Essay about Culture and Foreign Language: Teaching and Learning

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In this subsection, different approaches to teaching culture within the foreign language teaching practice and different views of the term “culture” are going to be presented as a mean to explore the close relationship between culture and language and determine what is understood as culture in this study.

As it was mentioned above, there are different definitions of culture. These views have relied on the different language acquisition theories and teaching approaches that have emerged in the history of foreign language teaching. (Hinkel, 1999) Until the mid-twentieth century, culture was seen as the transmission of factual information about the target language, which consisted of statistical information about history, literature, arts, and geography among others. This View of teaching culture was known as “big C” or “achievement culture” and it was criticized because it only provided information rather than understanding of attitudes and values of the target language, (Kramsch, 1993 ; Tomalin and Stempleski, 1993; Kumaravadivelu, 2008).From this point of view, the teaching of culture is limited to the teaching of encyclopedic information about another country without recognizing the variability of behavior within the community of the target culture, or the participation of the individual in the creation of culture, or the interaction of language and culture in the construction of meaning, (Moore, 1996).
Later in the 60s, the view of culture emphasized on peoples´ way of living, their customs, habits and folklore and it was known in the foreign language teaching as “little c” or “ behavior culture” (Kramsch, 1993 ; Tomalin and Stempleski, 1993). This approach had more impact on theory than on practice because the...

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...nd beliefs which are learned and revealed by social practices and mediated through language. It means that culture is understood as a particular view of the world built by the people who belong to the same community. In this sense, people in a community construct meaning by means of social interaction and use language as a mediator to reflect their worldview and interpret the way other people construct their own worldview. It means that this understanding is socially acquired.
In short, culture has been widely recognized through the history of the foreign language teaching. As the different approaches to teaching culture have evolved, the view of culture has changed into a more integrated vision of language. Nowadays culture is considered as part of the teaching of a foreign language since it is through language that a community of people expresses their culture.

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