Culture Through Poetry: Facing Fears in the Basic-Level Spanish Classroom

Culture Through Poetry: Facing Fears in the Basic-Level Spanish Classroom

Hannah Grace Morrison (The Ohio State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3379-6.ch003
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Culture is an essential and challenging part of teaching a second language. For the basic language classroom, instructors play a fundamental role in presenting and creating a space for learning about language forms themselves and learning about how that language is used in context. Poetry is a unique way to analyze both language and cultural artifact. There are a plethora of forms that are represented within poetry, and there are many ways to connect language learning to culture itself. Instructors must take initiative and be intentional with each activity that is incorporated into learning a new language. Poetry is but one of the many ways that culture and language can be analyzed thoroughly, and in this chapter, poetry forms are analyzed as both language structure examples and as a cultural and contextual resource that enriches the classroom environment.
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Understanding culture starts with understanding the context in which a language is spoken. To learn a second language in depth is to understand social cues, natural responses, body language, tones, humor, etcetera. If a student speaks their second language utilizing the same tones and gestures that they use for their first language, there is bound to be a lacking on the cultural understanding and fluency of that student. This obviously takes time and a lot of observation and experience, but this aspect of language learning is fundamental for understanding how to speak and interact in the most natural way. This means how the language is used directly, indirectly, creatively, humorously, seriously, familiarly, and distantly. This process must take place from the beginning of the language learning journey and continue as long as the individual uses that language as it will continue to change, and they should follow those changes and adapt to the new social context by observing and evolving their language habits and customs.

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