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ERIC Number: EJ1080338
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 27
Abstractor: ERIC
Culture and Sustainability: Lessons from the Oyster and Other Metaphors
Galloway, Vicki
Dimension, p94-120 2015
Consider the oyster. Like all good metaphors, it has done some morphing since the days of Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor." Newer bands of shell material have repainted the mollusk metaphor, transforming it from ostracism, opportunism, and exploitation to openness, opportunity and exploration, and thus an apt symbol for the intercultural experience. Indeed, Robinson's (1988) definition of culture as "a system of symbols and meanings" seems to evoke the very image of the oyster's constant production of shell layers: "past experience influences meaning, which in turn affects future experience, which in turn affects subsequent meaning, and so on" (p. 11). Metaphors are powerful in the economy of their complex bundling of experience. Lakoff (1993) contends that as mappings across conceptual domains metaphors help us grasp abstract concepts [such as culture] in more concrete terms. Using the metaphor "The world is your oyster," Vicki Galloway guides readers back through time as they consider how education has mapped culture, and perceived culture teaching in order to look ahead to the construction of new cultural metaphors from the intercultural construct of Sustainable Development. She supports the idea that imagining and experimenting with new ways to address the challenges of sustainable development through intercultural growth is part of the excitement and energy of language teaching in our era as educators guide our future global citizens to think in links, think in context, think in time, think in people, think in consequences and think in responsibility. Galloway concludes the article by disagreeing with Walker's (2012) tragic interpretation of the oyster metaphor. She writes that educators are not at all "trapped inside a shell, unable to break out, forced to live with it's finite and declining resources powerless to make the best use of the treasures that lie within." Galloway proposes a call to action as educators make the world their own oyster, and make it one that creates the intercultured pearl.
Southern Conference on Language Teaching. P.O. Box 33615, Decatur, GA 30033. Tel: 404-290-1942; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A