The study relied fully on some questions which were consulted and discussed exhaustively in elaborating the aspect of culture in a second language. The questions that were included in the study were: How do foreign language teachers perceive the concept of interculturality? How do second language teachers include cultures in their instruction? Is there a difference in the intercultural competence of second language teachers who native speakers, teachers who have lived abroad and teachers who have learned the second language in school? Do teachers feel they have had sufficient training in teaching culture? Does teacher experience impact on the inclusion of culture in instruction?
The research finding started with the survey to determine whether global awareness is important in a second language class. This involved a total of 50 participants were 24 of them turn out to be the most competitive and responsive as expected. For those who cooperated in the study concluded that global awareness is very important in the second language class. First, global awareness while being taught in a second language class enhances the new generations to prepare adequately for the coming future since the future will be more globalized. Second, it enhances the students in this particular class to understand their different societies and cultures fully.
The second question was on the different perspectives on the concept of interculturality. Out of a 100 percent of the respondents involved in the study, 58 percent of them indeed appraised the concept of interculturality regarding it as important in the construction of equal relations between cultures. The remaining 42 percent regarded the concept of interculturality as a way to integrate different cultures.
The third concern was on the relationship that exists between global awareness and second language learning. Of all the total participants in the study, 83 percent of them agreed that different cultures and societies could only be understood properly only if there is learning the second language. The remaining 17 percent perception on second language learning as only an indicator of the level of intelligence.
The next step was to look at the inclusion of cultural instruction in world language classroom. Regarding this study, 80 percent of the total respondents identified some forms of cultural components in their daily class. The remaining 20 percent of the respondents never viewed the inclusion of cultural components in the world language classroom. The reason as to why is that they never viewed it as important per say.
How to include cultural instruction in your world language classroom was another concern of the findings. There was a short demonstration of the cultural topics that are often included in the second language classroom. The cultural topic mainly emphasized on the cultural celebrations in each country. From all the respondents that participated in the study, 62 percent of them responded to the agreement. Twenty percent of the remaining included all the information of the different countries. The remaining 17 percent appraised the use of audio-visuals, music, games, and books use in the explanations of the various cultural themes.
The next question in the study was on whether there is teaching on any similarities and differences among cultures. In a 100 percent of the respondents that participated in the study, 71 percent of the respondents confirmed that they do teach differences and similarities among the existing cultures. The remaining 29 percent never taught on the similarities and differences among different cultures.
Another aspect was the use of culturally appropriate expressions and gestures for basic social interactions. The total respondents who were active in the study, 71 percent were fond of cultural expressions for the basic interaction. The remaining 29 percent had nothing to do with the use of cultural expressions for the basic interactions. Being well illustrated in a figure, 38 percent of the respondents marked it as important to use an object or simply a word and how it is expressed in different cultures altogether. The remaining 17 percent also agreed that use of body language does help when it comes to using of gestures to serve the purpose of social interactions in the classroom justifying it as one of the culture components. Another portion of respondents of which was 17 percent proved that culture expressions do compose the core curriculum standards for all world languages. In addition, the last 28 percent had nothing to do with social nor cultural interaction at all.
The other question was on the addressing of the social skills and social interactions in the target language culture and in the student's culture. The 62 percent of the respondents saw the essence of using life skills and social interactions in the culture when it comes to the teaching of the second language. This part of the respondents also discussed the existing differences regarding family concepts that are there in different countries, for instance, the American families versus the Latino families. The other 38 percent of the respondents had no concern on the issue and at the same time, they never elaborated on what they do.
The next aspect that was given concern was about the incorporation of fundamental products and customs of the target language in the classroom. All the respondents that participated in the study appraised the need to incorporate products and customs in the target language. This was marked by 100 percent of the respondents who gave a common answer on how they include cultural products as one of the second language instruction. Still, on this concern, the flag was used by 29 percent of the respondents as an item for a second language, 27 percent of the respondents used music, 18 percent of the respondents used food while the remaining 11 percent were fond of using digital images-videos. The case of color markers was 2 percent, crafts were 3 percent, and ceramics was 4 percent while the posters were 6 percent.
Concentrating on the cognates there was the need to know whether content words in English are explained and included of which are not only similar but also have the same meaning in the target language. If this does not happen, are some of the words borrowed from the target language? Among all the respondents included in the study, 25 percent were fond of explaining different cognates in the English language that are similar to the target language or even may have been borrowed from the target language. All these explanations using English language had to be applied when the words to be explained had a relationship between the places, clothing, food or anything else taken into consideration. Some of the respondents had no interest in going so much into this and hence they never used English words that are similar in the target language of which they were 75 percent of the total respondents.
Another aspect that was put into consideration was that of receiving sufficient intercultural training in the teachers education program or not. Looking at the overall respondents, 12 percent of them proved beyond doubts that indeed they had received enough training. The remaining 88 percent felt that they had not received enough training at all. When it came to investigating how much training had been received, 100 percent of all the respondents claimed that they had received little cultural training during their teacher preparation programs. The remaining 83 percent appraised to have very little training while 17 percent had received little training. The rest, 4 percent, had a reasonable training in return.
Areas where teachers would want to receive more training when it comes to culture was also a concern of the study. The way the answers were formulated, it came to be different altogether. Twenty-one percent of the respondents in the study saw it necessary to be trained in ways how to interact language and culture. On the other hand, 21 percent of the respondents appraised the need to be taught on matters to do with pedagogical practices and technology in their teaching about culture. The next 20 percent emphasized on historical figures from Spanish culture and Latin America. Another 21 percent put emphasis on every training that entailed culture while 17 percent were not totally sure which areas they would like to receive additional training on.
How teachers learned the language they teach was also put into consideration. Of all the respondents in the study, 54 percent were the native speakers of the language they teach. The remaining 38 percent did learn the language while they were still in college while 8 percent of the total respondents had spent their life abroad.
Conclusions from the Findings
Interculturality is an important aspect that tends to explain the construction of equitable relationships between cultures, countries, communities and also people. On the other hand, it has a lot to do with the cultural, political, anthropological, social, historical, and environmental among many other perspectives. The teachers of a second language are the only group that has a clear interpretation of what interculturality means. To the world instructors, they seem to understand the importance that does results from the intercultural relations that exist between communities and cultures. On the other hand, it has come out clearly that teaching gestures, basic cultural interactions, and cultural expressions are an important aspect for teachers who teach the second language. This helps the students to have different ways of communicating the same things while in different countries.
The role of using gestures, basic social interactions and cultural expressions mainly targets on teaching how an object can be demonstrated in more than one way, in different languages and countries altogether. Target culture is much related to social interactions and life skills and hence the two have to be taught as they make it easier to teach the similarities and the differences that are evident in different cultures. In doing all this, the most common items that can be used include music, flags, and food. Three items when incorporated are very important in the elaboration of perspectives, practices and the products consisted in each culture worldwide. Perspectives, practices and the products are also used in the generation of pride and cultural identity. For instance, the use of food helps different people to understand the different cultural celebrations that do exist in different cultures. This is evident as most of the cultures associate each celebration with a particular type of food. When certain culture uses music, they can express feelings such as love, sadness, and joy among others that every individual in the same culture is undergoing.
The level of intercultural competence is inhibited whether the language teacher studies the language in college or even is a native speaker of the same. However, more training on the fundamental cultural aspects that is related to all the communities sharing the same language is important. Although there was no integration of the culture-related classroom practices, most of the teachers seem to have the positive attitude towards the role played by culture when it comes to foreign language education. The reasons as to why they do have the positive attitude towards foreign language education are due to the inability to integrate culture in their classrooms. Elaborating on this, what they lack is the training focusing on how to integrate culture and match it well with the foreign language education. The second reason why they have the positive attitude towards role played by the culture when it comes to foreign language education is the lack of oppo...
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