Episode 35: World Languages, World Cultures! Part 1

global cultures podcast Feb 28, 2023
global cultures

In this episode, I'm talking about the importance of teaching global cultures in our world language classes. I am super excited to share this episode with you! Subscribe to the podcast so you won't miss part 2.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Dr. Christopher Emdin part 1

Dr. Christopher Emdin  part 2

Hand Jives

Waze: Check out these custom turn-by-turn voice directions! Listen to them on your next drive with Waze.



Welcome to Teaching la vida loca, a podcast for World Language Teachers seeking inspiration, unapologetic authenticity and guidance in centering joy, and facilitating language acquisition for the people who matter most our students, I'm your host, Annabelle. Most people call me la vide loca. And I'm an educator just like you, and inspiring teachers is.

Different Recording Set Up  

Hello there. Hi. Hi. And so happier year. I am super excited to because tonight I am recording with just my computer as the mic, which is definitely different because I've been so used to using my mic so far. I can't figure out why I can't connect it. So, we're just trying this audio. But so far, it sounds really good. And I'm pumped about that because if you didn't hear in my last episode, least I think I shared there. I spilled coffee all over my last computer, which is a huge bummer. Because since it was more than three years old, it was $4,500 to fix it. And so, I just had to finance a new one, which was crazy. They were like it's only $3,000 to get a new one. And I said only. Hi, did I mention that I'm a teacher? And they were like, Oh, great. You get $100 off. I said, oh, well that you know all of their friends 2900 Thank you so much. So great. Am I eligible for your monthly payment plan, please, with no interest, thanks for as many months as you will allow great. So anyways, the audio sounds pretty good. And I'm pretty pumped about that.

Global Cultures 

Today, I want to talk to you short and sweet. This is going to be a two- or three-part podcast series about how important and in in fact sorry, how important and in fact, essential it is for us to be teaching about global cultures not just our target language cultures, meaning if you're a Spanish teacher, I know the temptation is huge to just focus on Spanish speaking countries and their cultures, their traditions, their peoples there, all of those things. When I really believe as World Language teachers, we have a responsibility to teach about global cultures and world cultures in our world language classrooms. So, I really wanted to break it up into multiple parts to be able to equip you with the tools you need and give you the inspiration that you might be seeking to really expose your students to cultures from around the globe. But so let's dig in. I'm so excited. This is literally all we've been talking about in the last two months in La Familia loca PLC. January's theme of the month was new perspective, New Year New perspectives. And we focused on purely like how you talk about global cultures in your world language classroom. And February has been all about festivals from around the world because festivals is a great window into another culture through traditions and celebrations. And there are so many different ways to connect from festival to festival. So, I wanted to give you some of these ideas and tools on my podcast to inspire you to inject some joy in your world language classroom through global cultures. I know I've said that a lot. But that's what it's all about. So yeah, let's dig in.

Most Important Thing 

The single most important thing to consider when you're introducing a new culture, a new tradition, a new food, anything new to your classes, something that is foreign or unknown to your students, is to first make sure that you've invested the time in getting to know your students and their personal culture before diving into global cultures or even target language cultures. And here's why, in his incredibly powerful closing keynote at ACTFL full 2000, Dang wasn't 19 It must have been 19, it was before the world shut down. In this incredibly powerful keynote address. In fact, I have two really terrible recordings of it of me like hollering and like cheering in the background as I filmed it, but I'll link those two YouTube videos in the show notes. In his keynote at ACTFL. He shared a really wonderful quote specifically about the word foreign he said our student’s instinct is to reject what is foreign. So why are we calling it foreign languages? Like that was his push like why foreign language I know ACTFL is like it's already in the title. But why foreign when our student’s instinct is to reject what is foreign, and not just our students, everyone foreign means, like unknown to us, like your body rejects what is foreign, right, your mind is wanting to reject what is foreign. So, instead of referring to these other cultures as global or world cultures, and then finding ways to connect with them, before othering them, well, you can't begin to help your students to create connections, and to think about how what they do in their culture, in their communities, in their world how it's similar to global cultures they're learning about, you can't begin to do that unless you know about them. Right. So, our first priority if we want to be introducing and exposing our students to global cultures, is to know about our kids, we have to know about their culture, about what they do on the weekend, about what foods they're into eating, about what festivals they celebrate in their communities. So, the most important first step is, how much have you worked on really listening, and being in tune to the cultures and identities in your classroom, and really honoring and celebrating the heck out of those before you start saying, Okay, now I have this other culture, or other tradition from another part of the world to introduce you to, because the important piece is teaching them how to not other, but connect with, show curiosity for, and appreciate other cultures. And the only way to build empathy and really do that is to first show them that you respect, honor, and celebrate their culture, their traditions, their heritage. So, that's really at the center. That's, that's the key part you have to either start doing if you haven't started doing or really reflect on before you dive into global cultures.


The other piece of this is the community’s aspect that I just mentioned. What is important in your community for me, we just got out of Mardi Gras season. This is so key and so it's, it's in their blood. It's in my students' blood, it's in their DNA. Isla, my stepdaughter couldn't believe we went to Orlando. My mom was diagnosed with cancer last week, I guess two weeks ago now, and we went to Orlando and more with her for the whole Mardi Gras break as she went through her first round of chemo. Whew. It's been a wild ride. But Isla, my stepdaughter, could not believe that there were people in this world that do not celebrate Mardi Gras in the same way that we do. She was like, wait, what? There's no parades. What do you want? Well, what did they do on Mardi Gras day? I'm like, it's, there's a phrase that says it's just Tuesday everywhere else or something like that. And everywhere else is just another Tuesday. She was like, what? Like she could not believe that people did not have Mardi Gras. And I'm like, well, there's carnival around the world like people celebrate carnival. She was like, no, wait, hold on. Can we just focus on the fact that we're in the United States and, and there's not like parades all day today. And there. There are people in school right now in this city? And I'm like, Yeah, it's weird. It's totally weird. So, first connecting with their culture and their traditions in your city. It might be like a really cool, yearly Renaissance Festival. I don't know. I don't know every place, every city, every town has a unique thing, a unique tradition, a unique celebration, perhaps festival that makes it special. How can you take what students celebrate or experience on their personal level, honor that and connect it to the community level, then it's such an easy place to jump off of to dive into those global cultures. That's really what I wanted to talk to you about today. I wanted to give you a nugget for any of you who are aunties, uncles, parents, grandparents, godparents, fairy godparents like me. I have a lot of very good children. As I promised a couple episodes ago, if you don't have the app Waze on your phone, so there's like Google Maps and maps and all these things. Download Waze W, a y, z. Let me make sure that I'm right in that. Yeah. No, just kidding. waz II download it, because you can record children's voices as your directions. So, instead of having like a bot, say, turn, right, make a U turn. Recalculating. You can literally have a tiny human, like, I have Memphis and I love reading my directions. I learned this from my auntie Katie, who has her grandkids saying it. But like, Memphis will say, turn white. I will say, turn left. It's so cute. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I have gone ahead and recorded every direction for you in WAZE, and you can use my voice if you like to direct you in your directions throughout the city. So, if you download the Waze app, for your like driving navigation, you can have me saying things like, oh, make a U turn. Why are you making me do this, or Yay, we're almost there. When you're close to your destination, it's really great. So, if you would like me to narrate and direct you and guide you on your navigation, I would love to join you in your car. Pretend I'm in your passenger seat, being a really obnoxious front seat. What's it called backseat driver, but I'm in the front seat. Yeah. Anyways, you can download that. And before I go, I might as well take the time to share a brain break.

Brain Break 

Okay, if you've been following me for a while, you know, I talk a lot about the power of novelty and the importance of novelty in your world language classroom. Brain Breaks are just the same. So, if you've been doing a brain break for a while, the importance of injecting a little bit of novelty into that brain break. Cannot, you can't say enough about it, it's really important to like, re-energize them, re excite them about that brain break. And so today, I randomly was like, Okay, do the hand drive brain break, and I saw a couple kids go, like with their eyes. And I was like, Lou, you're way too young with that kind of attitude about or apathy around a brain break. So, I said but this time, new challenge. And so instead of just telling them hand jive with a different word, if you don't know the hand drive brain break, I will link to it, a blog to it, and some videos but basically, instead of giving them a new word, so the normal hand drive that I introduced was choco choco La La choco choco. So, it's a four-syllable word. I instead of just saying Guatemala, or Mariposa, I said you have to criss-cross your hands. And the kids were like, yes. And all of a sudden it was new and novel and so exciting. And then a couple of kids were like maestra maestra, watch what I can do. And they were like, I can do it, reverse. And so they like, literally turned their backs, backs to each other and did choco latte with their backs to each other, which was so cute that they invented this new novel trick. And one of them was one of the kids that rolled his eyes when I said, do this brain break. So, the importance of novelty and Brain Breaks cannot go unmentioned. And it's also okay to acknowledge, like, we have 900 billion things to remember, in one class period. Brain Breaks are supposed to be a break in the rigor, they're supposed to be fun injections of joy. It's hard to like, try and plan for those, right? So, do yourself a favor and hang up a poster in the back of your classroom. Help yourself out, make sure that you have a list displayed somewhere where you can just glance up and decide what brain break, you're doing in the moment, and you're not in charge of like trying to pre plan for that, right. These novel twists help to keep it organic and natural and engaging, so that you can keep them invested in them, and still keep them interested. So, I hope you love that one. Again, I'll link to some videos and blogs in the show notes.


I'm super excited to continue this conversation about how we should be incorporating global and world cultures into our classroom and not just target language cultures as tempting as it is, because there is so much of the world to be explored. Something I've always told people is if you're tired about teaching a specific celebration or tradition or festival, that's a target language thing. Explore, expand your possibilities. If you're like I am way more excited about Songkran in Thailand. That's my favorite festival last month I created a resource for members of La Familia loca PLC to introduce it to their students because it's so awesome. It's a Thailand, New Year celebration. That happens in April. And it's freaking epic. Like, that's what I want to talk to my kids about. That's what I want to inspire them with. And they are so bought in every single time I've taught my students in elementary, middle, or high school about this festival, they're like, wait, I want to go to Thailand when I grow up. And that's what I really want. I want to inspire my kids to travel, to acquire other languages and communicate in those languages, to be able to travel the world like that is a dream for me. And I really want to make that dream come true for so many of them and show them that that is possible. I hope you have a beautiful rest of your day, rest of your afternoon, rest of your evening or night, wherever you are. Listen to this. Thank you so much for supporting me. And I can't wait to continue this conversation with you on introducing global cultures in your world language classroom. Sending you lots of love teacher and until next time, I'll be teaching la vida loca, and I am certain you will be to take care, bye bye.

Thank You! 

Hey there teacher, thank you so much for listening. If you could take a second to review my podcast or share it with a friend who you think might need a little bit extra inspiration or encouragement. If you found this episode entertaining or inspiring, I would so appreciate you sharing it with somebody else and letting Google know that I'm helping you in your world language classroom because then my impact can be so much greater with other teachers and their students across the globe. Thank you so much for supporting me. I'm so grateful for you and all that you do. Take care.

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