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Culture Learning In Language Education

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This summary is an argument obtained from research literatures and theoretical aspects that examine how culture can be learned in education programmes, especially languages. In the work of art by James Paul Gee and Elisabeth R. Hayes on language culture and learning, published in 1984, the author seeks to examine and find out the research evidence, the conceptual frame and references. This is with regard to the paradigm shift that have occurred with respect to language focusing mainly on learning and culture. They also seek to examine how alternative pedagogies would impact on culture learning. As such, this paper will focus on the concept of culture, the subconscious and implicit goal of culture learning and how the innovative pedagogical principles can be applied.

According to the author, the context of learning is a concept that subsumes various variables ranging from the different settings and the circumstances where learning of culture takes place. Street (1993) assert that language depends on the context it is being put to use and that language will always be referring to something that is beyond itself. Heath (1986) was of the opinion that most of the human interactions occur because of the common understanding of context on what they are communicating rather than having intimate knowledge of the other. This understanding is what dictates the language behaviour that is most appropriate for that circumstance.

The other point of discussion is the contexts in which intercultural encounters occur. The external context is the setting and the location in which the interaction takes place as well as the meaning attached to such locations and setting by the society. Different people from different cultures construe differently, given the setting and locations where human communications and interactions take place. The cultural meaning that different people bring into the encounter is also important as this forms the internal context.

On the other hand, internal context determines the condition on where people will understand each other or there will be a misunderstanding between people from different cultures. This is because different cultures have variations and this influence on how situations and other people are perceived. The researcher and the author agree that culture is central in all contexts.

Therefore, the meaning given by the culture is responsible for the alterations that occur to the language used by the people interacting and the manner in which they behave; rather, it is not the context that determines. Therefore, the language learner is required to learn skills to enable them read the context so that they can get to know the cultural meaning of circumstances, person, time and location.

The other point of argument that researchers and the authors of this work of art address is the culture learning setting; this is with regard to the various contextual factors in play. Notably, there are two main principal settings that language programme take place in; these are the field setting also referred to as natural setting, and the structured setting or the formal setting mainly the classroom. The researchers found that experience of studying abroad promote the study of later languages, promotes the positive attitude that people should have towards other cultures and above all, increases the level of awareness about other cultures.

Furthermore, the researchers also found out that there is a strong relationship between certain personal traits; for instance, cultural empathy, superior linguistic skills, flexibility and successful intercultural communications. At the same time, the researches show that a negative experience in the abroad study can make a person’s perspective of other cultures change which may impede culture learning and language acquisition.

As such, this paper concludes that the theoretical and the research literature offer major points on how literature presents culture. Moreover, it presents what the researchers say on how culture can be learned in language programmes and the different contexts in which culture can be learned. This follows from the contribution that the author and the other researchers work have presented this facilitating a successful assessment of all the issues about language culture and learning.

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