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TEACHING CULTURE (SFW 2012). WHAT? WHY? HOW?. Army-Academy. What is culture?.

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Teaching culture sfw 2012





What is culture
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.”

(p. 33)

Why do we teach culture
Why do we teach culture?

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


How do cadets learn about culture
How do cadets learn about culture?

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

Beach, Montreal

Instruction and homework: integrate cultural awareness into language-learning process

How do we teach culture
How do we teach culture?

- 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.

How do we teach culture1
How do we teach culture?

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).

Teaching culture sfw 2012
Царьдалеко, абогвысоко.







How do we teach culture3
How do we teach culture?

  • With minimal commentary in advance, play a carefully-selected film clip (preferably w/subtitles).

  • Ask cadets in groups to record (in writing) what they saw, heard, and felt. Then fill in some cultural context of the film clip and have cadets watch and discuss the clip a second time.

  • The enhanced quality of their descriptions should show cultural awareness enriches their experience.

  • 4. Can be done as an “information gap” activity.

How do we teach culture4
How do we teach culture?

  • Chronology: give cadets slips of paper with the names of leaders of countries they are studying.

  • Tell cadets to arrange them in order of their reign.

  • Then have them arrange them in geographic distribution.

  • Then have them divide them into good and bad; old and new; most important and least.

  • They make simple statements as to why: “People worked too hard.” “People lived well.” “There was a big war.” “I like his clothes.” “Nice horse!”

Web resources
Web Resources