The Cultura project

Bauer, Beth
DeBenedette, Lynne
Furstenberg, Gilberte
Levet, Sabine
Waryn, Shoggy
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Heinle Cengage Learning
This chapter presents an intercultural project designed at M.I.T.that makes use of Internet communication tools to develop students’understanding of the values and attitudes embedded in a foreign culture.Initially designed for an intermediate French class, Cultura has now been developed in Russian, Spanish, and German and has been used at various levels and institutions across the United States, connecting learners in foreign language classes with students living in France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, and Spain.Written by five faculty members from three different institutions, M.I.T., Brown, and Brandeis, this chapter describes the goals, approach, materials, and methodology of Cultura, and provides a detailed description of the ways in which students construct their understanding of other cultures in electronic interactions. It identifies the challenges of implementing such a project, the roles of learners and teachers, the tools and technologies used, and the issues surrounding assessment. Finally, the chapter presents two detailed case studies, a Russia–U.S. exchange and a Mexico–U.S. exchange, which highlight the challenges of adapting Cultura to new languages, cultures, and institutional settings.
Bauer, B., DeBenedette, L., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., Waryn, S. (2005). The Cultura project. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 31-62.
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