Visual Culture

Reflection on Michael Ryan’s chapter on Visual Culture with Brett Ingram in Cultural Studies – A Practical Introduction.

Visual culture is a field of study. Our life is visual. This encompasses television, films, advertisements, photographs, comic books … anything that relays its story through pictures and images rather than text and words. The chapter introduces The Skeptical Eye, which is to be critical and not believe everything you hear or see in the media. The media often creates a narrow sighted view of the reality, in which some people (mis)take for a fact. It is therefore important as a teacher to give a divers explanation to the students, so they understand that it is a dominated narrative. Having a skeptical eye on’ digital media (news, videos etc) is important to identify the sender of the message and understand the background and context of the dominant narrative represented.

In visual culture, the values that structure dominant narratives are often circulated through mythical stories that condense the complexities of existence into simplified conflicts between good and evil p. 139

Power Structures in Films
It is not just important in today’s media, but it is also not all bad. In contrast to previous (old-school) representations of women on screen: idealised mothers, supportive wives or whores, in Sex and The City the women are representing different and modern female perspectives/roles/personalities, e.g. The character Samantha, who is prioritising career and sex over creating a family – but she isn’t only portrayed as a woman who has sex with a lot of men – but a strong feminist character who is putting her own needs first.

When looking at the old Disney movies, there are plenty of stereotypical representations. One of the most criticised might be Alladin, introducing a lost list of stereotypes of Arab culture –  all the women a represented as sexy or erotic dancers, The Middle East is portrayed as a brutal place where the men are walking on cal, hypnotising snakes, crooks or sword-swallowers – besides the women that are sexy and dancing, the rest of them are covered up and doing laundry. And, finally, the princess Yasmin is seen as being in need of a man to control her.  The original lyrics of Arabian Nights included 

“I come from a land
From a faraway place
Where they cut off your ear
If they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”
Though changed in 1993 as they were deemed racist.

Writing this reflection I stumbled upon these videos, which pretty much sums up the Disney issue, empathising that Disney has changed course to a degree, we now see female heroes in movies like Frozen or Brave.

Audience, Performance and Celebrity

Reflection on chapter 12 Audience, Performance and Celebrity from Ryan, M (2010) Cultural Studies: A Practical Introduction.

Only traumatised people want to be famous. – Alanis Morrissette

This chapter explores celebrity attachment as an essential part of psychological constitution, inasmuch as our lives start out being attached to another human’s body, then we grow being attached and depending on family, and later to friends and lovers, meaning that becoming human happens through our attachments; moving from a selfish core to a social, mediated, civil. Thus to some, identifying with a celebrity, gives guidelines and hopes for the future, in the same way as religion does. Celebrity attachment highly makes sense in the society of which not everyone gets to be important, fulfilled or recognised. So to identify with a star allows for momentarily changing into being someone else.

Further, the chapter presents the concept of moral sensibility, which is the hot topic of the gossip of, especially female celebrities, some classic examples that most of us know of would be Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Even due to the positive development of gender equality and women’s rights, women are expected to act and behave in a certain way – or – at least not do certain things. Female celebrities are often reminded to remember that they are role models for their fans.

Personally, I experience, that some of the women’s harshest critics are often other women, I also often see concept of feminism being turned into the hateful bashing of men (especially Caucasian and privileged men (who, by the way, was just born into this world like everyone else)) – there is still an imbalance between the way media portray female vs. male celebrities (and transgender celebrities for that matter as well). I won’t say too much about the following videos, they speak for themselves, but they are my arguments for the importance of bringing these issues into the classroom when talking about media, identity, and culture.

Listening & Speaking (TELL)

Reflections on the presentation by a student group on chapter 3 from the book Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL).

The chapter lays out a series of skills students need to acquire to improve their language proficiency, along with a series of technology-enhanced lesson ideas designed to help students improve those skills, and additionally, the chapter offers a range of internet- or technology-based tools and class exercises that are contemporary (available) and free to use. One example is, that it is suggested to use chatbots, as a means of language practise or improvement – so chatbots, along with other already available free technology tools, are already available and eve though they were made for something else, are really benificial to include in the language teacher’s classroom (even more so; BECAUSE they are not made for educating purposes).

Language acquisition:

1. Psycholinguistic (Kantor)

  • How the mind process language
  • Using our cognitive skills
  • perception, memory and thinking

2. Social features

  • Using the contextual situation as a way of understanding language
  • The environment, context, genre, subject

And happens on 3 different levels:

– (Psycholinguistic) Acoustic-phonetic professor (the voice in your head, interpreting accents, dialects and

– (Psycholinguistic) Parser (making it into words you know)

– (Social) Conceptualiser (contextual)

Listening strategies:

Listening strategies is good for compensating for lack of skills (fields).




Guessing the maning of words the listener is uncertain about, or has missed, from clues in the linguistic or non-linguistic context

Seeking clarification

Getting the speaker to repeat something which the listener has missed.


Rehearsing in your mind what speakers are likely to be going to say, in order to help you to understand better when they actually start speaking.


Concentrating and persevering despite problems with understanding. Trying to get the main idea and not worrying about understanding every word.


Speaking Skills

Core skill



Pronouncing vowels, consonants, and blended sounds clearly.
Using different intonation patterns to communicate old and new information.

Performance speech acts

Knowing how to make requests.
Knowing how to give opinions.

Managing interaction

Initiating, maintaining and ending conversations.
Turn taking.
Clarifying meaning.

Organising discourse

Using discourse markers and intonation to signpost changes of topic.
Being able to structure discourse for different communicative purposes such as stories or instructions.

Speaking Strategies



Cognitive (or psycholinguistic) strategies

Finding ways round a lack of vocabulary through paraphrases, substitution, coining new words, etc.

Metacognitive strategies

Planning or rehearsing what you are going to say.
Monitoring your language while you are speaking.

Interaction strategies

Asking for help.
Checking understanding.

Requesting clarification.

When carefully picked, the language teacher can actually use internet-based technology tools to start humanising the classroom again, instead of the contrary (and unfortunate) common belief, that, technology, iPads and so on, are bad for students, their attention span, etc.

One example I came to think of regarding this subject, is how Khan Academy is allowing students to keep track of their own individual learning curve meanwhile the teacher get’s to use their time on the students when and how they need to be helped.

A teacher’s reaction on using Khan Academy in his classroom (and curriculum):

A brief introduction to Khan Academy:

The Red Line

This reflection is based on the reading of The Red Line by Charlie Higson (origin; 1993, pub. René Bühlmann, 1995) and is different than my previous reflections in as much as I am proposing the usage of the short story in intercultural citizenship education as a part of English teaching.

Wikipedia: Red line, or “to cross the red line“, is a phrase used worldwide to mean a figurative point of no return or line in the sand, or “a limit past which safety can no longer be guaranteed.

The short story has a 3rd person narrator and happens in the tube of London – On the red line. The chapters of the short story are named of and in the same order of the stops of the tube. Following is a brief recap of the chapters:

Chapter: Oval
We find out, that the story takes place in London. We are in the head of an unnamed man. This 1st, an unnamed character is introduced and described as; male, white, pale, hairless (routine), perfectionistic, loves karaoke, infatuated w. Bob Seger, and hates change. We meet him in a situation, where his world has fallen apart as he finds, that the (/his) karaoke machine has been removed.

Chapter: Embankment
Now we are at the actual tube. The 2nd character introduced – we are now in his head; Berto – He is new in London visiting Cathy, from Venice — met Cathy there. Even though they are not on the tube, the 3rd & 4th characters are introduced; Cathy — English, in an open relationship, Cathy’s boyfriend; Talks a lot, friendly. Berto is confused about his relationship with Cathy and her relationship with her boyfriend. Upsets Cathy for an unknown reason and she leaves him alone on the tube in London.

Chapter: Leicester Square
Flashback to a situation where the unnamed guy tries to find a new karaoke place to sing Bob Seger at, he fails. We find out he is disgusted by people, as they are all ugly and hairy. 

Chapter: Goodge Street
Berto is trying not to panic at the tube — tries to gather the courage to ask anyone for help, is scared no-one will understand him. Is scared to be laughed at. He is considering the fellow-tube-riders; “Old people are all deaf, the middle-aged man is half asleep and must be a drunk, he wants to ask a sympathetic person, a young woman, she is probably nice.”

Chapter: Euston
Now the 5th character; Denise (the young woman on the train) — she is both paranoid and scared. She is interpreting Berto as; dark-skinned, dark eyes, looks a bit like a model, but like all men a potential rapistA 6th character is briefly introduced; Neil (Denise’s boyfriend) — thinks Denise should relax. The unnamed guy is described by Denise as having curly blond hair. Denise feels like the unnamed guy and Barto are staring at her in the tube and she is very uncomfortable.

Chapter: Tufnell Park
The unnamed guy feels stared at by both Denise (snotty girl) and Barto (greasy monkey) and is getting really worked-up in his own head about some tape, that he hopes is strong enough…

Chapter: Archway
Barto is listening to his cassette with an Italian voice trying to teach him English.

Chapter: Highgate
Barto has finally gathered the courage to ask Denise for help, but she sees him approaching as a nightmare (almost) coming true. She rushes out of the train (one stop too early) and up the stairs just to find that ‘the man’ (Barto) didn’t follow her. She is frozen by fear and starts crying.

Chapter: East Finchley
As Barto passes the unnamed man in the tube, regretting he didn’t follow Cathy or got to ask Denise for help before she got off, he walks in the opposite direction of the train. The unnamed man stabs Barto with a kitchen knife wrapped around his wrist with tape. Before Barto realises what is happening, he is left to die on the floor of the train, and whilst watching his own blood forming a red line, he suddenly remembers how he could’ve found his way back home to Cathy’s place.

The short story was in 2014 published as a short movie of just 19 minutes:

I haven’t been able to get a hold of the full 19-minute version of the movie, but I think a combination of first the short story, then watching the movie, would enable students’ awareness of prejudices. The story itself is written in an easily understandable English, and with a little help from a glossary list and/or repetition of the new vocabulary, I think the students would find it easy to identify the actions, different persons and perspectives within the story as listed above chapter per chapter. Thus after discussing the story thoroughly, the students have created images in their heads of both the characters and their situations, most likely many of them can identify with the fears of the characters – I think no one can say that they have never been there; on a train, judging someone or feeling irrational fear. These discussions are important, especially if we want the students to be able to reflect on their own behaviors and attitudes, past and future. And the end goal would be for the students to receive some sort of critical political awareness, for example combining this module with The Red Line, with continuing to discussing how the media (incl. the Red Line film) affects our perceptions of certain groups of people.

Intercultural Competence in Foreign Languages


Reflection on Michael Byram’s text, The Intercultural Speaker and the Pedagogy of Foreign Language Education, chapter 18 of Intercultural Competence in Foreign Languages.

“The weakness in education for citizenship is the assumption that the focus of attention should be local and national, that political literacy means knowledge about processes and institutions within one’s own school, neighborhood, and state/country, and activity should be focused at one or more of these levels. There is nothing surprising in this sense education systems are usually national and were formed with the intention of creating identification with nation-states. But this is now a weakness in the contemporary world of global economies and international organizations, both civic and political” – Michael Byram

The intercultural speaker is a speaker that possess a linguistic proficiency but also an intercultural competence when engaging cross-culturally, thus has no connection with the term native speaker. Michael Byram has created a 5-dimensional model (beneath) to showcase the desired skills of the intercultural speaker (or learner). The categories are divided as follow:

  • Skills of interpreting/relating
  • Skills of discovery/interaction
  • Attitudes-curiosity/openness

  • Knowledge
  • Critical cultural awareness

Worth stressing is, the final dimension mentioned, critical cultural awareness, can be compared to the German educational tradition Bildung aiming of encouraging learners to reflect critically on the society, and this is also one of the most important elements of intercultural citizenship education, thus the category/dimension is placed at the centre of the model, as it is absolutely essential to ensure language teaching has an intercultural – It is essential and ensures that language teaching has an intercultural educational purpose.

Model: Michael Byram’s ICC (Intercultural Competence)-Model

The additional dimensions don’t require a specific priority of the teacher, rather an individual “when it makes sense” implementation.

Worth noting is that Rathje (2007) and others criticise the term intercultural competence as there isn’t any officially-agreed definitive definition, which makes the teaching of it, too soft and unsystematic, thus the models or definitions thereof becomes a contradiction of itself according to Rathje.

“The problem with taking a national culture and identity as the basis for teaching intercultural competences is not, therefore, the problem of essentializing or reductionism. The problem lies in the exclusive focus on one identity and the assumption that, in interaction in a foreign language, it is the only identity present.” – Michael Byram

Discourses of Othering

Reflection based on Fred Dervin’s paper Discourses of Othering (2014) in International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction (WILEY-BLACKWELL).

“It’s easier to split an atom than a prejudice” – Albert Einstein

Because of students’ increasing intercultural contact in this globalised world, Fred Dervin is leading within the postmodern need to question and re-evaluate everything, and examines the concepts of culture, identity and collectivity and how to deal with these subjects in education. Out current education which is full of examples of historical labels of othering. E.g. Colonisations, indigenous people in Australia, Human zoos, South Africa’s Apartheid, etc. Where the othering identity markers include nationality, race, language, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc. Naturally, our educational institutions are only a representation of the current society, norms, and values thereof, and in there, exists a large variation of othering, both national and cultural:

  • Essentialism
  • Racism
  • Neo-racism (for which culture serves as a proxy for race)
  • Culturalism (culture as an explanation for all)
  • Ethnocentrism sexism
  • Exoticism
  • Islamophobia
  • Occidentalism (Dervin & Gao, 2012)
  • Orientalism

The other is been at the core of Human and Social Sciences (Interdisciplinary concept par excellence; psychology, sociology, philosophy – especially ontology, anthropology, linguistics, theology, archeology, history and gender studies).

Othering (sometimes written as otherising) is an interdisciplinary notion/topic that refers, amongst other things, to differentiating discourses that lead to a moral and political judgment of superiority and inferiority between ‘us’ and ‘them, and within groups. Critical approaches to mothering examine its construction in social interaction and take into account both power relations and the intersectionality of different identity markers. Researchers increasingly pay attention to their own contribution to othering. Othering can lead to racism, sexism and/or bigotry, thus has to be discussed, banished and fought against in educational discourses. Othering discourses that have led to acts such as hatred, killing, terrorism, slavery, genocides, etc., but in daily life show themselves as prejudice, power imbalance, discrimination and patronising attitudes.

Social representation (concept by psychologist Moscovici, 1961) is a system of values, ideas and practices that are shared by people and that enable them to grasp their world but also to interact with others — which is exactly what bothering allows in social interactions.

Thus being aware of the discourses of othering is important and relevant when teaching today’s students any subject, not just history.

“I emphasize in it [my Orientalism] accortdingly that neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability; each is made up of human effort, partly affirmation, partly identification of the Other.”
―Edward Said

Sneak Peek

Module Plan:





Week 1: Introduction – Adapting to the entrepreneurial mindset, Input

Figure: The Open-Close Model for Ideation

1 (En)

To create good ideas

It’s an integral part of innovation and entrepreneurship process. To change mindset towards opportunities.

Brainstorming exercises

Creative word exercises

2 (En)

3 (En)


It’s a hands-on approach to task-based thinking. Because the student need to think in terms of adding value to society through their learning process

Introduction to task-forces; podcasts-, video-, “publishing a book”-group, etc.

4 (Ge)

Disruptive vs. Radical Innovation

Why do we need to think about innovation – what’s the impact of disruptive vs. radical innovation on a global scale

Concrete examples and cases.
Video: Sneakerheadz

Week 2: Noticing, Reflecting, Comparing, Input, Repetition

5 (En)

Prejudices & Introduction to Shoes

Identify, construct, deconstruct; empathy

Landeskunde; are there any justified generalisations?

Shoes: look at your own shoes, physical examples, Pictures from all continents
Video: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards (Manolo, 2017)

6 (En)

7 (En)

Autobiography: Cultural awareness

For the students to get an idea of their own cultural awareness; maybe even prejudices

Through material aimed for secondary lower school students

8 (Ge)

The Life-Cycle of a Shoe

To create awareness about the origin, production process, materials and logistics of the products we use everyday – with shoes as the concrete example

Video: In Their Shoes (2015): Atul Sabharwal

Week 3: Noticing, Reflecting, Comparing

9 (En)


For the student to become more aware of the cultural aspects of identity

Language portfolios, cases

Shoe profiles.- Mix and Match exercises – Reflection: Why?

10 (En)

11 (En)

Culture Game

Element of play for creating an entrepreneurial mindset and combining it with intercultural knowledge, skills and awareness. Also to create an authentic situation for true collaboration.

“Who am I – Who are you!” A mini escape room about acceptance and collaboration.

12 (Ge)

Shoe Functions and Cultures

To give the students a playful and reflecting reference point for understanding functions and culture in society through shoes as a mediating tool.

What shoes would you dance in?

How does it reflect upon you wearing sneaks to a wedding?

Let’s Hip Hop – Dance and play introduction to shoe functions.

You are wearing what?! – A mini roleplay about exaggerated prejudices.

Week 4: Noticing, comparing, reflecting and interaction

13 (En)

What’s important in an interview

For the students to be able to conduct interviews the following week

Creating interview sheets

14 (En)

15 (En)

Put yourself in another persons shoes


Linguistics, synonyms, word plays

16 (Ge)

Demographics, Terrain types

To understand chains of meaning defined by cause and action.

How does a mountain affect our shoe choice?

What does demographic entail for our cultural identity?

Picture analysis

Demographical introduction to cultural groups.

What is a terrain type – Photo Contest

Week 5: Interaction, output

17 (En)

Interview people on the street, take pictures of their shoes

To create

authentic intercultural encounters

An arena for the students to actually test their skills, knowledge and awareness

Collecting the content/material for the final product

18 (En)

19 (En)

20 (Ge)

Week 6: Noticing, comparing, reflecting and interaction

21 (En)

Creation of final product

Fueling motivation for creative urge

Working in taskforces

Editing the book together using Canva

Designing pitch – Presentation Technique

22 (En)

23 (En)

24 (Ge)

Presentation and evaluation

End of module. To evaluate the students actual learning outcome – Change of mindset?

Presenting and pitching final product.

Our model is a combination of:
Figure 1.1: The Practices of Entrepreneurship Education. Source: Teaching Entrepreneurship – A practice-based approach (Nech et al., 2014) &  Figure 4.1 Interacting processes of intercultural learning – Source: Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning (Liddicoat & Scarino, 2013)


Annual Plan


Week Title What Why How
33-36 Generation Youtube An introduction module-plan to working with the classroom as a workspace for entrepreneurial value. A critical and cultural introduction into the world of Youtube. For the student to be able to work with learning process, and having a platform for creating value and projects for their ongoing work process in the class throughout the years. Creating videos, podcasts etc. And uploading them for others to see. Task-force establishment
Ideation exercises
Creating a public profile
Intercultural reflections on youtube as a media and window for understanding the world.
Exploring Youtube as a learning platform
37-41 Tourism Letting the students work with interculturality by exploring leisure management and tourism.

They will change perspective on the subject in every class to find problems and solutions on 5 levels: “customer, company, education, worker & management”

Being able to understand and isolate problems in all sectors gives the students a possibility to develop their entrepreneurial and intercultural mindset simultaneously.

For the students to feel confident on “stage”, looking people in the eye, make them able to talk about themselves in front of people, giving them tools to sell an idea (company ideas) in a group presentation, allowing them to control a group of people and make them listen to them for 5 minutes (excursion).
They will know what it means to work as a tour guide, and work with their own personal goal
1. Tourist (Student-centred): Working with different types of tourists from learning material.

2. Company (Roleplay – Mirroring): Being in the role of creating a tourist company pointed towards one tourist profile.

3. Guide School (Scaffolding): Working with Sales and Presentation Techniques.

4. Excursion (Product): Sales meeting and excursion where the students are tour guides.

5. Board of Management (Reflection): How could we deliver better tours in the future?

All: Continue task-force and youtube channel

42                  AUTUMN BREAK                  
43-48 Sneak Peek Cross-curricular intercultural innovation media project:
The students are working with cultural awareness through an entrepreneurial approach working with identities and prejudices related to shoes- and the industry.
To combine intercultural competences with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset – To create a natural bridge between learning and creating value. Task Forces
Multimodality – Working with documentaries, pictures, artefacts.
Interviewing and intercultural encounters
Working with product – Photobook.
+ 2-5
Monster’s Academy A creative module in which the students have to create their own monsters and actively work with storytelling to create their own narratives in a shared and collaborative storytelling environment in which their individual stories influence the products of their peers. To be able to change a mindset towards a more workshop oriented and creative take on unlocking intrinsic motivation within the students. To give the students opportunity to seek new linguistic resource to use in their own narratives. Improv Drama
Drawing and Reflection exercises
Storytelling Workshops
Classroom narratives and collaboration
Unlocking and enhancing creative freethinking patterns.
Documenting learning process and experience through taskforces.
51, 52
6, 7
Lights Out Lights Out is an adventure learning module. Two classes will work with assignments, all related to Light, which will scaffold and support the student for the “The Dark Room” game, which they will get to play twice in the last week. The students will earn points for completing their assignments, which they can later spend in The Dark Room to complete the tasks and win the game. The Dark Room is a game based in a completely dark room filled with unlit candlelights, in which the students will have to cooperate in order to solve word puzzles. There are 15 separate word puzzles that, when completed, will form a story (The Little Match Girl). This student will expand his/her vocabulary, cooperative skill and knowledge on present and past tense whilst working with the topic ‘Light’. He/she will do so through reading, writing, listening and speaking. The assignments function as scaffolding as they provide the necessary vocabulary, grammar and story knowledge the students will need to play the game.
Task Forces
8                     WINTER BREAK                    
10-15 The Hollywood Studios An EDU-LARP spanning over a longer period of time, in which the classroom is transformed into the golden era of Hollywood – The student take on different roles – Actor, camera guy, director – All in the name of satisfying the evil megalomaniac: The Producer (The Teacher) To be able to work historically, culturally and critically with Hollywood as a take on “American” culture. Working with unlocking motivation through gamification, acting and role playing as well as live recreation of media. LARP – Creating Authentic interaction between the students which focuses on meaning and creating a storyline in collaboration with their peers and the teacher.
Movie analyses
Genre Writings – manuscript, drama, and dialogue
Task Forces
16-23 Hunt a Killer The student acts as a team of detectives trying to uncover what devious murderer is behind the killings. They get new clues each week and have to work with creating a web of meaning through understanding texts and artefacts. To give the students a format in which they must take responsibility for their own learning – Trying to understand what sort of linguistic resources and strategies they need to complete their research. The teacher works as the active scaffolder – Doing his best to support and help the students Working with text analysis – Hidden meanings, semantic webs, discourse analysis, identity through text.
Collaborative teamwork – Combining their efforts into a collective knowledge of the murder.
Ongoing reflections of clues and criticality of the subject matter
Taskforces – Podcasts and videos documenting their learning experience and process
24-26 Hip Hop Culture The students will work with hip hop culture and texts throughout different minor subgenres – working with hip hop as a window for understanding “small cultures”. How Could hip hop be swapped for something else entirely. What does identity entail? To take a dominant genre and understanding underlying cultural values. Giving the students an outlet for working with cultural and human roots of phenomenons – In this case; Hip Hop. Music Listening Exercises
Documentaries and debate
Mirroring and interacting with culture. Classroom splits.
Writing exercises – Text transformations. Working with meaning and storytelling.
Task Forces – Podcast about hip hop. Interviewing genre people – Rappers, Graffiti artist, DJ’s, designers etc.

For a better layout, please see:

Transnationality, Globalisation, Postcoloniality

Reflection on the lesson and Michael Ryan’s chapter on Transnationality, Globalisation and Postcoloniality in Cultural Studies – A Practical Introduction.

How culture is both national and transnational
“Culture is often national in character. The culture of Japan is distinct in many respects from that of nearby China. The cultural traditions are different; the current political culture is different. If one moves a little further away, to Indonesia, say, or to India, the differences multiply – according to religion, food, tastes, languages, literary and musical traditions, and so on. But one would also find similarities between these very different national locations. The same shows might be on television, imports often from one country to the next, or the same Western-style clothing might be on sale in stores. On the radio, one might hear the same international pop music. In many places, culture is both national and transnational, a matter of local production or tradition and a matter of “flow” between nations” (p.170).

Definitions and examples:

• Cultural nationalist endorse the belief that states are politically sovereign entities with clearly defined borders, a unified political and economic system that affects all similarly, and a set of legal and cultural practices shared by its citizens.

• Large culture (essentialism) can be defined by ‘Landeskunde’ for example by demographic facts, closely linked to stereotypes when not talking about pure facts, whereas small cultures (non-essentialism) are cultures inside the large culture e.g. Indian tribes within the US.

National is ‘Landeskunde’ view of a nation, whereas regional is when looking at particular parts of a nation e.g. Chinatown in San Francisco and the Financial District in Manhattan.

• Globalisation means a world of ‘constant motion’. But, the movement of capital, migrants, goods, or information is not inherently free-flowing, libratory, or progressive, as neoliberal (pro-free market) ideology would have it. It operates within particular power structures and frameworks. The flow of good is subject to international tariff and agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

• Power structure: Google and Yahoo infamously entered the Chinese market under the condition that they ban access to all human rights-related sites or redirect the Internet traffic to pages favouring the views of the government. One of the most important arguments in cultural studies is that most of the global frameworks that regulate the flow of capital, goods, technology, and information (the World Trade Organisation, NAFTA, the World Bank, and so on).

 Colonialism refers to the domination of a nation, peoples, or society by another nation through political, military, and economic interventions; territorial expansion/occupation; and various strategies of cultural oppression and coercion (via language, cultural practices, control of media, knowledge, etc.).” (p.172).

• Power; Often a country but can also refer to a group of allied countries working together under the same leader. It refers to their respective influence on the world stage in international relations.

• DevelopmentTime moving forward with new things happening. Often positive, but not always.

• Economic exploitation refers to the usage of the colonized country’s resources such as money, land, people, and machines.

Cultural oppression is when a colonized nation can’t practice their culture because of their oppressors.

Postcolonialism = enduring effects of colonial domination e.g. contributions to national culture (p.173) i.e., the post in postcolonial implies the enduring effects of colonial domination, rather than the end of colonialism. The postcolonial approach in cultural studies acknowledges the power of such cultural exclusion and its lingering effects on cultures worldwide. To colonize is to deprive of land and resources, but also to control the representation of that experience.

“Blindness” in films; The media creates a reality that is often one-sided, as the leader/oppressor control the representation of the experience of being colonized for everyone involved. The “blindness” is the absence of the oppressed point of view in media. (p.173).

• The role of media and nationalistic cultural policies; “… regulating the media and limiting foreign content and foreign private company access to the indigenous cultural market. But with globalization has come an increased penetration of such national enclaves by new media such as satellite television that bring with it content that is distinctly “ modern ” and that is quite different from the local national culture or cultural experience.” (p. 174).

• A common world experience, juxtaposed to local cultural differences, has emerged
> “ The “ look ” of cities in China is increasingly the same as that of cities in the West, as entire old cities are razed to make way for buildings considered to be more modern.” (p. 174)

• The case of India in a transnational context: India is a good example of the diverse issues that arise in studying culture in a transnational context, as it is a postcolonial country (for centuries under British rule), which is reflected in the facts, that about 5% of the population speaks English and the national sport is cricket. Thus India was created (by the Brits) as a nation of many diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural and regional parts. (p. 175).

Presentation: Reading Skills

Our presentation was based on chapter 4 Reading Skills in Alice Walker & Goodith White’s Technology Enhanced Language Learning, and consisted of the following three parts:

  • Skills and strategies are involved in reading in a second language
  • How technology can motivate and support second language reading
  • SLA-reading resources technology can provide

Link to presentation:

Reading in different languages calls for different strategies, thus students may need to develop different processing strategies at the word level. Matching sounds to orthography (orthographic projection?) or using syntactic clues. L2-teachers in English can use material from L1 English learners, but the processes of learning to read a second language are different than learning to read in the mother tongue. When we start to read in our first language, we know at least 5,000 words orally. 

Bottom-up processes:

  • Matching written symbols on the page (letters, logographs) with sounds
  • using syntactic information to construct meaning
  • Using working memory

Top-down processing:

  • Expectation about the likely content
  • Knowledge of the world
  • How particular texts are constructed

Psycholinguistic models; the relationship between readers and text – how we mine meaning. But reading is not just a psycholinguistic process – it has social dimensions too.