oday and tomorrow, I go to a workshop for teaching foreign languages sponsored by the National Capital Language Resource Center. The topic is teaching culture in the classroom. I have basically been an opponent to teaching culture in the class, unless it has a direct correlation to the language. In Japanese, for example, calling each other by last name instead of first, or using the person’s name instead of the second-person pronoun “you.”
I used to hate books that incorporated cultural aspects or situations in the dialogue and exercises. I mean, when I was studying French, I couldn’t care less about the Champs Elysse or the Arc de Triomphe. I don’t need extra clutter in my mind. I would rather learn words and phrases that would be applicable in my everyday life, so I can actually try to use them with classmates or with the teacher. Teach me how to borrow a book/video; how to use a computer; how to talk about food or movies. Something I can use with my classmates. How am I going to hold a conversation on something neither I nor my classmate have yet to experience? Oh, how old is the Arch of Triumph… Uh, how many restaurants on the Champs Elysse. Big deal. The conversation will end in 15 seconds. Give me something I can use.
But I want to keep an open mind. There may be something that I have overlooked and so I’m going to this workshop to see if they can teach me something about incorporating culture into the classroom. If not, I will play devil’s advocate and wreak havoc. heheheh Just kidding. Wreak havoc? Moi? I would never do such a thing… hehehehehe.
whonose: Ok one question for you, although if its not answered by friday I wont be able to read it, because this fellow xangan will be in Tokyo! Any advice on what I SIMPLY HAVE TO DO while in your favourite Japanese city?
O-man: Well, I’m off to the workshop and so I will answer this later, tonight maybe. But in the meantime, I’d like to ask you all the same question.
When you go to Tokyo, what do you have to do? Eat something? Go somewhere? See something? Tell me so we can give this Britisher something to do while he’s in Tokyo.