Exploring Cultural Differences

An auxiliar de conversación walking to work

An auxiliar de conversación walking to work

A typical Spanish teacher in the US driving to work

A typical Spanish teacher in the US driving to work

 
 

Cultural AMBASSADOR

As a language and culture assistant, one of the things your students will be most interested in is your culture: What music do you listen to? What do you wear? What do you eat?

Getting students to ask these questions, then think about how their own cultures are similar and different to your own is perhaps your most important task.

culture vocabulary

Three really helpful words when you’re talking about culture are product, practice and perspective.

Product: A representation of culture. This can be a physical object (e.g., a skirt, a necklace, a bow tie, a car), an idea (e.g., democracy, healthcare), or a value (same sex marriage should be legal).

Practice: What is done with the product. For example, the skirt is worn by women around their waist. They then wear it when dancing and listening to music.

Perspective: Why the practice is important to the people involved. For example, this skirt is only used during a formal celebration in Guatemala after a girl becomes a woman, and signifies a big change in her life and position in her community.

ACTIVITIES

Head over to the activities page to see some of our culture lessons. One of my favorites is the Partner Identity Interview.

Interview Project

Here’s an award-winning unit plan that involves students interviewing someone from a different community about their culture so that students can then empathize and stand in solidarity with these participants.

This is an example of such a collaboration (interviewing day workers).

 

Spanish Culture as an auxiliar de conversación

Just as important as helping your students compare and contrast their own cultures is you yourself learning about your ciudad, provincia and comunidad autónoma. Make sure you’re taking advantage of your 3 day weekends and get out there and travel!!