Culture as the Core in the Second Language Classroom

July 12–30, 2021
Asynchronous* 3-week online summer institute

Kaishan Kong

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
Week 1 Culturally-Oriented Language Teaching
  • Exploring Teacher Cultural Selves in the Teaching Process
  • (Re)framing Culture and Culture Learning
What Cultural Understanding Looks Like: Focus on the Learner
  • Envisioning Objectives for Culture Learning
  • Moving from Language ProÞciency to Intercultural Competence
  • Raising Essential Questions
  • Assessing Culture Learning
Week 2 How to Integrate Culture and Language: Topics, Texts, Tasks
  • Complicating Culture Through Intersectionalities
  • Integrating Culture through Content-Based Instruction
  • Using Insider Authentic Texts
  • Deciding What Culture(s) to Teach
Week 3 How to Explore (Youth) Culture
  • Enhancing Intercultural Communicative Competence Using Various Models
  • Evaluating and Adapting the Culture Content of Textbooks
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;

  • Use authentic materials for teaching culture; and

  • Assess culture learning.


Kaishan Kong is Associate Professor of Chinese at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Second Language Education. She has taught language and cultural courses in both China and the United States. Her research interests include second language acquisition, mediated learning in study abroad, intercultural communication, and teacher training.

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.


  • This institute is primarily asynchronous (not real time). For the most part, you will work on activities according to your own schedule during the week.
  • This institute includes two required synchronous sessions:
    • 1st day synchronous meet-and-greet: July 12, 8–9 a.m. (Central Time)
    • Last day synchronous goodbye meeting: July 30, 8–9 a.m. (Central Time)
  • This institute includes optional Q&A synchronous sessions (two sessions per week):
  • Participants will also have the opportunity to work with their small group synchronously during the institute, but the group can decide their meeting time to fit everyone's schedule.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.


Quote MarksRight quote marksThis course has made me question the role of culture in my curriculum and how I can make the necessary changes to complicate culture, enrich my students’ experiences by offering multiple perspectives while helping them move towards cultural competence.
Rosa Sala-Healey, 2020 Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414