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There is an odd contradiction at the heart of language and culture learning: Language and culture are, so to speak, two sides of a single coin – language reflects the thinking, values and worldview of its speakers. Despite this, there is a persistent split between language and culture in the classroom. Foreign language pedagogy is often conceptualized in terms of gaining knowledge and practicing skills, while cultural learning goals are often conceptualized in abstract terms, such as awareness or criticality.
Language, Culture, and the Embodied Mind helps resolve this dilemma. Informed by brain and mind sciences, its core message is that language and culture learning can both be seen as a single, interrelated process – the embodiment of dynamic systems of meaning into the intuitive mind. This deep learning process is detailed in the form of the Developmental Model of Linguaculture Learning (DMLL). Grounded in dynamic skill theory, the DMLL describes four developmental levels of language and culture learning, which represents a subtle, yet important shift in language and culture pedagogy. Rather than asking how to add culture into language education, we should be seeking ways to make language and culture learning deeper – more integrated, embodied, experiential and transformational. Language, Culture, and the Embodied Mind provides a theoretical approach, including practical examples, for doing so.
Joseph Shaules (PhD) has worked in intercultural education in Japan, Mexico and Europe for more than 25 years. He has been a pioneer in applying insights from the mind and brain sciences to language and culture pedagogy. He is the Director of the Japan Intercultural Institute, and he teaches at the International Center of Keio University, Tokyo, and in the Tsuda University Graduate Program in TESOL. His academic works include: The Intercultural Mind: Connecting Culture, Cognition and Global Living (2015); Deep Culture: The Hidden Challenges of Global Living (2007); and he has published language education textbooks, such as Identity (2003), and Impact Issues (2008, 2011), as well as works for a general audience, including: Beneath the Surface: A Beginner's Guide to the Deep Culture Experience (2010).
"What is new and thought-provoking in this book is its neurocognitive perspective and its observation that 'linguaculture' resides at a deep, intuitive level. Importantly, Joseph Shaules recognizes that both language and culture are comprised of complex dynamic patterns. For this reason, teaching linguaculture is not adding culture teaching to language teaching, but rather integrating them by understanding that the learning of such patterns calls for adaptive, embodied processes."
– Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan
"Not since Edward Hall's reflections on culture, and Marshall McLuhan's ideas on communication, has an author so successfully explained the invisible links of language and culture that bind and define us. With his Developmental Model of Linguacultural Learning, Shaules provides a new lens with which to understand language and culture teaching and learning. To link theory to practice, Shaules explains modern psychological and neuroscientific theories, but rather than being overwhelmed by abstraction, the reader is captivated. Shaules's makes tough concepts seem like a casual stroll through a botanical garden of pedagogy. Language, Culture, and the Embodied Mind is a must read for anyone who wants a clean, clear and insightful approach to language and culture learning."
– Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D., Professor at Harvard University Extension School, and Associate Editor of Nature Partner Journal Science of Learning