Teach Positive Attitude Toward Another Culture, Not Hate

We, World Language teachers, have the responsibility to teach our students to feel positive about other cultures. We have to move beyond the “cute, quaint and weird” aspect of culture. When students see the quaint and weird, they feel negative about the other culture. They do not want to associate with such people.

We have to emphasize that the world is a “We”, not an “us vs. them”. We should avoid contrasting the cultures to show how we are different; differences do not lead to positive feelings about another culture. We should constantly be asking our students to identify similarities among the L1 and L2 cultures. In each class, we should show pictures of the L2 people doing daily tasks so our students see the many similarities such as our basic need to eat, play, have families, etc. As they see a picture of people on a street in Quito, they realize that they have many similarities with such people.

Our students come into our L2 class with many negative stereotypes from media. For example, they have the movie perception that Colombia is a drug infested violent place. We have to eliminate negative or even hateful feelings toward another culture.

Let our classes be that place that stops negative feelings and even hate toward other cultures.

(A summary of a presentation that I, Harry Tuttle, did on Culture for NYSAFLT.)

Cultural Engagement Levels: Where are Your Students?

My NYSAFLT Oct. 2016 handout

ACTFL’s Cultural Standards

ISTE’s Global Collaboration Standard

Three Levels of Culture

Learning about another country /culture

Some disadvantages

Ethnography improvement

Will your students feel positively about the other culture / community?

2. Communicating with Others

Numerous tools


Will your students feel positively about the other culture / community?

3. Collaborating on something outside of school to become global citizens

Work together for something to better each community or another community

Various projects

Have your students bettered the lives of others?

Some resources:

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities ebook with many cultural activitieshttp://bit.ly/90mlact

40+Spanish & ML spontaneous speaking  and cultural activities http://bit.ly/wlspt

World Language: Going from Learning About to Communicating With People

A previous blog , briefly described three levels of culture.  This blog expands on the critical difference between the first two levels.

The first level, learning about another country/culture, most often involves learning the facts about the country such as its currency, location, famous landmarks, etc. According to the Iceberg concept of culture, this level contains the mostly easily recognized things in the culture. This level can be devoid of seeing people of the country; the pictures usually focus more on famous monuments, mountain ranges, etc. Also, this level contains a very low emotional response. Students do not end up feeling more positive about the country/culture after learning the facts about the country such the population, the name of the capital, etc. Furthermore, the country view usually comes from an outsider’s view of the country. Often, the teacher or a web-site of someone who visited the country provides the information. Equally important, culture is seen as isolated pieces of information such as learning about the flag, then the currency, etc.

The second level of communicating with a person or persons from the country changes many aspects. Students actually interact with a person or people from the culture. Although students can do email and tweet exchanges, the most common form of communicating is a video chat. The students see what the people of another country look like, what they wear, what they drink,  where they study, etc. The students move from media stereotypes to contact with actual people of that culture. This level helps students to feel more positive about the people of the other culture. For example, when students do a “My Class/ Your Class” video conference, the students see many similarities between the two countries. Likewise, the students hear information from people who realistically know about the culture; the people from that country have an insider’s view. Students from another country can tell their  Saturday activities. In addition, the native speakers integrate aspects of culture; for example, they combine foods with family traditions.

At what level of culture are your students?

There are many cultural activities in the eboook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities. For cultural activities that actively involve world language students go to http://bit.ly.mlcomcult and look under culture.

Internet Images for World Language Culture

Some ideas from Beers, Maggie. (2001). A media-based approach to developing ethnographic skills for second language teaching and learning. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht [Online], 6(2), 26 pp. Available: https://zif.spz.tu-darmstadt.de/jg-06-2/beitrag/beers2.htm

Instructional materials for modern languages were once limited to one-dimensional textbooks which often presented a static, unproblematic representation of the target language culture (Kramsch, 1988, 1989).

Now the Internet can deliver multi-modal texts from the target language culture that include sound, image, text, and video.

These texts, deemed “authentic” because they are intended for native speakers of the target language, are able to present a dynamic, multifaceted view of the target language culture with up-to-the-minute detail and accuracy. “

– Do your students use one-dimensional textbook cultural images or do they see many different images of a place or event?
– Do your students see and hear the culture through images, texts and videos?
– Do you use authentic images?
– Do the images show multifaceted views of the culture?
– Are the images up-to-the-minute?

May the way you use culture help students to see the oneness of the world.

For cultural activities that actively involve students go to http://bit.ly.mlcomcult and look under culture. Also, there are many cultural activities in 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities.

Three Levels of World Language Culture

Level 1: Students learn about another culture and the people from another culture by listening to the teacher, watching videos about another culture, seeing pictures, reading information,searching the web,  etc. At this level, the culture is one sided, the students learn about the other culture

Level 2: Students communicate with people from another culture. They can phone, videochat, converse with a native speaker in the class, email/text each other, send pictures, etc. Typically these conversations are about similarities and differences between the two cultures – a school day, places, foods, family, etc. A USA student may interview a person from Peru who works in the USA about food in Peru. A native speaker may teach something to the class and students ask questions about it.

Level 3: Students from both cultures work together on a collaborative project that goes beyond either classroom. For example, they may work together on ways to improve recycling in their communities, raise money for a Kiva project, be part of a rebuilding project, creating books for each other’s school, etc.


What level are your students at in terms of world language culture?

At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities).  At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, many culture activities for interactive culture:

Modern Language Culture Activities Pack 4 Different Activities
Modern Language Culture Cities Visual Analysis
Modern Language Culture Ethnographic Observation
Modern Language Culture Mini-Presentation
Modern Language Culture Native Speaker In-Depth Interview

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle,  5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do with many activities.  At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

Culture Trips- historical or modern day culture

On a recent trip, I met a high school student who had just returned from a  school trip to the target language country. When I told him, I was a Spanish teacher, he showed me his itinerary- three cities with visits to historic and religious buildings. As I heard him describe what he saw and did in the trip, I wondered why it was a Spanish language trip since most of what he saw was  buildings. Yes, the students and teachers spoke in Spanish but their tours were in English. The students learned about these famous buildings and the history behind them. It sounded  like a Social Studies trip.
Another thing that fascinated me was that the students had no contact with native speakers except for the tour guides. They did not have the opportunity to learn about the daily culture of today. The trip only focused on the past as seen in buildings, not the living breathing culture of today.

What type culture trips do you take with your students?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have numerous students-as-investigators cultural activities (modern language culture). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities (mainly speaking and many current culture activities).

 Also, at http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle, I have 5 any language  picture speaking activities and 25+ ready-to-use Spanish structured speaking activities  for beginning students (including 5 Can-Do ones). At  http://bit.ly/tsmash, I have an ebook. Modern Language Proficiencies-Can-Do.  At http://bit.ly/tuttlebks, I have a book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment.

Modern Language Culture -Like it

Many modern language teachers love to return to the target language country. They enjoy the food. They delight in walking the streets to soak up the culture.  Notice the verbs in the previous three statements. They are not factual verbs but they are emotionally positive verbs.

Modern language teachers want their students to like the target language country. However, often the teachers’ presentations do not contribute to a positive feeling about the target language country. When students learn the factual culture such as the country’s name, its location, its flag, its unit of money, its geography, and the famous places in the country these facts do not help the students feel positively about the culture.

Modern language teachers can connect their students to real people from the culture. These teachers go beyond having their students read about the people in their textbook. They have their student talk with a native speaker about common themes such as weekends, sports, food, clothing, housing. They can have a native speaker physically come in the class or they can use a program like Skype to virutally bring a person in. Teachers may show a picture of a person and then have that person phone in.

A native speaker helps students to move from learning  facts about a country to actually meeting someone from the country. Students begin to like that country.

How do you help your students like the modern language culture?

At http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle there are four modern language culture inquiry activities and one Spanish culture inquiry activity. At the same location, I have 30+ activities (about 24 for Spanish and 6 for all Modern Language) to develop student speaking

My Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment and a general Formative Assessment book are available at http://www.routledge.com/books/search/author/harry_grover_tuttle/

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities and Modern Language Proficiciency: Can-Do Strategies ebooks are available at http://bit.ly/tsmash