The Importance of Culture

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Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas
Language, Society and Culture
Final Work
Mónica Molina Salas
Professor: Patricia Escalante

The purpose of this paper is to take a look at the role of culture in second language teaching, its importance for students and how schools are incorporating culture in the classroom. The main theoretical constrains in which this paper is supported are the chapters 1 to 9 by Patrick Moran´s book: “Introduction to teaching Culture” and “The Cultural Experience”; the text” Culture in Second Language Teaching” by Elizabeth Peterson and Bronwyn Coltrane, and all the reading which were discussed during the class. The importance of Culture in second language teaching, teaching culture without preconceptions and Instructional strategies for teaching language and culture, are the main aspects which will be discussed and framed by Moran´s concepts and personal opinions and experiences.

Culture and Education
Culture can be seen since many points of view: As civilization: The great achievements of a people, in other words the big “C” and also, it is viewed as the small “c”: customs traditions or practices that people carry out. Culture is seen also as communication (Hall, 1985) this can be seen as “sociolinguistics” (Chaika, 1994); Intercultural communication (Lusting and Koester, 1999); the dynamic construction between and among people, among others. The construction between and among people, communication and intercultural communication refer to a particular use of language, it means that language is not just a part of culture, it reflects it. It does not mean that culture can be learned in a small number of classes about costumes, folk songs, typical food of the place where the language in this case English is spoken. In order to increase the awareness of the importance to know more about culture, the Education has taken the reins of the incorporation of the study of culture through the language classes, which helps the learners not only to learn a particular culture and language, but to develop their overall abilities as learners of culture. The importance of Culture in Language Teaching

In many ways, culture is taught implicitly: “language and culture are from the start inseparably connected’ (Buttjes, 1990: 55, cited in Lessard-Clouston, 1997) that is why culture reflects all the values of the society in which language is spoken. Be linguistically competent does not mean only to understand and express ideas, but it also involves awareness of the ways to address people, express gratitude, make requests and agree or disagree with someone. For example, in our context it does not mean that someone is linguistically competent if she/ he use the language to make requests by asking a favor politely, it means that students must know the behaviors and intonation patters in which they must ask for the determined favor. The interdependence between language and culture, impulse to the society to find a space in which culture could be taught by showing to the community how the different cultures are. Language, therefore, is a window to the culture, so as the window of the culture language must be a tool make explicit the implicit or tacit features of culture in a topic of a discussion in which language forms are studied. For instance when you are explaining the difference of the use of Can and Could, a teacher could explain to the students that is more polite and more adequate to use Could to ask for something. Students will master a language only when they learn both its linguistic and cultural norms . Teaching Culture without Preconceptions

Teachers should present all the cultural information without making judgments. The classroom must be a neutral space that learners can use to explore, express and reflect on their own culture by using a different language. Students will be able to express their own identity: the way they identify themselves in terms of groups...
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