Teaching Culture Through the Audio-Motor Unit

Authors

  • Robert J. Elkins,

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      ROBERT J. ELKINS (Ph.D., Univ. of Kansas) is Associate Professor of Language Education and German at the University of Georgia, He has taught at the high school level, and at the University of Kansas. He held a Fulbright Exchange Grant to Germany in 1970–71, and attended the NDEA German Academic Year Institute at the University of Colorado in 1961–62. He was Director of the German Division of the Southeastern Language Center for Secondary School Students at the University of Georgia from 1968 to 1972 and a coauthor of “The Audio-Motor Unit: A Listening Comprehension Strategy That Works,” FLA, 4 (May 1971), for which he received the Stephen A. Freeman Award.

  • Theodore B. Kalivoda,

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      THEODORE B. KALIVODA (Ed.D., Oklahoma State Univ.) is Associate Professor of Spanish Education at the University of Georgia. He taught previously at Oklahoma State University and has held positions at Louisiana State University as Director of the Division of Latin American Relations and Coordinator of the LSU Armed Forces Program in the Panama Canal Zone. He is the author of “The Importance and Use of Oral Language in Modern Foreign Language Departments,” MLJ, 51 (Dec. 1967), and “The Methods Course and Lower-Division Instruction,” Hispania, 51 (March 1968), and a co-author of “The Audio-Motor Unit: A Listening Comprehension Strategy That Works,” FLA, 4 (May 1971), for which he received the Stephen A. Freeman Award.

  • Genelle Morain

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      GENELLE MORAIN (Ph.D., Ohio State Univ.) is Associate Professor of French Education at the University of Georgia. She has taught French at Indianola High School in Iowa, has attended NDEA Institutes in the United States and France, and served as Director of the French Division of the Southeastern Language Center from 1969 to 1971. She is the author of “French Culture: The Folklore Facet,” ERIC Focus Report No. 9 (1969), and “French Folklore: A Fresh Approach to the Teaching of Culture,” French Review, 42 (April 1968), and a co-author of “The Audio-Motor Unit: A Listening Comprehension Strategy That Works,” FLA, 4 (May 1971), for which she received the Stephen A. Freeman Award.


Abstract

ABSTRACT  The audio-motor unit, an effective device for developing skill in listening comprehension, has proved to be an equally valuable technique for cross-cultural learning. Units designed around picnic customs of four cultures (American, French, German, Spanish) illustrate the cultural impact inherent in the audio-motor strategy. Through visual, auditory, and motor involvement, students perceive basic customs unique to each culture. Less obvious differences are brought to light in follow-up activities. The use of “discussion stimulators” offers exciting possibilities for such cultural expansion. Students are provided general questions and a list of facilitating cues for small group exploration. Conclusions of the small groups are presented to the entire class in an oral exchange which evaluates the validity of cultural assumptions. Other discussion activities to accompany an audio-motor unit include culture capsules to bring cultural points into sharper focus and multi-cultural comparisons to expand cross-cultural learning beyond the boundaries of the target and native languages.

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