follow
-
up discussions and analysis
(Kuang,
2007)
.
The most important objective in this workshop is for the
students to reflect on the
situations in which they took part or solved. In other words, the students will develop
critical thinking by summarizing, analyzing, giving opinions, and interpreting their cultural
experiences. On the one hand, the students wil
l analyze and reflect on their on behavior and
the other. The goal is to identi
fy the influence of their own culture on their communicative
exchanges and to notice how this influence affects their interaction and behavior. There is
that peop
le are not all the same beneath the skin
(Cakir, 2006)
. By achieving this goal,
students will not only be more aware of people from other cultures, but they will also
develop respect and acceptance of social and cultural diversity.
Cultural Awareness
7
References
Cakir,
I. (2006). Developing cultural awareness in foreign language teaching.
Turkish Online
Journal of Distance Education
-
TOJDE
, 154
-
161.
Kuang, J.
-
f. (2007). Developing students' cultural awareness through foreign language teaching.
Sino
-
US English Teaching
,
74
-
81.
Moran, P. (2001).
Teaching culture: Perspectives in practice.
Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
Quappe, S., & Cantatore, G. (2005).
What is cultural awareness, anyway? How do I build it?
Retrieved April 16, 2010, from Culturosity: http://www.culturosity.com
Robinson, L. (1998).
Looking ahead 2: Learning about academic writing.
Heinle & Heinle
Publishers.
Thanasoulas, D. (2001). The importance of teaching culture in the foreign language classroom.
Radical Pedagogy
, 1
-
25.
Online References
Gorski, P. (2010).
M
ulticultural Education Pavilion.
Retrieved June 7, 2010, from Awareness
Activities: Exchanging Stories
--
Names:
http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/activities/name.html
Jeananda, C. (2010, June).
Martin Luther King Jr
.
. Retrieved June 10, 2010, from
Encha
nted
Learning
:
http://www.enchantedlearning.com
Thanksgiving Day
. (2010). In
Encyclopædia Britannica
. Retrieved June 29, 2010, from
Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/590003/Thanksgiving
-
Day
The International Educatio
n Site. (2009).
The International Education Site.
Retrieved June 7, 2010,
from American Culture: Myths & Realities: http://www.intstudy.com/articles/usamyth.htm
Vaccher, L. (2000, September 7).
Create a holiday.
Retrieved May 12, 2010, from The educator's
reference desk: http://www.eduref.org/
Vickery
-
Smith, J. (2010).
Fourth of July.
Retrieved June 7, 2010, from The Holiday Zone
http://www.theholidayzone.com
Vitale
-
Salajanu, A. (2010).
University of Illinois Extension.
Retrieved June 6, 2010, from
Informat
ion for Immigrants: American Culture:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cook/factsheets/immigrants515.html
Cultural Awareness
8
Name of the Syllabus
:
An essential factor in the teaching of English: Cultural Awareness
Audience
: senior students
Duration
: 12 sessions
Class hour
s
: 45 minutes each session
Teacher
: Gabriela Chacana
Contact e
-
mail
: gabriela.chacana@hotmail.com
Course description
: We are currently living in a globalized and demanding world where
the English language is the key to communicating and reaching for other
cultures, in
particular, the American culture. In this workshop, the students will encounter different
aspects related to the American culture. These aspects are aimed to promote reflection and
understanding of the practices and customs of Americans; the s
tudents will identify
elements and aspects of the American culture and will analyze them and compare them
with their own culture. It is no longer a matter of learning the language by itself, but view
the teaching of culture as a way to develop awareness of
the values and traditions of the people
whose language is being studied as well as developing tolerance and respect towards different
cultures and points of view.
General Objective
: to develop cultural awareness
culture
and
of the
American
culture.
Specific Objectives
To identify cultural elements of the American culture and describe them.
To practice language skills to
give opinions about
different
cultural aspects
of the
American
culture.
To identify and apply
the set of rules of the tar
get culture
.
To reflect upon the differences between one culture and the other.
To
develop critical think
ing by reflecting, analyzing
, and interpret
ing cultural experiences
Cultural Awareness
9
Modules of the course
Th
is workshop will cover the following topics:
Module 1: What is culture?
Module 2: Looking at American c
ulture
Module
3: Assumptions about American c
ulture
M
odule 4: Influence of American c
ulture in Chilean holidays
Course Format
In this workshop, the st
udents will identify and analyze the American culture according to
the topics covered in each module. The sessions will involve class discussions and
reflections. Pair work will be essential to communicate and to share opinions using the
language. Texts wi
ll be read in each module to provide an insight and information on the
American culture, including activities derived from the texts.
Evaluation and grading
The workshop will be evaluated as follows:
1. In
-
class participation
_20
_%
Each session will
include class discussions and
sharing opinions. The participation of the students
is essential for the analysis of the American culture
and the comparisons made with their own culture.
Cultural Awareness
10
2. Written assignments
3. Multicultural fair
4.Oral Present
ation:
Create a holiday
TOTAL
_20_
%
_20_
%
_40
_%
_
100
_%
Some modules will require further analysis on the
topics. The students will reflect on the questions
presented and will answer them in
writing
where
they will sta
te their opinion on the subject.
At the end of the course, in groups, the students
will present to the class a specific element of the
target culture such as a typical food, music, clothes,
sports, or a holiday. For the presentation, they will
take into c
onsideration the origin of the element
and explain why it is a typical element of the
culture.
For this oral presentation, the students will gather
all the elements that constitute a culture
,
such as
values, customs, traditions, etc. to create a brand
new
holiday. The students will present a poster that
will include the following elements:
1. Purpose of holiday
2. Background/history/founders
3. Date of the holiday
4. Decorations and/or colors involved
5. Foods associated with the holiday
6. Symbol to
represent the holiday
(adapted from
An Educator's Reference Desk
Lesson Plan
)
Cultural Awareness
11
Course policies
An active participation and collaboration from the students is expected for every session of
the workshop. In general, the sessions will include class discus
sions and sharing of
opinions; the students must state their ideas and opinions in a respectful and civil manner
and must respect the speaking turns of their classmates and their teacher. It is very
important for the students and the teacher to be in class
on time. Before the class starts, the
students must also turn off their cell phones and anything else that makes noise. Finally, a
regular attendance is essential for success in this course.
Cultural Awareness
12
Evaluation rubrics
The in
-
class participation of the student
s will be evaluated based on the following rubric
and criteria.
Based on a 60% scale,
obtain for each criterion.
(Adapted from
Rubrics, Teachnology
)
Criteria
Points
4
3
2
1
Attendance /
Promptness
Student is
always
prompt and
regularly attends
classes.
Student is late to
class
once every
two weeks
and
regularly attends
classes.
S
tudent is late to
class
more than
once every two
weeks
and
regularly attends
classes.
Student is late
to class
more
than once a
week
and/or has
poor attendance
of classes.
____
Level Of
Engagement In
Class
Student
proactively
contributes to
class by offer
ing
ideas and asking
questions
more
than once
per
class.
Student
proactively
contributes to
class by offering
ideas and asking
questions
once
per class.
Student
rarely
contributes to
class by offering
ideas and asking
questions.
Student
never
contributes t
o
class by
offering ideas
and asking
questions.
____
Listening to
others
Student listens
when others talk,
both in groups and
in class. Student
incorporates or
builds off
of the
ideas of others.
Student
listens
when others talk,
both in groups
and in clas
s.
Student
does not
listen when others
talk, both in
groups and in
class.
Student
does
not
listen when
others talk, both
in groups and in
class.
Student
often
interrupts
when others
speak.
____
Behavior
Student
almost
never
displays
disruptive
behavior du
ring
class.
Student
rarely
displays
disruptive
behavior during
class.
Student
occasionally
displays
disruptive
behavior during
class.
Student
almost
always
displays
disruptive
behavior during
class.
____
Total
----
>
____
Cultural Awareness
13
The written assignments of the students will be evaluated based on the following rubric and
criteria.
Criteria
Points
1
2
3
4
Organization
Sequence of
information is difficult
to follow.
Reader has
difficulty
following work
because student
jumps around.
Student presents
information in
logical sequence
which reader can
follow.
Information in
logical,
interesting
sequ
ence which
reader can follow.
____
Content
Knowledge
Student does not have
grasp of information;
student cannot answer
questions about
subject.
Student is
uncomfortable
with content and is
able to
demonstrate basic
concepts.
Student is at ease
with conten
t, but
fails to elaborate.
Student
demonstrates full
knowledge (more
than required).
____
Spelling
Work has four or
more spelling errors
or grammatical errors
Presentation has
three misspellings
or grammatical
errors
Presentation has
no more than two
mi
sspellings
or
grammatical
errors
Presentation has
no misspellings
or
grammatical
errors
____
Neatness
Work is Illegible.
Work has three or
four areas that are
sloppy.
Work has one or
two areas that are
sloppy.
Work is neatly
done.
____
Total
----
>
____
obtain for each criterion.
(Adapted from
Rubrics, Te
chnology
)
Cultural Awareness
14
The oral presentations of the students, Create a holiday and the Multicultural fair, wil
l be
evaluated based on the following rubric and criteria.
Criteria
Points
1
2
3
4
Organization
Audience cannot
understand
presentation because
there is no sequence
of information.
Audience has
difficulty
following
presentation
because student
jumps around.
Student presents
information in
logical sequence
which audience
can follow.
Student presents
information in
logical,
interesting
sequence which
audience can
follow.
____
Content
Knowledge
Student does not have
grasp of information;
student c
annot answer
questions about
subject.
Student is
uncomfortable
with information
and is able to
answer only
rudimentary
questions.
Student is at ease
with content, but
fails to elaborate.
Student
demonstrates full
knowledge (more
than required)
with explana
tions
and elaboration.
____
Visuals
Student used no
visuals.
Student occasional
used visuals that
rarely support text
and presentation.
Visuals related to
text and
presentation.
Student used
visuals to
reinforce screen
text and
presentation.
____
Mechani
cs
Student's presentation
had four or more
spelling errors and/or
grammatical errors.
Presentation had
three misspellings
and/or
grammatical
errors.
Presentation has
no more than two
misspellings
and/or
grammatical
errors.
Presentation has
no misspellings
or
grammatical
errors.
____
Delivery
Student mumbles,
incorrectly
pronounces terms, and
speaks too quietly for
students in the back of
class to hear.
Student incorrectly
pronounces terms.
Audience members
have difficulty
hearing
presentation.
Student's vo
ice is
clear. Student
pronounces most
words correctly.
Student used a
clear voice and
correct, precise
pronunciation of
terms.
____
Total
----
>
____
obt
ain for each criterion.
(Adapted from
Rubrics, Teachnology
)
Cultural Awareness
15
Course schedule plan
Module
Session
Content
Activities
1. What is culture?
1
st
-
Introduction to culture
-
Universal cultural
elements
-
Interpreting pictures
-
Defining culture
-
Text:
What
is culture?
-
Answering questions about
the text.
2
nd
-
Elements of Chilean
culture
-
Looking at your own culture:
Giving opinions
2. Looking at
American culture
3
rd
-
Elements of American
culture
-
Interpreting pictures
-
Identifying and listing
American
cultural elements
-
Text:
American culture
-
Reflecting on cultural values
and answering questions.
4
th
-
American values
-
Text:
American values
-
Reflecting on American and
Chilean cultural values
-
Role
-
play: Formal and
informal use of the language
-
Ho
mework: Name stories
3. Assumptions
about American
culture
5
th
-
Looking at American
myths and assumptions
-
Text:
American Culture:
Myths & Realities.
-
Matching exercise
-
Analysis of myths and
assumptions
6
th
-
American cultural
practices
-
Analysis o
f American
culture
-
Comparing American and
Chilean cultures
-
Written assignment:
reflecting and stating
opinions
4. Influence of
American culture
in Chilean holidays
7
th
-
Chilean holidays
-
American holidays
-
Interpreting pictures
-
Matching exercise
-
Finding similarities between
holidays
Cultural Awareness
16
8
th
-
Influence of American
holidays in Chilean holidays
-
Text:
American holidays:
Thanksgiving Day
Independence Day
Day
-
Reflecting on the influence
of American culture on
Chilean holidays.
-
Analysis of American
holidays
-
Written assignment
:
reflecting on Chilean holidays
and how they are celebrated
and the influence of
American culture.
Evaluations
9
th
-
Chilean holidays
-
American holidays
-
Oral Presentation: Create a
holiday
10
th
-
Ch
ilean holidays
-
American holidays
-
Oral Presentation: Create a
holiday
Evaluations
12
th
-
American culture
-
Multicultural Fair: group
presentations
Cultural Awareness
17
Sample Activities
Cultural Awareness
18
An essential factor in the teaching of English:
Cultural Awareness
Module
1
:
What is culture?
Objective
:
To identify cultural elements
Task
:
Look at the pictures and answer the following questions:
How many different cultures can you see?
Where are the cultures from?
Do you think they are representative of their countri
es?
By looking at the pictures, can you identify the elements that constitute a culture?
Pre Reading
Making predictions: Look at the title of the text.
What do you think the text is about? Can you provide a definition of culture?
What is culture to you?
Cultural Awareness
19
Reading
After Reading
According to the text, answer these questions:
What elements form a culture?
What do all cultures share?
Is the definition of the anthropologist Edward Taylor similar to your own
definition of culture?
Task
:
After reading the text, identify the elements that are part of a culture.
Looking at your own culture
: Name elements that are part of
the Chilean culture.
Think about this question: What is particularly Chilean? Can you name them in relation
to the cul
tural elements in the box?
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
____________________________________
Some el
ements of culture:
Music Customs
Values
Food Habits
Art
Beliefs Clothes Ideas
What is culture?
When
humans live in groups, they develop and share similar ways of behavior. We call this culture. Culture
includes all the ways that humans live in the environment and with each other. Culture also includes all the ways
that a group of people thinks and behave
s.
Culture is many things. One anthropologist, Edward Taylor, stated that culture includes knowledge, beliefs, art,
law, customs, and any other habits of man in a society. Physical items (food, clothing, houses, and tools) are part
of culture. You can see,
touch, and handle these things. They are what anthropologists call artifacts. But human
life is more than just objects. Culture includes your ideas of what is right and wrong, good and bad or beautiful
and ugly. All of these together make up our culture.
All humans have culture. It is reflected in their customs.
Culture makes us human. And each human group
a family, a tribe, or a nation
has its own culture. Most
members of the same cultural group usually share similar customs and values. For example, they
often speak,
dress, eat, think, and act in similar ways. Most people think that their customs are natural, right, and good. They
believe their way of life is the best way. But these customs may seem strange to others.
(Taken from
Looking Ahead
)
Cultural Awareness
20
Sharing
opinions
Which elements from your own culture d
o you think are more important? Why?
Create a hierarchy and share it with your classmates.
Use the structures to share your ideas and give your opinion.
For example
:
In my opinion, values are the most important
elements
in a
culture.
Useful
phrases to ask for and give opinions:
Asking for Opinions
What do you think?
What's your opinion?
What are your ideas?
Do you have any thoughts
about
that?
How do you feel a
bout
that?
Giving Opinions
I don't think...
In my opinion,
Cultural Awareness
21
Module
2
:
Looking at American Culture
Objective
: To identify elements of the American culture.
Pre Reading
What do you know about the American culture?
Name elements that you think are part of the Americ
an culture.
2.
Look at the pictures
and answer the questions:
Which activities are familiar to you?
Which ones are different?
What cultural differences can you find?
Read this extract about culture and answer the
questions about American culture.
(Taken from
University of Illinois Extension: American Culture
)
Culture is not something you can touch. It is what
makes a people or a society unique. It includes the
values (
what is
important
, for example,
like
having compassion for people who have less
money than you
), traditions (
like having turkey
on Thanksgiving
), norms (
like how you treat
other people and how you behave in public
),
customs (
like putting your tooth under your
pill
ow so the tooth fairy will leave you money
),
and beliefs (
whether you believe in B
uddhism,
Christianity
, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam or
some other religion
). Culture shapes the way we
look at and the way we interpret the world. It
encompasses not just what pe
ople think, but how
they think, and how they interpret the world
around them.
Cultural Awareness
22
3.
Pair
-
work.
Think about these questions and share your answers with a classmate:
a)
What elements do you
think are typical of American c
ulture?
b)
What cultural elements do you think
are more important to them?
c)
What values do you think are important for American people?
Reading:
American Values
(Taken from
University of Illinois Extension: American Culture
)
Here are some
aspects
that are
part of the United States culture:
Greetings
someone w
ho asks this question is: "Fine, thanks."
even of the opposite sex and people you work with)
usually embrace, finishing the embrace with a pat or two on the back.
·
Man greeting Woman
:
At a first meetin
g a regular handshake will do.
Light hugs are common
between good friends and family.
ng or other touching is appropriate with someone at work.
Titles and the Way You Address Someone
just met. If you are not sure of a woman's marital status, us
e Ms.
Conversation
or
movies.
controversial subjects and avoid discussing somebody's personal life.
rs.
Cultural Awareness
23
After Reading
Think about these aspects of you
r own culture: Greetings, Titles and the Way You Add
ress
Someone, and Conversations and then answer the following questions:
How do you talk to someone?
Do you use a lot of gestures? Do you use
colloquial words? Swear words?
How do you greet your friends?
How do you greet your parents? Other family
members? Teachers?
How do you address your friends? Elderly members of your family? Teachers?
What do you talk about with your friends?
What differences or similarities can you find in relation to your own cul
ture
regarding
these aspects
?
Task
:
Role
-
playing. Create a dialogue for both situations. Pay attention to the American
conventions discussed before. Represent it
by
contrasting both cultures.
Can you identify
the differences
?
Situation 1
an Ame
rican boy or girl
Useful phrases for the dialogues, pay attention to the formal and informal uses
of the language.
Homework:
Name stories. Write a paragraph abou
t the story of your name, take into
consideration these questions:
Who gave you your name? Why?
What is the ethnic origin of your name?
What are your nicknames, if any?
What do you prefer to be called?
(Taken from
Multicultural Education Pavilion: Exc
hanging Names
Stories
)
Inf
ormal greetings:
Hi / Hello
How are you?
What's up?
Formal greetings:
Good morning/evening /
afternoon
Hello Mr. /Miss / Mrs.,
how are you?
Good day
S
ir/Madam
Conversation topics
:
--
Music
--
Food
--
Sports
--
Vacations, etc.
--
Movies
--
Books
What is your favorite movie?
Cultural Awareness
24
Module 3
:
Assumptions about American c
ulture.
Objective
:
To examine prejudices and assumptions and reflect upon them
.
Pre Reading
:
American Culture: Myths & Realities
Read these myths about American culture and then answer the que
stions:
1.
M
Y
T
H
: Americans are rude and loud
.
2.
M
Y
T
H
: All Americans are rich and drive fast cars.
3.
M
Y
T
H
: American professors are casual, sometimes even asking students to
address them by their first names
.
4.
M
Y
T
H
:
Americans are racist
.
Do you think these
myths
a
re true?
Do you think
any of them
apply to your own culture?
Can you think
of other myths about American c
ulture?
Write them down and share
them with the rest of the class.
Reading
Match the myths listed above with the following realities. Write the num
ber of each myth
next to the text.
a.
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
R
E
A
L
I
T
Y
:
In regions where there are many immigrants you may find
yourself blending in
than suffering
from intolerance. In other, more isolated and
homogeneous areas, you may be an object of curiosity, notic
ed and welcomed
.
In
general you need not fear that you will encounter overt racism in the United
States, particularly within the university or college community.
b.
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
R
E
A
L
I
T
Y
:
demands in l
oud English to be understood
.
It is true that Americans are often less
inhibited socially than people from some other cultures. It is equally true that
directness, or saying what one thinks, is acceptable behavior. Americans value
honesty and frankness. Th
ey are generally not embarrassed or angered by being
told they are wrong, as long as the criticism is stat
ed in a friendly and respectful
way.
Cultural Awareness
25
c.
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
R
E
A
L
I
T
Y
:
In the United States, as in any country, there is a wide
range of economic status
. Some
of university students are
rich, but you may find it
lot of things, from cars and computers to stereo and skis. Material goods are easy
to acquire in a consumer
-
orientated,
credit
-
driven society, but they do not
necessarily indicate great wealth.
d.
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
R
E
A
L
I
T
Y
:
it is true that your American professors may ask you to
address them by their first names, but this does not mean they do not expect your
respect. The ways in
which courtesy and respect are shown to an American
professor may well differ from how they are expressed in your country. Respect in
a U.S. classroom includes a willingness to participate in class
,
debate and to ask
questions when you do not understand s
omething that has been said.
(Taken from
The International Education Site: American Culture: Myths & Realities
)
After Reading
After matching the myths with the realities, do you agree with them? Do
you think Americans are loud or rude? Are Americans racis
t?
Share your opinions with your classmates.
Written Assignment
Think about the Chilean culture and what you read about the American myths and answer
the following questions using the structures to give opinions.
Do Chilean university students call t
heir teachers by their
first
name? Do you think
it is a good idea? Would you call them by their first name?
What assumptions do you think foreigners or tourists
make about Chilean c
ulture?
Take into consideration the aspects discussed previously about Chi
lean culture.
Imagine you are a foreigner visiting Chile for the first time. What customs would
you first notice? Can you identify cultural elements that are typically Chilean? List
them.
Cultural Awareness
26
Cultural Awareness
27
Module 4:
Influence of the American culture on Chilea
n holidays
Objective
: To analyze American holidays and compare them with Chilean holidays. To
analyze Chilean holidays and identify the influence of the American culture on them.
Pre Reading
.
Think of the holidays of your own culture.
Which are your fav
orites? Why?
Can you think of holidays that came from other cultures?
Look at the pictures
Each of them represents American celebrations or holidays.
Can you see or find any similarities with the Chilean holidays or celebrations?
1. ________________
____ 2. _____________________ 3. ______________________
4. ____________________ 5. ____________________ 6. ___________________
7.___________________
Match the name of each holiday:
1.
Christmas
2.
Easter
3.
4.
Halloween
5.
Martin Lut
6.
4
th
of July
7.
Thanksgiving
Cultural Awareness
28
Answer the following questions regarding the pictures you just saw and share your answers
with your classmates:
Do you think our own holidays have been influenced by the American culture?
What do you think about thi
s influence? Do you think it is positive or negative?
Reading
In the following texts you will read about holidays that are particularly American.
Find the matching pictures of each holiday
Thanksgiving
(Taken from
Encyclopedia Britannica:
Thanksgiving Day
)
Picture number: _____
4
th
of July
(Taken from
The Holiday Zone: Fourth of July
)
Picture number: ____
annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the
harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their
Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 ha
rvest feast shared by the English colonists
(Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag Indians. The American holiday is
particularly rich in legend and symbolism.
Throughout Colonial history, similar
Thanksgiving celebrations occurred whenever settlers felt
an overwhelming sense of
gratitude toward God. In fact, George Washington even declared a national day of
Thanksgiving in 1789. Still, Thanksgiving did not become a regular holiday in the
United States until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill
proclaiming the
last Thursday of each November to be Thanksgiving Day. In 1941, the U.S. Congress
amended the law to make the fourth Thursday of each November Thanksgiving.
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted t
he Declaration of Independenc
e,
officially
breaking bonds with England
and forming a new
independent
nation, the
United
States of America.
Four days later, on July 8, 1776, colonists gathered in
Philadelph
ia to hear the Declaration read. A
fterward, they celebrated the national's
first
"Independence Day." In the years that followed, citizens across America
celebrated their hard
-
won freedom July 4. Not until 1941, however, was the Fourth
of July set aside as a national holiday.
Cultural Awareness
29
Picture number: ____
(Taken from
Enchanted Learning: Martin Luther King)
A
fter Reading
Each of the holidays from the texts represents significant American celebrations; can you
think of other American holidays? Are they similar to Chilean celebrations?
Answer these questions:
1.
How do Chileans celebrate their Independence Day?
2.
What is the purpose of celebrating Thanksgiving Day?
3.
Read the text about Martin Luther King. Do Chileans celebrate or commemorate an
important personality? If so, why is that person commemorated?
Written Assignment
By looking at the pictures of Christm
Americans celebrate these holidays?
Now, answer the following questions and write down your opinions:
Do you think Chileans cele
do? If so, why
are Chileans influenced
so
easily?
How do you think Chileans should celebrate these holidays?
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great man who worked for ra
cial equality and civil rights in the
United States of America. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia
.
Young
Martin was a
n excellent student in school. H
e
also
enjoyed reading books, singing, riding a
bicycle, and playing football and baseba
ll. Martin experienced racism early in life. He decided
to do to something to make the world a better and fairer place.
After graduating from college
and getting married, Dr. King became a minister and moved to Alabama.
During the 1950's, Dr. King became
active in the movement for civil rights and racial equality.
He participated in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and many other peaceful
demonstrations that protested the unfair treatment of African
-
Americans. He won
the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1964.
Dr
. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Commemorating the life of a tremendously important leader,
Americans
celebrate Martin
Luther King Day each year in January, the month in which he was born. August 28, the
Cultural Awareness
30
Th e En d
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