Reflection 5: Humans of New York

Reflection based on a group activity from lesson 9: A Cultural Studies Approach to Intercultural Encounters and Interculturality on the 9th of April 2018. 

By the help of Karen Risager’s (2018) findings on theoretical approaches to English teaching in textbooks, we’ve been presented the different approaches to teaching culture (as a coherent part of the English lessons; as language and culture aren’t isolated topics), and on that basis, analysed and discussed Clio Online’s teaching sequence Humans of New York for 8th-grade English. Humans of New York in itself as a subject allows for many and diverse things to discuss and methods of teaching from a non-essentialist point of view. The view of culture, society and the world (representations) are individualised and regarding diversity. Even though all the stories are logistically taking place in New York, the thematic areas being dealt with are identities and life-defining events or situations. The discourses don’t present ideologies, but emotions are used to empathise the importance of authenticity and seriousness, but with an openness to being vulnerable and honest.
BUT, to our surprise, when looking at the actual goals from the common framework, there isn’t listed any cultural objectives – all objectives stated are surrounding speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  Thus the material, even though it has potential, doesn’t invite us to do anything as humans (students, teachers or citizens). 

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