A Cultural Perspective for ELT

Jeremy Ben Royston Boulter

May 2012

A critical examination of “A Lesson in Culture” by Tseng (2002) and the model for developing a language learning curriculum presented therein.

Abstract. Tseng boldly states that her ‘new cultural perspective’ semiotic theory is a new interpretation which challenges traditional views of culture in language learning. Tseng rejects what she considers to be a narrow view that sees foreign culture as discrete and relatively static in relation to the people who aspire to successfully acquire its language or survive in its environment. However, she sympathizes with the Cultivation Theory in the sense that it posits changes in people affected by the cultural forces of the target linguistic environment.  In propounding her theory, she turns to semiotic tradition. She refers to Pierce’s axiom that any new cognition is determined by a previous cognition. She proposes that culture as a learning process, built up dialectically over time; that it is dynamic and internal; that the social and linguistic environment is affected by as well as affecting individuals. (Tseng, Y.H. 2002) According to her way of thinking, our inner identity, which is culture bound, is the springboard from which we make sense of the outer world through recognition of our own identity, transacting other cultural points of view through exploration and reflection. This critique intends to examine her model, critically comparing it to other models in order to assess its position in the hierarchy of cognitive language learning within the sphere of socio-cultural learning theory and practice.


Abstract.           1

Introduction.      3

Figure 1. 3

Discussion.      4

Weaknesses. 4

Strengths.       5

Implications.   6

Conclusion.      7

References.     7

Read on: The IC-SC Cognitive Learning Model


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s