A series of lesson-plans for sensitising students to the importance of cultural difference.
These plans were originally developed in the 1997-8 academic year by a team working at Bilkent University, English Program for the Faculty of Business Administration. The team comprised Daren Hodson (Co-ordinator), Humeyra Baþol, James Bowman, Umur Çelikyay, Zeynep Özek and Þule Savaþan (Instructors), and has been reproduced here with permission.
Activity 1: To enlarge students' understanding of 'culture'
Final Activity: Why do we have culture in an English composition course?
Reading Activity: Formations of Modernity
This course, originally designed for students of the Department of Management,
emphasises research and oral presentation skills. Students engage in conducting
research, reporting synthesised information from different sources, as
well as in problem solving and decision making activities. The content
of the course centers around the theme of ‘culture’ under which such subjects
as gender, ethnicity, class, etc. are researched and studied. Students
engage in conducting research, reporting synthesised information from different
sources, as well as in problem solving and decision making activities.
The content of the course centers around the theme of ‘culture’ under which
such subjects as gender, ethnicity, class, etc. are researched and
studied. This theme, we believe, is particularly relevant to management
students at Bilkent University: understanding differences in culture and
developing cultural awareness are invaluable for success in today’s global
Nonetheless, this material can also prove useful to students taking any kind of culture-related courses, e.g. British or American Studies.
The material is composed of a series of lesson-plans. Whilst most
of the activities can be designed to fit any lesson length, it is advised
that the material could be ideally accommodated into 40-50 minute units.
Warm up activity:
What for you does ‘culture’ mean? Why? Write for 3 minutes. List, semantic
map, clustering (Teacher’s preference)
Come together into pairs or small groups of 3-4 and compare your writings. What do you agree about? What do you disagree about? Why do you think that you disagree about these ideas?
Activity 1: To enlarge students' understanding of ‘culture’
Divide class into pairs and have pairs to select a piece of paper from a bag. Papers will say ‘Turkish culture’, ‘youth culture’, ‘European culture’, ‘American culture’, ‘African culture’, ‘Italian culture’, ‘primitive culture’, ‘Arab culture’, ‘Thai culture’.
Each pair makes a list of at least 5 things, ideas, words that they associate with their category. Pairs then split, and two large groups are formed; these people then present their ‘culture’ and its associations to their larger group. The other members must add at least 3 more ideas/words to the list.
How, now, has your understanding of ‘culture’ changed, compared to when you first thought of it? What does ‘culture’ include that you didn’t think of before? Why?
Groups or pairs will be given pictures representing stereotypical aspects
of different cultures and asked to explain what the picture tells them
about ‘culture’. Describe the pictures without showing the others, then
show the others. Then explain what the picture mean to them in terms of
culture. How are the images in these pictures similar and different from
images that you are familiar with in your own culture? How does this help
you to understand the picture? (Do you think that it limits the way you
understand it?) Give reasons. Other groups may then join the discussions.
Activity: Why do we have culture in an English composition course?
Why do we have culture as a theme in an English composition course? Why/How can you benefit by studying and writing about ‘culture’ as a management at an international university? Put ideas on board and discuss.
Teachers’ Note: This activity enables the teacher to clarify the goals of the course.
Students work in pairs to explain what they had in the first class along with the reasons. Then they report their ideas to the whole class. Teacher helps out and clarifies points about the first class.
Activity: Formations of Modernity
Scan for main ideas.
Read for number of definitions of culture.
Assign each group a definition to present with two examples to illustrate
what the definition means and how it works.
To see how complex the issue is, begin by considering the telling image with which Bernard Lewis opens his history of the Middle East. A man sits at a table in a coffee house in some Middle Eastern city, ‘drinking a cup of coffee or tea. perhaps smoking a cigarette, reading a newspaper, playing a board game, and listening with half an ear to whatever is coming out of the radio or the television installed in the corner.’ Undoubtedly Arab, almost certainly Muslim, the man would clearly identify himself as a member of these cultural groups. He would also, if asked, be likely to say that ‘Western culture’ was alien, even hostile to them....
Reading and Writing Skills--
Reading Part 1--a guide to comprehension.
Students will identify the following:
1. Main idea of the text
2. Purpose of the text
3. Sources used
4. Sample question to give to class: What does the example of the man in the cafe stand for? Why is it used?
Homework for second session:
Post reading Activities:
Using sources --