Lingua-culturology is a notion that a language includes not only competence such as grammar and vocabulary, but also acquired knowledge, rituals and cultural information, habits and behaviors. Modern English text-books include a part that contains an information about culture. Text-books are compiled with different topics related to certain countries’ culture. Culture covers different spheres of the country, including literature, nature, art, and a daily life. While teaching teachers should know not only What to teach? but How to teach? . A bright example can be teaching culture of some countries. For example: if the topic of the lesson is about Japan. Most students know that Japan is a leading country in the field of technology and education. But exactly they do not know its nature, geographical features and traditions. Some words from Japanese origin became an international words such as Ikebana ( flower arrangement), sakura ( is the Japanese term for flowering cherry tree), origami ( artistic paper folding), haiku ( a very short poem consisting of three lines), karaoke( entertainment where an amateur singer accompanies recorded music), emoji (ideograms used in electronic messages and web pages), Sudoku ( a number placement puzzle). If the lesson is about Far East countries, especially about Japan, teacher may conduct a brainstorming with following activities :
– Drawing a cluster diagram;
– Doing a short quiz about Japan;
– Listening/ reading the text about Japan;
– Showing specific pictures related to Japanese culture;
– Short video about Japan;
All above mentioned points are informative sources to conduct a lingua-cultural based lesson. Using a integration of visual, audio and tactile materials, we are also likely to succeed in addressing the different learning styles of language learners.
The next way of teaching is comprehensive method of teaching to analyze the interest of learners. Most books offer discussion based activities to teach the language in combination with culture. Discussion is a valuable form of learning in culture and language, however we cannot expect all language learners to be able to discuss complex issues about certain countries’ culture at a high level in a foreign language. Before teaching culture in language teachers should set exact tasks and aim of the lesson. In this way quizzes are very helpful to introduce the new culture and country . Quizzes can be used to fortify that teachers have previously taught. For example: TRUE/FALSE quizzes:
- The sun rises from Japan — T
- Kioto is the capital of Japan — F (Tokio)
- Sakura is a blossom apple tree — F (Cherry tree)
- Origami is an art of colorful paper folding — T
- Eaerthquake happens a lot in Japan –T
- Suchi is a national of China — F (Japan)
Teachers may ask learners to answer true or false questions and present a correct answer if it contains an incorrect information.
The second activity can be used to compare two countries’ culture or to find differences and similarities across cultures:
Choose the odd one out of the following items:
a) Ikebana b) Fish and chips c) Karaoke d) Emoji
The correct answer is “fish and chips” because we can find all the others in Japan, but fish and chips is a British traditional meal. Teachers can also ask students to quiz their group mates about reading or other materials. Culture based quizzes offer a high-interest activity that keeps students involved and learning.
While teaching a combination of culture and language teachers must pay attention to designing of their materials. Activities and materials should portray different aspects of the culture. In other words, teachers need to perform different views of the culture to learners. Introducing deliberate contrasts within a culture can be useful:
– Similarities vs. Differences ( Japan vs. China; the USA vs. UK)
– Facts vs. Behavior
– Historical vs. Modern (Buildings, museums, people)
– Urban life vs. Rural life
One more way of introducing a new culture is using realias such as objects from that culture. Instead of using the text as suggested in text-books, teachers may show them a chain of things related to one culture in the given text and ask learners What do they know about these objects? It helps students to gain a new information and associate things with a certain culture groups. Moreover they can easily guess the reading text’s plot without reading it. This activity is very useful to enhance learners creative thinking ability.
Working on short projects helps students to advance their language skills, meantime learners can improve their cultural interests doing projects. They may choose one country to present their project. They may include all cultural points of that country to their project:
– Doing presentation about chosen country ( climate, location, traditions);
– Doing survey about the country;
– Writing a report based on their survey (about results of a survey);
– Making videos about country ( interviews, TV shows);
– Role plays ( describing a culture shock with a foreigner)
– Performing traditions of the country;
Teaching culture gives an opportunity to make lessons diverse and enjoyable for language learners. With it teachers can introduce different manners of different culture. Topics about folk art, jokes, clothing and food is very thrilling when it is integrated with any kind of language skills or competence. For example: reading or listening to the text about Indian Yoga and its history can be performed with some elements of Yoga therapy.
As it is said that culture is like an iceberg, that only ten percent of it is visible and the other ninety percent is hidden below the surface. For this reason, EFL teachers must make intentional efforts to teach cultural understanding and tolerance to their learners.
Of course, the culture is interesting to all learners of language, so we presume that it will be interesting for them to go beyond the different cultures using the language they are learning. Teachers may choose the interesting aspects of a culture and present them in a way that will engage students. By using the wide range of approaches described above to create cultural texture and own creativity. Besides that, teachers should take into account their learners background. If they are teaching to multinational group of learners, they may make them working in a group. They have more opportunities for exchanging ideas about their own culture. Teachers should teach a culture as a special spot in the language lesson, such as a culture corner, each lesson should be sought to contain a cultural awareness skill that learners develop through working through text-book and associated materials. Teachers should teach the skills of identifying culturally significant information, how to research cultural information and how to develop cultural skill. It would be better if they stick a brief culture note related to their lesson topic to inform learners about new cultural reference.
- Omaggio-Hadley, A.(1993). Teaching language in context. Boston
- Oxford, R. L. (1994). Teaching culture in the language classroom: Towards a new philosophy.
- Махкамова Г. Т/ Концепция формирования межкультурной компетенции студентов факультетов английского языка. — Т.: Фан, 2010.