Teaching Non-Hexagonal French Culture in the Language Classroom

For my project, I have created and trialed cultural materials for use in second-year French classes that look at non-hexagonal (or Francophone) cultures on their own terms. By putting together cultural units that focus on specific geographical places and topics, I expand the idea of engaging with French culture beyond traditional ideas of Paris-centric themes and comparisons between French and the Francophone “other.” Current approaches and materials often focus only on differences between hexagonal culture and other French-speaking cultures, and often do this in terms of debates on negative issues like immigration and colonization, which leave little room for talking about non-hexagonal cultures as distinct sites of linguistic and cultural learning. These resources, made to be shared and collectively revised by instructors, will encourage students to think about French-speaking countries in terms of positive themes and ideas, adding another dimension to teaching culture in the language classroom.
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