The Role of Culture in English Language Teaching: a Case Study of Schools of the Khasi Community in Semi-Urban Areas.
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The Role of Culture in English Language Teaching: A Case Study of Schools of the Khasi Community in Semi-urban Areas.
English Language is traditionally viewed as a code made up of words and a series of rules that connect them together. Language learning here, involves only vocabulary learning, and the rules for constructing ‘proper’ sentences. In most schools in Meghalaya, grammar is being taught at a very early age and students are expected to understand complex idiomatic phrases at the secondary level. Linguistic terminologies, rules of grammar, complex vocabulary, proverbs and their meanings have to be learnt by heart for them to overcome their board examinations. Such a situation only confuses the learners at a…show more content… And thirdly, language symbolizes cultural reality (it serves as a social identity for people).
Learning a second language necessarily involves comparison with the learners’ first language, but the latter is generally perceived as causing ‘interference’ in the learning of the target language. So, students are taught to imitate, practice drills, and create speaking habits without addressing the larger complexities of language learning. In the language classroom, learners do not only learn about a culture but they try to understand themselves in relation to that culture. This process entails the transformational engagement of the learner in the act of learning. Students bring with them their own conceptions, misconceptions, experiences, feelings and understanding to the classroom, and as they interact with another culture, their views will continue to change and shape their learning as well as their identity. The diverse cultural understandings and experiences of the students are highly influential and therefore need to be taken into account.
There are many approaches to teaching culture in language learning. Saluveer (2004) has divided them into two broad categories: Those that focus only on the culture of the target language (mono-cultural approach) and those that are based on comparing the learners’ own and the other culture (comparative approach). Risager (1998) describes four approaches to teaching of culture, namely, the intercultural