Cross-Cultural Education and Motivational Aspects of Foreign Language Study*


  • Martha Kaarsberg Wallach

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      MARTHA KAARSBERG WALLACH (Ph.D., Univ. of Washington) is Assistant Professor of German at the College of Creative Communication, Univ. of Wisconsin, Green Bay. She was formerly a Teaching Assistant and Predoctoral Associate at the Univ. of Washington. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and of Delta Phi Alpha and was also granted an NDEA Title IV Fellowship. Her professional affiliations include MLA, ACTFL, AATG, Wisconsin Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers, North Eastern Wisconsin FLO, Goethe House of Milwaukee, and the Heinrich Heine Geseuschaft. A native of Poland, she also spent several childhood years in Germany

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    For help in preparing this article I would like to thank my colleagues Harry Cliadakis, Neil Huber, Raquel Kersten, and Bridget Mugane.


ABSTRACT  Although the value of culture is generally recognized, it is difficult to “teach“; it must be experienced. Students can be prepared for such an experience. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a three-year-old school with an interdisciplinary academic plan, has made culture part of its curriculum. Students are required to take one semester of work preparing them for the cross-cultural experience. The actual experience is offered in the next semester.

One option is a one-month field trip to Europe under the supervision of an instructor familiar with the culture and language. A knowledge of the language on the part of the student is optional. The goal is a better understanding of one's own culture and an acquaintance with a foreign culture. The cross-cultural experience has been found to be a strong motivating force for language study.