Whether you’re a teacher professionally or homeschooling your kids, make an effort to use these ways to incorporate culture into foreign language lessons.
There’s more to foreign language teaching than the basic mechanics, such as sentence structures and word translations. Learning a new language is also a great opportunity to learn a new culture. That said, figuring out how to weave culture into foreign language lessons can be tricky sometimes. To find a suitable solution, take a look at this list of ways to incorporate culture into foreign language lessons. Whether you’re a teacher professionally or homeschooling your kids, respectfully weaving culture into the lesson is invaluable.
Cook Authentic Meals
A great way to illustrate cultural differences is through something anyone from any culture loves—food. Don’t just make a meal for your student(s); explain to them what the preparation, ingredients, and experience of indulging in the meal means to that culture. What might be straightforward to one person might be much more important to someone else in another country.
For instance, in America, matcha is just another type of tea available online or at local shops. However, in Japan, the preparation and serving of tea is a very special ceremony that requires care. You can teach this fact through a textbook, or you can make the lesson more impactful and interactive by presenting a traditional dish to your class.
Read Educational Stories
To say there are a lot of books in the world is a vast understatement. Thankfully, that means it’s not hard to find educational books and short stories for foreign language learners. For instance, Contando Con Frida is a children’s book by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein. Through this book, young children will learn about iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and how to count in Spanish. For older students, there are a plethora of Spanish short story collections worth diving into. The point of reading these stories is to provide a fun avenue for learning culture and the more technical side of the language—sentence structure, numbers, and so forth.
Plan a Visit
Possibly the best way to embrace the culture connected to a foreign language is by visiting where those languages are commonplace. Listening to Spanish music at home gives students a glimpse at the culture, but visiting Spain or Mexico shows a much deeper look at daily life, interactions, and cultural norms. Additionally, seeing and hearing how locals speak their native language with one another reveals nuances to that language you won’t find in a textbook. Remember that speaking isn’t just about getting grammar structures right—it’s all about your tone too.
Whether you’re teaching French, Spanish, or another language entirely, don’t forget to use the tips above. With these helpful ways to incorporate culture into foreign language lessons, you can make a substantial impact on whoever you’re teaching. From a professional in class to a mom at home, any foreign language teacher should understand why cultural awareness is importantfor teaching new languages. By understanding this idea, you can pass this knowledge onto any student willing to learn and vastly improve their educational experience.