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function openedMenus( cookieName ) { var cookie = $.cookie( cookieName ); var items = cookie ? cookie.split(/,/) : new Array(); return { "add": function( val ) { items.push(val); $.cookie(cookieName, items.join(',')); }, "has": function( val ) { for ( var i = 0; i < items.length; i++ ) { if ( items[i] == val ) { return true; } } }, "remove": function( val ) { var new_array = new Array(); for ( var i = 0; i < items.length; i++ ) { if ( items[i] != val ) { new_array.push( items[i] ); } } items = new_array; $.cookie(cookieName, items.join(',')); }, "clear": function() { items = null; $.cookie(cookieName, null); }, "items": function() { return items; } } } function createMenu( menu ) { var class_open = 'open'; var class_current_open = 'current-open'; var class_current = 'current'; var class_has_children = 'children'; var opened = openedMenus( "openedmenu" ); var ul = $(document.createElement('ul')); $.each( menu, function( index, value ) { if ( value === null || value === undefined ) return; var open = false; var span = $(document.createElement('span')).addClass('button'); var anchor = $(document.createElement('a')).text( value.title ).attr( 'href', value.url ); var containerspan = $(document.createElement('span')).addClass('container').attr('id', 'node'+value.id).append(span).append(anchor); var li = $(document.createElement('li')).append( containerspan ); if ( value.id == 2 && value.title == 'Home' ) li.addClass('home'); if ( value.is_current == true ) containerspan.addClass( class_current ); if ( value.extra_class != false ) li.addClass( value.extra_class ); if ( value.children != false ) { if ( value.is_open == true || opened.has( value.id ) ) { if (containerspan.hasClass( class_current )) { containerspan.addClass( class_current_open ); } else { containerspan.addClass( class_open ); } //containerspan.addClass( class_open ); open = true; } var child = createMenu( value.children ); span.addClass( class_has_children ); span.click( function() { if ( open ) { if (containerspan.hasClass( class_current )) { containerspan.removeClass( class_current_open ); } else { containerspan.removeClass( class_open ); } opened.remove( value.id ); } else { if (containerspan.hasClass( class_current )) { containerspan.addClass( class_current_open ); } else { containerspan.addClass( class_open ); } opened.add( value.id ); } //child.toggle( ! open ); child.slideToggle('fast'); open = !open; } ) if ( ! open ) child.hide(); li.append( child ); } ul.append( li ); } ); return ul; } var menu = getObjects(); m = createMenu( menu ); m.addClass('nav jsnav'); $('#menulist').replaceWith( m ); if( $("#node2305").hasClass('open') ) { $("#node2305") .removeClass('open') .addClass('current current-open'); }else { $("#node2305") .addClass('current current-open') .children('span') .trigger('click'); } if( $("#node1955").hasClass('open') ) { $("#node1955") .removeClass('open') .addClass('current current-open'); }else { $("#node1955") .addClass('current current-open') .children('span') .trigger('click'); } if( $("#node3822").hasClass('open') ) { $("#node3822") .removeClass('open') .addClass('current current-open'); }else { $("#node3822") .addClass('current current-open') .children('span') .trigger('click'); } $('.jsnav').prepend(''); $('.jsnav .last li:last-child').addClass('last'); -->


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iCLT principle 3

iCLT encourages and develops an exploratory and reflective approach to culture and culture-in-language

Example 1 | Example 2 | Example 3

The iCLT approach shifts the focus from "transmission" of objective cultural knowledge to learners, to those learners "exploring" both visible and invisible culture, and, most importantly, to "exploring culture-in-language”.

Exploring culture involves learners in constructing knowledge from experience and reflection.

Factual information has its place, but learners interrogate this information to reveal insights and understanding about the lived culture experience of others.

Active construction of meaning, and critical enquiry, are both essential components of this approach.

An additional aspect of this principle is that it involves the teacher as well as the learners in the process of exploration. An exploratory approach to culture opens up many opportunities for learners to make connections between their cultures.

The examples that follow illustrate these concepts.

Example 1: Why change the topic?

Xiaohua is an International Student from China. Mary is a year 12 learner of Chinese. They talk often in Chinese, as Xiaohua wants to help Mary learn his language.

They talk about why he is attending a single-sex school in New Zealand.

During the conversation, he makes reference to the values of honour and respect in Chinese culture through obedience to parents, especially the father’s wishes, so that his father does not “lose face” [丢脸] or suffer embarrassment.

Xiaohua also makes reference to the traditional gender roles in Chinese society through comment on expectations of male behaviour, saying it is embarrassing for [Chinese] boys to sing and dance in public, as Chinese boys are expected to behaved in a disciplined and controlled manner in public at all times:

  • 男孩子唱唱跳跳的多丢脸啊!

Xiaohua clearly finds the topic a sensitive issue as, at a certain point in the interaction, he uses the formulaic expression 别说了! as a signal to change the topic of conversation and avoid confrontation.

Mary has learned enough Chinese to interpret this use of language as a cultural prompt and she stops discussing this topic further with Xiaohua.

Mary, however, is puzzled. She is not sure whether the matters that Xiaohua raises describe his personal relationship with his parents or whether he is speaking in more general terms about values that are widespread in Chinese culture.

She is concerned that her questioning style was too confrontational, prompting Xiaohua to change the topic suddenly. Her concern was more about understanding the cultural rules involved in conversing in Chinese rather than about her knowledge of linguistic forms. She raises the matter with her teacher and classmates.


While Mary took the initiative in questioning aspects of her encounter with Xiaohua, other students may not have the same opportunities to promote such reflection.

The teacher responded by producing a range of texts that contained examples of conversational exchanges between speakers of Chinese. Together, the teacher and students identified a focus on the linguistic and cultural practices associated with exchanging questions and expressing disagreement.

Through their exploration and discussion, the students not only gained more understanding of cultural practices which govern aspects of speaking Chinese in particular contexts. As they actively constructed this knowledge, they established points of comparison with cultural practices they used in equivalent contexts when they used their own languages.

Example 2: Be prepared!

Year 12 learners of Tongan read an article adapted from a magazine on developing a healthy life-style. The article uses a well known Tongan proverb in a headline:

  • Ta e lango´ kei mamao.

The proverb carries the message that it is better to be prepared well ahead of time. "Lango" refers to the wooden board or slips on which a boat can be drawn ashore. It is better to get these wooden slips ready ahead of when they are needed, in case strong winds arrive unexpectedly and there is nothing in place to pull the boat on to the sand and safety.

This proverb is used in the text as a deliberate device to connect with Tongan readers’ knowledge of the saying and its meaning in contexts they are familiar with. In this way readers will perceive the emphasis the writer is placing on the need to focus on the prevention of health problems.


Learners of Tongan may not be familiar with the meaning and use of this saying in Tongan culture, either historically or in everyday contemporary Tongan society.

As they interact with the text and infer meaning from what they read, students will be making their own (silent) responses to the advice that is offered.

The teacher needs to elicit and make explicit the students’ responses to the text. In this way the teacher helps students to discover the personal voice of the writer, and how they make meaning from and respond to the views the writer presents.

The teacher also helps students to explore the cultural voice of a speech community, in this case the community of Tongan speakers, through the ways the writer draws on linguistic and cultural forms embedded in the language and culture, for example, sayings, proverbs, and uses these for particular purposes.

To continue their exploration and reflection, the teacher can encourage students to identify sayings in English, and in their own languages and cultures, that would be suitable to use in this type of article. They can them compare and contrast these sayings in terms of the cultural meanings and values they express.

Example 3: Funny or not?

A year 13 learner of French produces written text. The text illustrates the learner’s view of Facebook. Such views are cultural in expression.

This is particularly noticeable in the example of a Facebook entry, which the writer singles out as amusing:

  • “Amour? Non, merci. Si j’ai besoin de souffrir, je coince mon bras dans la porte.” [Love? No, thanks! If I need to suffer, I’ll get my arm caught in the door.]

Such an example might not be considered amusing by another person (individual view), or by people in other cultures (collective view).


The teacher can exploit the cultural relativity of humour by comparing the reactions of the students in the class.

In doing so, the teacher needs to take care to elicit students’ responses to the text, not their loose associations with the topic. The teacher can help them to adopt a critical stance towards their responses to the example of humour in the text they are studying.

In this way, the students have the opportunity to consider whether they are responding as a member of their speech community, for example, the community of te reo Māori speakers, or whether they are responding as an individual with a unique life experience.

Following this discussion the teacher can guide the students’ exploration of examples of humour in French texts (oral, visual, written) and help them to make comparisons with humour in equivalent English texts, or texts in their own languages.

What comparisons and connections can students make in relation to the themes and situations that are chosen for humorous comment in these texts?

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Last updated March 26, 2013