ERIC Number: ED441336
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
The Process of Culture Learning within a Foreign Language Program at a Selected Suburban Middle School Site: A Case Study.
Sposet, Barbara A.
This paper examines the effect of foreign language instruction on middle school students' attitudes toward "the other." The primary purpose of this case study is to describe the process of culture learning as it takes place within a middle school foreign language program. Culture learning is a particular type of human learning related to the patterns of human interaction and identification that can be viewed in one of three ways: (1) a series of stages along a road to the development of intercultural communicative skills; (2) a path or continuum leading from ethnocentrism; and (3) as varying stages of awareness, understanding, and acceptance. This investigation was designed around two arenas of inquiry: How does an awareness of people different from oneself develop in the middle school adolescent? and What is the contribution of foreign language study to the development of culture learning? A variety of data gathering techniques were used, including the following: interviews with students learning Spanish over a 3-month period; extended interviews with Spanish teachers; a content analysis of the qualitative cultural activities available at the school; and an examination of the various cultural artifacts available to students and teachers at the school. In general, it was found that the process of culture learning was chiefly influenced by a variety of experiences prior to the introduction of foreign language study in middle school. The pedagogical and academic implications of this finding are discussed. (Contains 47 references and the survey instruments.) (KFT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).