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Spanish-American Cultura: Analysing Students Evolving Perceptions in Intercultural Exchange Robert ODowd University of León Jesús Suárez Barnard College,

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Presentación del tema: "Spanish-American Cultura: Analysing Students Evolving Perceptions in Intercultural Exchange Robert ODowd University of León Jesús Suárez Barnard College,"— Transcripción de la presentación:

1 Spanish-American Cultura: Analysing Students Evolving Perceptions in Intercultural Exchange Robert ODowd University of León Jesús Suárez Barnard College, New York

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3 The Original Cultura Model On-line: Student questionnaires and authentic materials from C1 and C2 On-line: Student questionnaires and authentic materials from C1 and C2 Classwork: Analysis of materials Classwork: Analysis of materials On-line: Discussion of theories and findings between students in both classes On-line: Discussion of theories and findings between students in both classes Classwork: Essays and Presentations based on investigations Classwork: Essays and Presentations based on investigations

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5 Spanish-American Cultura: Combining On-line and Contact Phases January-March: On-line Exchange (1) January-March: On-line Exchange (1) March: Group from New York visit León March: Group from New York visit León April: Group from León visit New York April: Group from León visit New York April: New Materials collected/created by students are added to on-line platform April: New Materials collected/created by students are added to on-line platform April-May: On-line Exchange (2). Analysis of new materials April-May: On-line Exchange (2). Analysis of new materials

6 Activities during Visits Home-stays Home-stays Class presentations made to various classes of learners Class presentations made to various classes of learners Ethnographic Interviews Ethnographic Interviews Organised tours and visits with entire class Organised tours and visits with entire class

7 Feeding back to the on-line Platform Favourite photos and their commentaries Favourite photos and their commentaries Videos of presentations Videos of presentations Essays based on ethnographic interviews Essays based on ethnographic interviews

8 Areas of On-going Action Research Didactic: Do the on-line activities over- emphasise difference and encourage over- generalisation? Didactic: Do the on-line activities over- emphasise difference and encourage over- generalisation? Linguistic: Do the forums support vocabulary acquisition and use? Linguistic: Do the forums support vocabulary acquisition and use?

9 Reflecting on the aims of on-line intercultural exchanges The original Cultura project: The original Cultura project: It offers learners…a unique comparative, cross-cultural approach for gradually constructing knowledge of other values, attitudes, and beliefs, in an ever-widening approach to understanding the foreign culture. It offers learners…a unique comparative, cross-cultural approach for gradually constructing knowledge of other values, attitudes, and beliefs, in an ever-widening approach to understanding the foreign culture. …the side-by-side viewing of similar items from two different cultures (e.g., a newspaper ad…) allows an observer to instantly see similarities and variations which…are usually hard to notice. …the side-by-side viewing of similar items from two different cultures (e.g., a newspaper ad…) allows an observer to instantly see similarities and variations which…are usually hard to notice.

10 But does the on-line exchange lead to an over-emphasis on difference? An American student following the visit to León: An American student following the visit to León: Before the exchange, I had associated the Spanish students with their writing on the on-line forums and I had an image of Spain as being very different from the USA and as being very exotic. However, during the visit to León I realised that the Spanish students are very practical, fun and, most importantly, very like ourselves. Just like American students, they do fun things, they wear clothes the same as ours and they have many similar ideas to ours about topics such as family, friends, religion and the government. Before the exchange, I had associated the Spanish students with their writing on the on-line forums and I had an image of Spain as being very different from the USA and as being very exotic. However, during the visit to León I realised that the Spanish students are very practical, fun and, most importantly, very like ourselves. Just like American students, they do fun things, they wear clothes the same as ours and they have many similar ideas to ours about topics such as family, friends, religion and the government.

11 The constant search for difference? A Spanish student writes: A Spanish student writes: The exchange became boring at the end because we were writing over and over again we say less please and thank you than you do during a whole semester and this is not really enriching. There should be more varieties in the activities… The exchange became boring at the end because we were writing over and over again we say less please and thank you than you do during a whole semester and this is not really enriching. There should be more varieties in the activities…

12 The danger of over-generalising on- line? An American student writes on-line: An American student writes on-line: I also worry about our making generalizations about "Spain" and "Spaniards" based on the responses of a few students. Take the business of cutting in line -- does the fact that a lot of people said they would speak up really tell us anything about Spanish or American culture? Or do we just happen to have a group of people here who are either particularly gutsy or particularly conscious of injustice? I also worry about our making generalizations about "Spain" and "Spaniards" based on the responses of a few students. Take the business of cutting in line -- does the fact that a lot of people said they would speak up really tell us anything about Spanish or American culture? Or do we just happen to have a group of people here who are either particularly gutsy or particularly conscious of injustice?

13 Consequences of over-generalising on-line? Another American student writes on-line before her visit: Another American student writes on-line before her visit: In the articles we read about Spain, it seemed that the acts which are considered polite in America, saying "please" and "thank you" all the time, for example, are looked at as somewhat rude in Spain, because people generally do not use these courtesies as often in everyday conversation. Is this true? I am coming to visit Spain next week, and after reading all of these articles I am so worried about offending people by acting the way I do everyday in America without thinking about it!

14 How can the stay-abroad element counter-act the emphasis on difference and over-generalisation? Differences in travel /non-travel group essays: Non-travel groups were forced to deal with the chosen themes on the platform (religion etc.). The travel group found their own topics of interest and focussed on them… Differences in travel /non-travel group essays: Non-travel groups were forced to deal with the chosen themes on the platform (religion etc.). The travel group found their own topics of interest and focussed on them… Travel group carried out other activities – ethnographic interviews, cultural observation – which do not necessarily emphasise difference and which allow for exceptions Travel group carried out other activities – ethnographic interviews, cultural observation – which do not necessarily emphasise difference and which allow for exceptions

15 Concordance analysis of lexical use in Cultura forums The on-line exchanges that take place in Cultura forums, although not directed by the teacher/professor, provide a favorable setting to read and to use new vocabulary, particularly vocabulary related to the topics, and not only the usual more general vocabulary: yo creo, en mi opinión, etc. The on-line exchanges that take place in Cultura forums, although not directed by the teacher/professor, provide a favorable setting to read and to use new vocabulary, particularly vocabulary related to the topics, and not only the usual more general vocabulary: yo creo, en mi opinión, etc. In the forums of Cultura the students use a good deal of topic-related vocabulary, some of it new and low frequency vocabulary. In the forums of Cultura the students use a good deal of topic-related vocabulary, some of it new and low frequency vocabulary. The analysis of the corpora shows that this vocabulary is used in the vast majority of the cases correctly/appropriately. The analysis of the corpora shows that this vocabulary is used in the vast majority of the cases correctly/appropriately.

16 Religion and moral behaviour (vocabulary exclusive to this topic) amoral antepasados ateo ateísmo catolicismo católico chivato competitivo conflicto controversia corrupción creationism creencia creencias cristianismo cristianos cruzada cínicos darwinism decadencia dios engañar ermitaños escandalizados esperanza espiritual espiritualidad evangélicos fanatismo fe felicidad homosexuales iglesia integridad intolerencia judios juicio justos legítimos libertad limosnas maligna matrimonio misa moral moralidad moralidades navidad novios pascua piedad puritanos redimirse religioso religión secular sexo teología todopoderoso tolerancia tolerante virtuoso ética éticas Examples of use by Barnard students - Ellos creían que la holgazanería es la debilidad, y anima comportamiento amoral. - El ateísmo no es muy raro, en hecho, es algo muy común. - En los EEUU, muchas estudiantes creen que ser chivato ES juego limpio. - La comunidad no es específica a una religión; incluye sentimientos de todas creencias. - Yo creo que es interesante que esto occurió en un tiempo en que la gente de potencia en el gobierno está en una cruzada religiosa y moral para defender la gente de cosas malas y contra-religiosas. - En los Estados Unidos todos tienen la decisión con que quiere hacer. Algunos quieren ser ermitaños.

17 Politeness and social behaviour (vocabulary exclusive to this topic) afecto amables amigo amistosos apropiada atracción capacidad cigarillo compartir compañeros comportarse conducta confianza consciente cortesía costumbres desconocidos distancia distante divertirse divorcio educacion educativa espacio estres estrictos extranjeros extraños familiares familias felices formales fríos generaciones groseros hermanos hijos independencia intuitivo majos puritana racional reglas relajante relajarse reservados respectar respetar respeto respetuoso rudo rutina simpáticos sociales superficial tabu television tradiciones universales Examples of use - Pero aquí, no somos amistosos a los extraños. - siento que los hispanos generalmente compartir mas de sus vidas con personas desconocidas que los americanos. - Nuestros padres y maestros nos han enseñado que comportarse bien es muy importante. - me dí cuenta que la familia es muy importante a la conducta social.


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