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Mesut Deniz


Give your feedback on culture in the classroom, Brown p.213. Brown offers a checklist of
eight criteria that influence how lessons may be generated, shaped and revised with
cultural, nonverbal communication and pragmatic communication all as factors. Choose
one of the criteria and support it using current research and your own experience. (2-3
pages) Secondly, view the Process not product video and comment on this approach to
language acquisition. 10 Points
I agree with Browns idea of approaching language teaching by using culture as the keystone.
Culture definitely interacts with classroom activities. Lessons and activities may be generated,
shaped and revised according to the cultural diversity of the classroom. Cultures of the students are
an important part of their language.
When youre learning a language you have to learn its culture as well. If youre learning Spanish and
youve no idea about burritos, jalapeo, or jarritos learning language will be incomplete.
If youre learning French, you need to know how French people eat snails in their way.
We have to learn language along with the culture because culture is an important fact that shapes the
Communicative interaction takes place within contexts that include setting, status, gender, and age of
the participants. These variables are critical in determining how speakers will use language to convey
intended messages. However, not all variables carry equal weight in all languages and cultures. The
degree of impact these variables have on speakers choice of discourse style and type of
communicative exchange differs cross-culturally. In addition, the range of choices available to
speakers reflects the importance that different variables hold in each language and culture. A
cultures beliefs, values, and norms are reflected and reinforced by the discourse patterns of
language. Cultures strongly concerned with maintenance of face are also the most likely to value
indirect discourse styles. Likewise, speakers in cultures that are very concerned with social status and
power distance will place strong emphasis on the appropriate use of honorifics, formal terms and
address. In cross-cultural encounters, speakers need to be able to recognize and understand how these
variables are sensitive to different cultural interpretations and thus produce different realizations of
discourse patterns between languages. (Wintergerst, DeCapua, 2004)
As it explains in DeCapua and Wintergersts research, when there are students from different cultural
backgrounds in your classroom, you have to design your lessons and activities accordingly. If I
would use one of the Browns 8 principles, which would be Does the activity value the customs and
belief systems that are presumed to be a part of the culture(s) of the students?
It is important for me as a teacher to know the cultural differences of the students lives and
backgrounds. Without this information, my sensitivity and compassion for each child would not be
able to develop. When I was teaching in Azerbaijan I used to have students from Azeri background.
According to that fact I was able to feel more comfortable due to the factor of being from the same
culture(Turkey-Azerbaijan have very close cultures). I knew that what students value, what I
shouldnt talk about. In Azerbaijan, students are more respectful to their teacher to the extent which

they always stand up when a teacher comes into the classroom and they consider teachers
expectations as commands. So I was able to design my activity according to Azeri culture. For
example; Turkish and Azeri people have strong ties with their family values. I was trying to promote
those values and those strong ties of my students in my classroom activities. I always tried to meet
my students parents and establish communication between parents and teachers.
Here in the US I have at least four to five different cultural backgrounds in every class I teach. I try
to understand their cultural background first and then I design and shape my classroom activities in
order to value my students different cultural background. Schools are situated within communities.
Involving the community helps me understand the cultural backgrounds of my students lives and
build bridges between the home and school. I try to make home visits to my students parents in
order to understand their cultural background. Some of the families are so tied together but some of
them support their childs individualism and independences. The cultures of our students are
complex and changing constantly, but it makes our classroom a natural place to learn. I will keep
trying to understand cultures of my students in order to better serve them.