By Susanne Bergmann
For Laurent Boudreault, resource person at the RÉCIT National Service, Languages, it is important for French teachers (but also for others) to make students aware of their own culture and to put them in touch with a variety of cultural objects. This is how they will be able to build cultural references in their own image.
In the Professional Competencies Framework - Teaching ProfessionCompetency 1 is "To mediate elements of culture". Culture should therefore play a central role in the classroom. According to Johanne Proulx, also a resource person at RÉCIT national service, language areaEverything can be a subject of culture, because culture is everywhere! For her, this is the starting point. Secondly, we must take into account that each student has his or her own culture and cultural references before entering the classroom.
Boudreault adds that contact with different cultural objects should therefore aim "to lead to reflection that can change our view of the world around us. "The challenge is to get students to make connections between the cultural objects they are brought into contact with in the school environment AND the cultural objects they are in contact with on a daily basis."
And how can we create these links between the student's individual culture and the culture transmitted by the school? It is possible to work with different literary works, printed or digital. For those who want to work with digital books, the SAMUEL and the school library Biblius are good starting points.
From a novel, for example, students can find cultural landmarks (name, place, etc.) and associate them with other cultural landmarks they already know or with new ones they might discover. To present the links in a visual way, students can create mind maps or digital collages. "This networking encourages the development of their informational and literary skills while leading them to build their representation of different cultural worlds."
It is then a question of representing in the form of networks of meaning the links established between different proposed works or between the elements of a work and the current context. Here is an example of a mind map made from La Curée, a novel by Emile Zola, and other examples from various works, presented by the RÉCIT National Service, Language Area.
Johanne Proulx and Laurent Boudreault presented a workshop on this topic at the Quebec Association of Teachers of French (AQPF) conference in the fall of 2022. Their presentation is available here : Building cultural references in the digital age. It can be adapted by those who wish to use it in their environment.