TITLE: Cultural Spaces AUTHOR: Ray McCarter, Marlow Public Schools, Marlow, Oklahoma GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: 7-12 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 will: 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 learning. ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: 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 helpful. 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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