Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom

July 29–August 2, 2019

Transformative learning often happens when people experience cultural and linguistic contact with people different from themselves. This institute will explore how to make these experiences happen in and through classrooms. We will explore a wide range of tools for understanding self and 'others' without falling into stereotypes or reductive simplifications. While cultivating deeper understanding on how language-culture-identity informs our teaching, we will envision ways to integrate culture and language learning that include authentic materials and inter- and transcultural habits of mind. Throughout the course, participants will be engaged in constructive conversation, hands-on practice, and reflection. In the end, participants will be able to conceptualize culture teaching in ways that suit their teaching and learning context.

Program Schedule (9am-4pm)
Day 1 Culturally-oriented Language Teaching
  • Exploring Teacher Cultural Selves in the Teaching Process
  • (Re)framing Culture and Culture Learning
Day 2 What Cultural Understanding Looks Like: Focus on the Learner
  • Envisioning Objectives for Culture Learning
  • Moving from Language Proficiency to Intercultural Competence
  • Raising Essential Questions
  • Assessing Culture Learning
Day 3 How to Integrate Culture and Language: Topics, Texts, Tasks
  • Complicating Culture ThroughIntersectionalities
  • Integrating Culture through Content-Based Instruction
  • Using Insider Authentic Texts
  • Deciding What Culture(s) to Teach
Day 4 How to Explore (Youth) Culture
  • Facilitating Cultural Comparisons Using the D-I-E Model, and Critical Incidents
  • Evaluating and Adapting the Culture Content of Textbooks
Day 5 Culture Learning in Action
  • Sharing Lessons and Lessons Learned
  • Devising an Action Plan for Curriculum Revision

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Bring everyday culture into language instruction;

  • Apply common frameworks of culture and culture learning;

  • Create integrated language-and-culture learning objectives and lessons;

  • Practice using authentic materials for teaching culture;

  • Assess culture learning; and

  • Use textbooks for culture learning and unlearning.

Martha Bigelow and Kaishan Kong


Martha Bigelow is Professor in Second Language Education at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

Kaishan Kong is Assistant Professor of Chinese at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Second Language Education.


Target Audience
:This institute is suited for elementary school to postsecondary foreign language, ESL/EFL, indigenous teachers. It is also suited to immersion teachers and teacher educators.


Quote MarksRight quote marksBoth Martha and Kaishan brought the topics to life with humor, wonderful examples, lessons, and insight. I can go back to my classroom with a clear sense of how to incorporate more culture learning.
— Lisa Lieber, 2018Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414