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Claire Kramsch
The Predicament of Culture in Language Teaching

 The recent emphasis in language pedagogy on meanings and functions in authentic contexts of communication has brought "culture" into the picture.  But what do we mean by culture?  Is it something that can and should be taught?  Language teachers are not trained anthropologists, ethnographers, sociologists, or even literary scholars who each have their own definition of culture.  And if, as many argue, we cannot avoid teaching culture, the question is: which or whose culture should we teach?  This paper explores what the current obsession with culture means for the way we view our role as teachers, and the opportunities and problems it creates.

Claire Kramsch studied German Language and Literature at the Sorbonne and in Munich, and took post graduate courses in Applied Linguistics at Harvard University.  She is a Professor of German and Foreign Language Education.  She holds appointments in the German Department and in the Language, Literacy and Culture Division of the Graduate School of Education and is the Director of the Berkeley Language Center, a resource and professional development center for all foreign language teachers on campus, that she founded in 1994.  Professor Kramsch teaches undergraduate and graduate seminars in Second Language
Acquisition/Applied Linguistics and supervises PhD dissertations in the Graduate School of Education.  Her main area of research is applied sociolinguistics and the rold of discourse and culture in language learning and teaching.  She has published extensively on the topic and has given numerous workshops and seminars in the U.S.A. and in Europe.