1.2.The definition of culture in terms of foreign language teaching and learning 4
1.3.The meaning of culture in language teaching 7
1.4.Different types and approaches to teaching culture 9
1.5.The best approaches to teaching culture to 7-9 years old primary learners 13
2.Chapter two. Authentic materials 23
2.1.Definition of authentic materials 23
2.2.Types of Authentic materials 25
2.3.The advantages of using authentic materials 29
2.4.Disadvantages of using authentic materials 31
2.5.Task-based language teaching 32
2.6.Authentic materials that are the best for primary learners at the age of 7-9 35
3.Chapter three. Designed tasks 38
3.1.The process of task designing 38
3.2.Comparison of the British or American culture with students’ own one 39
3.3.Tasks using intercultural approach 47
3.4.Tasks using multicultural approach 50
3.5.Lessons with authentic materials 51
Polish summary 60
The present thesis deals with teaching cultural aspects during English lessons by using authentic materials. It consists of Introduction, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Conclusions, Polish Summary, and References.
Chapter one focuses on culture. Thus, the definition of culture is given. Moreover, the culture in terms of foreign language teaching and learning is described. Furthermore, different types and approaches to teaching culture during English lessons are enumerated and widely described. In addition, the best approaches to teaching culture for students at the age of 7-9 are presented.
Chapter two is devoted to authentic materials. Therefore, the definition of authentic materials is provided. Moreover, different types of authentic materials are described. Furthermore, the best authentic materials for the learners at the age of 7-9 are proposed.
Chapter three deals with different tasks designed for the primary learners at the age of 7-9 are presented and described. Thus, the comparison of Polish, American, and British culture is presented. Moreover, activities based on intercultural approach are given. Additionally, the lessons of using culture during English lessons are described.
Finally, there are conclusions and Polish summary. Moreover, there is a full list of references used during the writing of the thesis.
Chapter One. Culture
General definition of culture
The word ‘culture’ comes from Latin cultura and at first meant cultivation. In its current meaning the term ‘culture’ appeared in Europe in the 18th – 19th century.
Probably, what may come to one’s mind while thinking about the definition of the term is that culture is characteristic to particular group of people, which means that this group of people share the same language, history, religion, inhabited territory, cuisine, traditions and social habits.
What also can come up to our minds is the definition of so-called capital-C Culture and here we consider arts, theatre, music and literature; or as we can read in Oxford Dictionary “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement”.
However, there are many ways to define culture, for example from the anthropological point of view this term is defined as “the way people live” (Chastain 1988:302), Trinovitch (1980:550) states that culture is “ an all-inclusive system which incorporates the biological and technical behaviour of human beings with their verbal and non-verbal systems of expressive behaviour starting from birth, and this “all-inclusive system” is acquired as the native culture. The process, which can be referred to as “socialization”, prepare the individual for the linguistically and non-linguistically accepted patterns of the society in which he lives.” We can all agree on the fact that culture is a vital part of our language, our present and our past.
According to The National Centre for Cultural Competence culture is an”integrated pattern of human behaviour that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting and roles, relationships and expected behaviours of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; and the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations” (Goode, Sockalingam, Brown, & Jones, 2000). This definition says that language is not only a part of how we define culture, but it also reflects culture.
Dakowska (2005:106) says that “culture is a way of life of a given society permeates all areas of communication and provides contexts for the interpretation of meanings”.
Summing all these definitions up we realize that all these definitions have something in common and that is the fact that culture is a way of life (Brown, 1994:163). It is the background of our existence. It is the factor which makes a group of people to have something in common. It is kind of a model that shows the way of behaviour in community. It takes control on the way we behave in a group and makes us realize what the others expect of us, and what may happen if we live against their expectations. Hence, thanks to culture we know how far we can go as individuals and what are our responsibilities to the group.
The definition of culture in terms of foreign language teaching and learning
When focusing on culture in terms of teaching and learning foreign language, this point of view on culture is the most essential for this paper, many scholars agreed that language without cultural relevance is nearly useless. According to Brown (1994: 170) “language is the most visible and available expression of the culture”. What is more, Tang (1999) assumes that culture is language and language is culture. In his opinion when one wants to speak a language well, he or she needs to think in that language. Language and culture are inseparably joined. That is why many scholars started to call culture the “fifth skill”, next to reading, speaking, listening and writing, which these four are four main skills thought while teaching foreign language.
Duranti (1997: 28-29) specifies what exactly means “being a part of culture”. In his opinion, to be part of a culture means to share the propositional knowledge and the rules of inference necessary to understand whether certain propositions are true (given certain premises). To the propositional knowledge, one might add the procedural knowledge to carry out taskssuch as cooking, weaving, farming, fishing, giving a formal speech, answering the phone, asking for a favor, writing a letter for a job application”.
Additionally, Buttjes (1990), Ochs and Schieffelin (1984), Poyatos (1985), and Peters and Boggs (1986) state that “language and culture are from the start inseparably connected” (Lessard-Clouston, 1997). Thus, the language should be learned in particular social situations1:
every society orchestrates the ways in which children participate in
caregivers’ primary concern is not with grammatical input, but with the
transmission of sociocultural knowledge;
the native learner, in addition to language, acquires also the
paralinguistic patterns and the kinesics of his or her culture.
Furthermore, Duranti (1997: 24) defined culture as “something learned, transmitted, passed down from one generation to the next, through human actions, often in the form of face-to-face interaction, and, of course, through linguistic communication”.
However, on the other hand there are meaningful voices which points out that culture can be seen as “mere information conveyed by the language, not as a feature of language itself” (Kramsch 1993). Kramsch also says that we cannot consider culture as the fifth skill, because it is something additional, but still of great importance. Furthermore, Kramsch (1993:1) highlights from the very beginning that culture is in the background “ready to unsettle the good language learners when they expect it least, making evident the limitations of their hard-won communicative competence, challenging their ability to make sense of the world around them”.
Anyhow, one should not forget that good knowledge of a foreign language is not enough; for example one can speak Chinese very well, but knows very little about the country where this language is spoken. Especially during business meetings or travels abroad we can realise how big problems and unpleasant blunders such lack of knowledge about culture can cause. Zofia Chlopek in her article says “communication that lacks appropriate cultural content often results in humorous incidents, or worse, is the source of serious miscommunication and misunderstanding”. Probably one could not agree more.
The content of culture should, according to Goodenough (1981: 62) include:
The ways in which people have organized their experience of the real world so as to give it structure as a phenomenal world of forms, their percepts and concepts.
The ways in which people have organized their experience of their phenomenal world so as to give it structure as a system of cause and effect relationships, that is, the propositions and beliefs by which they explain events and accomplish their purposes.
The ways in which people have organized their experiences so as to structure their world in hierarchies of preferences, namely, their value or sentiment systems.
The ways in which people have organized their experience of their past efforts to accomplish recurring purposes into operational procedures for accomplishing these purposes in the future, that is, a set of “grammatical” principles of action and a series of recipes for accomplishing particular ends.
According to Tomalin & Stempleski (1993: 7-8), the teaching of culture has the seven goals:
To help students to develop an understanding of the fact that all people exhibit culturally-conditioned behaviours.
To help students to develop an understanding that social variables such as age, sex, social class, and place of residence influence the ways in which people speak and behave.
To help students to become more aware of conventional behaviour in common situations in the target culture.
To help students to increase their awareness of the cultural connotations of words and phrases in the target language.
To help students to develop the ability to evaluate and refine generalizations about the target culture, in terms of supporting evidence.
To help students to develop the necessary skills to locate and organize information about the target culture.
To stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity about the target culture, and to encourage empathy towards its people.