The formation of children's cultural studies as a component of modern primary language education

This article considers the children's cultural studies as an integral component of primary language education focusing on the development of pupils' intercultural competence. The authors claim that learning a foreign language culture is closely related to the problem of learning to communicate. The article also highlights findings on the relationship between language proficiency and culture for both native and foreign language pupils. The aim of this work is to investigate theoretically and test practically the introduction of children's cultural studies' elements in education process of primary school, which forms the linguistic personality of the pupil, who is capable and ready for intercultural communication at the most elementary level. The article reveals new views on the relationship between language and culture, determines the role and place of cultural studies as a component of the content of teaching foreign languages in a primary school. The research is based on the works by well-known home and foreign linguists and methodologists studying the issues of in- tercultural communication.

In the era of world globalization and the fourth industrial revolution, the learning a foreign language is of particular relevance, because it is used as a means of intercultural communication in many areas of human activity. At the moment, knowledge of foreign languages allows to open a world of limitless alternatives. The acquisition of foreign languages, professional advancement are one of the first requests and requirements of the integrating modern world. Gradually there is a need to know not only the native language, but also the language of international communication — English. By the end of the twentieth century English has already been well on its way to becoming a true lingua Franca, used for communication between people who do not speak the same first (or even second) language. Learning a foreign language is included in the compulsory curricula of schools, universities and institutions of Kazakhstan. Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan is mandating English language classes for learners in primary school within the trilingual education framework.

After entry of Kazakhstan into the world community, political and economic situation in the country ensured a huge demand for knowledge of foreign languages, created the strong motivational basis and conditions for their learning. Today, proficiency in a foreign language is no longer prestige, but a necessity. And there are plenty of opportunities to learn them, not counting the teaching methods. It is well known that the system of language education plays an important role for the successful life of a person in multicultural and multilingual community of people. A significant update of the social order and the curriculum systematically leads to a radical restructuring of the educational process, to the reassessment of the goals and objectives of teaching a foreign language, to the use of modernized methodological and pedagogical technologies.

In the modern educational process for mastering foreign languages, students need not only to learn how to speak this language, having mastered a certain amount of knowledge that make up the cultural heritage of the people who are native speakers, but also to form their own sociocultural experience in the process of foreign language communication and develop themselves as a personality.

Discussions about the relationship of learning a foreign language and culture are the reason for introducing a sociocultural approach into the educational process. The content of this approach indicates the need to include into the system of language education such knowledge, skills that ensure not only language literacy, but also cultural awareness. For this reason, the task of teachers is to increase the general sociocultural competence of students, formed in the framework of their native and foreign culture.

The sociocultural component acquaints with the cultural heritage of the country of the target language and enables students to compare with the cultural values of their country, which contributes to the formation of a multicultural personality of the schoolchildren. Certainly the use of a foreign language as an instrument of intercultural communication is unthinkable without mastering the culture of both countries (native andforeign countries) in such aspects as traditions and customs, mentality, belief, national character, way of life, worldview.

The topicality of research lies in the fact that children's cultural studies in the process of learning a foreign language in primary school causes an adequate response (verbal and non-verbal) in the situation of communication with a foreign peer even with minimal language and speech experience of schoolchildren, it lays the foundation for life-long learning, promotes social, general and speech development of children.

If in a modern primary school in the process of teaching a foreign language teacher uses materials containing cultural information, the interest of pupils will rise in further learning a foreign language as a means of international communication, motivating teaching and cognitive communicative activities, and will contribute to the development of certain personal qualities, that allows children to adequately perceive the diversity of different cultures, and to feel themselves as the bearer of their national culture, representing it in the field of intercultural communication.

Language is a powerful means of intercultural communication, which contributes to the formation of the mass of people as a nation through the storage and transmission of culture, tradition, national identity, the mentality of this speech collective. The concept of «culture» is closely connected with the concept of «lan- guage». Culture is a capacious and extendable concept. It has been formed over tens or even hundreds of thousands of years. After all, language is the greatest indicator of culture. It is generally established that the greater the difference between one's own culture and a foreign one, the harder it is to use the language of the foreign culture communicatively [1].

One of the most important components of culture is language. People not only communicate with language quickly; they also express their values, beliefs and worldviews. The famous German philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt believed that language is the key to understanding and one of the most important components of culture. Therefore, the concepts of «language» and «culture» are inseparable and interrelated. If language is a component of culture, then culture is first and foremost a reflection of language. In most cases, the cultural characteristics of the language also affect the study of foreign languages. Considering the practical point of view, it can be clarified that language is a form of social action, since communication takes place in the context of structured interpersonal exchange, and thus, the meaning is socially adjusted. In other words, «common values and beliefs create traditions and social structures that unite the community and are expressed in their language». The English, when defining the meaning of the word «culture», use the words «customs, traditions»; repeatedly used the word «beliefs», as well as the phrase the «way of life». Thus, to speak the language, you need to know how the language is used in a social context. It is well known that each language has its own rules of use regarding when, how and to what extent the speaker can impose this speech behavior on his interlocutor.

The transfer of culture to young generation in learning a foreign language is one of the most important aspects, since the subject «Foreign Language» is part and parcel of another folk's culture. Foreign language culture as the aim of learning has a social, linguistic, geographical, pedagogical and psychological content that correlates with all aspects of language education and derives from the content of the subject «Foreign Language». Currently, more and more attention is paid to teaching English to preschool children and primary school pupils. It is important not only to encourage students to master language skills, but we should also strive to cultivate in children the respect for the country of the target language and the culture of the native speakers. The modern content of teaching foreign languages is unthinkable without the involvement of students in the culture of English-speaking countries. Only under these conditions, is it possible to carry out communication between learners and representatives of other cultures.

English is being recognized as a world language, and many people believe that the earlier children start learning English, the better. There is a variety of methods for teaching foreign culture to children of primary school age. The most popular of them are games, performances, fairy tales, singing and dancing. The age and individual characteristics of children should be taken into consideration in conducting foreign language classes.

Teaching English to Young Learners has become its own field of study as the age of compulsory English education has become lower and lower in countries around the world. It is widely believed that starting the study of English as a Foreign Language before the critical period — 12 or 13 years old — will build more proficient speakers of English [2].

At primary school age, the educational environment should be especially favorable psychologically, physically and emotionally, in order to maintain the pupil's interest in learning a new language and arouse interest and respect for other cultures. On the basis of this fact, the strategic goal of primary education is toeducate the personality of a younger schoolchild as a person of culture, and the purpose of teaching foreign language in primary school is to form a linguistic personality of a younger schoolchild, capable for intercul- tural communication. The dominant characteristic of the educational environment during the learning a foreign language should be its cultural identity, its upbringing and spiritualizing character [3]. This systemforming characteristic of the educational environment allows us to call it a cultural environment.

In modeling children's culture as an integral component of language primary education, it is extremely important to recognize the tasks that need to be addressed during teaching a foreign language in a modern primary school. These most important tasks include the following: 1) creating conditions for the early communicative speech adaptation of primary school pupils to a new language, as well as to overcome the psychological barriers and foster willingness to use a foreign language as a means of communication; 2) the formation of an initial overview of the politeness standards of lifestyle in another country; 3) the development of children's communicative, visual and cognitive abilities that contribute to the linguistic and cultural development of the individual; 4) integrative development of communicability, associative imagination, visual-figurative thinking, sociocultural curiosity, memory, and a desire to communicate using a target language in a multicultural environment. It is hardly possible to solve such complex tasks without the inclusion of children's cultural studies in the system of language education at primary school, since it is an integral component of language education that con-tributes to the formation of foreign language communicative competence, i.e. the ability and desire to make use of interpersonal and intercultural communication with native speakers [4].

The children's soul and their perception is open to everything new, and in particular, another language and another culture. They have no stereotypes or intolerance towards other cultures that need to be overcome [5]. However, no less important for creating an educational environment is the demonstration of the multicultural environment that actually exists in our classes. Our country has a unique multicultural and multilingual landscape, which leads the pupil to the realization that next to him in the classroom are studying children of different nationalities who speak their native language. Thanks to the constructive policies pursued by the Head of State, people of different nationalities live together, children from an early age develop interest and respect for the traditions and faith of those who study nearby, cultural traditions of pupils — representatives of different nations and nationalities, emphasizing their uniqueness and value.

The deep knowledge of the culture of the target language country and establishing contacts with native speakers to improve foreign language communicative competence will allow us to understand cultural differences, destroy stereotypical thinking regarding another linguistic culture and better know our culture with its values, mores and customs in order to realize our own cultural identity. Through this contact with native speakers, internal motivation to further learning a foreign language will increase, the lesson boundaries of this subject will expand, and they will «go beyond the classroom».

Cultural rules and norms regarding when certain speech actions can be performed properly may vary. For example, there may be ordinary formulas such as greeting, leaving work, expressing gratitude, apologizing, and so on in any speech community, but you still need to know that this does not mean that these speech actions are necessarily performed in accordance with the rules, accepted in different communities. This is often problematic because person seeks to convey sociocultural knowledge about using the language from his native language to the new. Certainly, there are many positive aspects of language transmission. The danger is that people may not recognize the source of the difference and may erroneously attribute aspects of people's behavior to their own personality, instead of understanding that they simply correspond to different cultural norms.

Through the implementation of verbal and non-verbal communication with native speakers, intercultur- al communication provides: 1) identification of the communicator's own cultural identity; 2) the interaction of the individual with society; 3) acquaintance with the national cultural features of foreign linguosocium; 4) the exchange of experience between individuals, groups of people and nations. The abovementioned will have a positive effect on the formation of a sociocultural portrait of the target language country in children, laying the foundations for their sociocultural susceptibility to identifying the similarities and differences between the sociocultural fields of the «native» and «alien», which contributes to the formation of the ability to overcome and resolve sociocultural conflicts in communication. The correct use of socioculturally marked units in speech determines the correct interpretation of the phenomena of a foreign language culture, increasing the tolerant attitude towards speakers in the process of communication in a foreign language.

The culture and language of every nation contains something universal and national-specific. The universal implies comprehensive meanings, have equally been understood by all people in the world orby representatives of certain civilizational groups and it lays the foundation for intercultural communication, without which intercultural understanding would not be possible. At the same time, every culture is characterized by cultural values that are typical for it, affirmed in the language, moral standards, beliefs, life features, etc. [6].

According to studies conducted by linguists in the field of linguistics, the teaching of language and culture should be inseparable. Brown K. (2007) argued that language could not be separated from culture without losing the importance of language or culture. Mastering a foreign language determines the acquisition of a foreign culture. It becomes clear that the study of language and culture is inextricably linked, but the main problem is to find effective ways to integrate culture and language that prepare students for productive communication and cooperation with representatives of another culture in the 21st century.

The foundation of the theory of intercultural communication is the concept of «sociocultural compe- tence». Learning a foreign language implies comprehending and mastering the reality of the mentality and culture of another nation, both at the collective and individual levels, familiarizing with the views, achievements, and experience gained by another social unit, since each language has a cultural picture of the world, which has its own structure and content.

The content of the sociocultural component of teaching a foreign language consists of three areas: means of social communication, national mentality and national treasure. Restriction of culture to all kinds of non-natural barriers is considered impracticable; in any case, the abovementioned components are one of the most important components of sociocultural content.

The term «social communication» means a combination of techniques and means of oral and written transmission of information by representatives of a particular culture or subculture. This concept includes the language itself with its characteristic differences between all kinds of language variants. Especially the discrepancy can be noted in the vocabulary (everyday vocabulary «to prepare / to be ready»; commercial activity «shop / store»; sports games «football / soccer»; break «holidays / vacations»; food «food / meal»; transport «underground / subway»; tourism «single ticket / one way ticket»; clothing «pants / undershirts», as well as socioculturally designated lexical units (doggy bag; drive through, pink slip — the USA), which is the subject of linguistic studies); grammar (for example, people who speak American English prefer to use Past Simple Tense instead of the British Present Simple Tense); phonetics — differences in the pronunciation of representatives of different states, counties, social status, type of activity. This unit also includes the sounds of language and onomatopoeia, which we use on a subconscious level when communicating with native speakers (hoops when suddenly faced with somebody, ouch when we feel fear or pain, yack means disgust, woah when we express our delight). We also refer to the means of social communication sign language and non-verbal communication, which requires further study. For example, a fist raised up for the Americans symbolizes strength and power. This gesture is used at demonstrations and protest rallies by representatives of minorities. Writing is characterized by the writing of dates, street names and home addresses, business letters, resumes, etc. Inaccurate knowledge ownership can lead to misunderstandings, as well as cause cultural conflict. For example, ignorance of the spelling and writing rules of the date (in Kazakhstan: day / month / year; in the USA: month / day / year) can lead to a misunderstanding of the information.

National mentality means the way of thinking of a particular culture's subject and his or her divisions, characterizing their behavior and the cultural image of a given nation. According to studies, in this area P.V. Sysoev proposes to consider the mentality of the target language country's people in three dimensions: general, situational and cultural self-determination. In accordance with the proposal of R.P. Milrud, we attribute three links to the first kind of mentality: knowledge, behavior and attitude. The remarkable illustrations of this component are the holidays, traditions, customs and ceremonies of the country of the target language.

Situational characteristics of mentality may include an installation of mentality, perception, and expression. For the American mentality, such installation criteria as individualism, egalitarianism, future orientation, ease, rivalry, personal space (personal space) and others are distinguished. The British mentality is characterized by such features as conservatism, a reverent attitude and preservation of historical monuments, and strict upbringing. These settings will have a special impact on the behavior of native speakers and their perception of the world.

The part of the national treasure, which is an element of the sociocultural component of the learning content, refers to such cultural trends as science and art, history and religion, national parks, historical reserves and places of tourism and pilgrimage. The above is far from the limit and has an unlimited number of examples. However, acquainting children with this part of the national heritage that every native speaker

knows and is proud of, as well as showing its cultural value is the goal of sociocultural education. For example, when considering history, it is important to note the significance and influence of historical events on the development of society, to raise the problem of preserving cultural monuments; when discussing sights, draw pupils' attention to architectural structures; exploring national parks, advocate for the protection of the natural heritage and the education of a new generation in harmony with the environment. National treasure is to some extent the background of national sociocultural knowledge — concepts of cultural value.

The above-mentioned directions of the sociocultural component can be represented in the form of Figure.

Figure demonstrates that all components of the sociocultural component of the learning content are closely related to each other. Culture is also a «living» category, whose development directly reflects the development of society. For this reason, the content of the sociocultural component will change and enrich under the influence of world culture.

Traditionally, the facet of teaching a culture was determined by the geographical boundaries of countries, which created false stereotypes about native speakers. For example, many people think that all English people celebrate St. Valentine's Day, and they also have a tea ceremony at 5 o'clock (five o'clock tea), all Germans love beer, the French have distinctive culture and fashion, Americans are an uncomplicated nation. However, visits to these countries and conversations with their representatives show that these statements are implausible. For clarity, let's consider the United States. The state is one of the leading countries in immigration; therefore, in the USA are concentrated cultural centers, neighborhoods of various ethnic groups uniting people by common origin, history, heritage, values, interests, etc. Since culture can be professional and bring together representatives of a certain profession or activity around the world, when studying sexes and cultural societies in the target language countries, the important attention should be paid not only to the culture of the linguistic majority, but also to the whole range of all kinds of ethnic, professional and other cultures [7].

The culture of the target language country includes a combination of knowledge and experience that is transmitted and supplemented from generation to generation, which contributes to the formation of the secondary language personality of the pupil. The culture of the native speakers is a storehouse of national wealth, which is a specific feature of the foreign country, allowing you to highlight their heritage against the background of world culture.

Each lesson of a foreign language is an intersection of cultures; it is the practice of intercultural communication, because each foreign word reflects a foreign world and a foreign culture: each word has a view of the world conditioned by national consciousness.

Summing up, we emphasize that when teaching a foreign language primary to schoolchildren as a means of intercultural communication, the formation of a multinational cultural educational environment is brought to the forefront, in which upbringing and learning take place and it lays the foundation for the cultural development of the pupil's personality, which have a direct impact on the entire educational process.

 

 

References

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Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy