Internet-Based Cultural Enrichment in the Polish Language Classroom

  • Kinga Kosmala University of Chicago
  • Erik Houle University of Chicago

Abstract

Most introductory and intermediate textbooks for Polish, currently in use, are written in Poland and intended for intensive language study in-country where the “little-c” cultural component is inherent and immediate in an intensive language program. One of the most widely used textbooks in North America is the series, Hurra!!! po polsku I, II, III. This textbook is based on a communicative approach to language pedagogy and consists of thematic chapters according to aspects of life and culture in everyday society. The intent of the Hurra!!! po polsku series is that students will experience Poland while learning the language. This presents a problem to educators of Polish in the United States. Numerous communicative exercises presuppose acquaintance with the target culture while providing little in the way of input. We have found that students have difficulty relating to many exercises that carry specific cultural information. Our project is based on two specific goals: first, to decrease the amount of time spent in class to explain culture-specific aspects of the textbook; and second, to spare our students at least some amount of the usual culture shock one experiences when traveling to Poland. In this report, we describe a website, exercises, and activities we developed to accompany the textbook.

Author Biographies

Kinga Kosmala, University of Chicago
Lecturer in Polish at the University of Chicago
Erik Houle, University of Chicago
Lecturer of Russian and Polish and the coordinator of the Russian Language Program at the University of Chicago
Published
2017-03-04