¿Quién tiene la razón?
¿Cómo es posible que los dos tengan razón?
One of the most important tasks outside of language learning that world language teachers face is to make our students aware of the world outside their community. To battle their sheltered lifestyle, I try to have them realize that some things can be different in other countries and to have them embrace these differences rather than judge them.
At the beginning of the year, I talk with my students about the word “perspective” and what that means, which is a cross-over from their social studies curriculum. One example I give them is what we refer to as the “US-Mexican War” is referred to as the “US Invasion” in México. The title alone shows how the event is viewed in each country.
They are super surprised when I ask them ¿Cúantos continentes hay? and when they respond with seven I tell them they are wrong. From the perspective of Latin America there are only 5. Check out this video and see.
One of the important lessons I emphasize when talking about culture is the language we use. When presented with cultural information that is unusual to American normals a lot of students will remark how “weird” it is. It’s not weird to them! “Weird” can infer a negative judgement, so while something may be “different” that doesn’t make it “weird”. That is their way of life. That is their normal. Instead of judging, it is important to understand the history or culture on why things are done they way they are.
Some readings/resources on giving the students a global perspective:
- From Teaching Tolerance, “Don’t Call me Puerto Rican” and “Immigrant Dreams“. TT has discussion questions, but it appears the first article you now need to purchase (99 cents).
- Blog post about the stereotypes people still have about Colombia including 12 things you shouldn’t do. (Might want to change the title before sharing with students).
- I have my students read young-adult novels, including Esperanza Rising, for students to see the perspective of these characters and what their life is like.
- Breaking stereotypes about Mexican with tagline “More Than Sombreros“
- Pictures of 20 different classrooms from around the world.
- Pictures of a week’s worth of groceries from 20 countries around the world (US, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador)
- Pictures of school lunches from 20 countries around the world.
- “Colores, Colores” by Bacilos expresses the importance of diversity and that we are all the same color on the inside.
- “De que me sirve la vida” by Camila has a great music video, with a message of tolerance.
- Many songs talk about the struggles of immigrants such as “A las Tres” by Enanitos Verdes.
For more cultural images/links check out our Hispanic Countries and Culture board on Pinterest.
I’ve used some of these images to hang on a wall in my classroom:
Please share any other links that we can add to this list!
In trying to teach cultural diversity, one of the things my 8th graders have been working on is the development of an online textbook. They research Spanish countries and the topics that interest them, create pages filled with information and interactive tools, and aim to share with the world the awesome things they learn about the Spanish culture! Always looking for other students / classes to collaborate!
I agree, although I’m only a sophomore in college majoring in Spanish Education, my professors and high school teachers expressed the same thoughts and feelings about perspectives. I know one way is to have your students make small dishes for food culture. My AP Spanish teacher in high school made us do that and it was a really great experience!
Excellent article! It’s important for everyone, regardless of age, to gain more knowledge on global topics. It opens minds and can make a person more tolerant.
Really good article!