¿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.
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.
Please share any other links that we can add to this list!