1. The Frankenstein Approach, where we select random cultural activities.
2. The 4-F Approach, getting its name from Folk dances, Festivals, Fairs, and Food.
3. The Tour Guide Approach, where the emphasis is on monuments, rivers, and cities, and
4. The "By-the-way" Approach, where we use sporadic lectures or bits of behavior selected indiscriminately to emphasize sharp differences.
Regardless of what approach we take, we must keep in mind that culture is an essential part of foreign language instruction, and that it needs to be carefully planned to be incorporated effectively in a lesson. When we teach culture, we help students broaden their views of the world. We help reduce stereotypical misconceptions, and also help them understand their own cultural heritage.
Here are some of the ideas that can help you incorporate culture in the foreign language curriculum:
1. Use readings and realia to enliven a cultural topic.
2. Guide students to compare and contrast the target culture and their own (e.g. using a Venn diagram).
3. Have students develop culture clusters, and follow up with a dramatization or situational role-play.
4. Present students with situations where cultural misinterpretations are shown, and encourage discussion.
5. Develop culture mini-dramas in three to four episodes.
6. Guide students to derive cultural connotations by using word association, semantic mapping activities,
specific situations, and collages.
7. Make use of the artifact study strategy: Bring something from the target culture to class and have students
hypothesize, discuss, analyze, and reflect about the item.
8. Make use of proverbs to show differences in cultural perspectives.
9. Use humor to explore cross-cultural references.
10. Use music, but go beyond the fill-in-the blanks format.
(A very special thanks to Dr. Moeller, for teaching me how to become a better language instructor).