CALL and Culture
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CALL and Culture
A large part of learning a language involves learning not only speaking, reading, writing and listening skills, but also understanding the culture that the language is integrated. This curated site includes some of the current literature and other related work to advance the understanding of culture/ intercultural communication and language acquisition, using the available Computer-assisted Language Learning.
Curated by Theresa Shin
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The Culture Issue – Vicky

The Culture Issue – Vicky | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Culture and Diversity – Our Mental Backpacks – Vicky Loras My name is Vicky Loras. I teach English Language and Literature to students of all ages…and I am multicultural. I...
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Vicky Loras shares a beautiful and simple way of teaching culture and language to students of all ages.  The ideas and the methodology mentioned in the article ties in with some of the scooped articles as shown in the two pages below.

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Video Game Tech Teaches U.S. Soldiers Language, Cultural Etiquette

Editor's note: Chas looks at a language training sim used by the U. S. military that employs a game-inspired interface, and interviews the developer's president. I'm fascinated by th...
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This article is related to another scooped article, "How the military improved its language education" as shown on page 2 of this CALL and Culture topic.  This article further expounds on the use of the language training sim, that it saved soldiers' lives!  They state that the soldiers, the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, who trained on the Tactical Language & Culture Training System series, who were "the first Marine Battalion to return from a year tour of duty in the Iraq war [returned] without a single combat casualty.”  The article, however, did not provide a comparison information of other Marine Battalion casualty list.  Regardless, it seems that the video game technology is enabling U.S. Military to communicate and understand other cultures and languages to reduce potential conflicts, which may prevent needless deaths. 

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The Cherokee Nation and Internet Technology: Saving a Culture by Revitializing its Language

Google Tech Talk (more info below) October 17, 2011 Presented by Joseph Erb, Roy Boney, Jr, Jeff Edwards. ABSTRACT ᎣᏏᏲ (hello!) Our visitors from the Cheroke...
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Technology, not only the current technology, but the technology of the past is brought to our attention in this video that showcases the language and culture of the Cherokee Nation.  The process that led to preserve and revitalize Cherokee language and culture in the U.S. is also explained.  A technological giant, Google, seems to be heavily involved in providing the technological assistance to the Cherokee Nation.  Although these technological giants may have set aside certain funds for philanthropic reasons, it would seem that they would also have a lot to gain in the future by having more people connected and using the technology.  This would also be true with the scooped article shown below about Microsoft's LLP program.  Overall, let's hope that it would be a win-win situation for all.

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Microsoft’s Local Language Program Bridges Languages, Cultures and Technology

Microsoft’s Local Language Program Bridges Languages, Cultures and Technology | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Language translation technology reaches more than 90 percent of global speakers.
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The Local Language Program (LLP) seems to bring not only technology and language preservation to a large number of cultures around the world, but also connects the local economy with the rest of the world for growth potential. The impact of integration of language and technology in local cultures around the world would be immeasurable in many aspects in the life of people around the world. Microsoft seemed to have succeeded in virtually connecting a large part of the world together for communication and networking possibilities.

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What Makes Students Click: Computer Environments for Language and Culture Learning

Dorothy M. Chun is Professor of German and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies at the University of California, San...
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Professor Chun presents some technological advances in speech synthesis, speech recognition, visualization of prosody,  and audio/ video feedback using computers.  Professor Chun's research seems to have been stemmed from CALL for L2 reading with emphasis on vocabulary acquisition.  Findings from the intercultural communication exchanges between American and German university students were discussed.  It seems that the clashes between the students' communication may have resulted from "cultural frames and discourse systems and not necessarily from language differences" (Chun, 2012).  It appears that online intercultural exchanges require extensive follow-up in the classroom.  To be effective facilitators, the instructors need to have pragmatics as well as language teaching skills.  These two factors are also reiterated by the researchers in the Cultura project as shown in the scooped article below, "Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language of Culture: the Cultura Project."

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How to integrate culture in second language education

Journal of Education and Practice www.iiste.orgISSN 2222-1735 (Paper) ISSN 2222-288X (O
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This is an excellent article on culture and teaching language.  This article articulates some of the concepts and challenges of teaching culture in a language classroom.  It's interesting to note Risager's (1998) cultural teaching approaches: intercultural, multicultural, trans-cultural and foreign cultural.  All of these approaches and more as mentioned in the article can be taught integrating technology and other resources as listed in the article.  It seems that although all language instructors are aware of the importance of culture in language learning and teaching, there seems to be a lack of consensus on how to teach culture, what aspects of culture should be taught, and how it should be taught with language.  There's also the pitfalls of accidentally introducing stereotype and other bias from the L1 culture.  Achieving intercultural communication competence seems to be an ideal goal that requires much effort, research, critical thought process and sound pedagogy as mentioned in Godwin-Jone's (2013) article scooped below.  Also, examples of teaching culture in language learning can be found in the Cultura project in the scooped article below.

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Does Your Language Shape How You Think?

Does Your Language Shape How You Think? | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
The idea that your mother tongue shapes your experience of the world may be true after all.
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This article explains the rise and fall of Benjamin Lee Whorf's theory and the reasons associated with these events.  It's a detailed article with varied examples of current understanding of languages, and the way they are connected to our thought process.  Some of the concepts mentioned are quite interesting such as how the grammatical genders on objects can shape the feelings and associations of speakers toward objects around them.  I wonder, "What does this mean for the people whose languages don't have grammatical genders?" The author, Guy Deutscher, seems interested on the topic about the language of space.  However, he also outlined the language of colour and the language of perception, and their possible association with our thought process.  Most of these current findings were possible through the use of technology and better understanding of many variety of cultures in our world. This article provides a good overview of some of the current findings on language, culture and technology.

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GIVING A VIRTUAL VOICE TO THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF CULTURE: THE CULTURA PROJECT

GIVING A VIRTUAL VOICE TO THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF CULTURE: THE CULTURA PROJECT | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
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This is an interesting article on computer-mediated communication and cross-cultural literacy through Cultura project , that used the web as an intermediary to pose pertinent questions that would help the language learners to exchange information between two different cultures.  These exchanges seem to result in gradual understanding of each others' cultures.  The two cultures mentioned in the article, French and American, used films, videos, articles, books and related resources to address some aspects of culture in a language learning environment using constructivist pedagogical approach.  In addition, the amount of time and commitment made by the instructors and the students on both sides of culture seemed to have made the project possible. I feel that this is probably an ideal way to learn a new language and the associated culture by directly communicating with students in the target culture. The Cultura project seems to be designed to be used for any two cultural exchanges; however, establishing the kind of support and commitment between the two cultures would be a unique challenge for any learning group and its facilitators. The importance of support and commitment aspect of a cultural exchange project was also mentioned in the scooped video of Professor Chun as shown above.

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Language and Culture: Rorschach linguistics

Language and Culture: Rorschach linguistics | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
IT'S a curious fact about the Arabic language that it has no pronoun for "she", nor for "he": the same pronoun is used for both.  I'll hold off on my own...
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My initial thoughts on the author was that the information written was all wrong, and I wondered how it got to be published, until I read further.  I have a feeling that some of the readers may still be stuck on the initial information provided and would be unaware that the author changed her tune later on in her writing.  This type of writing is a sure way to confuse people even though the writer was trying to make a point about our preconceived notions and prejudices. However, samples from several cultures and the associated languages are interesting to note.  To further analyse the facts, the question arising from this article would be, "How do these differences in language shape the way the people of these cultures think?"  This question would also be of interest to Benjamin Lee Whorf and Guy Deutscher as per the article scooped above, "Does Your Language Shape How You Think?"

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Teaching language and culture with computer-mediated communications technologies by Emily Ann Gillen Ballou

Much of the recent research on computer-assisted language learning has focused on computer-mediated communication (CMC) which links learners for on-line discussion, using local or global networks.
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An interesting dissertation paper on the use of email, on-line chat, and videoconferencing to observe interactions for cultural competence in language acquisition process.  This paper can be obtained through the UOIT library in the CBCA Education database.  The file seems to be corrupt when I tried to download it, but it can be viewed for reading online.  Part of the results from Ballou's research seems to indicate that chat conferencing produced the best environment for facilitating awareness and sensitivity among the three uses mentioned above.

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Language and Culture:  Language and Thought Processes

Language and Culture:  Language and Thought Processes | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
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This site provides historical changes in the way we perceive language and its effects in our thought process. The site was created and maintained by Dr. Dennis O'Neil of Palomar College, San Marcos, California. Some interesting examples were explained on perceiving colour by people living closer to the equator.  The cultural environment that we grow up seems to affect the way we interpret the world around us.  This site also points to an interesting field of research, ethnoscience, that seems to combine values of a culture with the way people categorize things in their environment.  Some of the facts mentioned in this article correlates to the scooped article above, "Language and Culture: Language and Thought Processes."

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Workzone: Breaking down barriers - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Workzone: Breaking down barriers - Pittsburgh Post Gazette | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Workzone: Breaking down barriers Pittsburgh Post Gazette Peggy Allen Heidish, director of Carnegie Mellon University's Intercultural Communication Center, often shocks foreign students when she says the students themselves...
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Pronouncing names of the employees correctly by voice recording the names in the company database is an interesting way to ensure that recognition of individuals are made appropriately and respectfully at company events and functions.  The study of "name-pronunciation effect" seems to indicate that people with easy names are more liked on first impression and may enjoy professional advantage.  It seems that this holds true for native born and non-native born individuals alike according to the article.  However, certain cultural names seem to be an issue more often than others.  This article seems to convey respect to people with diverse cultures and their associated names.  It also reveals the preconceived perceptions of people when relating to certain names and cultures.  Let's hope we have increasing number of people working towards breaking down these barriers to make our world a "more peacemaking culture" as indicated by Kenny in the above scooped article, "Education Technology News: Technology and Language: A Reflection of Our Culture."

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Teaching phrases and expressions – a language teacher’s nightmare?

Teaching phrases and expressions – a language teacher’s nightmare? | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Tamás Lőrincz, a teacher and teacher trainer, shares his tips for tackling English phrases in and out of the classroom.
Do you know what Scotch Mist is? Honour bright? Before I started writing this post, I didn’t have a clue.
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Good tips on teaching English phrases and expressions can be found in this article. It provides some examples and awareness of what to look for when preparing to teach or learn common phrases and expressions used in English language. It's a blog, and it does not provide in-depth information.  You'd find only a short blurb on the awareness factor for consideration for teaching purposes.  However, it's an important factor to consider when teaching any language.

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Technology and Teaching Culture: Results of a State Survey of Foreign Language Teachers - CALICO Journal

Technology and Teaching Culture: Results of a State Survey of Foreign Language Teachers - CALICO Journal | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
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It seems that as of 1998, when the State-wide survey was conducted in Texas, United States, there were very few language teachers teaching culture or using technology in their teaching.  Some of the reasons given at the time for not using technology were that they didn't have facilities, and they didn't have access to suitable materials for culture instruction.  However, the teachers did not indicate that they lacked the skills or knowledge to use technology. Also, only a small percentage of teachers had training in culture previously.  Another interesting finding was that higher the level of education attained by the teachers, the more they used technology, and more likely that they would have training in culture.  The authors of this article urge teachers not only "to simply disseminate information on cultural products and practices," but also "to strive to create and design activities that encourage students to gain fuller insights into native speakers' perspectives, values, and opinions associated with their products and practices" (Moore, Morales, & Carel, 1998, p. 1).  These authors seem to be referring to the intercultural teaching that Godwin-Jones (2013) expounds as indicated in the scooped article below, but over a decade earlier. It would be interesting to find out how the numbers may have changed over the last 15 years.

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Using Videoconferencing Technologies to Bridge Culture, Language, and Time-Zone Differences

The World in Conversation project has taken its face-to-face dialogues across the ocean so Penn State students can engage students in the Middle East. The pr...
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Socratic questioning method was used in the intercultural exchanges with Middle Eastern (Kuwait) and American (Penn State) students having conversations. The facilitators state that they are not directing the conversation, but learning from the people in the dialogue process.  This video is a recording of live-streaming of a one 90 minute session.  It's a very engaging dialogue between the American and the Kuwait students about their identity in relation to their country, their perceptions of each other, and how they see themselves in the global environment. The audio on the Kuwait side wasn't clear in the recording, but most of what was said can be understood.  The English competence level of the students represented in the Kuwait video seemed to be near advanced English communication level.  They seemed to be able to express their thoughts and ideas relatively fluently, and understood the questions posed.  The dialogue consists of a very interesting exchange of feelings, thoughts and perspectives.  I felt that there was a little bridge, or connection that was made in the dialogue to help each other (American and Kuwait students) to understand one another better, so the title to this video seems very appropriate.  Through these dialogues using videoconferencing, I wonder if the individuals involved are creating a "third space" for themselves (see scooped article below, "Constructing a 'third space'...).

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Education Technology News: Technology and Language: A Reflection of Our Culture

Education Technology News: Technology and Language: A Reflection of Our Culture | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
While technology changes and advances at a rate so rapid those of us in the industry can barely keep up, its influences have somehow managed to penetrate the most staunch and rooted institution of our culture: our words.
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This article provides interesting reflections on the effects of technology on L1 language and culture.  The rapid changes in the technology recently, and the frequent use of technology related words such as email, Tweet, Unfriend, etc., seem to affect and change the English language.  The author, Juliana Kenny's reflections on the English language's hodgepodge mix of words from many cultures and contrasting it with the seemingly inflexible French, L’Academie Francaise's efforts to "preserve and regulate the French language" reveal important cultural perspectives of both French and North American people.  Kenny's openness to accepting more diverse words into the English language, and the hope for a more "accepting and tolerant world” resulting in "peacemaking of cultures" seem ideal. 

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Cambridge Journals Online - ReCALL - Abstract - Constructing a ‘third space’ for EFL learners: Where language and cultures meet

Cambridge Journals Online - ReCALL - Abstract - Constructing a ‘third space’ for EFL learners: Where language and cultures meet | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Efforts have been made by language educators and researchers to use computer technology to assist L2 learners responses to a questionnaire were examined and informal interviews with the students were conducted.
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The complete article to this abstract is available at the UOIT library where I found the article.  However, only abstract can be viewed online without additional cost at the publisher's website.  This abstract is detailed enough to enable a reader to get a fair sense of what the article is about.  The author, Liaw (2007), used a communicative approach to teach L2.  She incorporated teaching of culture and language using the web.  This article also refers to the "Cultura" project as per scooped article below.  An interesting reversal in the process of introducing culture by reflecting on one's own culture first to better understand and compare the L2 culture.  The "third space" referred in the title of the article is the online e-learning environment where students would cultivate a learning space separate from L1 and L2 culture.  The findings indicated that each student seemed to have gained different types of intercultural awareness based on their communication experiences. It would make sense that individuals, based on their previous experiences and knowledge, would absorb information that would lead towards their awareness and expanded knowledge at varying degrees and levels over time as per Vygotsky's Social Constructivism.

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Developing and Applying a Foreign Language Vocabulary Learning and Practicing Game: The effect of VocaWord - Digital Culture & Education

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The title of this article is slightly misleading.  The game, "VocaWord", is actually a board game designed similar to "Monopoly" to help FL/SL learners to acquire vocabulary.  The hope of the authors is that this board game would be "implemented in a virtual environment once it is programmed by any suitable computing language and transformed to an online or digital game to be played on computers and/or mobile phones."  This board game seems to show much promise in just 6 short weeks with only 1 hour per week of games played by the students.  Imagine if students were able to spend more time on the computer, how it might change the learning curve for the students.  It seems that the authors were aware of the needs of the "digital natives", or the "net gen" and felt that the digital culture needs to be incorporated in the game design. I suppose a vocabulary building board game would be considered as a technology for teaching, and it seems to have much potential in the future as is and also, as transformed into a video game.

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Can you preserve a culture without the language?

Can you preserve a culture without the language? | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Disappearing cultures cause me to panic. The permanent loss of languages and ways of life make me imagine humanity impoverished. Over the weekend I watched the 2010 documentary, "Voices in the Clou...
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When you "are learning a language, you are continuing a culture."  Richard Benton provides an interesting review on a documentary film about the loss of culture and language, and how they are interconnected.  However, how tenuously they are interconnected seems to depend upon how culture is interpreted.  Language seems to be recognized as the most important aspect of culture.  Overall, a very frank and thought provoking view on language and culture is presented.  These viewpoints, however, differ from that of Godwin-Jones (2013) as shown in scooped article below. Godwin-Jones (2013) states that language is not a “sufficient means of viewing a culture from the inside” (p. 8).  Godwin-Jones' viewpoint underlines intercultural learning as an essential component to better understand culture of a given language.

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Integrating Intercultural Competence into Language Learning Through Technology --- by Robert Godwin-Jones

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This article can be viewed as the next step article to “How to Integrate Culture in Second Language Education” article as shown scooped above.  It’s interesting how Godwin-Jones (2013) seems to take the suggestions mentioned in the above mentioned article and takes it further by making practical suggestions for the teaching of culture through intercultural communication competence training.  Godwin-Jones (2013) explains the differences between culture specific and culture general teaching methods.  It seems that in most textbooks and other teaching materials where culture is presented, we would be able to observe hodgepodge of culture specific “chunks” thrown together (p. 2).  Godwin-Jones (2013) provides many examples of how intercultural communication should be taught in a language classroom including reflecting on aspects of individual’s own culture before engaging in intercultural exchanges. I feel that this article would provide a practical foundation for language teachers to include intercultural communication competence in their teaching.  Godwin-Jones (2013) seems to have made a great effort to bridge some of the gaps that are evident in incorporating culture in language teaching. 

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Using the WWW to Integrate Spanish Language and Culture: a Pilot Study

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This article shows an interesting way to assign a task using internet for the students to become familiar with the practical cultural activities and learning the language as well.  Using an authentic realia, the World Wide Web, students gain experiences with real people, real scenarios and places through an assigned task.  A great way to introduce authentic culture and language in the classroom.  As mentioned above in scooped Godwin-Jone's (2013) article, the next step in the cultural language learning process would involve students writing reflective journals either in their own language or in the target language. 

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ARTIFACTS AND CULTURES-OF-USE IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

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This is an interesting article that refers to the internet communication tools as cultural artifacts.  Steven Thorne, the author of the article, states that these artifacts evolve over time depending on the cultures-of-use.  The case studies seem to reveal cultural understanding and misunderstanding depending upon the perspectives from each culture.  The different clashing points of communication seems to be an opportunity for much analysis and synthesis between the French and the American culture and the differences in their communication.  It seems that as we use or not use these cultural artifacts, we are affecting not only how we communicate, but influence our history in the making.  I found the writing style a little challenging at first; I felt as though I was reading something out of historical text from a century ago.  However, the concepts introduced in the article are quite revealing and interesting to grasp.

 

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Computers “changing our values, language, culture”

Computers “changing our values, language, culture” | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Imagine a world where your phone is smart enough to order and pay for your morning coffee. No more giving orders, handing
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Technology is not only changing the way we perceive our community, but it seems to be changing the way we communicate.  The increase in the use of slang and jargon and "the evolving standards for electronic discourse" in our communication using email, instant messaging, texting and Twitter, among others, seems to affect the quality of our writing skills.  The culture of instant technology seems to create people with less attention span, less willing to learn deeply, and less time spent to acquire deep knowledge.  Ironically,  this article seems to be skimming through ideas and generalizing without much supporting research.

 

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Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
New cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world; a different sense of blame in Japanese and Spanish
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Interesting questions: does the language influence cultural values? or is it the other way around, or both?  Cognitive studies conducted recently seem to to have found many links in the language we speak with the way we think.  The author, Lera Boroditsky, states that "human nature can differ dramatically depending on the language we speak."  It seems that what makes us who we are is linked to the language(s) we speak. This article relates to two of the scooped articles mentioned above: "Language and Culture: Language and Thought Processes", and "Does Your Language Shape How You Think?."

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Teaching teens in the EFL setting: Vocabulary

Teaching teens in the EFL setting: Vocabulary | CALL and Culture | Scoop.it
Joan Saslow is the author of numerous widely used multi-level courses for teens, young adults, and adults. She has taught English and foreign languages at all levels of instruction in both South America and USA.
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Providing learning materials that are socially applicable and personalized to teenagers are great ways to engage their learning.  Vocabulary building strategies for teens mentioned in the article are useful classroom takeaways.  Teenagers today seem to have multiple stressors, which demand their attention and pull them in many directions.  Providing teens with socially relevant and practical guide that personalizes their learning by keeping them engaged in conversations in many different ways using technology would help to motivate teens to learn more.

 

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