Bringing the Target Culture into Class- For Real
I want to include more Culture in my Spanish classes. So, why don’t I? There is always the unit, curriculum, and then the assessment freight train we’re all on that makes me feel like I “don’t have enough time.” I’m getting over that excuse; my 4th quarter resolution is to bring in culture somehow, some way each class in a natural, relaxed, and uncontrived way. I teach high school, and high-schoolers can smell contrived a mile away.
Our Own Experiences in the Target Cultures
Why did you become a Spanish, French, or German teacher? When posed this question at a faculty meeting this morning my department chair told me about how much she loved her cool Spanish teacher who consistently talked about all of her travels, brought in realia, and zany stories too. I have always loved Mexican culture, art, folk art and people and communicating and relating in Spanish. So why not bring it all in to class?
Ways to Bring in Culture to your Classes
- Project scary, dated photos of yourself in the target countries. The older the photos, the more students like them.
- Project photos of cultural monuments and building related to your unit of study. I projected images of the Gran Mezquita in Córdoba, España since mezquita is a vocabulary word in our unit. I also showed a photo of me in front of it.
- Bring in folk art or collectibles; I display my alebrijes (colorful fantasy animals) from Oaxaca, Mexico.
- Tell stories about your travel and experiences in as much target language as you can get away with.
- Postcards are fantastic to pass around. Laminate them for wear and tear.
- Show a target language weather forecast at least once a week as a warm up. So much to be mined here. Rotate countries.
- Show a target language recipe-video for an authentic dish. This can spiral in to some country information and facts.