Cultural Learning in Language Education

Culture Learning in Language Education:
A Review of the Literature

This paper examines the theoretical and research literatures pertaining to culture learning in language education programs. The topic of teaching and learning culture has been a matter of considerable interest to language educators and much has been written about the role of culture in foreign language instruction over the past four decades. Most importantly, in recent years various professional associations have made significant efforts to establish culture learning standards.Yet, to date, there have been few critical reviews of the literature. In certain respects this is not surprising because culture learning is not exclusively the domain of language educators. On the contrary, the field is highly interdisciplinary in nature; contributions to the knowledge base have come from psychology, linguistics, anthropology, education, intercultural communication, and elsewhere. Moreover, anthropologists, intercultural communication scholars, and psychologists, in particular, have studied cultural phenomena quite apart from their relationship to language learning. The review confirmed what we expected: a substantial amount of important writing on culture learning exists, much of which is completely unrelated to language education.
The rationale for conducting this review of the literature was to determine if studies existed which could:

1) support and/or challenge current language education practices regarding the teaching
of culture
2) provide guidance to language educators on effective culture teaching methods,
3) suggest ways to conceptualize culture in the language education context,
4) suggest ways to assess culture learning, and,
5) indicate which instructional methods are most effective for various types of culture
learning objectives.

We begin by providing a brief history of the Intercultural Studies Project and
follow that with a discussion of the philosophical and conceptual frames of reference that
informed our literature review. We then present an overarching conceptual structure based on
the multifaceted concept of context.

This study was undertaken by the staff of the Intercultural Studies Project (ISP), which is one of several projects operated by the Center for Advanced Research in Language Acquisition (CARLA). CARLA is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is located at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. The central purpose of the ISP has been to advance culture teaching in the language education profession. At its first conference held in November, 1994, language and culture education scholars met with language teachers to discuss the major issues regarding culture teaching and learning. The conferees agreed that there were significant gaps in the literature which should be addressed in future writings and conferences. This confirmed the intention of the ISP to convene a second conference in 1996 and to commission the writing of three complementary state-of-the-art papers on culture learning to be discussed at that conference and then published.

Culture Teaching.
Work on the literature review began in 1994 with the identification of relevant data bases and the conducting of initial searches. The process was exceptionally time consuming as we had to search a large number of data bases and constantly cross-reference them for duplications of citations. The initial literature search generated over 3000 citations. Eventually, we narrowed it down to 1228 citations, primarily journal articles, and reviewed the abstract for each of those references. The first determination to be made was whether the reference was relevant or not for our purposes based on the information provided in the abstract. As it turned out, many were not.
The use of the term “culture” as a descriptor had generated many citations where the discussion of culture was far removed from our concerns. Eventually, 289 references were placed into one of three categories: application (descriptions of teaching methods and materials), theory (conceptualizations of culture teaching and learning), and research (empirical studies). The final count from that search included 158 application, 66 theory, and 65 research references. In September, 1995, the team began the process of reading and analyzing the literature. The research articles, for instance, were read by two of the team members and their observations were recorded on a data sheet, which included the following information: the research focus; the research orientation (primarily qualitative or quantitative); methodology (the specific research methods utilized for data gathering and data analysis, the subjects/respondents); the language education setting/context; how culture was defined; the major results and their implications for language pedagogy. The theoretical pieces were shared among the team members and reviewed for the central concepts and propositions regarding culture learning.

At the outset of this paper, we want the reader to note that we brought our own understandings of culture, culture teaching, and culture learning to this task. Our views have been strongly influenced by the writings of Jorstad (1981), Seelye (1981, 1994), Crawford- Lange and Lange (1984), Byram (1988), and Kramsch (1993), all of whom have proposed models for integrating culture and language teaching. These works share a common conceptual core and set of intricately related assumptions regarding the teaching and learning of culture.
Due to the fact that our model of culture learning served as the benchmark for evaluating the
literature, we feel it is essential to present it to the reader.

A Conceptual Model of Culture Learning
Earlier models tended to view culture as a relatively invariate and static entity made up of accumulated, classifiable, observable, thus eminently teachable and learnable “facts.” This perspective focused on surface level behavior, but did not look at the underlying value orientations, nor did it recognize the variability of behavior within the target cultural community, the participative role of the individual in the creation of culture, or the interaction of language and culture in the making of meaning (Moore, 1991). By contrast, the more recent models mentioned above see culture as dynamic and variable, i.e., it is constantly changing, its members display a great range of behaviors and different levels of attention to the guiding value orientations, and meaning is continuously being constructed through human interaction and communication. This major transformation in perspective has also been characterized by conceptual shifts from culture-specific to culture-general models of intercultural competence, cultural stereotypes to cultural generalizations, cultural absolutes to cultural variations (within and across cultures), and culture as distinct from language to culture as integral to language. Language in this process plays a fascinating and complex double role: it is a medium for as well as shaper of culture.

Definition of culture learning. For the purposes of this chapter, our general definition of culture learning is as follows: Culture learning is the process of acquiring the culture-specific and culture-general knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for effective communication and interaction with individuals from other cultures. It is a dynamic, developmental, and ongoing process which engages the learner cognitively, behaviorally, and affectively. Culture learning goals and outcomes. In this newer perspective, the learning goals shift from the memorization of cultural facts (including sociolinguistic conventions for language use) to higher order learning outcomes including: the acquisition of “interactional competence” (a term suggested by Allen and Moore at the 1996 culture conference in Minneapolis) and learning how to learn about culture. According to Paige (1997), such learning would include:

1) learning about the self as a cultural being
2) learning about culture and its impact on human communication, behavior, and identity
3) culture-general learning, i.e., learning about universal, cross-cultural phenomena such as
cultural adjustment
4) culture-specific learning, i.e., learning about a particular culture, including its language
5) learning how to learn, i.e., becoming an effective language and culture learner.

Item five in our model is a point which we feel deserves special mention, in part because it is often overlooked and also because we consider it to be extremely important. Culture and language learning involve a dynamic relationship between the situation and the actors in which cultural context, prior experience, and other factors come into play. Putting culture at the core of language education means preparing students to be culture learners. Thus, it is never enough to find and accept someone else’s static definitions of the culture. Words and their meaning are linked to a cultural context, and language and cultural patterns change over time and vary according to the situation.. To become effective culture learners, students must develop a variety of learning strategies ranging from reflective observation to active experimentation or what Kolb refers to as ‘experiential learning’ style. Most importantly it is knowing how to learn from the context while immersed in it, or what Hughes (1986) refers to as “learning how to learn.” These culture-general learning outcomes do not replace culture-specific learning objectives, but they constitute the larger learning framework within which target culture learning occurs.

Conceptual model of culture learning. Figure 1 below presents our more detailed model of culture learning. One of the major conceptual distinctions to be noted is between what is commonly referred to as the culture-specific versus culture-general domains of learning. Culture-specific learning refers to the acquisition of knowledge and skills relevant to a given “target culture,” i.e., a particular culture group or community. Culture-general learning, on the other hand, refers to knowledge and skills that are more generalizable in nature and transferable across cultures. This body of knowledge includes, among other things, the concept of culture, the nature of cultural adjustment and learning, the impact of culture on communication and interaction between individuals or groups, the stress associated with intense culture and language immersions (culture and language fatigue), coping strategies for dealing with stress, the role of emotions in cross-cultural, cross-linguistic interactions, and so forth. Culture-general skills include the capacity to display respect for and interest in the culture, the ability to be a selfsustaining culture learner and to draw on a variety of resources for that learning, tolerance and patience in cross-cultural situations, control of emotions and emotional resilience, and the like.

A Conceptual Model of Culture Learning
A. Knowledge
1. Culture-General: Intercultural Phenomena
cultural adjustment stages
culture shock
intercultural development
culture learning
cultural identity
cultural marginality
2. Culture Specific
“little c” target culture knowledge
“Big C” target culture knowledge
sociolinguistic competence
B. Behavior
1. Culture General: Intercultural Skills
culture learning strategies
coping and stress management strategies
intercultural communicative competence
intercultural perspective-taking skills
cultural adaptability
transcultural competence
2. Culture Specific: Target Culture Skills
little “c” culture—appropriate everyday behavior
Big “C” culture—appropriate contextual behavior
C. Attitudes
1. Culture General
positive attitude toward different cultures
positive attitude toward culture learning
ethnorelative attitude regarding cultural differences
2. Culture Specific
positive attitude toward target culture
positive attitude toward target culture persons

The second point to be noted is the distinction between attitudes, behavior, and knowledge, i.e., the affective, behavioral, and cognitive domains of learning. This is a distinction based on the pioneering work of psychologists such as Bloom (1964) and interculturalists, for a extensive review of culture learning models). It is a conceptual perspective finding increased recognition among foreign language educators. Teaching Methodology When Culture is at the Core The methodology suggested by Crawford-Lange & Lange (1984), Kramsch (1993), Seelye (1994), and, particularly, Byram (1988) is congruent with Paige’s definition of culture learning in that it is anchored in three fundamental learning processes: (1) the learners’ exploration of their own culture; 2) the discovery of the relationship between language and culture, and 3) the learning of the heuristics for analyzing and comparing cultures. Metaawareness and cross-cultural comparison lie at the heart of such a culture pedagogy. This implies providing opportunities for interaction such that “members of the host culture can impart their own epistemology, their own way of seeing things” (Jurasek, 1995, p.228) on the learner.

Twenty years ago, Robinson (1978) already pointed out that means are defined by their goal; if
the goal is empathetic understanding of the people, it implies an “affective personal response” to
real people. A recent response by the language teaching profession has been to turn to anthropology and intercultural education to explore the systematic use of ethnographic techniques in and outside of the classroom, whereby, as Jurasek (1995) explains, the “product” of the ethnography is considered less important than “the process of observing, participating, describing, analyzing, and interpreting”. Starting with the recognition that we “can never see through another’s eyes; we must see through our own” (Robinson), the overall goal for the learner is to progress towards the development of intercultural competence by addressing the affective component of such a competence . Jurasek suggests that such an outcome has two general facets: (1) consciousness-raising in regard to perception and perspective, and (2) “an ever-increasing ability to recognize at least in a limited way what things might look like from the viewpoint of members of another culture”. It is worth remarking that the gradual development of such a competence is at the heart of the recently published National Standards for Foreign language learning.

The paper begins with a discussion of the context of culture learning, i.e., the different types of settings and circumstances within which culture learning occurs. The more we read, the more we came to realize that for language and culture learning, context is an overarching concept which subsumes many other variables including: the setting; the teacher; the learner; instructional methods; instructional materials; and assessment approaches. This paper has sections pertaining to each of these categories. We begin with a discussion of the larger concept and the literature associated with it.
The Concept of Context
Byram (1988) asserts that language has no function independent of the context in which it is used, thus language always refers to something beyond itself: the cultural context. This cultural context defines the language patterns being used when particular persons come together under certain circumstances at a particular time and place. This combination of elements always has a cultural meaning which influences language use. Indeed, Heath (1986) states that most human interaction is based not so much on people having shared intimate knowledge of each other, but rather on their having an understanding of the context in which the communication is taking place. Understanding the context means the persons knows these cultural meanings associated with time, place, person, and circumstance. This understanding, in turn, prescribes language behavior appropriate to those circumstances. In essence, one does not need to be familiar with the other person in order to communicate, but one does need to understand the context. This, of course, becomes far more problematical in cross-cultural encounters. A central and recurring theme in discussions of context is the idea of the meaning structures associated with time, place, person, and circumstance. Gudykunst and Kim (1992) assert that there are two types of contexts that are important in intercultural encounters. External context refers to the various locations or settings where interaction occur and the meanings society attaches to them. For example, two people might address each other more formally in an office setting than if they were to meet outside on the street because the culture views the workplace as a more formal and professional, rather than social, setting. External context, then, is about social meaning on the grand scale, i.e., the ways in which a particular culture group construes the various settings for human interaction and communication. Internal context, on the other hand, refers to the cultural meanings that people themselves bring into an encounter. It is the internal context that creates the conditions for understanding or misunderstanding among people from different cultures because, as Hall (1976) points out, there are many cultural variations that influence how people perceive situations and each other; these range, for example, from how far they stand apart during a conversation to how much time they are willing to spend communicating.

In order to illustrate these concepts, let us take the language classroom as a setting and explore the ways that setting influences target language use. A primary external factor is societal attitudes toward education, in general, and what constitutes appropriate classroom behavior. For
example, is education about memorization and written examinations? Or is it about verbal production? To what degree is the classroom a setting for cognitive learning as opposed to the development of behavioral skills? To what degree is the classroom expected to be a setting for experiential learning? Another external factor is the way second language education is viewed by society. Is it primarily about reading target language literature? Or is language education about actual communication competence? Is second language learning accorded any real importance in the culture (e.g. viewed as a practical necessity) or is it considered irrelevant? The answer to these questions will have a strong influence on teaching practices and, ultimately, on the type of language use being encouraged in the second language classroom. Internal contextual factors refer such things as the motivations, interests, and understanding the students and teachers themselves bring to the classroom about appropriate classroom behavior, in general, and second language use, in particular.

The concept of context takes additional forms in sociolinguistic analysis. Hymes (1974) lists 8 factors which he believes make up context in interpersonal communication and he uses the acronym SPEAKING to identify them. They include: setting, participants, end (or purpose), act sequence (form and content of an utterance), key (verbal and nonverbal manner), instrumentalities (choice of channel and code), norms of interaction and interpretation, and genre. Another type of context less frequently mentioned is the context created by the interaction itself. Ellis and Roberts (1987) claim that, along with the internal and external dimensions of context which are set before the encounter, the two interactants will continuously be scanning each other’s verbal and nonverbal communication (contextualization cues) for insights into the meaning of their encounter; communication is altered is meaning is construed and reconstrued. Related to this is what Halliday (1989) terms the intertextual context, that is, the historical dimension or the accumulation of all other contexts. For instance, if a teacher has had previous experiences with a particular type of student such as a newly arrived immigrant, those experiences will then help shape that teacher’s current communication with what is perceived to be a similar type of student. The past and the present experiences come together to shape the intertextual context.

Culture is central to all of the types of context mentioned by these authors and researchers. It is not the context itself that alters language use or how the interactants behave, it is the meaning associated with that context, and that meaning is determined by the culture. It is essential, therefore, for language learners to also be effective culture learners. They must know how to “read” the context. This suggests that language instruction must provide opportunities for students to be exposed to, or better yet, immersed in the target culture in order to gain skills in ascertaining the cultural meanings of time, place, person, and circumstances.
Trends in Language Education Associated with Context
During the past 40 years, there have been important shifts in how language educators have viewed context. The enduring issue has been the search for settings which could best promote language and culture learning. The central questions have been around the classroom as a learning setting as opposed to the “field”, i.e., real world settings where the target language and culture is used. In the 1960s, many researchers and language educators believed that an understanding of context was crucial to language study, thus a lot of support was generated for experience-based learning such as study abroad programs and culture simulations in the classroom. The 1970s saw a shift toward cognitively-focused instruction with much less attention given to the role of context and experience in the learning process. From the 1980s up to the present time, much attention has been directed to context by language educators. Immersion schools, for example, represent an attempt to “contextualize” (i.e., create opportunities to study meaning in) the learning environment. Study abroad programs, which have grown in popularity, constitute efforts to locate the language learner in the actual cultural context.

In the remainder of this article, we focus on what the literature tells us about culture learning with respect to the different contextual factors mentioned above. It is important to note, however, that in the limited body of extant research, many of the studies listed here have examined these cultural variables only as secondary factors or have simply theorized about them as possible influences on the learning of language and culture. Accordingly, we often found ourselves talking about language as well as culture learning and this is reflected on our writing; the reader will find occasional references to language learning even though that was not the purpose of this review article. We anticipated at the outset that there would not be a great deal in the research literature to guide language educators interested in culture learning and we were correct. For example, only a few qualitative studies (in the form of classroom ethnographies) exist which shed light on how culture is actually presented in the foreign language classroom and none of those deal with the secondary classroom. Moreover, evidence from methods courses, conference sessions and workshops, and theoretical writings in the field indicate that foreign language and culture pedagogy is extremely eclectic and largely dependent on the individual teacher’s definition of culture. A recurrent finding is that the actual practice of teaching a second language seems to have changed little over the past half century, and is still dominated by grammar instruction. In other words, culture—taught either in more common culture-specific terms or as more generalizable culture-general (e.g., intercultural communication) skills—does not appear to figure prominently in language instruction.
We now turn to the two principal settings for language programs: the naturalistic setting of the field and the formal, structured setting of the classroom.
Naturalistic Settings: Culture Learning in the Field The study abroad literature yields the most abundant research on the importance of context on culture learning. This is due in part to the fact that these language programs have been of interest to researchers in several disciplines including education, psychology, and linguistics. It is also due to the growing interest in international education and the large international flow of students. Recent figures indicate that close to half a million international students come to the US to study each year and, in 1994-1995, approximately 71,000 US undergraduates participated in study abroad programs (Freed, 1995). The experiences of these students and the impact of their educational sojourns abroad have intrigued researchers. It is important to note that much of the literature is focused on language learning; far fewer studies have researched culture learning as the primary focus. We report on both sets of findings in this section.

What is the impact of study abroad on language and culture learning? First, the research generally supports the hypothesis that second language proficiency is enhanced by the study abroad experience, but it also shows that the process is more complex than previously thought. In an early and large scale study, Carroll (1967) examined the effects of a study abroad experience on 2,782 college seniors from various campuses around the United States. He found that the amount of time studying abroad and the age of the student were the two strongest predictors of language listening skills.

More recently, DeKeyser (1991) researched two groups of students who were studying in Spain,
one for six months and the other for one year. He found a large difference between the two groups in terms of their vocabulary gains, but that the study abroad context did not enhance language ability to a large extent in other ways such as reading and writing. He attributed the vocabulary gains to three factors: (1) availability of native speakers, (2) enhanced motivation for learning new words, and (3) a large number of possible settings in which to practice with new vocabulary. Moehle (1984) and Raupach (1987) researched groups of students who went to study at various universities abroad. They both found that after several months abroad the rate f the students’ speech was faster, but their grammatical proficiency and the complexity of their sentence structures had not changed. In Meara’s (1994) study, students did not feel that their reading and writing skills improved during their study abroad experience, but half felt that their oral-aural skills had improved. Freed (1995), in a replication of an earlier study by Spada (1987), found that the benefit derived from an overseas experience hinged on the type of contact students had during their overseas stay and their language level. In general, those individuals who had interactive encounters (i.e. socializing with host culture persons) gained more than those who engaged in non-interactive behaviors (i.e. watching TV. or reading in the second language). However, the author also found that non-interactive contact was more beneficial to upper level students.
The research findings show that the effects of a study abroad experience on culture learning are complex in nature. In general, study abroad appears to enhance feelings of selfconfidence and self-esteem as well as positive attitudes toward language and culture learning. Armstrong (1984) and Hansel (1985) showed that a study abroad experience positively influences later language study, promotes favorable attitudes toward other cultures, and brings about a greater level of cultural awareness. Armstrong (1984) studied 126 high-school students participating in a seven-week language study and homestay program in Mexico. He found that study abroad impacted career choices and positively influenced attitudes toward the host culture.

In addition, students said that they acquired independence, self-confidence, and maturity through the study-abroad and home-stay experiences. He cautions that the homestay element was crucial to these results, but did not offer evidence from the study of how this conclusion was reached. Hannigan (1990) found a strong relationship between successful intercultural communication and certain personal traits such as: cultural empathy, flexibility, organizational skills, and superior linguistic skills. But his study, like many others, could not demonstrate a causal relationship between the intercultural experience and the development of these qualities. Carlson et al (1991) conducted a longitudinal study of the long term effects of the undergraduate study abroad experience involving 400 US and European students as well as a control group. They found, in addition to the language gains correlated with length of stay, that (1) students who chose to study abroad differ in predictable ways from non study-abroad students by show greater “cultural interest” and a lower “domestic orientation”, (2) social and personal development are important parts of the international experience, and (3) participants in the study abroad program scored higher than the comparison group on cultural interest and “peace and cooperation” indicators.
There are certain interesting problems associated with researching the study abroad experience, one being timing of the assessment to assure an accurate measure of learning. Hashimota (1993) found many of the benefits are not even realized until well after the person has returned. For instance, one student who was studying in Japan did learn the more complex linguistic and cultural features of the Japanese language while in Japan, but it was not until her return home to Australia that she began to incorporate these more complex variables into her speech. Another issue has been the reliance on quantitative measures, such as test scores to assess benefits. In the often cited Carroll study (1967), test scores were relied upon exclusively to measure language improvement and many critics charge that this does not provide a complete picture of the ability of the sojourner in terms of verbal or cultural skills. Mauranen (1994) investigated a group of Finnish students studying in the United Kingdom. The author’s qualitative study revealed that the students felt secure about their ability to use English as a second language, but insecure about their knowledge of how to participate in the different discourse environments due to cultural factors, such as when is it appropriate to ask a question or interrupt someone. In a review of the literature, Mauranen (1994) noted the problems of small sample size and research programs too short in duration to adequately reflect the actual changes that occur over a longer period of time. In addition, the author found that control groups were frequently absent in the research design and multiple methods, which would increase the rigor and validity of the study, were rarely used.

To summarize, the evidence is consistent that study abroad promotes language learning in certain ways. The research findings are much less clear on the impact of study abroad on culture learning, although certain outcomes —greater self-confidence, an increase in global awareness, enhanced cultural self-awareness (Barnlund, 1988), and positive attitudes toward other culture groups—are consistently found to be associated with overseas learning experiences. However, the research also suggests that one negative experience abroad can also dominate the person’s perspective about the new culture, impede language acquisition and culture learning Structured Settings: Culture Learning in the Classroom The formal classroom as a venue for culture learning provides a very different setting than the study abroad environment and there has been much theorizing about language and culture learning in this more formal and structured setting. Unfortunately, there is a remarkable scarcity of empirical or descriptive studies dealing with the real world of the classroom (Boutin, 1993). Chaudron (1986), arguing for an interaction of quantitative and qualitative approaches to classroom research, points out that up to 1983, less than 7% of the combined quantitative and qualitative research articles published in two major linguistic journals dealt with measures of classroom learning. The author deplores the fact that despite many years of qualitative observational studies that should have generated hypotheses about effective teaching and learning behaviors, we have today only a small selection of classroom process variables that can be agreed upon as potentially influential for learning. He attributes this problem to the lack of consistency in descriptive categories which renders a comparison between the results of both kinds of research almost impossible. Equally strong calls for more classroom research have come from the immersion education professionals. Salomone (1991) points out that even in the well-researched area of French immersion, there is an absence of empirical, classroom data.
The theoretical literature on the role of the classroom in language and culture learning reveals a variety of perspectives regarding its contribution to culture learning. Distinguishing between learning and acquisition, Krashen (1982) suggests that the classroom setting is not conducive to language or culture acquisition, only to the learning of rules. Others argue that there may be little difference between learning in the classroom versus learning in a natural setting because introductory level students cannot communicate sufficiently well to take advantage of the naturalistic environment (Van Lier, 1988). Most researchers though, fall somewhere in between and consider that there are both disadvantages and advantages to language and culture learning in the classroom. There are several key theoretical criticisms of the classroom as an environment for culture learning. Damen (1987), for example, argues that classroom-based learning is cognitive and deductive in nature, relying far too much on rule-ordered pedagogy. Accordingly, learning becomes superficial; students simply memorize the material without reflecting or integrating it into a larger cultural knowledge base. Likewise, based on a review of studies done on classroom interaction, Ellis asserts that the discourse in the average classroom is rigidly controlled by the teacher, who determines who speaks, how long they speak, and when they start and stop. This type of setting provides little opportunity for students to learn how to appropriately engage or disengage the communication process (Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974). Similarly, Pica found that the formal classroom emphasizes rules, sequence, and predictable error correction by the teacher. Naturalistic settings do not function this way. There is no clear articulation of rules, the meaning is more important than the form, and error correction rarely occurs. Along these lines, Jurasek (1995), Robinson & Nocon (1996) have recently argued that without direct experience of the culture, culture learning is only “cognitive boundary crossing” (Robinson and Nocon, 1996), the acquisition of a “scholarly skill” which leaves unexamined and unchallenged the learners’ previous beliefs and attitudes. On the other hand, here is only so much foreign culture that can be “brought” into the classroom, and preserving authenticity under these conditions is a challenge in itself.

Other authors have theorized that the classroom as an artificial community can provide some unexpected benefits for language and culture learning. In particular, they hypothesize that the classroom is a protective environment where students can feel free to make mistakes without any lasting repercussions, in contrast to a student who is studying abroad and makes a mistake which can have enduring consequences. This protective setting enables students to safely experiment with the language and thus encourages them to make sense of the language and culture for themselves. Ellis (1992) argues that although there are many differences between learning environments, the discourse and learning produced depend on the roles employed by the teacher and learner, the tasks that are utilized in the classroom, and the purpose (i.e. outcome or process) of the learning. Freed (1991) reiterates this by noting that the crucial variables do not seem to be the external environment, but the internal one created by factors such as the type of instruction, the level of the class, and the individual differences associated with the teacher and the students. This does not mean that the external context is unimportant, as each type brings different potentials and problems, but it is the interaction between external and internal context that dictates the type of learning that will occur (Freed, 1991). Breen (1985) suggests that we look at classrooms themselves as living cultures which are interactive, differentiated, collective, highly normative, asymmetrical, inherently conservative, jointly constructed and immediately significant. Rejecting two previous metaphors (the classroom as “experimental laboratory” and the classroom as “discourse”) for neglecting the “the social reality of language learning as it is experienced and created by teachers and learners” Breen argues that the metaphor of the classroom as “culture” or as “coral gardens” allows us to perceive the psychological change and social events characteristic of the classroom as “irrevocably linked and mutually engaged”. Such a perspective on classroom can help explain more fully the relationship between classroom input and learning outcomes, and is particularly relevant in the culture learning situation. Immersion programs. The immersion approach is based in theory on the notion that instruction conducted in the target language will enable students to effectively learn the language. Moreover, by using the target language across the curriculum in courses other than language, the student will have “real experiences” with the language. Research suggests that the reality is more complex. Swain discusses the finding in immersion programs that students acquire native-like comprehension, but their productive skills often lag behind. The author hypothesizes that the reason for this may be that students experience a “ceiling effect,” a level beyond which they cannot easily move but where they can understand each other and the teacher. This level then becomes the goal rather than a stage in an ongoing learning process. Some researchers have found that immersion language learning is negatively influenced by the competitiveness of the academic environment. Loughrin-Sacco, who had noticed this problem in an earlier ethnographic study, reports on an alternative intensive two-week summer immersion class designed to alleviate the anxiety students experienced in a regular school year immersion program. In the summer session class, taken outside of the regular school year context, students felt reduced anxiety about the target language and less competitiveness towards other students. In addition, students’ perception of the foreign language showed a positive increase, they developed more effective learning strategies, and they were more focused on their course. This small body of research shows that the researchers have a nearly exclusive focus on linguistic gains. The section on attitudes and motivation below will address further more complex learning outcomes.
Foreign language classroom versus second language classrooms. Kramsch (1993) posits that the second language classroom and the foreign language classroom are becoming more similar. The foreign language secondary school classroom in the U.S. has traditionally been viewed as relatively homogeneous in terms of the students (mostly White, college bound and high achievers), a view which has recently prompted Bernhardt to express her suspicion that the foreign language profession may still be considering itself “a profession of the elite”. In any case, with student populations becoming more diverse, the FL classroom is likely to become more like the SL classroom with students representing a variety of nationalities and cultures. However, the second language classroom such as the ESL classroom in the U.S. or the FLE (Français Langue Etrangère) in France, does create a unique learning environment which differs from the foreign language classroom not only in terms of student composition but also with regard to motivation and perspective. While foreign language students are more likely to take the course voluntarily, second language students may be required to take the class (e.g. new immigrants or international students who are provisionally admitted pending successful completion of the ESL course). While the foreign language teacher is generally from the same culture as the students, the second language teacher, generally a native speaker of the language being taught, is likely to be of a different culture than the students. And the students themselves are likely to be culturally diverse. One important consequence of the cultural homogeneity between teacher and student in FL classrooms is that neither educator nor pupil need consciously attend to the ways in which they are engaged in “cultural transmission”, an omission which can hinder the culture learning process. In second language classrooms, other problematical dynamics occur such as fear of being assimilated into the target culture and anxiety about the teacher, who is the representative of that culture. Both are compounded by the fact that these students are experiencing cultural dislocations and culture shock in their own daily lives. In theoretical terms, the foreign language classroom can easily downplay culture or ignore it altogether. On the contrary, second language classrooms exemplify Breen’s (1985) “classroom as culture” metaphor.

The limited research which exists confirms some of these theoretical ideas. In the study of ESL classes in South Asia, Canagarjah (1993) found that the students felt alienated and negative towards the target language and culture. They discovered that this was due to the implicit Western bias of the materials and of the instructor, reinforced by the fact that the cultural context was never explicitly discussed. Consequently, the students felt anxious about and disconnected from the target language and culture. Because of the circumstances, these students indicated that they favored the more traditional approach of memorizing the grammar and vocabulary, presumably because it was a process which allowed them to keep a certain distance from the language and the culture. The second language students’ fear of being “absorbed” by the culture of the language they are studying is repeatedly brought up by researchers in the US and abroad (see Hoffman, 1989, for Iranian ESL students; Ryan, 1994, for students of English in Mexico; Bex, 1994, for ESL students in Europe). In another study, McGinnis (1994), found that differences between teacher and student expectations concerning what is “good teaching” entailed conflicting assumptions about what should be included in a language learning context, assumptions which greatly interfered with the learning process by obstructing student-teacher communication. The above discussion illustrates the crucial role played by the teacher, whether in the ESL or the foreign language classroom, in bridging languages and cultures. We will now turn to a closer examination of teacher variables that impact culture learning.
Although there have been numerous calls to conduct classroom-based research, the
reality is that we still know little as to what really goes on in the foreign language classroom, and
even less about the knowledge and beliefs that inform the teachers’ instructional decisions,
particularly with respect to culture instruction (Bernhardt and Hammadou, 1987). Salomone
(1991) points out that while student performance has been studied extensively for over 20 years
in the French immersion classroom, immersion teachers’ practices and beliefs have not been
similarly scrutinized (p. 57). This is somewhat surprising because teachers are viewed
theoretically as major agents in successful immersion programs (Boutin, 1993).
This state of affairs is partly due to the strong influence of the ACTFL-led language
proficiency movement of the 1980s which resulted in a research agenda dominated by
proficiency studies for the past decade and a half. It may also be speculated that less research has been directed toward the study of other goals such as culture learning because such goals are
more elusive. It is difficult to measure something as complex as “the ability to understand, espect and accept people of a different sex, race, cultural heritage, national origin, religion, and political, economic and social background as well as their values, beliefs and attitudes,” which is New York’s statement on foreign language learning outcomes (cited in Kramsch). It is important to point out that much of the literature is methodological and theoretical in nature. It is also inconsistent in how it views the culture teaching process. Murphy (1988), for instance, observes that “In some approaches culture is presented as being homogeneous...In others it is presented as incorporating intra- and inter-cultural variations”. Baumgratz- Gangl (1991) speculates that “If pupils are to leave this stage of intercultural guessing, explicit comparisons need to be encouraged; this can be done by asking questions from the vantage point of the foreign reality” (p. 234). Bex (1994) suggest that “Awareness of cultural diversity can be introduced into the classroom gradually, first by developing the pupils’ perceptions of the grosser differences between their own culture and that of the target language, and then by comparing linguistic variation within their own culture with linguistic variation within the target culture”.

The theoretical literature identifies many teacher roles and qualities hypothesized to be central to promoting culture learning in language education. Hughes (1986) states that a teacher should be a philosopher, geographer, historian, philologist, and literary critic. To Altman (1981), the teacher functions as a “skillful developer of communicative competence in the classroom”, “dialectologist,” “value clarifier,” and “communications analyst”. The teacher role is to be an educational sociologist according to Kleinsasser (1993). And with reference to Kane’s (1991) impressive “Taxonomy of Cultural Studies Objectives” the teacher needs to be anthropologist and ethnographer, intercultural educator, and, of course, comparative sociolinguist mastering the ins and outs of culturally-determined linguistic variation. How the teachers themselves perceive language education, culture teaching and learning, and their role as culture educators have been questions posed by a number of researchers. We now turn to that empirical literature.
The Empirical Literature on Teacher Variables
The research suggests that it is critically important for the teacher, within or outside of the classroom, to explicitly take on the role of culture educator and deliberately assist students with their process of cultural analysis. Byram et al. (1991) reported that trips abroad for 10 to 12 year olds more often than not resulted in negative stereotyping, after only one encounter with members of the host culture, when the students were left to themselves and when they lacked previous knowledge to use in interpreting intercultural encounters. Without the teacher’s active involvement, students become more rather than less ethnocentric in their attitudes towards the target culture. Robinson (1981) concurs with this view when she suggests that mere exposure to a foreign language will not automatically promote favorable attitudes toward the culture, nor will positive attitudes toward a culture necessarily facilitate the acquisition of the language. She found that the goals, attitudes, and priorities of the foreign language teacher are important considerations. Teachers’ views regarding the goals of language education. Robinson (1981) was the first to attempt a large scale investigation of the perceptions held by teachers, students and parents regarding the sociocultural goals of foreign language study, particularly in the elementary grades. Her investigation was set in Australia but many of her findings apply to the situation in the U.S. today. Regarding the value of foreign language study, she found a remarkable agreement among the three groups that language study was first and foremost for “understanding the people”, “general enjoyment” and “language enrichment” (p. 22). These reasons, she points out, reflect the “collective justification for including foreign language study in the school curriculum at primary, secondary and tertiary levels” (33). When she pressed for explanation regarding the sociocultural benefits, she found them justified in terms that “foreign language study will give one the key to another culture, will lead to an awareness, understanding and sensitivity toward other people and their way of life”.

Similar opinions were expressed by British teachers of French participating in the Durham project, a massive international research program carried out at the university of Durham between 1985 and 1988. The goal of the project was to investigate “the effects of language teaching on young people’s perception of other cultures”.

Two groups of about 200 pupils, beginning at age 11, were followed in their language study for
three years. The researchers used a mixed research methodology consisting of non-participant
observation of teaching (eight months), semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, case study
analysis, and pre-post tests at the beginning and end of school year. The researchers assessed
students’ knowledge of French culture and pupils’ level of ethnocentrism with respect to French
people (measured via semantic differential tests). The major findings regarding teachers were,
first, that teachers have similar objectives for and beliefs about the value of foreign language. In
particular, they feel that it promotes gains in personal development in form of learning about
others as well as becoming open and more tolerant. Second, there is great variation in “styles” or
approaches to teaching about the foreign culture and teachers frequently use culture as a pedagogic device for capturing student interest, or for contextualizing language teaching. Third,
teachers generally have limited experience with the target culture. Finally, instruction is dominated by the textbook, which is used extensively and determines the topics as well as the
sequence of instruction. But unlike Robinson’s teachers, the teachers interviewed by Byram and
his colleagues reveal an emerging awareness of culture in the curriculum. In the authors’ words,
“teachers talked about how it is important for children to know about other ways of living which
may or may not be better than their own. Through such knowledge, they may become more tolerant of other peoples and less restricted in their own lifestyle” (p. 111). Nonetheless, the researchers concluded from their extensive classroom observations that the teaching of “culture
remains didactic, oriented towards the transmission of information”. Several studies have been conducted in the past decade in the US regarding foreign language teachers’ goals, priorities, and concerns. In a survey of foreign language teachers, supervisors, and consultants, Cooper (1985) found that “culture learning” ranked only eighth among the respondents’ top ten priorities. Testing, promoting interest in foreign language, language learning theory, and developing the oral proficiency of students all ranked higher.

More recently, Wolf & Riordan (1991) found a similar pattern in the prioritizing of needs by U.S. language teachers, but here culture teaching did not even get listed among the top ten priorities. While this listing of priorities could be attributed partly to the domination of proficiency concerns, it also may be indicative of fundamental uneasiness with the vagueness of the notion of teaching for cultural understanding or culture learning. In light of such results regarding the lower priority status of culture learning among teachers, it should come as no surprise that what students want and what teachers provide do not match. For instance, Davis and Markham’s (1991) nation-wide study on student attitudes towards foreign language at historically black institutions revealed just such a discrepancy.

Although 87% of the faculty reported feeling strongly “about comparing and contrasting issues related to culture,” 54 % of students thought that this area was neglected and said that they wanted more emphasis on culture. Although such surveys do not allow us to probe for deeper representation of culture concepts in teachers’ and students’ minds, they hint at unclarity and confusion regarding the nature and teaching of culture. Teacher perspectives on culture. Knox’s (1984) Report on the Teaching of French Civilization contains responses given by French secondary and university teachers to an 18-item survey which included questions on how they came to be teaching civilization, how and what they teach, the problems they encounter in their courses, and, finally, their perceived needs regarding the teaching of French civilization. In both settings, the primary areas of interest for French civilization are: current events; history; literature and the fine arts; cultural values and customs; and French-American contrasts. But these two institutional contexts differ slightly with regard to instructional content. College courses tend to emphasize small “c” (daily life) culture, while secondary teachers report more frequent instruction on the topics of current events, history, and geography. This difference in emphasis could be due to the fact that college teachers may have a more extensive experience with the target culture which, in turn, would increase their level of comfort dealing with the topics of daily living. In answer to the question of whether they teach what students are most interested in, 38 of the 65 teachers said they did. The author also found that one of the top four concerns expressed by the teachers lack of support by the profession for the teaching of culture and civilization. Their top needs were updating teacher knowledge, better instructional materials, and better teacher training. Teacher perspectives of their subject matter. There is important evidence to suggest that teacher perspectives of their subject matter influence teaching practice. Pajares conducted a review of the research literature and found that an individual teacher’s beliefs strongly correlate with behavior, particularly with respect to choices and decisions about instructional practice. Stodolosky & Grossman (1995) conducted a large scale study of math, foreign language, social studies, English, and science teachers’ perceptions of the nature of knowledge in their field. “Defined” knowledge was conceptualized as a “body of knowledge and skills on which teachers agree.” “Sequential” knowledge involved the belief that certain prerequisites are necessary and that there is a necessary order of coverage in their subject matter instruction. “Static” knowledge was defined as the enduring, relatively unchanging knowledge in the subject area. According to the authors, the most remarkable finding was that foreign language teachers shared with math teachers the view that their respective subject matters were strongly characterized by defined and static knowledge. This perception of an enduring and agreed upon body of knowledge is primarily linguistic in nature and our concern is that it seems to leave little room for the inclusion of complex cultural variables in the instructional process.

Cultural conflict between teachers and students. Socio-linguistic research has brought forth evidence that when a clash between teacher culture and learner culture occurs, it is likely to prevent learning. In the language education context, there is a strong possibility of this phenomenon occurring because the teacher is acting as a transmitter of another language and culture (Spindler, 1974), even when the teacher and the students come from culturally similar backgrounds. In second language classrooms, problems of this nature are even more likely because the students are often the newcomers to the country, having arrived as immigrant or refugees. Pajares’ (1992) conclusion that teachers’ beliefs are mirrored in their teaching practices is particularly relevant in the U.S. context of second language education, since a teacher’s attitude toward cultural diversity in general, and the students’ cultures in particular, may result in the sending of unconscious messages of intolerance or ethnocentrism.

This is precisely what Gougeon (1993) discovered when he set out to explore the sociocultural context of ESL from the teachers’ perspective. He interviewed 27 senior high school teachers in Alberta, Canada, and concluded that in spite of official statements to the contrary, school systems are fundamentally ethnocentric, supporting the “English language Anglo-Saxon culture,” and they are uncommitted to providing equal service to ESL students. In the foreign language classroom, the teacher transmits the target culture, thus by definition engages the students in discussions of cultural difference, contrast, and conflict. As Kramsch (1994) points out, even the most basic engagement of a reader with a textbook generates opposition, what she
refers to as “oppositional practice”. Dirksen (1990), investigating whether the learning styles of ESL Chinese students matched traditional Confucian, or western, teaching methods, observed that Chinese students increase their rejection of western methods as they spend more time in a western style classroom. The author attributes this rejection to the fact the more students learn about the target culture, as they are experiencing it in the classroom, the more they encounter culture contrast that trouble them. In a similar study, Reid (1987) found that ESL students show a preference for the kinesthetic and tactile learning style, but that great variations also occurred according to culture groups, field, gender, and academic level (graduates or undergraduates). Interestingly, Reid found that (1) the learning styles of students with higher TOEFL scores more closely resembles the learning styles of native speakers, and (2) the longer ESL students stayed in the US, the more auditory their preferences became. Investigating the potential for culture clash between the culture of instruction of Chinese TAs and the culture of learning of U.S. students, McGinnis (1994) found confirmation of his culture clash hypothesis in three areas (1) accuracy of language vs. creativity; (2) perceived importance of interaction with native speakers; and (3) perspectives on the role of authentic materials.

Falsgraf (1994) looked at language and culture at a Japanese immersion school, in particular whether teacher’s speech, especially ways of expressing status and formality, socializes U.S. children to the norms of the Japanese classroom. He found that Japanese immersion teachers’ speech displays implicit culture (for example, they used more imperatives and a certain level of formality when dealing with the whole class) and that U.S. children’s interlanguage reflects their having acquired the ability to discern those implicit cultural cues. The researcher concludes that metacultural and metalinguistic instruction is not necessary at this early age since teaching through language provides sufficient input for the acquisition of implicit culture. Although these findings may not hold true for older students, they show how much culture is carried into the classroom by the native teacher.

According to Arvizu (1981), teachers respond in very different ways to the conflict associated with the teaching and learning of culture. The first approach is to minimize the threat by avoiding culture and by rigidly holding to the traditional (presumably shared) values of classroom behavior. A second and very different approach is to display the “adaptive response of
overcompensation in the direction of the new system.” In the third approach, teachers vacillate between the alternative cultural systems by unsystematically integrating various parts of them into classroom life. The fourth approach, which the author refers to as the “ideal adaptive response,” is characterized by the treatment of cultural conflict “openly and directly in a comparative cross-cultural manner”. Which response the teacher engages in will depend greatly on his or her attitudes towards the target culture and perspectives on the teaching of culture in the language classroom.

Several recent studies have looked at teachers’ perspectives regarding cultural diversity. Haberman and Post (1990) studied 227 teachers attending a summer workshop at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. They were asked to chose what they considered to be the most important culture teaching goal, from a list of five (based on Sleeter and Grant’s (1994) typology of multicultural education). 83% of the respondents chose either “all people are individuals” or “cooperation and tolerance are vital,” answers which the authors interpreted as reflecting the teachers’ commitment to tolerating differences, but also their suspicion “that anything positive will come from their continued existence”. In Minnesota, a small replication study was done involving 30 foreign language teachers of French, German and Spanish who were participating in a state wide articulation project. They were asked the same question, but the pattern of responses is quite different. Only 43% of the foreign language teachers (vs. 83% of Haberman and Post’s teachers) chose the two goals described above. Conversely, 27% of the Minnesota sample (vs. 4%) selected the “America is a melting pot” response, twice as many Minnesota teachers (30% vs. 14%) selected the goals of “Subgroups should be maintained and enhanced,” and 20% (vs. 5%) chose “Equity for subgroups is common responsibility.”

According to Haberman and Post, the last two positions not only “actively seek to maintain and enhance subgroups”, but also “see some danger to subgroups from individuals and the general society”. One could argue that the set of beliefs underlying the latter two choices would appear to be more conducive to the kind of cross-cultural instruction and interaction that leads to the development of intercultural competence. Relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their instructional practice. Some recent studies have attempted to show the association between teachers’ beliefs and instructional practice. The comprehensive Durham project (Byram et al., 991) is an example of such an effort. On the basis of their extensive classroom observations and interviews with teachers and students, the researchers found that methodological approach appeared to have a causal relationship with teachers’ beliefs. The largest number of respondents indicated that the teaching of culture was a “pedagogic device” that makes lessons more interesting, contextualizes language teaching, and fills in “lessons where language learning ability is believed to be limited”. This set of beliefs was reflected in the way culture was found to enter language teaching, namely through the teacher’s use of cultural anecdotes, culture facts, and cultural artifacts. In their reflections of the teacher’s role, students said that the teacher “supplements the textbook ... but also improves on the textbook” and “can provide experience which the textbook cannot” (p. 113). Cook (1996), in her investigation of how first year university students develop cultural understanding, found indeed that older students hold more
differentiated, but still quite similar, views of the role of the teacher. She concludes that teachers were “most valued as a source of input if they appeared to have expertise with the French language and culture.” When such expertise was granted to them, the students considered their teachers to be an important source of cultural information.

Ryan’s (1994) is the first study to directly explore the relationship between foreign language teachers’ perceptions of culture and their instructional behavior. In an initial interview study conducted in Mexico of 30 teachers of English at a major university, Ryan first looked at how teachers talk about culture and then categorized their “culture filters” into six basic beliefs in accordance with Keesing’s categories of meaning: (1) culture is knowledge gained through reading; (2) culture is institutions which should be analyzed; (3) culture is the daily way of life; (4) culture is transmitted from one generation to another; (5) culture means having a critical attitude toward the world; and (6) culture is lived and experienced. She then conducted six case studies based on those categories, using participant observation and interviews. During the observation part, the teachers’ episodic and spontaneous cultural inserts provided a way of analyzing how teachers handled information about English-speaking cultures. Ryan found that linguistic analysis and practice dominated instruction, and that teachers carefully distinguished between linguistic practice and cultural aspects. She reports that insertion of information about the target culture was done in several ways. In addition to the three ways reported in the Byram study (teacher anecdotes, facts and artifacts), she identified two additional forms: cross-cultural comparisons between C1 and C2; and “brief, encapsulated cultural statements frequently seen as talking off the subject”. She concluded that there was “some degree of relation between teachers filters” and the corresponding teacher behavior. For instance, the teacher whose culture filter was that “culture is the daily life of people” would begin class by asking her students about current events and frequently provided cultural anecdotes based on her own personal experiences. Ryan also concludes that in general teachers are teaching culture as facts, rather than for cultural understanding and intercultural competence. Although there is some controversy surrounding the interpretation of the findings Ryan’s research is important in shedding light on how teachers are teaching about culture. A different kind of impact of teacher beliefs and behavior on student learning is suggested by Hall and Ramirez (1993). In order to explore the notions of identity held by high school learners of Spanish and how these change as a result of increased study of Spanish, Hall and Ramirez asked 180 students of Spanish to first come up with descriptors or dimensions that describe Spanish speakers, and then to estimate the “distance” from the eight most frequently cited characteristics of Spanish speakers of themselves, English speakers and Spanish speakers.

Puzzled by the lack of complexity and cultural specificity of the dimensions offered by the students (e.g. dark, fast talking, interesting, poor, good-looking, intelligent, weird dressers), the authors suggest that this may be due to the way foreign language educators address cultural identity in the classroom. Using Ferdman’s (1990) model, they discuss two main views on the treatment of cultural identities in the classroom: (1) the pluralist view which consists in celebrating differences between groups while ignoring group membership of individuals; and (2) the melting pot view, which, by emphasizing sameness, may tend to overlook possible differences in the name of equal treatment. Hall and Ramirez argue that, in the melting pot view, individual differences are explained primarily in psychological terms, because “to think beyond the individual could introduce an unwanted level of difference,” i.e. stereotyping. Thus, if a teacher subscribes to this view and does not make group characteristics explicit for fear of a negative outcome, students may simply not come to possess the words needed to discuss the characteristics of another culture. On the other hand, Hall and Ramirez reason that if the teacher subscribes to a pluralist view of ethnic differences, students may entirely lack a framework for discussing cultural identity as group membership. Given that recent models of intercultural competence require a methodology based on cross-cultural analysis, Hall and Ramirez’ conclusion brings us back to Kramsch’s (1987) question of whether teachers possess enough meta-awareness of their own culture to be able to engage with their students in more than superficial comparisons across cultures.

Cooper (1990) also suggests a causal relation between teacher attitudes and teacher behavior. His intend was to investigate the connection between student teachers’ cross-cultural experience, attitudes, and further action. He gave the Self Assessment in Multicultural Education (SAME) instrument to two groups of teachers, 18 of whom had gone to teach in Texas, the remaining five staying to teach in Minnesota. Cooper found that although both groups had similar ideas as to what should be, the teachers with cross-cultural experience were able to manifest those ideals into reality. He found the teachers with experience in Texas to be more culturally sensitive than the Minnesota teachers. They were more comfortable talking about controversial issues, more likely to encourage different viewpoints in class, and held higher expectations of students from diverse backgrounds. Texas teachers also had more contact with students and helped them acquire the skills needed in a White society without denying the students’ other values. Cooper hypothesized that there was an “ecological impact,” i.e., that the Texas setting aided teachers in changing their attitudes, practices and beliefs. What isn’t known is if the teachers who decided to take a job in Texas had different beliefs about the value of cultural diversity in the first place.

Impact of learning environments on teaching and learning. Kleinsasser (1993) conducted a study meant to investigate the “technical cultures” of 37 high school foreign language teachers. He defines technical culture as something that “encompasses the nature of activities to be carried out ... and embodies the procedures, knowledge and skills related to attaining organizational goals” (p. 2). Most importantly, a technical culture manifests itself in a teacher’s belief system. Through interviews and micro-ethnographic observations, Kleinsasser was able to document the existence of two distinct technical cultures that he labeled “certain/non-routine” and “uncertain/routine”. The uncertain/routine culture is characterized by a view of teaching as a solitary individual task, an emphasis on accuracy and correctness, a teacher’s belief that some students are doomed to never learn the subject, little use of the language by teachers in or out of class, lack of opportunities for the teacher to develop professionally, and a textbook which “became the nucleus of classroom experience by default”. By contrast, the certain/non-routine teachers collaborated with their colleagues, took pride in their work and had great certainty about their instructional practice. These teachers believed that all their students could learn the language and provided learning experiences accordingly. They recognized language as a dynamic process, and language learning as being made up of grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competencies. Although Kleinsasser never explicitly mentions cultural learning, we may assume that his underlying definition of socio-linguistic competence includes at least a basic knowledge of how different cultures shape the communicative context. Kleinsasser, unfortunately, did not venture a guess as to how prevalent each of the two models is. We can assume, however, that teaching for culture learning hardly seems compatible with the norms reflected in the uncertain/routine technical culture as described above, which holds which treats language —and by extension, culture—as a series of discrete items that can be manipulated and memorized (Moore, 1991). Kleinsasser concludes with some optimism that the traditional paradigm of foreign language instruction is “a paradigm shifting but not yet shifted”. Loughrin-Sacco’s (1992) ethnography of an elementary French class at Michigan Technological University revealed further constraints on teaching and learning in the foreign language classroom, some institutional and some social. The institutional constraints he identifies include: the competitiveness of the institution; the fact that French, being an elective, was given low priority by students; a lack of courses to enable students to actually reach proficiency; and, interestingly, the students’ acculturation in term of their past school habits such as set expectations regarding foreign language study, the wrong mindset (fear of making mistakes), and a sense that risk taking is not rewarded. The primary social constraints was the unfortunate mixing of real beginners with more experienced learners, a situation which polarized the classroom environment and led to bad feelings in both groups. Like other qualitative researchers and classroom observers before and after him (e.g. Byram et al., 1991; Kleinsasser, 1993; Ryan, 1994), Loughrin-Sacco encountered learning conditions characterized by grammar overload and a textbook-syllabus organized by grammar points. In addition, he found that the emphasis on early oral production caused great anxiety among the students. Most of his findings dealt with linguistic learning. For instance, he found that the students’ rankings of skill difficulty (from least to most difficult: reading, writing, listening, speaking) were confirmed by test scores, that students liked creative writing the best, and that true beginners performed similarly to false beginners on those kinds of tasks. Regarding culture learning, this otherwise compelling and thorough investigation exhibits an unfortunate omission. The only explicit reference to culture appears in the author’s statement that “our profession’s goal of developing Foreign language and intercultural proficiency would come to realization sooner if false beginners proceeded to a higher level instead of retaking elementary French”. Apparently, Loughrin-Sacco regards intercultural proficiency as a major goal/outcome of foreign language instruction but seems to be adhering to the old ‘skill before content’ theory, which requires mastery of the language before cultural content can be introduced. Yet, the interesting finding about beginning students’ ability and interest in engaging in creative writing tasks suggests that content and skill do go hand in hand and that “language exists to exert meaning” (Patrikis, 1995, p. 301). We also acknowledge, as do Robinson and Nocon (1996), that a limited proficiency places certain restrictions on intercultural communication. Teachers’ knowledge base to teach for cultural learning. The importance of the role of the teacher in the culture learning process should now be manifestly obvious. Thus, it is somewhat surprising to learn, as Bernhardt and Hammadou (1987) discovered in their review of the teacher education literature, that there is very little empirical research on the preparation of language teachers. Since that time, several investigations have added to our knowledge base.

Byram et al. (1991) identified three idiosyncratic orientations that determine the teachers’ contributions: (1) individual philosophy regarding language pedagogy in general; (2) the nature of personal experience with the foreign culture; and (3) expectations regarding the learning potential of a class (p. 63). Byram and his colleagues single out the intercultural experience as the most important factor of the three. If a teacher’s personal experience with the target culture is limited, this restricts the teacher’s ability to teach culture, leads students to question the credibility of the teacher to serve as a cultural informant, and thus constrains the teacher’s ability to help students bridge the home and target cultures. Intercultural experience is ultimately indispensable for the development of Bennett’s (in this volume) form of authentic intercultural competence which involves knowledge, attitudes and behavior.

Kramsch (1993) reports on a small-scale experiment involving 12 teachers, from three different language and cultures, who were participating in a three day training seminar in France. The purpose of this seminar was for teachers to explore the complexity of culture, culture teaching, and culture learning. The teachers perceived their greatest difficulty to be doing justice to the diversity of perspectives and values that exist among natives within the same national culture. Kramsch points out that not one single national group was able to achieve consensus on what version of American or French or German culture should be taught abroad. This inescapable diversity of perspectives in turn made teachers “realize their own, subjective perspective in their choice of pedagogical materials” (p. 355). The second pedagogical challenge was making the target culture “attractive enough to be worth while studying, yet casting enough of a critical eye on it to make believable” (p. 356). Among the insights gained during the seminar, the participants mentioned (1) the notion of cultural relativity; (2) a heightened linguistic vigilance and distrust of lexical equivalencies; and, (3) an awareness of the importance of personal contact and dialogue when trying to understand another culture, what Kramsch calls an “essential reality check against stereotypical visions of the other”. Kramsch concludes with a 4-stage model for the process of cross-cultural understanding which would include a initial misunderstanding of intent, a subsequent misunderstanding of the source of the misunderstanding, attempts to explain the problem within one’s own frame of reference, and, finally, a (necessary) switch to the other person’s frame of reference. According to Kramsch, two implications follow from such a model for the develop of a language pedagogy. First, it must present authentic documents together with their contexts of production and reception, i.e., the different readings given to these texts by various native and non-native readers from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Second, learners and teachers must be given the opportunity to reflect upon the “cultural fault lines” that underlie their classroom discourse.

From her own classroom observations, Kramsch (1993) concludes that the reflective component is most sorely missing as “Too many opportunities for cross-cultural reflection are brushed aside
in the name of communicative practice” (p. 357). Her statement underscores once more the urgent need for classroom-based research that would help identify the ways in which crosscultural reflection can be encouraged.

For many foreign language educators, an important reason for bringing culture into the classroom has been the hope that the study of culture will increase student motivation and improve attitudes toward language learning. Yet, our understanding of attitude formation is still far from complete (for a review of past debates, see Byram and Morgan, 1994, pp. 31-39). In the past, culture entered the classroom via literature, which was considered to be the ideal carrier of culture and a strong motivator for the study of language. Such an approach neglected the many students who dropped the study of language before they had reached the proficiency level required in a literature course. The introduction of little “c” culture (culture as daily life) at earlier stages of language learning was intended to address the needs of these learners, by making the lessons more interesting, and therefore motivate them to continue language study.

Motivation and interest are not easy to identify and study. We must look within the learner to find the often subtle indicators of personal and classroom motivation. When there are 25 or more learners in a classroom, learner background variables become very complex. We must then add to that mix the “atmosphere” or “culture” of the classroom itself, which is known to affect the behavior of these particular students at this particular time (Cook, 1996). With these caveats in mind, we can examine the major research findings on motivation, attitudes, and other learner variables.
The early work of Gardner and Lambert (1972), posited two major clusters of motivation indices: instrumental and integrative. Integrative motivation, the desire by the student to be liked by people in the target culture, is the major motivational influence on language learning in the school setting. Byram and Morgan (1994) after reviewing work by McDonough (1981) and Bley-Vroman (1989) point to the difficulty of inferring the causal relationship between language learning and motivation, arguing that high motivation may be a result of success in learning rather than the cause of that success. Burstall, et al. (1974), Backman (1976), and others have argued that high achievement causes positive attitudes and high motivation, while the Gardner (1985) model explicitly suggests reciprocity between these variables. Schumann’s acculturation model (1978a, 1978b, 1986) examined the effects of personal variables such as relative status, congruence, attitude, integration, closed or open attitudes, amount of time in the culture, size of the learning group, and cohesiveness of the group on adult language learning. Schumann suggested three strategies taken by adult learners: total adoption of the target culture (assimilation), preservation of the home culture (total rejection of the target culture), and “acculturation,” which he defines as learning to function in the new culture while maintaining one’s own identity. In the foreign—unlike the second—language classroom, the situation is slightly different, in that the need for assimilation or acculturation is practically nonexistent, especially at beginning levels and in languages such as French or German where, as Byram and Morgan (1994) suggest, “understanding the target culture is appreciated ... but generally only as a support to linguistic proficiency” (p. 7). In Spanish, by contrast, where the cultural reality is readily encountered, a different set of responses to culture learning may occur, ranging from a desire to getting to know one’s neighbor to a deliberate effort to keep members of the other culture at a safe distance (Robinson & Nocon, 1996). Regarding the role of language in culture learning, Marin and Sabogal (1987) created an acculturation scale for Hispanics and found that 55% of the variance in the scale was accounted for by language. Crookes and Schmidt (1991) suggest that the limiting nature of second-language studies of motivation makes imperative the examination of the construct from other areas of social and educational psychology. They also suggest that researchers consider factors such as student interest, feedback effects, effects of student self-perceptions, and materials/syllabus design, in order to better understand and then improve language learning in the classroom. More recently, Gardner and Macintyre (1993), Gardner and Tremblay (1994), Crookes and Schmidt (1991), Dornyei (1994), and Oxford and Shearin (1994), among others, have returned to the basic task of defining motivation, seeking to strengthen the theoretical basis for further study from inside or outside the second-language acquisition field.

An additional problem is the difficulty of generalizing findings on motivation across languages because, as foreign language teachers well know, each language seems to carry its own “motivational baggage.” Furthermore, the identification of factors making up motivation and its definition may still not be useful to teachers at all levels. What motivates students to begin L2 may be different from the factors leading them to continue to language study, or to begin a third or fourth language where it is not required. Momber (1979) and Myers (1978) both found that students need high motivation to continue, but that motivation as a trait is highly unstable. In addition, they suggest that any research findings on motivation and continued language study are problematic due to the unreliability of self-report measures which are so common in this type of research. The same student, for instance, may exhibit different motivations in different classrooms as a function of the particular characteristics (e.g., student composition, classroom climate, the teacher) that exist in each classroom. Motivation can also change over time and vary by age. For instance, a student who begins studying Spanish initially because a friend is studying it, may continue into the second year due to family pressure to develop proficiency in the language, and may go on to a third year in order to travel in Latin America. Burstall, et al. (1974) studying children, adolescents, and adults found age, in addition to experience and other personal variables, to be a significant factor in predicting differences in motivation. Gardner and MacIntyre (1992, 1993) summarize the complex effects of student factors involved in second-language learning.

Crookes and Schmidt (1991) suggest that one of the reasons why work on motivation in second language learning has been inconclusive is because motivation has been limited to socialpsychological conceptualizations of the construct and also has been frequently confused with attitudes toward the target culture (see also Glicksman, 1981, above). This view has been contradicted by Gardner and Tremblay (1994) however, who feel it is based in part “on a misunderstanding and resulting misrepresentation of the ‘Gardnerian’ model and research.”. Crookes and Schmidt (1991) recommend that research move away from self-report and correlational studies toward survey instruments, observational measures, ethnographic work, action research, and introspective measures, in addition to “true experimental studies”. We may believe that a systematic inclusion of cultural components in language courses will increase motivation to study the language or support adaptation to the culture of the people who speak that language, but there is only limited evidence to support this claim. Two recent studies (Martin and Laurie, 1993; Robinson and Nocon, 1996) have attempted to improve the state of the art by systematically investigating student motivation for language and culture study.

Martin and Laurie (1993) investigated the views of 45 students, enrolled in an intermediate level French course at Flinders University in South Australia, about the contribution of literary and cultural content to language learning. They found that the students’ reasons for studying French “were more related to linguistic than cultural interests”, with practical reasons such as oral proficiency, travel plans, and employment opportunities dominating the list. When asked specifically about the role of literature and culture as motivating factors, the “desire to study the French way of life” motivated nearly 90% of students, while “hegemonal aspects of the culture motivated rather less than half” (p. 195). These findings are consistent with previous research conducted in Australia. After discussing possible reasons for the students’ “fear of literature” (p. 205), Martin and Laurie advance the hypothesis of “culture anxiety” caused by the perceived lack of “cultural background to relate to a foreign literature”and propose a methodology for presenting literature. Robinson and Nocon (1996) report on an ethnographic experiment in a 3rd semester Spanish at San Diego State University. They investigated the hypothesis that training in ethnographic techniques and a commitment to face-to-face contact would have a positive effect on students desire to study the language and use it to communicate. They started from three key assumptions: (1) students have a tendency to “separate the language from the culture of the people who use it and, by extension, from the people”, a conclusion already arrived at by Hall and Ramirez (1993); (2) one should not assume that language students have an intrinsic motivation or desire to communicate (Robinson, 1981); and (3) that salience and exaggeration form a general frame of perception that even resists counter-evidence (supported by findings in person-perception psychology). Robinson and Nocon used a threefold methodology of inclassroom training, in-the-field interviews, and pre and post-surveys of the students. They found that the project had initiated “positive perceptual, affective and cognitive changes” for the students as evidenced by students’ enhanced attitudes towards the study of Spanish and increased desire to communicate with local Spanish speakers, and by students’ better understanding of their own culture and the lived culture of local Spanish speakers. Regarding motivation, the authors refer to the controversy in psychology surrounding motivational theory which consists of two competing sets of beliefs: (1) that by first changing the attitude a behavioral change will follow, or (2) that by changing the behavior an attitudinal transformation will follow. They point out that the value of the ethnographic approach lies in its ability to satisfy both criteria by “structuring the environment to change both behavior and attitude”. Their findings are promising.

While motivation generally can be defined as the factor which impels the student to study a target language in the first place and to continue or to stop studying it, attitudes can be generally defined as the positive or negative feelings that students have toward the language, the language teacher, the language class, the culture(s) of people who speak that language, and the study of the language. While the concepts of motivation and attitudes are closely related, they appear to be different constructs in certain respects. By way of example, a student might be highly motivated to study a language and culture for instrumental reasons, which would not necessarily entail the development of positive attitudes towards the target culture. Beyond these conceptual distinctions lies a set of research questions regarding the complex relationship between motivation, attitudes, language learning, and behavior (specifically, behavior that is appropriate and effective in the target culture).

The theoretical possibility that linguistic experience and proficiency do not automatically lead to improved attitudes towards members of the target culture has been documented repeatedly since Tucker and D’Anglejan’s (1974) well-known report on the Canadian St. Lambert immersion project. Massey (1986) also found that attitudes became more negative and motivation decreased the longer students studied the target language. He studied 236 sixth and seventh grade students in three schools who were currently studying French 40 minutes daily, but who had studied it only 20 minutes per day for the three years prior to the investigation. He administered the Gardner Attitude and Motivation Test Battery at the end of one academic year and again four weeks into the following year; the scores became more negative over time in all the settings. Hamers (1984) inquired as whether 5th, 6th, 9th, and l0th-grade students would improve attitudes and motivation if exposed to exchanges with French or English-speaking Quebecois students. She studied 24 classes (n=439) evenly divided between francophones and anglophones. Her two main findings were that inter-regional exchange affected students most positively at the secondary level, and that children from urban areas seemed to benefit less from any exchanges than children from rural areas. In the Durham study (Byram et al., 1991), researchers found that girls tended to be more positive in their attitudes toward the French, that
the “better” classes had more positive attitudes, and that younger students seemed more prejudiced towards specific cultural groups than older students.

Stelly (1991), reporting on “the effects of whole language approach using authentic French texts on student comprehension and attitude,” found that the students’ attitudes towards French culture did not significantly improve after a course which exposed them to authentic materials in a learner-centered, communicative environment. Surprisingly, attitudes did significantly improve in the control group, a supposedly “traditional” classroom that had followed a regular syllabus. In fact, the control was preparing for an upcoming trip to France, many class members were going to go on the trip, and the teacher was using her own videos, photographs and cultural artifacts as a complement to text-based classroom activities. The findings, therefore, must be interpreted with great caution. Nocon (1991) found that while attitudes towards Spanish speakers did not usually change over the time, the existence of a foreign language requirement was correlated with negative attitudes towards the language and speakers of the language (quoted in Robinson and Nocon). Contact with people from the target culture, either in the school setting or in the target culture, has been found to have a positive influence and improve attitudes under certain circumstances, like Robinson and Nocon, submit that increased contact leads to positive attitudes rather than the reverse. They followed almost 2,500 children for three years (1975-78) and found that middleschool- age children who had daily contact with French peers in an “animator” program had a highly significant increase in contact with French peers outside the classroom from grade to grade, as well as higher listening and reading proficiency in French. The instruments used, a sociometric friendship-pattern scale and IEA French language achievement scales, are quite different from the usual self-report scales for measuring attitudes. The researchers operationalized ‘positive attitudes’ as the willingness of students to seek out speakers of the target culture for pleasure. Similarly, Park (1995) used as the measure of attitudes and motivation of adult learners their voluntary current and past contact with native speakers of the language being studied (Japanese or Korean), as recorded in journals kept over a two years, reported in interviews, and noted on a contact questionnaire.

A number of other learner factors have been examined, among them learning style (Reid, 1987; Dirksen, 1990), intelligence, previous language background, language aptitude, and strategy use. Gardner and MacIntyre (1993) detail a “Socio-education model” of secondlanguage acquisition which suggests that all of these factors—and perhaps many others—influence linguistic and non-linguistic (presumably cultural) outcomes in formal and informal language acquisition contexts. The research on motivation and attitude seems to gravitate around the notion of ‘contact’ and its role in the embryonic stage of intercultural development. While causality is far from being unidirectional, more studies point to contact improving attitudes than vice-versa. It appears that favorable contact leads to the discovery of cultural similarities and of our common humanity (cf. Robinson and Nocon’s approach). The question then becomes how to help learners move beyond this still ethnocentric stage of intercultural development and into the intercultural stages where acceptance of cultural differences is the norm (See J. and M. Bennett, this volume).

No longer thought to be value-neutral, textbooks and other materials used in language learning generally present a certain way of looking at the world, that is, through the cultural lens of the author. Prior to the 1940s, many textbooks were written from a monocultural perspective according to Kramsch & Mcconnell-Ginet (1992). The multiple realities which make up culture were not included. The underlying belief was that a homogeneous and relatively static national culture could be identified. It could be described. And its ‘facts’ could be memorized. Cultural elements were selected for study on the basis of their comparable importance in the home culture of the authors. Cultural artifacts, the more visible elements of culture, were studied at the exclusion of cultural values. With the advent of the functional and communicative proficiency
approaches in the 1970s, and all through the 1980s, teachers moved away from relying solely on textbooks to teach language. The textbook became viewed as a snapshot, and only one of many, through which the culture could be explored and understood (Kramsch & McConnell-Ginet, 1992). The target culture was now entering the classroom via ‘authentic cultural materials.’ Nonetheless, the main finding about today’s textbooks still central to language educators as the main source of culture learning and, in many respects, they are still problematical. The Durham researchers (Byram et al, 1991) found that the textbook was used extensively, functioned as instructional guide, and determined themes and sequence of material. Furthermore, extensive and frequent interviews with their young learners led the authors to conclude that the textbook influenced most of the internalized knowledge the students had of French culture. This they found particularly problematic because the textbook topics were frequently poorly chosen and represented a distorted view of reality by taking a tourist’s perspective (e.g., focusing on topics such as restaurant meals or public transportation). The authors emphasize that the influence of the textbook on the range and depth of the cultural information should be cause for concern to all foreign language educators.

The conclusion arrived at by Byram and his colleagues regarding the influence of the textbook also holds true for the language classroom in the US (Loughrin-Sacco, 1992; Ryan, 1994). Kramsch (1987) compared eight first-year German textbooks to examine how culture was taught through the pictures, dialogues, and exercises. To gain insight into the way cultural facts are conceptualized, presented and validated, she examined chapters on sports in textbooks widely used in the US. While she found that the authors made a serious attempt to teach culture through the dialogues, readings and language exercises presented, she was concerned about the factual nature of the understandings conveyed, and by the German textbooks’ tendency to rely on contrasts with American culture to “construct” a view of German culture. Learners are asked to contrast their subjective views of U.S. culture with generalities presented about German culture. But because readers rarely have sufficient understanding of their own culture, they are unable to critically assess the concepts being presented and they reduce the comparative process
to a low-level comparison of facts. Kramsch also found that the texts tended to stress similarities
between cultures to minimize potentially threatening differences instead of helping the learner construct an understanding of German culture based on higher-level contrastive relational analyses. Furthermore, the textbook authors’ frequently biased perspective on the target culture becomes reality and truth for the learner because the culture contrasts are based on low-level concepts and textbook authors’ viewpoint is not presented. Kramsch concluded from her study that much of the content of these textbooks—and their use—could actually impede the development of positive cultural understanding.

Moore (1991), in her thorough analysis of the cultural content of Spanish textbooks, reached a similar conclusion. She meticulously analyzed the cultural readings, and their related comprehension questions, in the six most commonly-used Spanish textbooks for first-year, college-level students. She found that while 92% of the selections contained some cultural information and that this information was generally comprised of ‘factual fragments’ or highly generalized information intended to indicate the norms of behavior in the Spanish-speaking world. There was little or no explanation of how patterns of behaviors develop to fit in with a complex cultural system, and only few indications that any of the norms or values presented might differ among people of different ages, genders, religions, socio-economic levels, regions or political orientations. Both Byram and Moore point out how, in the absence of knowledge about “cultural antecedents” (Triandis, 1972) learners are left to interpret the text on the basis of a priori assumptions, and, as a result, tend to assimilate the culture under study to their own.

Other researchers have documented the lack of complexity in the cultural information presented in textbooks (Ueber and Grosse, 1991). Ueber and Grosse (1991) studied business French and Spanish texts, and found the cultural content to be “extremely limited” and “basic.” In the French texts, in particular, the instructional goals of the text were found to be “deliberately well-focused and narrow.” Wieczorek (1994), surveying the content of twelve French textbooks, found that the texts were limited not only in the depth of cultural information but also in the range of French-speaking cultures depicted. In the 12 books which were examined, information about countries other than France averaged only about 5.13% of the total content and even then, much of this information was taken out of its cultural context. These studies point out that French texts often construct a hierarchical representation of the francophone world, with the views from “la métropole” (capital city) serving as the ultimate point of reference for our understanding of French culture. Wieczorek worries that such biased and simplistic cultural presentations, i.e., texts lacking in cultural and linguistic complexity, are likely to reinforce preexisting assumptions and stereotypes.

Authentic materials
While there is a large and growing body of theoretical writing concerned with promoting the use of authentic materials, proposing ways of incorporating these materials into the curriculum, and discussing the concept of authenticity (Robinson, 1981; Baumgratz-Gangl, 1991; Kane, 1991; Kramsch, 1993), there is very little actual research that has attempted to study the effects of authentic materials on either linguistic or cultural competency. As reported earlier, Stelly (1991) found no effects attributable to authentic materials, but the design of the study is highly problematical. We found only one other research study on this topic by Kienbaum, Russell and Welty (1986), who used a quasi-experimental design to compare traditional textbook-based classrooms with those using only authentic materials for second year college courses. Although they found no statistically significant difference between experimental and control groups in terms of language gain or attitudes toward the target language (a finding they attribute to their small number of subjects), they did find that (1) all students responded favorably to the absence of a traditional text and applauded the use of authentic materials; (2) students appreciated the view of the target country’s cultural and social reality offered through the instructors’ personal slides and interviews with citizens; and (3) students responded favorably to the current events selections and, through articles and editorials related to the United States, gained a better understanding of their own cultural assumptions and values.
Based on these findings, the authors conclude that “teachers augment liberally the use of authentic materials.” Computer-assisted instruction. One of the most intriguing developments in language and culture education, computer-assisted instruction (CAI), is just emerging on the scene. Some computer-assisted learning programs that are process-oriented and interactive have been successfully developed (e.g. “A la rencontre de Philippe”, a French program). Although computers are still an artificial means of learning, proponents of CAI argue that the added visual dimension gives students more contextual and linguistic information than a standard textbook can provide. An early study by Halliday (1978) found that students often felt that they did not have enough information about a situation to act it out appropriately in a role play or to respond to questions about it. A computer scenario can provide added contextual cues while involving the student as one of the characters in the scene. The learners can stop, ask questions, get more information along the way, and even change the outcome of the interaction. In any case, getting immediate feedback allows negotiation of meaning and communication to go forward.

To conclude this section on curricular materials, the small research literature supports the use of authentic materials in culture instruction. Kramsch (1991b) and Robinson (1981) remind us, however, that the use of authentic materials needs to be accompanied by an understanding of how one derives meaning from them. The danger of inaccurate or monocultural interpretations of the materials is always present.
It is axiomatic among educators that what is tested is what is taught, and what is taught is what is tested. As we have observed throughout this chapter, much of what passes for culture instruction is inadequate, so it is not surprising that the assessment of culture learning has also been problematical. Placing culture learning at the core of language education is challenging because: (1) assessment, in general, emphasizes the use of objective, paper and pencil instruments which are easy to administer and grade, (2) culture is seen as difficult to teach and assess, (3) culture instruction has been primarily and narrowly focused on culture-specific information, and (4) up until fairly recently, language teachers have not received much help from
the profession in terms of conceptualizing, teaching, and assessing culture learning. All of these factors have interacted with each other to inhibit culture teaching and learning.

A Brief History of Assessment in Second Language Education In the 1950s, foreign language teaching centered on a knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and reading in the target language. Consequently, assessment took the form of translation exercises, vocabulary lists, dictations, and fill in the blank type exercises whose purpose was to measure linguistic gains. The emphasis was on cognitive understanding and rote reproduction of language rules rather than on communicative and sociolinguistic competence.

Culture learning, even though ambitiously conceptualized as “a more enlightened Americanism through adjustments to the concept of differences between cultures” (MLA 1956 steering committee, quoted in MLJ 1966, p. 381), was an expected by-product resulting from the study of literature, geography, and other factual and tangible elements of the target culture referred to as Big “C” culture. The audiolingual movement of the 1960’s generated assessment techniques which paralleled language teaching methods, namely discrete testing in each of the four skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. Examples of this new trend were the MLA Cooperative Foreign Language Tests and the Pimsleur Proficiency Tests which are divided into skill-specific sections. Although this approach incorporated some behavioral components, it too relied primarily on memorization of small, discrete language units rather than on the integration of knowledge with communicative skills demonstrating understanding of language usage in its cultural context. Such assessment differed from earlier practices only in that culture had by now been expanded to include what became referred to as “small ‘c’ culture”, or what Brooks as early as 1954 had called “culture as everything in human life” and “culture as the best in human life” (1975, pp. 20-21). Both Brooks’ model of culture as a network of nodes and parameters and Nostrand’s “Emergent model” (1974) introduced culture as “social patterns of living” (Steele, 1989) and postulated a strong interrelation between language and culture. However, while they may have provided a useful matrix for a systematic analysis of a foreign culture by helping teachers pose appropriate questions, (Brooks, 1975), these models did not significantly alter extant assessment practices which emphasized objective types of knowledge. The two “sociolinguistic decades” of the 1970s and 1980s brought along a new culture teaching and learning focus. Culture became fully recognized as the context without which a word has no meaning, to paraphrase Seelye’s famous statement, and was deemed necessary to achieve a working knowledge of the language (Lessard-Clouston, 1992). Saville-Troike (1983), for example, stated that “interpreting the meaning of linguistic behavior means knowing the cultural meaning of the context within which it occurs” (pp. 131-132). Lessard-Clouston (1992) added that not assessing culture learning sends out a message that culture is not important.

Valdes (1990) noted that assessment of culture learning also provides feedback to students as to
the validity of their cultural understanding and informs teachers about the nature of the cultural
understanding gained by the students. The debate in the U.S. over assessment had begun in the early 1970s with the President’s Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies which reported that foreign language study was a “national scandal of ignorance and ineptitude”. In the 1980s, several states and professional organizations such as ACTFL issued new guidelines to expand the language education to explicitly include culture learning. But the wave of criticism encountered by the culture section in the 1984 Provisional Guidelines and their subsequent elimination from the final version (ACTFL, 1986) marked a setback for the assessment of culture learning. To this day, according to Kramsch (1991a), culture learning remains a murky issue. Although progress has been slow, there are encouraging new developments in the assessment of culture learning. As Philips (this volume) points out, the new culture learning standards articulated by the language education profession provides a clearer sense of direction than anything to date. Moreover, the curriculum is being broadened to include distinct cultural studies components including both culture-specific and more generalizable intercultural communication materials (Murphy, 1988). The assessment of culture learning is also becoming more sophisticated, shifting from over reliance on pre- and post-tests to assessment that is done throughout the learning experience and uses alternative materials (e.g. portfolios, dialogue journals, and ongoing performance evaluations).

The Nature of Assessment
It is our view that the assessment of learning, in much of the western world, is carried out primarily by means of so-called objective testing of knowledge, the most common instrument of which is paper and pencil examinations. There are important reasons for this, for example, the concern in the U.S. with being a “world class” nation, not falling behind other countries, and maintaining a position of economic prominence in the world (Berube, 1996; Kean, 1995). These concerns lead to the desire of politicians to assert more control over education and to have convenient ways (objective tests) to benchmark education’s accomplishments and shortcomings. Assessment is also connected to the cultural values of a country, such as efficiency, objectivity, nd fairness in many Western nations. In the language and culture classroom, these cultural traits have profound implications for teaching and learning: for example, students are encouraged to study the target culture “objectively,” like a set of facts, as opposed to “experiencing culture as a process of producing meaning regarding each other’s way of being in the world,” Robinson and Nocon. Objective tests are then used to measure the degree to which they have learned those culture facts.

Assessment, to us, means far more than objective tests of how much information the student has learned in a given period of time. It should be formative (i.e., ongoing), behavioral and affective as well as cognitive, and expanded with respect to the ways in which assessments are conducted.
Issues in the Assessment of Culture Learning While the possibilities of what can be assessed are many, Seelye (1994) found that there were actually only five main components that were regularly being tested: historical facts, trivia items, toponyms, vocabulary, and familiarity with the arts (i.e. big ‘C’ culture). He also discovered that the content generally focused on matters of interest to the majority group in the home culture. For instance, students would be graded on how well they could accurately reflect how an average middle-class male from the target culture would answer the question rather than the possible divergent points of view minority persons in the host culture.. Damen (1987) points to the difficulty often felt by teachers of choosing which culture to teach. Many countries, for example, have more than one culture and language within their borders. In addition to racial and ethnic differences, there is diversity due to age, gender, socio-economic class, religion, and other variables. Moreover, different countries often speak the same language and share a similar cultural heritage. Thus, how would a French teacher represent or talk about French culture? What about the French spoken in East Africa, the customs of Martinique or francophone Canada? Crawford-Lange and Lange’s (1984) suggest a process for culture learning which is exploratory in nature, builds upon but does not restrict the learners to initial stereotypes, and utilizes observable cultural facts as just one of many inputs into the learning process.
Partly to avoid the uncertainty that comes with taking into account the cultural diversity of the target culture, teachers often choose to focus their tests on the Big C culture (e.g. architecture, geography, and artistic traditions) associated with the presumed center of the target culture. Hughes (1986) calls test questions relating to these cultural artifacts ‘institutional questions’ as they are largely factual in nature and can be easily looked up and memorized by students. Likewise, Kramsch (1991a) found that many foreign language textbooks in the United States encourage this type of learning and testing by including a disproportionate number of topics on literature, art, and statistical facts. Valette (1986) argues that the focus on discrete elements of cultural knowledge is preferred by many teachers for practical reasons: it is easy to prepare, test, and score.

Furthermore, as Byram and Morgan (1994) convincingly argue, testing for the other two components of intercultural competence, attitudes and behaviors, is extremely complex and fraught with many pitfalls. For instance, there is a difference between assessing the application of an attitude, and its existence. The ability to act appropriately in a new cultural context does not necessarily mean the acceptance of a new worldview; indeed, as Byram and Morgan (1994) note, is it not easy to assess the meaning of behaviors. In addition, testing for something beyond factual knowledge such as the presence of positive attitudes also raises ethical issues since testing should match what has been deliberately taught and consciously learned (Byram and Morgan, 1994). Byram questions how much control a learner has over the development of an attitude such as openness or empathy, or of flexibility of mind, or the ability to decenter? It should come therefore as no surprise that testing for cultural knowledge seems more attractive than testing for aspects of intercultural competence.

One could ask of whether testing/assessment of learning other than knowledge has a place in the instructional setting? Kramsch, looking at the different goals put forth by state education offices, found a wide range of justifications for assessing culture learning, from concrete political goals such as meeting the challenge of international competition to broader and less tangible reasons such as fostering cross-cultural awareness and understanding. She points out the vast discrepancy that exists to-day between the cultural goals and assessment procedures; the suggested assessment approaches often bear no resemblance to the expected learning outcomes proposed by state education departments (Kramsch, 1991a, pp. 225-26). Kramsch believes that the that confusion between guidelines and assessment comes from not knowing ultimately why the tests are being used.

Assessment Models
One of the first assessment models found in the literature, the social distance scale, was developed by Bogardus in 1925. This test set out to measure peoples’ reaction to other cultures. Other cultures were grouped by racial and linguistic features. Respondents were asked to indicate if they accept a person from that group in different situations. For example, the question would ask if the respondent would mind if a person from group x married his/her sister. Respondents would indicate their level of acceptance on a seven point scale. The use this type of scale has been popular in terms of measuring cultural attitudes and understandings (see Cadd, 1994, for recent use of this type of scale). A similar model was used by Osgood & Suci (1957) with their semantic differential approach. Their scale was developed to measure how a person evaluates another culture in terms of bipolar traits using a multipoint Likert scale. For instance, the question would ask if the respondent thinks whether persons in group x are good or bad. Grice (1934) developed a test, still used today (Seeley, 1994) which asks respondents to agree or disagree with statements about a specific culture group (e.g., The French are emotional). These early assessment models have a tendency to use binary constructions and, thus, run the risk of encouraging dualistic thinking or stereotyping of other cultures.

More recent assessment techniques have expanded significantly upon the earlier models. The culture assimilator model, for example, incorporates contextual factors by presenting short, intercultural episodes that place the reader in real life situations. Brislin, Cushner, Cherrie, and Yong (1986), for example, have published a “culture-general” assimilator which includes 100 such episodes or critical incidents. In their version, each episode is followed by three to four specific answers from which the students are asked to select what they think is the best explanation of that particular cross-cultural situation. Here, the assessment is culture-specific; the student either does or does not pick the most appropriate answer. The promising Intercultural Perspective-Taking Scale developed by Steglitz (1993) demonstrates another use of the critical incident, one which lead to more culture-general assessment. Here, the students read the story and then write an essay explaining their interpretation of what is occurring in the crosscultural encounter. The teacher or coder rates the essay on the degree to which the student (1) incorporates cultural variables into the analysis and (2) reflects upon how the culturally different person in the story might be construing events.

King (1990) developed a cultural awareness test similar to the assimilator called cultural mini-dramas. These dramas incorporate the performance of linguistic as well as ‘small c’ culture practices, which can be observed by the teacher. Other interesting assessment techniques include the use of videotaping of cultural role plays (Falsgraf, 1994) and interactive computer programs that prompt students with various verbal and nonverbal cues (Baugh, 1994). Some European educators and researchers (Kordes, 1991; Meyer, 1991) have argued for the use of cross-cultural mediation tasks that would enable the teacher to assess a learner’s culture-general skills such as empathy, tolerance, the ability to suspend judgment, and the adoption of someone else’s point of view.For the purpose of assessing such intangible learning (e.g. the development of empathy), Byram & Morgan (1994) propose the following five-level scale: (1) rejection of the foreign culture; (2) explanation provided but “from the outside;” (3) explanation “from the inside;” (4) “genuine attempt to recreate an alien world view;” and (5) “recognition of how one’s own world view is culturally conditioned” (p. 150). They also suggest new and flexible criteria for assessing cultural knowledge such as accuracy, detail, relevance of the factual material, recognition of diversity, and avoidance of stereotyping. Damen (1987) diagrams out four types of evaluation techniques for culture learning: self-report, enactments (such as role-plays or simulations), productions of materials (essays or letters), and observation by the teacher or other peers when the student is demonstrating specific cultural skills. Two more instruments deserve mention here: the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (Kelley and Meyers, 1995) and the Intercultural Development Inventory (Hammer and Bennett, in press). The CCAI is a 36-item paper and pencil, culture-general assessment instrument which measures four qualities hypothesized by the authors to be associated with intercultural competence: emotional resilience, flexibility and openness, perceptual acuity (the ability to read verbal and nonverbal cues), and personal autonomy. The CCAI has been used in one at lease one study of an education abroad program, a six month language and culture immersion program in Senegal (Paulson, 1995), and the author found that the learners improved in these areas during their time abroad.

The Intercultural Development Inventory (Hammer and Bennett, in press) is a 70-item paper and pencil instrument intended to measure the respondent’s degree of “intercultural sensitivity” along an eight stage developmental continuum. The IDI is based on the work of M. Bennett (1986, 1993, this volume with J. Bennett), who has conceptualized intercultural competence as a developmental phenomenon characterized by the affective, behavioral, and cognitive ways in which a person construes and responds to cultural differences. We consider this model to be one of the most important in the literature in terms of both its theoretical contributions to our understanding of culture learning, but also with respect to its practical implications for language and culture educators. The IDI presents learner profiles which show which stage they identify most strongly with at the moment, one of the four ethnocentric (monocultural) stages, or one of the four ethnorelative (intercultural) stages. The first author of this chapter has two studies underway in which the IDI is being used to assess the intercultural sensitivity of high school and university language students.

We were pleased to find that many teachers have experimented with new ideas such as these to assess their students’ culture learning. Royer (1996) called her approach to assessing culture learning in her French class “summative authentic assessment,” by which she defines as the ability to communicate in the new language and culture, not just the ability to use correct grammar. In addition, she developed ways to regularly assess the students’ progress in the areas
of “social and life skills of listening, sharing, group problem solving, handling confrontation, and negotiation” (Royer, 1996, p. 174). Her assessment techniques took many forms including audio recordings, performances, written essays, observation of group work, and group projects. This allowed her to assess a variety of learning goals as they work together rather than as discrete skills.

The Challenges of Assessment
Content and criteria. Kordes (1991), Meyer (1991), and Byram and Morgan (1994) have identified the enormous challenges associated with the assessment of culture learning. As a result, some educators feel like giving up the idea altogether. For instance, as early as 1975, Paul Dammer from the New York Department of State Education justified his dropping the culture section from the state guidelines by arguing that the system in place discouraged students’ intellectual growth because it focused on memorizing discrete facts rather than making cultural understanding a meaningful and holistic learning experience. Byram (1988) points out that in England, the Minister for Education left out criteria associated with cultural understanding because it was felt that only “practical communication” could be listed as a criteria for learning.

Others researchers conclude that culture learning can only be assessed through informal means, and only “by the learners themselves”. Cultural (mis)interpretations. Another problem associated with the assessment of culture learning in the foreign language classroom is a reliance by teachers on their own personal experiences when they create an assessment instrument. Seelye (1994) tells a story about a Spanish exam he and other teachers were involved in creating. Each teacher took one chapter of the material and wrote ten multiple choice questions. These questions were then presented to a group of native Spanish speakers for evaluation of the exam. The native Spanish speakers answered each question in at least two different ways for 90% of the questions; in 20% of the cases the question was answered in four different ways. All of the native Spanish speakers introduced variations on what the question meant and wrapped slightly different contextual factors around the questions so that it had meaning for them, but different meaning in each case.

Seelye’s story is strongly reminiscent of the experience of teachers unable to agree on a core culture as reported by Kramsch (1993). The difficulty of cultural interpretation is a serious challenge to the whole notion of assessment. Lessard-Clouston (1992) argues that valid assessment needs to mirror classroom instruction (see also Byram and Morgan, above) and if one student interprets the culture differently from others, there needs to be some flexibility for adjustment. Such a possibility strongly undermines the myth of objective, reliable testing. A positivistic tradition. There is a tendency for assessment to be embedded in a positivistic tradition of research (e.g., Ferguson & Huebner, 1991), one which emphasizes scholarly objectivity. Kramsch, however, argues that objectivity is not possible when dealing with culture because it is subjectively experienced and construed. As Seelye’s story of the Spanish examination so aptly demonstrated, intracultural variation itself will always generate a plethora of different meanings for different observers of the same events. Zeidner (1986) also suggests that even without the cultural component, language aptitude tests are biased depending on the respondent’s cultural identity, age, sex, and social class. Similarly, Dirksen (1990) asserts that differences in learning styles also play into the process. Most assessment methods are of the timed pencil and paper variety, although many students feel that this does not allow them to adequately demonstrate what they know. In a study by Reid (1987), it was found that many ESL
students preferred and performed better using kinesthetic/tactile methods rather than the more passive methods that were being used in the classroom.

There are indications that changes in assessment practices would be welcomed by students. In one study (Warren, 1987b) in which small groups of students in three large universities were interviewed, the students found the traditional methods of assessment greatly lacking in their ability to accurately assess the actual learning that took place during the course. The students expressed their distaste for tests which assessed only their ability to remember fragments of information. In addition, when the test did not provide the opportunity for them to show all that they had learned, the students felt betrayed as their grade reflected neither their learning nor their work. Ultimately, the instructors were blamed for creating bad tests, a criticism which reflects the teachers own concern that they do not feel competent to create their own tests (Warren, 1987a). On the other hand, the students could recount instances were assessment procedures used during instruction were integrated as learning exercises, rather than an exercise in memorization at the end of the course. They all stated a preference for this type of assessment.

Academic insularity. Some authors and researchers find that the source of many assessment problems stems from the inability of the various professions which are concerned with this issue to work cooperatively together. Many departments such as intercultural communication and foreign languages are compartmentalized to the extent that interdisciplinary research and collaboration is very difficult. Likewise, the segregation between academic departments and practicing professionals generates few qualified researchers able to conduct the type of research and to create the assessment tools appropriate for a pedagogy based on an integration of language and culture (Seelye).

Intercultural competence and the teacher. Finally, for many teachers, culture teaching and learning is a relatively new and unfamiliar venture, especially in the framework of our model of culture learning. The problem is compounded by a lack of concrete examples of how to teach for intercultural competence (for an exception, see Crawford-Lange & Lange, 1987) and by teachers’ mistaken belief that they need to be culture experts. Rather, we hope teachers will come to share the view so perceptively expressed by Kane (1991) that, “By being the one invested with the knowledge and authority, the teacher’s responsibility is to invite—and join—the students in challenging unexamined beliefs and stereotypes” (p. 245). In our view, teachers can become guides and partners in a process of culture learning and discovery with their students, rather than culture expert upon whom their students exclusively rely for cultural knowledge.

Our work here will by no means bring closure to the debate over why, how, and what to test, but hopefully it will underscore how many creative possibilities their are for assessing culture learning. Byram (1988) expresses the fear that due to the difficulty of assessment, culture learning will retain a second-class status. We share this concern, but hope that the ideas presented in this paper regarding the conceptualization and assessment of culture learning, will help elevate this topic main to the position of prominence in the field needs that many foreign language educators feel it deserves.

In this closing section, we present the major points that we extracted from the theoretical and research literatures. For each of the previous sections of the paper, we attempt to indicate the following: what the major emphases in the literature were; what the research does and does not tell us; how culture is presented in the literature; how culture is assessed; and our recommendations for future research.
The major emphasis regarding context has been on defining the term. We were struck by the complexity of the concept and the wide variety of definitions presented in the literature. Eventually, we elected to utilize context as our overall frame of reference for this paper and subsume under it other concepts such as setting, teacher variables, learner variables, curricular materials and instructional methods, and assessment. With respect to these elements, the emphasis in the literature has been on the impact of the setting on culture learning (e.g., immersion in the host culture versus classroom instruction). The classroom-based literature has
focused on immersion programs. The next most commonly studied contextual variables have been teacher and learner variables.

· The actual research literature on context as a broader variable is virtually nonexistent. The vast majority of the research deals with specific elements of context such as settings or curricular materials. · In the context literature, context is culture. Understanding the context means understanding the culture-general dynamics of human interaction and communication as well as the specific culture in question (target culture). For example, creating a context for culture learning in the classroom means finding ways to approximate the target culture in the classroom. With respect to the assessment of context, we found no literature that provided models for contextual assessment in the holistic sense. There is a growing literature that informs us about culture-general and culture-specific assessment. What we feel is most strongly needed is research which integrates the various elements of context into a total research program where the interaction of these contextual variables could be examined.

· The emphasis in the research literature regarding settings for culture learning has been on naturalistic settings as represented by study abroad programs. With respect to the classroom as the setting, the research literature has emphasized immersion programs. · We have learned from the research on setting that immersion in the target culture makes a difference; it can promote accelerated language and culture learning. But there appear to be two major conditions. First, the impact of study abroad depends on the individual learner’s motivation and previous language
background. Second, it is important for the experience in the target culture to be positive. The naturalistic setting, of and by itself, does not guarantee increases in either language or culture learning beyond what can be provided by the classroom. But if the study abroad cultural immersion experience is positive and the learner has the proper motivation and background, study abroad can significantly enhance culture learning.

What we don’t know from the literature is very much about classroom settings that attempt to replicate or approximate the target culture. There is also a gap in the literature on how naturalistic and classroom settings might interact to promote culture learning. Many questions thus remain. When is the best time to study abroad? What level of existing language proficiency is needed to derive the greatest benefit from a study abroad program? Culture in this literature has been defined mostly in terms of “facts” about the target culture. The emphasis has been on culture-specific knowledge and that knowledge has been primarily about surface-level, visible culture (e.g., food, clothing) rather than deep culture (e.g., values, beliefs). There has been little
written on culture defined in more culture-general, intercultural competence terms. Regarding assessment of settings, there has been very little in the research literature that deals with this issue.

Our recommendations for future research include: (1) studies of classrooms that attempt to create a target culture environment which can show us how this might be done and what the impact of such classroom settings might be on culture learning, and (2) studies of the relative impact of different settings on the acquisition of the deeper elements of culture, and (3) studies of immersion classrooms that pay specific attention to the way culture is taught. The assumption appears to have been that immersion programs teach culture.
Teacher Variables
The research examined under the heading of teacher variables reveals two underlying emphases: the struggle to understand the nature of cultural instruction in the foreign language classroom and the crucial role played by the teacher in the process of cultural learning. · The research tells us that teachers consider language study to be more than just learning a language: they see it as discovering and learning about other ways of living, and about understanding other peoples. Research also tells us that teachers are an essential component in culture learning, that students consider teachers to be their most important resource, and that there are discrepancies between what students want and what teachers provide. Furthermore, as members of the educational system, teachers may have to work in an ethnocentric environment, or under institutional and societal constraints, that can defeat their best intentions. Research also hints at the fact that teachers knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about the nature of culture and cultural diversity may profoundly impact their instructional and methodological choices. Finally, we know that teachers often feel insufficiently prepared for the task of teaching for cultural teaching, i.e. teaching towards objectives other than linguistic. Finally, in spite of some apparent confusion regarding the nature of culture/culture teaching, foreign language teachers view their field as composed of a well defined body of knowledge on which they can agree.

The research reviewed raises more questions than it answers and many gaps remain. Among the more salient questions are the following: (a) how do teachers translate their objectives for cultural learning into practice?; (b) in what ways do teachers’ knowledge and beliefs actually inform their practice; and (c) what is the nature of the relationship between teachers’ teaching of culture in the foreign language classroom and students’ development of intercultural competence? And, finally, some nagging questions remain: given how challenging the goal of teaching for intercultural awareness is perceived to be, why isn’t there a greater demand for help on how to do it? And conversely, if the goal is perceived to be so important, why isn’t there more effort put into helping teachers learn ways to achieve it?

These are the questions we feel should frame the research agenda for the coming years. There is some sense of urgency, particularly for more classroom-based research, the kind that will help us recreate the holistic context for teaching and learning, language and culture.

Learner Variables
· Motivation and attitudes, though elusive and difficult to identify, are major factors within individual learners which affect their study of a second language as well as the manner and depth of their attention while they study it. Research on these factors began in the early 1970s, and were strongly influenced by Gardner and Lambert’s (1972) finding that learners who desire to become like people in a target culture are the most successful in language study. This idea dominated the field and led to numerous follow-up studies based on their work, although even
Gardner and Lambert now suggest that their findings were sometimes misinterpreted (Gardner and MacIntyre, 1993). Byram (1994) suggests that this work has been limited by the fact that linguistic gains were seen as the major benefits of increased motivation and positive attitudes, and other types of gains are not as frequently examined. It is also not possible to assess cause and effect in the investigations. The problems associated with the study of attitudes and motivations have been the difficulties of definition, measurement, and interpretation of findings.
Recent work which examines voluntary contact with native speakers of the language by students who are studying that language may lead to more interesting and useful findings, as suggested by studies of Porebski and McInnes (1988) and Park (1995).

Future studies of voluntary contact by students with native speakers and authentic materials should focus on affective gains as well as linguistic competence. A wide variety of qualitative means for studying affect should be tried, in order to discover the more elusive aspects of affective factors within individual students and between students both in classrooms and in other language-acquisition settings.

Curricular Materials and Instructional Methods
The research literature on curricular materials and instructional methods emphasizes the primacy of the textbook in the classroom. Alternative materials and methods often appear to teachers to be more time consuming, less efficient, and more difficult to use. The literature also demonstrates that the culturespecific aspect of culture learning is emphasized in the research studies. This is not surprising given that the majority of textbooks approach culture learning as
the learning of target culture facts. · The research findings make it clear that the current materials, mainly textbooks, are shallow and superficial with respect to their treatment of culture. They are therefore inadequate to the task of teaching culture specifics in the deeper sense (values, norms, beliefs, etc.) or culture-general skills. The literature also indicates that shallow presentation of culture can reinforce inaccurate stereotypes, both positive and negative in nature. There is a serious absence of impact studies which examine the effects of different types of materials and methods on culture learning.

Culture in this literature is defined in culture-specific terms. The cultural information which is provided is rather basic (e.g., food, dress, holidays). There is little or no research on the assessment of culture in this literature. To the degree that it exists, assessment means testing for culture facts. What is sorely needed is research on alternative textbooks (cf. Allen and Foutllier-Smith, 1994) which incorporate a far wider range of cultural elements and involve the learner more actively in the culture learning process. Studies of authentic materials, especially in terms of their place in the curriculum and their relationship to other methods, would also be very helpful.

· There are a number of points that stand out in the assessment literature. The first is that assessment, viewed in methodological terms, most commonly means objective testing in the manner that reflect western cultural biases. The most commonly used assessment techniques are often chosen for the sake of efficiency and ease of interpretation; a single score tells us the extent of the learner’s knowledge and ability. Due in part to this methodological bias, assessment has often been focused on demonstrating cognitive knowledge, but ignoring behavioral and affective learning gains. This focus on cognitive learning is reflected by the many frequent use of paper and pencil questionnaires which ask about factual cultural knowledge. What has been routinely assessed, though, has been the more superficial aspects of cultural understanding (i.e. geography, food, and festivals). There are several new assessment methods such as the Intercultural Development Inventory (Hammer and Bennett, in press) which attempt to look at
deeper cultural knowledge and different aspects of culture learning. In our view, they are quite promising.

The literature suggests that the nature of assessment, as described above, represents confusion over what else to test. While we have articulated a multidimensional model of culture learning in this paper that represents the advanced state of the theoretical literature, this model is not yet well known to teachers in the field. Moreover, the literature suggests that teachers already do not feel adequately prepared to construct tests, whether of the traditional type or the alternative measurements that have recently been used.

Changes in assessment are occurring, however. Alternative methods of assessment are increasingly being used. These include: portfolios, self-reports of progress; journaling of culture learning; simulations, role-plays and other experiential techniques; critical incidents and case studies; culture immersions; and new, more conceptually sophisticated paper and pencil instruments.

These have shown to be promising methods, but there is scant research on how well they work and how they can be integrated into the instructional process. In addition, the literature hints that alternative assessment can also alter the dynamics of the classroom. For example, it could change the motivation for learning (i.e., learning for the test versus for learning for competence) and the relationships between the teacher and the learner (i.e., the learner has more voice in the ways in which she or he is assessed). More research needs to been done in these areas.

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