Relate the 3 Ps (Products, Perspectives, Practices)

WTWE. In What the World Eats Menzel (2005) challenges us to think about what our culture and others eat. Menzel takes a picture of families around the world in their kitchen with their family. In front of them, they have a weeks’ worth of food. These pictures can be used to focus a discussion around the 3 Ps. Students can first identify products they see. For example, they could label food items pictures. Then they can be asked to hypothesize about the cultural perspectives such as making predictions regarding the availability of drinking water? fresh food? What does the picture suggest about the cultural perspectives of food consumption in one week? This assignment could be followed by a research project to further investigate the location of grocery stores (google maps), the availability of drinking water, or target language news sources about food.


Variation: NY Times: “What’s going on in this picture?” Students work on predictions and conjectures based on culturally relevant pictures, can post their comments on NY Times website!

Matching Squares. This puzzle can be a fun way to review information. On the grid you can make final “puzzle” put together. Fill in the grid by writing a cultural product, practice, or perspective (e.g. painting, artist, or fact on one side of the line and a matching word on the other side of the line (paintings matching to artists, style or characteristics matching to artists, etc.) When every line has a word written on it (they will appear upside down and sideways as well) you can make copies, cut it apart and have students put it back together in pairs or individually as a puzzle.

Sample Activity

Cultural Values Assessment. In Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum Janet Swaffar and Katherine Arens offer different types of charts to help students identify, critique and organize cultural information in authentic texts. In this activity inspired by their book, students work with a text (article, podcast, video, poem, etc) and then fill out a worksheet with 3 columns: cultural value/specific manifestation/product, perspective or practice. They then identify the cultural values presented in the text. For example: women are expected to be submissive. Next, they find a specific example including page number or other reference to support that value. Ex: the main character is punished for questioning her father (Pg 3). Finally they identify which P it is. Ex: practice (women do as they are told). The implied perspective is that men are better decision makers and women should not be involved.

Sample Activity

Art Historian. Students find a painting or other work of art from a TL culture (product). What clues indicate it’s from that culture? What aspects challenge our assumptions of that culture? What clues does it offer to the time period, place, climate or geography of that culture/country? Identify a practice and hypothesize the perspective. For ex: in Monet’s painting “Essai de figure en plein air” (1836) a woman is holding a parasol (practice). It is designed to shelter her from the sun, presumably that was bad at that time. She might be wealthy and want to protect her complexion lest she be mistaken for working class (perspective).

Sample Activity