INSTITUTO DE INVESTIGACIONES EN HUMANIDADES Y CIENCIAS SOCIALES
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
A model for describing, analyzing and investigating cultural understanding in EFL reading settings
Language Learning Journal
Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Año: 2013 p. 1 - 1
This article describes a Model of Cultural Understanding used to explore cultural understanding in English as a Foreign Language reading in a developing country, namely Argentina. The model is designed to investigate, analyze and describe EFL readers? processes of cultural understanding in a specific context. In general, cultural understanding in reading is investigated using inappropriate theoretical rationales framed for instance within static and essentialist notions of culture and identity. The model used here rests on a notion of comprehension based on levels of understanding rather than on recall of textual content. It emphasizes the centrality of cultural understanding as a fluid process in a continuum of cultural familiarity and unfamiliarity within a dynamic conception of culture. Instead of a free recall protocol, a reading response task and a visual representation task are the two key instruments which require readers to exploit a text in order to rewrite it from an alternative perspective. The investigation shows that participants moved back and forth among the six levels in the model during the reading process indicating that the process of cultural understanding is not composed of independent and discrete elements, processes or stages but is fluid and complex. Furthermore the investigation reveals the presence of an affective dimension throughout the different levels. This needs further research which might be pursued with the help of the visual representation task, which is a tool also appropriate for developing the imaginative and emotional dimension of cultural understanding through reading.