ERIC Number: ED262577
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Cultural Understanding Through Cross-Cultural Analysis.
It is no longer possible to approach the teaching of foreign cultures with an ethnographic and objectivist perspective that allows students to believe in the absolute value of a given definition of culture. The first goal of foreign language and culture teaching is the acquisition of communicative competence in the broadest sense of this expression. Courses offered in foreign language and culture departments should be oriented toward contrastive and comparative analyis of cultures more than they are currently. These departments should see themselves as devoted to intercultural rather than monocultural study. The presentation that seeks to promote admiration for a foreign culture is as detrimental to cultural understanding as is a negative presentation. Awareness, arrived at through questioning of one's own perception of the other culture, is essential. Students should also be made aware that their own culture has instilled in them patterns of perception. Materials designed broadly, for students of all cultures, should be avoided because they do not aid in explicit cross-cultural comparison. Constant feedback involving the student's native culture supports the process of self-reflection. Application of these principles in one comparative French-American culture course was found to satisfy a previously unexpressed need for a more explicit intercultural approach. (MSE)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Teaching Languages in College. Communicative Proficiency and Cross-Cultural Issues. Proceedings of a SUNY-Albany Conference (Albany, NY, October 19-20, 1984). For proceedings, see FL 015 232.