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Sunday 8:40-9:30 AM
TTI 403
Using TV Commercials to Teach Language and Culture
Laura MacGregor
Sophia University, Japan

While movies and TV programs are popular language and culture teaching tools, their length isn't always practical for class use. TV commercials are viable alternatives for the following reasons:
1. They are short, complete messages of 15-60 seconds which can be replayed many times.
2. They focus on products or services which students can identify readily.
3. They send strong messages which reflect the culture they represent.
4. They present currently used language.
 Since the study of culture begins with one's own, the presenter will first  share a selection of Japanese TV commercials that she has used with her  students in Japan to help them identify and understand elements of their  own culture. Next, she will show commercials from Canada and the U.S. to  demonstrate what they reveal about U.S North American culture. Finally, she will outline student projects which can be introduced based on this

for more information or dialogue, contact the presenter:
copyright Laura MacGregor, 1999
PAC2 October 3, 1999 

 Using TV Commericals to Teach Language and Culture

*  This presentation focuses on the use of TV commercials to explore culture and cultural differences. 
*  Following a brief introduction, commercials from a culture in the target language - in this case commercials in English from Canada - are presented and discussed. 
*  Next, commercials in the home culture, in this case, Japanese commercials, are presented and discussed and compared with those of the target culture. 
*  Finally, a student assignment will be described.

Why use TV commercials?

1. Looking at commercials in the target culture is effective in three ways: First, to learn about surface culture, in the form of observable behaviors, lifestyle, customs, etc.

Second, it is effective in giving an opportunity to learn about deeper (or “invisible”) aspects of culture values, and beliefs.

Third, by using English media, vocabulary and expressions in English can be presented in context. Further, the discussions about culture should be conducted in English.

2. Looking at commercials in the home culture challenges students to analyze their own culture from many aspects and to talk about their culture in English.

3. Putting the two together, comparing commercials of the target culture with commercials of the home culture is a good way to observe cultural differences - from the content of the CMs we can identify similar and dissimilar aspects of lifestyle, values, and beliefs. 

4. Looking at the approach that the advertisers in different countries take, we can learn about the culture of advertising and marketing.

Why Use TV CMs vs. Other Media?
Elements of CMs -- what should we look at?:
*spoken/written words
*camera work
*surface and underlying messages