No. 11 (2015): Taal toetsen

Cultuur onderwijzen in NVT-lessen voor Hongaarse universiteitsstudenten

Published September 1, 2015
Eszter Zelenka
pdf (Nederlands)

If we look at language course books for beginners we see that a lot of cultural aspects emerge even from these low-level texts. I analysed a Dutch course book (B. de Boer, M. van der Kamp, B. Lijmbach (2010). Nederlands in gang. Coutinho) and tried to find the matches with Hofstede’s five dimensions, with special attention to the elements of dimensions which can be related to education and foreign language teaching. I found that three dimensions which are typical of Dutch society and which are different in Hungarian society, may influence foreign language learners’ perception of the target language and culture . These are 1. Small power distance (especially at school and at home) which can foster or impede creativity; it also has far-reaching consequences for the degree of directness/indirectness in communication in teacher-learner interaction and also on societal level; and its effect on dealing with guests and privacy. 2. Individualism: influences our contacts in the family, but also our rights to freedom of opinion and expression in social interaction, and it also influences the space, the houses where we live and how we deal with guests. 3. Femininity: this dimension plays an important role in negotiations and discussions. Working on reaching mutual understanding and the willingness to listen to each others’ opinion are also characteristic features of femininity. This dimension influences also our ideas about the past, the history of our country and how important this national history is for our country at present. We also wittness some kind of shift towards masculinity in the Netherlands in the past years which again lets us think further how we can incorporate teaching culture in our language curriculum, without being stereotypical. 118 Eszter Zelenka In my paper I discuss the different possible ways of drawing beginners’ attention to cultural values, hidden in texts; and the choices that a foreign language teacher has to make in this process.