Cross-cultural differences

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Cross-cultural differences are of great importance to the language learning process and teachers need to be very much aware of them. The differences can include aspects of non-verbal communication, student-teacher relationships and many other aspects of classroom life not strictly concerned with grammar and vocabulary.

Language teachers cannot limit themselves to only setting out the mechanics of the language they teach, but must also give background information regarding the society and the culture to which the target language belongs. This includes pointing out both positive and negative aspects, customs and taboos.

Teachers would be wise to avoid, as much as practically possible, describing cultural differences as being "better" or "worse", as their own unconscious cultural prejudices will inevitably colour their judgements. It is much better to talk about "differences" between societies.

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