Kearney, Erin. Culture Learning in a Changed World: Student Perspectives

Kearney, E. (2008). Culture learning in a changed world: Student perspectives. Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online], 4(1), 62-82.


In this paper, the author explores the views of a group whose perspectives have not often been included in discussions of new directions for foreign language education – students. Drawing from a larger ethnographic, discourse-analytic study of the nature of culture learning for one group of college students and their teacher, this paper presents data from interviews with students about their broad orientations to the role of culture in foreign language education as well as their more specific views of the culture learning process in the French class they were taking at the time. The approach used in the class, global simulation, engaged students in several culture learning processes, including being exposed to multiple perspectives, being able to try on those points of view, and engaging in self-reflection. The results of this study outline what today’s college students expect and desire in terms of the cultural dimensions of their foreign language education. Additionally, the results suggest one approach that can successfully engage students in the kind of learning about culture that the Modern Language Association’s report advocates.

To consume:

  • Bhabha, Homi, The location of culture
  • Byram, Michael, Teaching culture and language
  • Duranti, Alessandro, Linguistic Anthropology
  • Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures
  • Kramsch, Claire, Thirdness: The intercultural stance
  • Lantolf, James, Second culture acquisition. Cognitive considerations




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