Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies

TITLE:  Cultural Spaces

AUTHOR:  Ray McCarter, Marlow Public Schools, Marlow,


OVERVIEW:  Many students assume only their cultural and
traditional practices are worldly accepted and practiced. 

PURPOSE:  The primary purpose of this activity is to place
thestudent in a cultural reversed situation in order to
processexpanded tolerance and acceptance of other cultures
and traditional practices. 

OBJECTIVES:   As a result of this activity, the students
1.   Identify cultural differences in relationship to
     personal "space".
2.   Experience discomfort with alien cultural practices.

This activity works best with no prior discussion.  Used
atthe first class meeting it is an effective tool for
impactingteacher's expectations of student tolerance for
new anduntried experiences in the Foreign Language, or
English As A Second Language classroom.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS:  None are required, but teacher may
provide additional reading sources for cross cultural

1.   After introductions or roll is called at the beginning
     of the class period divide students into couples. Any
     combination of gender is acceptable.
2.   Have students rearrange the room to provide a large
     floor space area.
3.   Ask students to face each other by standing toe to toe.
     Peruse the room to make sure that students are
     maintaining the required posture.
4.   Instruct students to remain standing toe-to-toe and
     converse with their partner for three minutes.
5.   Time the exercise while documenting a list of student
     names and behavior. Videotaping the activity is also
6.   When the time has expired, ask students to be seated
     and ask them their reactions and feeling about their
     three minutes of close "space". List these responses on
     the blackboard.
7.   Ask students to analyze their discomfort of speaking in
     such a small personal space.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  All cultures have special rules and
limitations to what is acceptable for personal space or
area.Explain to students that the Spanish or Latin student
maybe very comfortable speaking with a friend in the same
areaof space that they just experienced, while
theCaucasian student may have been uncomfortable without
atleast an arms length of personal area. List
severaltraditional cultural differences and explain the
importanceof tolerance with cultural practices and
traditional differences.

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