ERIC Number: ED356637
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Oct-25
Recognizing Our Students' Cultural Diversity in the Foreign Language Classroom: How and Why.
Nance, Kimberly A.
It is argued that while second language teachers generally recognize the value of cultural diversity, they may not be acknowledging and taking full advantage of the diversity within their own classrooms. A variety of classroom techniques to support multiculturalism are offered. One is to examine, with student participation, both positive and negative aspects of ethnocentrism and to develop an early respect among students for their own culture rather than focusing first on the target culture. Then the teacher can begin to help students move from a limited tolerance of differences to an appreciation of diversity. This includes exposure to a variety of manifestations of the target culture and presentation of a role model with enthusiasm and commitment. A sincere effort to integrate the student's own culture into classroom communication can also be useful in bringing students into the target culture, but the effectiveness of this approach depends on the teacher's style. Another is to highlight the usefulness of second language skills and cultural knowledge, particularly in helping students gain sophistication, to which they naturally aspire. Yet another approach is to make the students' own culture an object of study, encouraging comparison with similar aspects of the target culture. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (St. Charles, IL, October 1991).