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The Syllabus

Teaching Culture/ ANLT110102; ANSL070102; ANLT170101; PEDS260802

Fodor Mónika

Friday 8.00-9.30; E 322

2014/2015 Fall Semester

OFFICE HOURS: Wednesday 12.00-13.45

and by appointment


Via its pragmatic approach, the course provides insight into the various theoretical and practical issues of bringing culture into the language classroom. Starting out from a multiplicity of definitions and ways of culture, you will learn techniques and ideas of transforming real life phenomena into teachable chunks for various ages and levels. During the course we will make special use of your various teaching contexts and experience of participants to learn how to help our learners understand otherness.



  • Since this is a blended learning course it is compulsory to attend the seminar.
  • For the remaining sessions you will be assigned readings and tasks on CooSpace that you will be expected to submit in the form of response papers.
  • Outline of your research paper to be submitted by November 25.
  • A research paper of approximately 2 000 words, which is a joint assignment in the Narratives in TEFL and Teaching Culture courses. You will submit one single paper to the instructors of these courses: Réka Lugossy and Mónika Fodor. Your paper will focus both on narratives in TEFL and the cultural content of these narratives. Deadline for the paper: December 19, 2014. Paper options are further discussed during the first seminar.


All readings are available on CooSpace as downloadable documents.


Calendar of meetings. themes and assignments






Definitions of Culture

Language and Culture

Moran, Patrick R. Teaching Culture. Perspectives in Practice. Ch 2. The Cultural Experience.12-19

Ch 3 "Defining Culture." Pp. 23-33.

Kramsch, C. Language and Culture Ch. 2. Meaning as Sign. Pp. 15-23

E-learning session

Aspects of culture: products, practices, persons, communities, perspectives

Moran, Patrick R. Teaching Culture. Perspectives in

Practice. Ch 5 "Cultural Products." pp. 48-56.

Moran, Patrick R. Teaching Culture. Perspectives in Practice. Ch 6 "Cultural Practices." pp. 57-73.

Moran, Patrick R. Teaching Culture. Perspectives in Practice. Ch 7 "Cultural Perspectives." pp. 74-89.

E-learning session

Embedded culture in narrative: metaphor, schema and myth

Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. pp. 3-34.

Segal, Robert E. "Myth: Thematic Approaches." Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. pp. 329-335.

Please review from your Narratives in TEFL class: Schank, Roger C. & Abelson, Robert P. (1995) Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story. In: Robert S. Wyer, Jr (ed) Knowledge and Memory: The Real Story. Hillsdale, NJ. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1-85.

E-learning session

Culture in non-textual media: still pictures, photographs, music and film

Abbott, Porter H. "Narrative perception."In: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2002. pp. 6-11.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. Still pictures. In. Marie-Laure Ryan (ed) Narrative Across Media. The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004. pp. 139-144

Kafalenos, Emma. "Photographs." Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. pp. 428-430.

Kafalenos, Emma. Overview of Music and Narrative Field. In. Marie-Laure Ryan (ed) Narrative Across Media. The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004. pp. 275-282

Nov 28


This will be a written in-class essay. Discussion of research paper outlines.

Dec 19

Papers due




The final grade will be based on the submitted short response papers on readings and assigned tasks for the e-learning sessions as well as the joint research paper. Both instructors will read your paper and suggest a provisional grade.


Description of tasks

In what follows, we suggest materials and both in-class and e-learning tasks that enhance students' understanding of the course materials and that give them the opportunity to establish links between theory and practice. The tasks have been developed specifically for the needs of the students attending the Teaching Culture course in its blended learning form.

Face-to-face session 1 What is Culture? Approaches and Definitions: provide a general introduction to the course: present course materials and describe the tasks and techniques used in the course, with particular focus on incorporating online tasks. This class focuses on what we understand by cultural content that can be detected (found), interpreted, cut into details (manageable chunks), pieces and taught and used in teaching. These pieces have to be rearranged to fit the learners' already existing schemata. This is a key process and we as teachers should be able to do so.

In this session we read the beginning of Weng Chen's story The Dried Fish Award and discuss the related questions.

Taiwanese folk tale (Moran: Teaching Culture p. 30)

From Cynthia Dresser, The Rainmaker's Dog: International Folktales to Build Communicative Skills. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

Once there was a fisherman named Wen-Cheng, who became lost in a terrible storm off the west coast of Taiwan. For many hours Wen-Cheng swirled around and around in his little boat in the fierce winds of the storm. he prayed to Matsu, the goddess of fishermen in trouble, to carry him to a safe harbor.

Matsu felt sorry for Wen-Cheng and decided to help him. After all, he was a good man, he showed proper respect to his ancestors, and he was fair and generous with all his friends, relatives, and neighbors. As he prayed, the waters suddenly became calm. He found that he had landed in a large and strange port on mainland China!

 Wen-Cheng beat his chest in self-punishment because he had forgotten to beg Matsu to carry him home safely, to his own safe harbor. Now he was surely lost. But Wen-Cheng was not in the habit of being unhappy, so he said to himself that he had better go and see the king's palace while he had the chance.

  1. How would you describe the protagonist?
  2. Define the possible meanings of "storm".
  3. How is the story similar to other stories?
  4. What ‘practices', ‘products', ‘perspectives', ‘community', and ‘persons' are depicted?
  5. Change the story to make it a Hungarian tale.
  6. Finish the story as Taiwanese or Hungarian.


  1. Look at this short repository of ‘culture' definitions.
  • What elements or features are common in these approaches?
  • What are the aspects/ focal points that seem to be different?
  • How do these definitions reflect classroom needs? Do they? Or do they not? How?
  • Try to make your own definition of culture. Please keep this for our use during the course. (alternative: Homework: write-up your own definition of culture).

Inventorial approaches to culture: problems with it, we have a list of things neatly boxed and stored. If we need to teach culture we pick something from our catalog, get the box and teach it. 

  1. Introducing PROCESSUAL ANALYIS. We only dig deeper if we have understood the previous layer. Rosaldo's concept. In Rosaldo's view culture is more like a ‘garage sale' rather than a museum or a market where things are more in order. In a garage sale we only know the seller and something about his or her life and then get there and start scavenging for what we may be interested in getting.
  1. Moran' chapter: Defining Culture for the Classroom

Culture is all that humankind creates-complexity is a key feature!

Based on realities for the classroom. Cultural competence

Cultural awareness

Five dimensions of culture: people, communities, products, practices and perspectives.

Dynamic culture is the evolving way of life of a group of persons, consisting of a shared set of practices associated with a shared set of products upon a shared set of perspectives on the world and set within specific contexts (with persons and communities).