Reading /Presentation
Cross-cultural Communication
- An Introduction to American Culture
Wed. 3rd. Period Robert Yui
Culture, Discussion, Intensive Reading, Presentation, Research, Speaking, Vocabulary, Web Activities, American History

There are many definitions of culture.  Some would define it as the art, literature, and music of  people, their architecture, history, religion, their traditions.  Some others might focus more on the customs and specific behavior of the people.  The course chooses a sociological definition of culture as the way of life of a group of people, developed over time and passed down from generation to generation.  This broad definition includes every aspect of human life and interaction.  The course is chosen to make a values approach focusing on the traditional mainstream values that have attracted people to the states.  The course traces how values affect aspects of life.

By studying the information about the traditional, basic American values, where they came from, and how these values affect various institutions and aspects of life in the United States,  the course is intended to increase students' awareness and understanding of the cultural values of the United States, their own country, and other countries.  The information the students get in class will help them get a composite picture of American beliefs and practices as they relate to education, business, government, sports, recreation and so on.

Attendance: 20%
Assignment: 10%
Paper: 20%
Mid-term Presentation: 15%
Final Presentation: 25%
Class Participation: 10%



Reading:  1. Life in the United States   2.  A Nation of Immigrants 

Activities:  Ask Yourself / Think, Pair, Share / Ask Americans


Reading:   3.  Cultural Pluralism in the United States  4. Making Generalizations about American Beliefs  

Activities:  Comprehension Check / Questions for Discussion / Summar / Vocabulary Check


Traditional American Values and Beliefs

Reading:  1.  The Context of Traditional American Values:  Racial, Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural Diversity  2. Individual Freedom and Self-Reliance

Activities:  Ask Yourself / Think, Pair, Share / Making Comparisons / Ask Americans


The American Religious Heritage

Reading:   1.  Freedom of Religion in the United States  2. The Development of Protestantism  3. Protestantism in the United States

Activities:  Proverbs and Sayings /  Ask Yourself




Reading:  4.  The Protestant Heritage:  Self-Improvement  5. Material Success, Hard Work, and Self-Discipline  6. Volunteerism and Humanitarianism

Activities:  Observing the Media /  Ask Americans



Reading:  7.  Born-Again Christians and the Religious Right  8.  A National Religion

Activities:  Comprehension Check/  Questions for Discussion  /Summary /Vocabulary Check



Mid-Term Presentation:  Topics for the presentation will be announced during the first few weeks of class.



The Frontier Heritage

Reading:  1. The Impact of the American Frontier   2.  Self-Reliance and the Rugged Individualist

Activities:  Proverbs and Sayings / Ask Americans / Ask Yourself / Observing the Media



Reading:  3.  American Macho  4.  Inventiveness and the Can-Do Spirit    5.   Equality of Opportunity

Activities:  Comprehension Check / Questions for Discussion / Summary / Vocabulary Check


The Heritage of Abundance

Reading:  1. A History of Abundance   2. From Producers to Consumers   3.   Commercial Television versus Public Television and the Internet

Activities:  Proverbs and Sayings / Ask Americans / Observing the Media / Think, Share, Pair


Reading:  4. What American Consumers Like  5. The Ever-Expanding Pie  6. The Decline of American Abundance  7.  What of the future?

Activities:  Comprehension Check  / Questions for Discussion / Summary / Vocabulary Check



The World of American Business

Reading:  1. The Characteristics of American Business  2.  The Prestige of Business and the Ideal of Competition  3.  The Prestige of American Business and the Dream of Getting Rich

Activities:  Ask Americans / People Watching / Proverbs and Sayings / Ask Yourself / What's your Opinion?  Think, Pair, Share



Reading:   4.  Two Kinds of American Business Heroes:  The Entrepreneur as Hero  /  The Organization Man/Woman as Hero  5.  American Business in the Global Marketplace        6.  The Changing American Workforce          

Activities:  Comprehension Check  / Questions for Discussion / Summary / Vocabulary Check


Final Presentation I

Topics for the Final Presentation will be announced after the Mid-term


Final Presentation II

Final Report / Paper ( including the Mid-term) must be handed in on this day

The real goal of this course is to help students become more sensitive to cultural differences and more accepting of them.  However, there will always be things about another culture that we do not like no matter how much we understand it.  The objective of this course is not to persuade others to approve of all facets of life in the United States but rather to help students understand it more fully and be able to adapt whenever it is desirable to do so.  There are opportunities for exploiting one's foreign qualities but there are also times when being from a different culture can be a real liability.  The instructor hopes that this introduction will help students make more informed choices.  (Important* If a student misses 4 classes, he or she will automatically fail the course.)