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The role of culture learning and teaching in foeign language education - Literature review Example

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As a teacher of the Spanish language, research on the role that teaching culture in learning the language is crucial to teaching the students in an optimal way. There has been a historical dichotomy on whether or not this is necessary. …
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The role of culture learning and teaching in foeign language education
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Download file to see previous pages des about the target culture and target language and the motivation of new learners to become integrative learners of the language, and how positive attitudes towards the target culture help these new learners overcome anxiety about learning the language. The final section is a conclusion, in which the concepts that are put forth are put into context in the situation at hand. 2.2 The Role of Culture in Foreign Language Education According to Pica (1994), there is a question as to how necessary cultural integration is to learning a foreign language, and that this is question that troubles foreign language teachers, whether the foreign language teacher is teaching students that are far removed from the target language or is teaching in an area where the students have a chance to be immersed in the language (Pica, 1994). There are two camps when it comes to teaching foreign languages - one camp believes that foreign language teaching should emphasize only communication competence, while the other camp believes that foreign language teaching should incorporate the culture of the target language, which would include the literature of the target language (Shanahan, 1997, p. 164). The first camp is only concerned with semantics – for them, learning a language is nothing but drills, and language is nothing but rules, strings of sentences, and prepositions (Thanasoulas, 2001). The learner must see morphological or syntactical pattern, practice it and learn it without regard to culture or context (Waltz, 1989, p. 160). The second camp believes that language has an intuitive component that can only be acquired by learning the culture of the target country. Language is learned in context (Wendt, 2003, p. 92). On the one end are individuals who feel that students must communicate...
One school of thought states that the only necessary education that new learners of a language need is semantics and how to string together sentences. For them, culture is not necessary to learn. The other school of thought says that cultural education regarding the target country is crucial, as it puts the language in context and helps the new learner know the different subtleties that are necessary to be a competent speaker. Learning a foreign language cannot force the learner into a vacuum where context and culture do not matter. It is only through learning the nuances of speech can a speaker become a competent speaker, and it is only through knowing the culture of the target country can this occur. A good example is the individual who used the word tu when he should have used the word vous. This is only one example, but one can imagine how many mistakes a speaker will make if he is not aware of context and culture. Because culture is so important to learning Spanish, this is something that will be emphasized in the Spanish classroom that I teach. Teaching knowledge about the culture will be relatively easy. Cooking Spanish food, teaching about Spanish holidays, teaching about the religion of Spain, teaching the Spanish painter, writers and other cultural icons, teaching the history of Spain, etc., will all be integral to teaching about Spanish culture. This would also include showing television shows from Spain, showing movies, including dramas and comedies, will be important as well. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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