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Culture and Constructs: Communicating Attitudes and Values in the Foreign Language Classroom


  • Claire J. Kramsch

    1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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      Claire J. Kramsch (Agregation, University of Paris) is Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.


ABSTRACT George Kelly's psychology of personal constructs can serve as a useful framework to promote cross-cultural understanding in the classroom. To avoid developing in the students a tourist's perspective on the foreign culture, cultural facts and events must be interpreted in the light of underlying attitudes and values. This interpretation is an on-going process of exchange and negotiation of meaning between the two cultures. By constructing both their own and the foreign values, by organizing and extending the range of convenience of these constructs, students can find bridges to the other culture, anticipate foreign events, and discover alternatives to their own cultural patterns of thought.