First Advisor

William B. Fischer

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German






Language and culture -- Study and teaching -- United States, German language -- Study and teaching -- United States, Teachers -- Training of -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 71 p.)


Americans face a serious challenge today: the need to become more competent in the languages and cultures of the rest of the world. Technology has brought nations closer together. International trade has grown to the creation of a global economy. Americans have greater contact with the cultures of other nations and encounter growing diversity within their own borders. In spite of these demands, Americans remain largely unable to speak other languages, or understand other cultures. Cultural instruction must play an increasingly important role in education. Foreign language teachers must teach culture as a regular and prominent part of their foreign language courses. Students must learn about culture; teachers must evaluate them on their grasp of it. For all its importance, a common understanding of what culture means and how it should be taught are lacking. For foreign language teachers, culture must encompass all the values, beliefs, manners, behaviors, attitudes, technologies and forms of language common to a given group of people. Teachers must teach increasingly diverse students to ever-rising standards while making use of new and traditional methods and resources. With proficiency as a guiding principle, teachers must establish a student-centered classroom with emphasis on hands-on learning. Teachers must create an enriched learning environment which incorporates authentic materials and new technologies. Using a thematic approach, and viewing culture as a process rather than a set of static facts, teachers must fully integrate the teaching of language and culture such that the two become inseparable. This thesis discusses critical issues in teaching culture as reflected in professional journals, focusing on teaching culture in the German classroom. The Introduction documents the need for increased language and culture study. This establishes the context in which cultural instruction will occur. Teaching Culture first constructs a working definition of culture and ethnocentricity. The discussion then continues to standards, goals. and expectations; perspectives on teaching culture, including a working model of cultural instruction and application of proficiency principles to cultural instruction; and an examination of new and traditional resources for the teaching of culture. The Conclusions stress the importance of adequate teacher training programs.


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