Monday, December 21, 2009

tips & techniques to promote an awareness of different cultures

After reading some articles in the book Culture Bound edited by Joyce Merill Valdes, I can definitely say that my understanding of culture, cultural and cross cultural awareness is broader. Although I still find some of the articles too theoretical, I think it includes useful articles providing us, efl/esl instructors with some tips on how to deal with cultural barriers in other words, culture bumps.

One of these articles is called "Culture bump and beyond" by Carol M. Archer. A definition of culture bump is provided after focussing on some common situations which can be encountered in an ESL and also in some EFL environments such as coming to class late and submitting a paper late, etc. Archer then defines culture bump as a situation which occurs when an individual from one culture finds herself/himself in a different,uncomfortable and strange situation when interacting with persons of other culture. She further adds that when an individual has excpectations of one behavior and gets an unexpected behavior.

The definition of culture reminded me of the definition of culture shock. I couldn't differentiate them. After progressing through another paragraph I came accross a part where she states how culture bump and culture shock are different:

"Unlike culture shock, which extends over an extended period of time,culture bumps are instantaneous,usually over within minutes or even seconds though the effect may be long lasting"

From this definition, I could figure out the difference between culture shock and culture bump.

I found this part of the article interesting as well:

"...culture bumps provide a gold mine for the international educator. They lead teacher and student alike to an awareness of self as a cultural being and provide an oppotunity for skill development in extrapolating one cultural influence oneveryday life,expressing feelings effectively in a cross cultural situation, and observing behavior.The entire process is language in action,leading to general improvement in communication in the target language."

Later in the article some steps to analyze culture bump from teacher's point of view are presented. These steps are:

1-Pinpointing some time when you have felt "different" or noticed something different when you were with someone from another culture
2-Defining the situation
3-Listing the behavior of other person
4-Listing your own behavior
5-Listing your feelings in the situation
6-Listing the behaviors you expect from people in your own culture in that same situation
7-Reflect on the underlying values in your culture that prompts that behavior expectation.

In the end of the articles, some factors to be taken into account are listed. I will share them with you in my next post.

Have you ever had any students experiencing culture bumps? If so, how did the student behave?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Culture in EFL/ESL

typewriter key letter C letter U L ho-T-el letter U R hous-E-wine I N E faint f L E orange S blue mosaic on beige L blue squared circle

Hi all,

I've read many articles on culture, teaching culture and promoting cultural awareness, joined the class discussions on culture for more than a month. When I first started reading about this broad topic, I was really puzzled as there are many factors involved whenever culture is considered. It is still not clear in my mind but I can definitely say that at least I could frame the concept in my mind. That's not a great start but it's a start anyway.

We have read some articles on this broad topic and I think these articles at least provided us with different perspectives on culture and teaching culture. Some of the most significant aspects I realized in this process are:

1-It is very difficult to make a clear definition of culture.

2-There are different ideas about whether or not to teach culture. While some state that language can be seperated from culture, others claim that language can not be isolated from culture and therefore it is necessary to teach culture.

3-Teaching culture requires a great deal of teacher awareness.With this awareness EFL teachers can be selective about the class materials and create and adapt their own materials.

4-It is extremely necessary to create an intercultural awareness in the twenty first century as the world is getting more and more global thanks to the technological developments.

These are my highlights of the previous weeks. However, I still need innovative, extraordinary ideas to integrate culture to EFL/ESL settings.

What about you, my dear readers? How do you present and integrate culture to your own classroom settings?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

a new semester in a different university

Time flies!

Classes have already started. I can't believe how time passed so fast. 3 months ago I was wondering whether it would be possible for me to have the chance to be a graduate student of Middle East Technical University(METU)and now I am a student of this lovely institution for almost three weeks.

This semester, I am only able to take one class called "Cultural Aspects of Language Teaching" because of my workload and the distance between Istanbul and Ankara. Having to travel really doesn't bother me as I am really happy with the quality of the lectures.

My adivisor Assistant Prof. Dr. Betil Eröz has been helpful. As I was a graduate student last year in a different institution, I took some courses which are also included in the Master's program of METU. Therefore, I asked her whether I could be exempted from some of these courses or not. She provided me with the names of the professors to consult immediately. When I contacted and sent my assignments to them they, sent me notifications to inform me that I was exempted from two courses. :)This means I have to take only five courses and write a thesis in order to graduate.

I will try to write weekly reflections about the course I am taking if I have the chance to multitask.

Saturday, August 29, 2009



I am so glad to announce that there have been some changes in my MA studies. From now on I am going to do my MA in Middle East Technical University in TEFL. I will share my reflections as soon as the classes start.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Term- New Responsibilities and Insights

Hi all,

Time has passed so quickly ! I remember when I first started the MA program and now I am nearly in the middle of the second term!

I am taking two classes this term because of my overloaded programme at work. I feel better as I have time to focus on other things rather than the programme. The classes I am taking this week are:
TEFL Theory Into Practice ( in which I will be observed, observe the others and reflect upon my practices , do some classroom research and keep them in a portfolio, probably online.)
Language Testing ( based on CFR principles)

I will be observed by the course tutor next week. I have already made my plan but I need to go over it a little bit.

I hope to be more productive in this semester

Wish me luck

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My feelings after finishing my article on my wiki use and motivation

My dear readers,

I have just finished my article on my particular wiki use and learner motivation. As you can guess, I am extremely relieved after going over all processes of research starting from finding a topic and ending with discussing the result and writing implications for further research.

I am extremely grateful to these people below as they really helped me in the process of my research in many different ways.

1-My family (for their endless support)
2-Assistant Professor Kamile Hamiloglu (for her assistance throughout the research and giving me the opportunity to write my first article to be published)
3-Vance Stevens ( for helping me to narrow my research problem down)
4-Cristina Costa (for helping me to reconsider my research questions)
5--Sedat Akayoğlu (for providing me with feedback and ideas on my research)
6--Vanessa Vaile (for giving me alternative ideas on how to use wiki and taking part in the wiki activities of the class I conducted my study on)
7- My classmates in my MA classes (for their support and assistance)
8- My students (for accepting to take part in this research)

Thanks to this study I am now more aware of the fact that conducting a research is a really tough process and I now respect people who conducted such studies more .

I hope to replicate it and conduct another one soon again on CMC and language learning.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

my article-difficulties

Hi again,
I have been struggling to make a blog post for so long and finally I could find time to write one! It is almost the end of the first semester and I only had a final. The other two classes I take require me to prepare assignments taking a lot of time but helpful in terms of learning how to conduct a research and they are also urging me to read more.
Having a lot of responsibilities like teaching 2o hours, co-moderating an online workshop and teaching voluntarily, I usually find myself rushing from one task to another quite fast.I think I am improving my multitasking ability in that way! :))

I got my first feedback on the introduction, literature review of my article. Most of it was about my use of APA style in the paper. As my topic is motivation and my pbwiki use I really stuggled to summarize all the resources and studies I found and relate them to instructional design. I finished the second draft yesterday and submitted it. I hope I did it right this time. As it is my first article, I think Ilearn from my own mistakes .

I also received feedback on themethod part of my study. I need to make the tables more detailed .I also need to analyze them more in detail. (question by question). As thereare 13 questions in the survey I conducted, I think it will take longer than expected for me to report and analyse the data.

There are still some questions in my mind about how to use content analysis in order to discuss the results of the study. The lecturer advised me to use pattern coding and I guess it requires me to look at some particular phrases and words the interviewees used using pattern coding. I will learn by doing for sure! Sleepless night are waiting for me again.I am really in need of ideas in order to anlayze and interpret the interviews.

Hoping to learn more through interaction.