Cultural Questions

Using the cultural interview questions form provided for the basis of your interview, interview one of your students who are English Language Learners (ELL) and

develop a summary of the interview, a statement of one or more new strategies you might incorporate into your instruction to help this student be more successful

in your classroom/lab and a reflection statement. Your product can be in the form of a 1-2 paper, a narrated PowerPoint presentation, movie, PREZI or other multi-

media format

Directions: You will interview a student whose first language is NOT English and whose native culture is NOT North American. You must ask a minimum of 20

questions, and 5 questions must come from each of the four sections listed below. There should be three sections to your paper:

Section 1: A description of your interviewee, including background information, native country and language, and reasons for moving to the United States

Section 2: A summary of your interviewee’s responses to the questions that you asked (include the questions before your summaries)

Section 3: A reflective summary in which you discuss what surprised you (and why), cultural mismatches (if any) between you and the interviewee, cultural insights

that you gained, and, finally, discuss how the information that you gained from this assignment can help you as a classroom teacher.

Possible Questions:

1. Values, Beliefs, and Practices
o    How were you taught to make use of time?
o    How does your culture deal with punctuality?
o    How late is rude?
o    What personal distance is acceptable in your culture?
o    How does your culture determine space allotment to boys and girls?
o    How does the social organization at home differ from American culture or the school?
o    How does dress differ for age, gender, and social class?
o    What clothing or accessories are considered acceptable?
o    How does your culture deal with natural phenomena (lightning, earthquakes, fire, thunder, floods, hurricanes, etc.)
o    What are the rituals to show respect?
o    What are the major cultural celebrations?
o    What do parents expect when they come to the school?
o    What types of work are expected at different ages, and by gender, in the home and the community?
o    What is the purpose of play in your culture?
o    Is individual work private or shared?
o    To what extent are you expected to work cooperatively?
o    What jobs are considered prestigious?
o    What are acceptable careers for boys and girls?
o    What aspects of religion are public and private?
o    What is the relationship between law enforcers and the community?
o    What methods of teaching and learning are used in the home?
o    What is the role of your language?
o    How are children supposed to interact with adults and with teachers?
o    How many years are children expected to attend school?

2. Roles and Status
o    What tasks are performed by boys and girls?
o    Where, when, and how can boys and girls interact?
o    What expectations do parents hold for boys and girls?
o    What kind of home environment is common (extended v. nuclear)?
o    What resources are there in the home to help children with school?
o    What roles do family members play?
o    What activities are considered appropriate or forbidden?
o    What topics of discussion are considered appropriate or forbidden?
o    What kinds of work or occupations are considered acceptable?
o    What educational level is considered desirable and for whom?
o    What degree of assimilation is desirable?

3. Family Socialization
o    What are the naming practices in your culture?
o    How are people addressed?
o    What are the child rearing practices?
o    Who cares for the children and how?
o    What level of parental involvement is expected in educational situations?
o    What are the food preferences
o    What is the role of silence?
o    What non-verbal expressions are usual?

4. Deep Culture:  How does your culture deal with the following:
o    Ceremony
o    Courtship & Marriage
o    Ethics
o    Family Ties
o    Folk Myths
o    Health and Medicine
o    Gestures & Kinesthetics
o    Grooming
o    Ownership
o    Privileges & Rewards
o    Rights & Duties
o    Religion
o    Sex Roles
o    Taboos
o    Time / Values


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