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English Speaking Countries culture class textbook

 
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goye2cz



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:05 pm    Post subject: English Speaking Countries culture class textbook Reply with quote

I teach in the Czech Republic and I've been asked to teach a cultural studies class on the different English speaking countries. Is there a good textbook out there? I've seen a couple of things, but they only seem to cover Britain and the USA and don't seem to be very good.
I really appreciate all tips on how to make this the best possible class.
Thanks.
Laurie
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joshua2004



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 264
Location: Torreon, Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sounds like they have asked you to design a course. That's a lot of work. I have never heard of such a course before, but I would teach it with news, art, literature from each country and do a comparison and contrast of the different works.

What is it the course is trying to accomplish? I think it is that they want to give the students a sense of what its like in those countries. This means research by the students or each week you could do an exposition on a different country, providing all the sources of info you can muster. then periodically you can compare and contrast to give a review and deeper understanding of the countries.

The key is to find resources (websites, books, movies) that can easily be shifted to the next topic. Lets say you are starting with the UK, the websites you can use such as http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ provide info on all countries. So for the the UK you just look it up and have the info in a standardized form and then have some specific types of activities you do (questionares, roleplays, cloze worksheets, etc.) that you apply to the new information. This way it requires less time for planning and more time for making it go better.

When you show movies from each, have specific questions that you always ask. "What do you notice that is different in this culture than in your own? what do you notice that is similar in this culture than in your own?" And so on. Questions could be oral or dictate and have them write them down and answer in complete sentences.

You could do this with music with cloze worksheets (which my classes love) and then ask the same kinds of questions.

The key is reproducibility (I don't think I have ever said that word before). Your class will become a first-class nightmare if you have to spend all your off-time preparing it.
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goye2cz



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for your reply. It was helpful. I need all the advice I can get. And yes, you are right that spending all the research time makes it a nightmare. They want me to teach a basic overview of the country including history, political system, education system, interesting cities and tourist attractions, geography, weather, housing, social life.....
From what I understand they need to have this knowledge to pass the state exam in English at the end of the year. I can't figure out why, but that isn't my job.
So, thanks. And thanks to anyone else who is kind enough to reply.
Laurie
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joshua2004



Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 264
Location: Torreon, Mexico

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I donīt think they are going to complain no matter what you do as long as the students are happy. DO NOT try and achieve such a broad goal as covering all the things you mentioned. If it is important that they pass this test, I would find out what the test is like, see what test areas are already covered by the students other classes or where they need it the most, and focus on those things. You must agree it is better to know a few things well than barely nothing about everything.

on a side note, I just thought of a project the students could do. If you send them out to find out EVERYTHING they can about different countries and then present it in a multimedia format, I think you could cover a lot more. Give the students the things to look for like you mentioned.

I would give them specific guidelines on how they are to do the work if your students are anything like my middle schoolers. For instance, the policital study of the country needs to be shown on a large piece of paper diagramming the governmental structure and it involves a presentation where each person say 5 things about it.

Josh
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