Teaching and culture tend to go hand in hand with each other. Without culture, language would not exist and vice versa. I remember one of my tutors telling me that if you ever wish to learn about the culture of a country, you must eat their food. It is true, traditional cuisine is an important element of any culture and is the first step of understanding a culture. Nevertheless, if you wish to develop rapport with learners, wherever they are from, you must attempt to understand their culture and way of doing this is understanding important events.
One important event that is celebrated and is considered integral for Koreans is their Thanksgiving. If I wish to develop rapport with Koreans, whether they are my students or possible contacts, I would share my understanding when important events occur. As such, if there is an important event in China, with the Mid-Autumn Festival being celebrated at the same time as Korean Thanksgiving, I would be sure to wish my students or contacts a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
Culture is such an important element of understanding the people, functions and events of a country, that to withdraw culture from a language is impossible. From next Monday, I shall be starting my first ever online language course with my University: Beginner Japanese. One thing that I will consider to incorporate is understanding the culture of Japan. I have very little awareness of Japanese as a language and also little knowledge of their culture but I am keen to learn. I am looking forward to this course as this will give me the insight of the challenges that my online learners face when studying online.
I will be sharing my insight of online language learning in a future article and I can’t wait to share this with you. I hope my Korean readers are having a wonderful Korean Thanksgiving.
How do you incorporate culture with your language teaching? What do you consider important when learning more about a culture? Let me know in the comments.