Culture-focused learning in the EFL classroom: Materials and approaches

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Culture-focused learning in the EFL classroom: Materials and approaches


Higgins, Janet M.D.


In this presentation, I introduce approaches and materials that I have developed with university students studying English as a foreign language in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, to focus on cultural diversity and regional identity. Okinawa is the southernmost Prefecture in Japan. It has a rich cultural tradition that was at its height in the ‗Golden Age‘ of the 15th century. One of my teaching goals is to help students identify the special features of this living heritage and to be able to talk about and explain them to visitors in English. Since we clearly learn about our own culture through contrasting it with others, my materials are also multicultural. Several sets of materials are introduced: Using the vehicle of The Guided Walk to identify, research, and make presentations about local cultural artifacts. This includes students assuming the role of tour guide. Looking at what artifacts we can find on the streets in cities outside Japan. Examples from a government funded CALL project in which our team is compiling regional-focused lexical materials in a visual dictionary.


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