Can I use Cultura without a partner?


Cultura is meant to be used in partnership with another class, with students interacting with the students abroad and becoming personally involved in constructing, alongside their foreign partners, their knowledge of the other culture.

How do I find a partner?


Finding a partner is key but not easy.

The easiest solution is to establish a partnership with your exchange school, if you have one.

Explore web-based resources.

What is the role of the partner?


Partners are an essential part of this project. They are those with whom you interact on a regular basis and with whom you make decisions about your common calendar, about which module to use and when, about when to create new forums, about the timing for the students’ exchanges on the forums, etc..

How often do I use Cultura?


How frequently you use Cultura depends in large part on whether you are on a trimester, semester or yearly schedule.

If you are on a trimester or semester schedule:

It is important to realize that Cultura, by its very nature, cannot be an adjunct to an already existing syllabus. It needs to be the centerpiece of your course. A possible scenario (based on 11 weeks):

How long do I need to use Cultura?


If you teach in a High School:

Cultura can be used either as a year-long project throughout a whole academic year or only for half a year, depending on how it best fits into your curriculum. Clearly, you and your partner will need to make accomodations to include Cultura


If you teach in a College or University:

How much preparation does it require on my part?


We have tried to make things simple for you by providing step-by-step guidelines with each stage and each activity.

The minimum you will have to do, therefore, is to read those guidelines carefully ahead of time before you assign the activities to your students.

How do I use classroom time?


Each activity we suggest in the Teachers’s Guide is followed by specific guidelines about what to do in the classroom. Check the activities suggested with each module.

Basically, the classroom is the place where students bring their own initial, personal observations, share them and confront them with that of their classmates, in order to expand and enrich their own thinking. The students do the work which you will have orchestrated.

How much do I need to know about the foreign culture?


Since students are working with foreign partners, you are no longer the major source of information. Your most important role is to make sure your students analyze, probe, compare, contrast, and apply appropriate reasoning.

What is my role as a teacher?


Your role is central throughout the project and at each of the stages of Cultura. Simply put, you need to:

When is the native language used? When is the foreign language used?


Several experiments have made it clear that both the target language and the native language need to be used.

Rationale for the use of the native language online: The choice of which language to use and in what context, was easily made. It was clear to us, from the very beginning, that the responses to the questionnaires and the forums had to be written in the students’ native language (or rather – since there are international students) in the language of the country where the students are studying.

How does the study of language fit into Cultura?


Although the main goal of Cultura is to help students develop understanding of another culture, the work they do is constantly and inextricably associated with the study of language (vocabulary, grammar and discourse).

Depending on their level of proficiency, students – with the help of a grammar book and a dictionary, and under the guidance of their teacher – discover how, for instance:

At what language level should I use Cultura?


Cultura is best used at the intermediate or advanced level. A lot will depend on your overall language curriculum.

Some of the most obvious choices for Cultura would be:

  • an intermediate course
  • a conversation/composition
  • a course preparing students to go abroad

Students will need to understand at least the gist of their partners’ postings on the Web but they do not need to understand everything.

Does the use of Cultura imply many changes to the way I teach or structure my class?


Using Cultura implies that:

You will be changing the focus of your course, namely changing your curriculum from a language-based one to a culture-based one. This does not mean that the linguistic component disappears, just that your students will continue learning the language as they learn about the culture, not the other way round, as is usually the case.

Are there basic principles that need to be followed?


The short answer is YES. However, it is built upon six basic principles which all need to be adhered to.

Where do I download the tool?


You have two options for running a Cultura exchange:

1.The Cultura Drupal distribution provides a setup for exchanges and the ensuing discussion.  See the Educator's Guide section on the Cultura Drupal distribution for more information on installation and use. You will need IT support at your school to install and run the program on your school server.