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ERIC Number: EJ935843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0009-8655
Outposts of Americana: Bringing Iowa Grassroots Democracy to European English-Language Classrooms
Preus, Nate; Cohen, Alison Klebanoff
Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, v84 n5 p184-187 2011
We present a project that used the Iowa Caucus, an American political tradition, to support English-language instruction in Belgium and Luxembourg. Educators acknowledge that the cultural dimension is critically important in the acquisition of foreign languages, yet questions remain about effective ways to incorporate it in the classroom. Begun as an attempt by two American educators to introduce European students to American culture, our activity went further, addressing core questions about how we interpret cultural identity. Just as grassroots democracy is able to shift control of political narratives to individual voters, we found that our student-centered role-play shifted control of cultural narrative to participating students. Thus, we argue that students were more than viewers: they felt ownership of a piece of Americana. Our engaging pedagogical tool can be of use to social studies and language teachers, both abroad and in America, who are too often caught between presenting politics and culture as "fossilized" and who struggle to create a living representation of culture in the classroom. Finally, we situate our findings in the context of larger educational trends, particularly critical pedagogy and foreign-language instruction theory, which we use to foreground a discussion about the challenges of describing and interpreting culture. (Contains 1 table.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium; Iowa; Luxembourg