TEACHING CULTURE (SFW 2012). WHAT? WHY? HOW?. Army-Academy. What is culture?.
The definitions of culture(s) seem as diverse as the cultures themselves. Educating Future Army Officers for a Changing World defines culture as “the totality of learned behaviors, attitudes and a shared way of life that is passed on to succeeding generations.”
Support National Security Strategy: Army Culture & Language Strategy
Support USMA mission:
Educate: we want cadets to know certain things
(e.g., names and cultural significance of key personalities),
Train: we want cadets to do certain things
(e.g., behave in a culturally-sensitive manner), and
Inspire: we want cadets to be open to other
Overseas immersion: CRAWL-WALK-RUN. Examples: spring language & cultural immersion in China, summer language & cultural immersion in Brazil, semester abroad in France
Local opportunities: mini-immersion at West Point or nearby. Examples: interaction with international
officers, international cadets, international visitors,
and class trips to Chinatown, Brighton
Instruction and homework: integrate cultural awareness into language-learning process
- Meet them where they are. Discuss aspects of popular American culture and whether they are easily imported into other cultures. Why or why not?
- What’s in a name? Allow cadets to pick an in-class name appropriate to the nation(s) in which your language is spoken.
- Sing a song, learn a proverb, or poem. Resist the temptation to turn this fun activity into a grammatical exercise.
Coin me! Distribute a coin from the nation(s) in which your language is spoken to each cadet and make sure you keep a coin. If you “coin” cadets during class or in Central Area, and they do not have their coins, they must do ten push-ups counting off in your language. If they do have their coins, you must be willing to do the push-ups (or some other less physical activity, e.g., buy a soda at Grant Hall).