Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sharing ideas on culture, technology and language learning

Dear friends,
I would like to share with you, language teachers or researchers, some ideas on culture and technology in the language classroom. This "classroom" could be a second language class, a heritage speaker class, or even a mother language class. You can teach any language and discuss here with us in your preferred language as well (we can always use technology like Google translator if you say it in Chinese!:)
I just came back from an interesting and vivid conference in Minnesota (CLAC - Culture and Languages Across the Curriculum) and many ideas were discussed there and it came to my mind the possibility of starting a blog on the culture and technology matter. So here it is!

Let's start our discussion with the image below:

When you see it, what comes to your mind?
 I think that this image  translates well the fact that we all carry with us cultural 'clothing' when we communicate (even if we do not realize it initially). The "clothing" to which I refer here is not our physical garments, but the inherent cultural traits that hint we have a different origin.
  When we are learning a new language, we are getting ready to communicate with someone else from a new country, who will be 'clothed'  in a way that is how he or she communicates and lives! Sometimes this "clothing" can generate a cultural shock or cultural misunderstandings!  How do you deal with these 'cultural traits' when you communicate with native speakers? Is your language of teaching way too different than the native language of your students? Are you able to explain cultural differences regarding vocabulary, intonation, gestures, forms of address to your students? How do you do that?
What theories (if you have one) are at the base of  the 'cultural adventures' in you classroom? How does technology help you in this matter?
Well, I am going to stop now and try to seek your own opinions on this.
Later on, I will share my own view, readings and research on the matter.
My best to all of you who also teach languages in the world today...and love it as I do!