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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teaching Chinese Cultural Perspectives through Film

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Teaching Chinese cultural perspectives in CFL instruction is more challenging than teaching about Chinese cultural products and behavior. It is challenging because most textbooks do not orient their approach to it, because native-Chinese-speaking teachers tend to overlook it as it is so much a part of them that it presents no peculiarities, and because it is believed cultural understanding comes naturally once language is learned. Studies on cross-cultural communication demonstrate that cultural ignorance causes misperceptions and misunderstandings. In a global community, as people of different cultures interact with one another, awareness of different cultural perspectives is urgently needed. Since language and culture go hand in hand, learning a language is a fortunate opportunity to learn culture through language. Employing a critical language pedagogy, this paper provides an example for teaching Chinese cultural perspectives though discourse from film clips. It shows how students can be taught differences, alternatives, and critical language and cultural awareness using comparative, reflective, and interpretive methodologies. It employs a variety of situated activities to help students explore and discover the Chinese cultural mind.

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