What About the Culture? (big or little C)
I’ve had a few questions about the quality of the readings here. There are concerns that the material is not culturally relevant and that so much more could be attained if the readings used with students were consistently culture-appropriate to the language of instruction.
I think that readings that integrate the target culture and that educate students are stellar. I encourage you to use them. The readings that are posted here are ones that we have had the time to get here. Many of the embedded readings used by teachers are created from documents written by non-teachers. In these cases, we try to get permission from the authors before posting the embedded versions on this site. So, yes, they are out there. Just not here yet. :o)
Also, what you may see here as an embedded reading for a second-language classroom are only one piece of what may be a week’s worth of information and activities. It is our goal to connect our students to the target culture as often as possible. It is also our goal to connect with our students!! Comprehensible-Input based instruction often starts with students’ interests and background knowledge and then segues into the target culture.
Comparison, or “parallel stories” are a regular part of the lesson. The reading on Michael Phelps, for example, would be connected to a reading and activities about a Spanish or Bolivian athlete…using the same principal structures found in the Michael Phelps piece.
The story about Mia, recently posted, is just the beginning of a series of stories. When Mia finds the enormous package in her living room, she Skypes with friends around the world to advice on what to do with the package. Their responses will reflect their cultures.
So what about those “cultural” readings? Topics like holidays, customs, history, famous people etc. Keep your eyes open…as more stories, and more “approvals to share” come in you will see more of them.
Thank you for the questions and concerns. Keep them coming!!
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