The importance of culture in language teaching/learning

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  • Publicado : 23 de noviembre de 2009
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TOPIC: The importance of culture in language teaching/learning.

We think that when we teach a language we also teach culture, so in this project we’re going to stress that when we are learning or teaching we also learn or teach culture unconsciously.

Our goals:

First at all, in this investigation we are going to start with a theoretical setting to define culture and itsaspects that we have to take into account. The objective of this paper is to show that we cannot go about teaching language without at least contributing some insights into its speakers’ culture.
It is well known that the culture with language teaching is the best way to encourage student’s activity in the language classroom or in the society. Students are given more opportunities to interrelateas a whole class. Unfortunately, people don’t think that culture in language teaching is important because people believe students need to learn only the language. We believe that the culture is primordial in language teaching/learning.
We think that when we teach a language we also implicitly teach culture, so in this project we´re going to demonstrate that when we teach a language wealso are teaching culture. We assume it´s essential to talk about this important factor of language teaching and learning, because any language is surrounded in a particular culture and when you learn a language, you inevitably learn about its underlying culture. If we teach language without teaching at the same time the culture, we are teaching empty symbols to which the student could attach thewrong meaning. We mean that they we are not teaching all the aspects of the language.

To prove our statements we did investigations constituted of inquiries for teachers and students in order to have specific information to support our project.

Introduction

“Culture in English language teaching has been subject to discussion among professionals and teachers for many years.Some teachers want to have cultural content in their language classrooms and similarly students may wish to acquire the cultural knowledge, which enables them to engage authentically with the language use of a particular native-speaking community. But there seems to be no sensible reason for insisting on this in the process of language learning. Native speakers may write textbooks and teachers’books, prepare cultural content, may be strong advocates of absolute authenticity in the materials, and make pronouncements and recommendations. However, their English is that which is associated with the communicative and communal needs of their community, and may not be relevant to those learning English as an international language. Also, their teaching may be suited to particular contexts ofinstruction which in many respects are quite different from those which we experience in the world.”(a)

What is discourse?

“Language in use, for communication- is called discourse.” (b) Language produces identity as a result “we continually and actively build and rebuild our words not just through language but through language used in tandem with actions, interactions, non-linguistic symbolssystems, objects, tools, technologies, and distinctive ways of thinking, valuing, feelings, and believing”.(c)
First, “I will refer to as “Discourse,” with a little “d”, to mean language-in-use or stretches of language (like conversations or stories). “Big D” Discourses are always language plus “other stuff” like culture. (d) Culture and communication are always together because culture not onlydictates who talks to whom, about what, and how the communication proceeds, it also helps to decide how people program messages, the meanings they have for messages, and the conditions and conditions under which a variety of messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or interpreted.

Evidently, everyday language is “joined” with cultural bits and pieces— that’s why most people seem to ignore this...
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