In this chapter , I will consider some of the underlying issues of language and culture pedagogy. Whilst it is the basic tenet of this study that language and culture need to be addressed in an integrated manner in language teaching, I will nevertheless discuss language and culture separately as two interlinking pedagogic areas.
In the first part of this chapter, I look at views of culture which underpin culture pedagogy as part of modern language degrees, and I describe some of the practices. I argue that teaching culture as part of language classes may be better served by a ‘cultural studies’ approach, rather than courses which emphasize the ‘content’ dimension and focus on imparting knowledge about the target language country as a coherent overview. The latter approach tends to be located in a national view of language and culture, whereas a cultural studies approach focuses on the processes and practices of culture and the construction of meaning and allows for a more complex idea of culture.
In the second part of this chapter, I focus on views of language in relation to cultures which have influenced language teaching approaches. In doing so, I argue that a traditional structural view of language as stable still underpins some contemporary language courses and that this view has taken on a common-sense understanding. I then describe social and cultural views of language, including those derived from linguistic relativity, critical language study, and Hymes’ notion of pragmatic language use.
I conclude the chapter by discussing how the two areas are interlinked in pedagogy.