The acquisition of culture through English lessons by means of a video

Autor: Yordanka Brunet Valle

Otros conceptos de RR.HH.

02-03-2011

Introduction

The way in which learners acquire languages in general has been a topic of interest of linguistics, teachers and researchers. Different methodologies, approaches and theories concerning teaching and leaning process have emerged trying to find out a better acquisition of the language. As we know it is not an easy process because it requires not only the acquisition of knowledge and the development of some skills, but also the necessity of getting the culture of the target language spoken.

It is important to increase the interest on human beings about knowing more issues about the different cultures existed in the world, to respect, tolerate or adapt to a new culture depends on each individual’s decision. Therefore, the cultural issue has a great value in our lives, if we want to communicate with another person from a different culture and being understood efficiently.

As part of the teaching-learning process development, the use of technologies as a support of the language teaching begun and this has contributed enormously since the very beginning. By means of technology students not only acquire knowledge and develop skills, but also, they increase their culture.

This article will report some information about a way of acquiring culture in an English lesson by means of a video.

Development

As it is said, that learners nowadays are more attracted by the combination of sounds and images while learning languages, the use of videos in my English lessons are highly presented.

Despite the fact new technologies have emerged for enriching the teaching learning process of the English language, teachers still use videos in their class due to its usefulness. However, it isn’t easy to find out the appropriate video content from the web, as a support of a lesson, because there are many videos which contain inappropriate images or inadequate speech.

Nowadays, I am teaching English language to the 3rd year medicine students from the Medical Sciences University of Havana, and the book that is used for teaching the foreign language is called Vision III. In that University study students from different nationalities and from Cuba also. As part of the 3rd year English program there is a unit called “Travelling here and there”. After having thought about how teaching that unit, to my 3rd year medicine students, I decided to use a video content from the web called “Most beautiful places in the world” in order to teach the lingustic content. This video shows some cities around the world and the traditions and costumes of its citizens. In my view, that video was very suitable for teaching that piece of language because it was useful for the students in terms of pronunciation, the proper vocabulary concerning the level of the students and the beautiful images in movement. Besides the video provided an authentic English language, that contributed students acquire the knowledge from the natives and this is a valuable aspect to take into account.

Another factor that was taken into account is the development of the students’ listening and speaking skills because after having watched and listed to the material, they discussed about it in pair work and in groups, adding new issues concerning the video, due to, the video was put into practice in a multicultural classroom, and some students had been in some of the cities mentioned in the video previously. And this was an issue that contributed to support the debate among the students. In this sense, I’m referring not only about the improvement of the English knowledge but also about the development of the culture as such.

Now a day, the importance of culture in foreign-language teaching (FLT) has become widely accepted and cultural aspect is carried out in class. Disappointingly, even when language course books give information on cultural aspects, they provide very little practice in dealing with them. That’s why when dealing with the video “Most beautiful places in the world”; I designed a set of activities including (Preparatory, Understanding and Extension work) for my students to work with in class. As a final project, which they had to organize at home for the next class, they should present an oral presentation about their own country. The students should work together according to their nationalities and they were free to bring any souvenir or symbol, or typical costume that identifies its country.

It was the most beautiful activity from the semester because they felt very happy talking in English putting in to practice all the grammatical and lexical content they have learnt before, about their traditional food, drinks and clothes, what they prefer or dislike to do according to their behaviour. It is important to mention that the English language is not their mother tongue, so it was great seing how much they have learnt since the course started. The most emotional part was that they allowed me to film their presentations, so after having finished, I congratulated them for their effort and we, (me as a teacher and the students) analysed together each film in order to identify any error or mistake committed. This activity was very benefit for the students because they realized about their progress in terms of the language and also their motivation was highly developed towards the teaching learning process of the English language.

MSc Yordanka Brunet Valle - nayyorarrobainfomed.sld.cu

Profesora de Lenguas Extranjeras de la Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas en Cuba.

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