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Date of Award

9-2011

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education; Language, Literacy and Culture

First Advisor

Laura Valdiviezo

Second Advisor

Patricia Gubitosi

Third Advisor

Henry Geddes

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Higher Education | Reading and Language

Abstract

Teaching about culture at the college level is always a challenge with regards to the heterogeneous reality of Spanish. The debatable status of the language within the United States is not always reflected in the language and literature departments of institutions of higher education. Moreover, standardization has been continuously favored in the context of Spanish teaching and learning. From this perspective, it is challenging for the students coming from the mainstream culture of the United States to approach the culture of everyday life in the Spanish speaking communities inside and outside the country. At the same time, literature has mostly been used a pedagogical tool to promote accuracy in the foreign language. However, in my study, I argue the use of literature as a fundamental teaching / learning tool to expose students to the different aspects of cultural learning. Literature becomes a window to understand the nuances of living in Spanish with a critical look. In this process, cultural learning becomes a dialogic process through which the learners of a foreign language and literature incorporate and readjust their values, perceptions, and practices in a redefined internally persuasive discourse. In this journey, the role of the teacher seems fundamental to connect and dialogize the first culture of the students and the foreign one that progressively gets incorporated as their own in a sort of new space.

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