Jeannie Parent

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Project Introduction

Vietnam Project

Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad
Curriculum Project

"Connecting Cultures through Oral Histories" is an integrated skills ESL curriculum based on conducting and using oral histories as well as research on the art and culture of Vietnam in order to expose ESL students at Bakersfield College to a culture different from their own. The module provides the foundation and example for students to follow in order to do further research into their own family backgrounds and cultures, thereby connecting the diverse cultures in the classroom. Through the presentation of new content, the curriculum reinforces the skills of lecture note-taking, interviewing, summarizing, organizing ideas, and oral presentation.

Typically, pedagogy for ESL students involves reading about common experience; they will be able to relate to what they know, and therefore their comprehension will improve. Granted, this is incredibly valuable in order to encourage literacy and increase fluency, especially for underprepared generation 1.5 students (those who have immigrated here as young children, grown up and been educated in the U.S, but speak a language other than English at home). However, expanding the breadth of their experience by exposing them to a new culture is important, especially since many of the students living in the Central Valley have never had the opportunity to travel outside of Kern County. This module, "Connecting Cultures through Oral Histories" attempts to expose the ESL students of Bakersfield College to a culture they would not normally encounter, while at the same time encouraging them to investigate their own family backgrounds and cultures more deeply, and share those cultures with their classmates.

The Vietnam module for the ESL 71CD Listening/Speaking curriculum will:
+ Introduce some of the various aspects of culture and language that define the people of Vietnam, use information gathered from study abroad, and involve guest speakers on different topics (current Vietnamese students at BC), such as:

  • Art

  • Food

  • Dress

  • Holiday Traditions

  • Music

  • Religion

+ Share Oral Histories conducted with people while in Vietnam to present authentic material on culture and the effect of culture on identity. In classroom presentations, use recorded oral histories, video, and photos to highlight some of the topics above.

+ Use oral histories conducted in Vietnam to show a model of integrated skills for students to follow:

  • Interviewing someone

  • Transcribing oral histories

  • Summarizing

  • Presenting the information

  • Writing the Essay

Students do the following assignments regarding their own cultures:

  • Conduct oral histories with their own families on chosen aspect of culture.

  • Complete further research on aspect of culture using the internet and existing family resources.

  • Summarize findings.

  • Present oral history projects to class using PowerPoint.

  • Take lecture notes on classmates' presentations

  • Write essays on what they have learned from doing the oral history project.

Curriculum objectives:

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of specific aspects of Vietnamese culture, such as art, holidays, or food.

  • Students will demonstrate interviewing skills; introductions, conversation starters, open-ended questions, expressing encouragement, expressing thanks.

  • Students will demonstrate listening and turn-taking skills.

  • Students will demonstrate summarizing skills.

  • Students will demonstrate lecture note-taking skills.

  • Students will demonstrate ability to organize ideas in an oral presentation.

The materials for this link were developed under a grant from the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA), U.S. Department of Education. However, the content does not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. For further information about the GPA program, please refer to

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