I have already stated the fact that Drama in this unit will be used as context. It needs further explaining, if this unit is to be implemented. Although I am suggesting some of the content to be taught, I am not concerned about the many facts which could be taught. I trust that the books and resources listed in the bibliographies and the abilities of the teachers involved in this project will provide more than enough content. The following quote is from the “Bible” of the Foreign Language Department:
Many teachers are afraid to teach culture because they fear that they don’t know enough about it. Seelye(1984) maintains that even if teachers’ own knowledge is quite limited, their proper role is not to impart facts, but to help students attain the skills that are necessary to make sense out of the facts they themselves discover in their study of the target culture. He points out that the objectives that are to be achieved in cross-cultural understanding involve processes rather than facts. Facts are cheap. They are also meaningless until interpreted within a problem-solving context.
The context which will be created to hold some of the content taught in this unit will be the “script” used for the culminating activity—the performance. The script will be “better” if it includes a plot, tension, characters, and a climax. As described in the “Master Schedule”, the script is created by the group working on the project. If the class studying Puerto Rico focuses on the bizarre Festival of the Masks, an annual island festival, then they, with the help of their teacher, could create a short scene where a family is preparing for the event.
In order to provide a concrete example of what I mean I have created a “Sample Script” which has spaces that must be filled by specific classes. The script could be used as a starting point for the project or thrown out entirely in favor of a different set of characters and situations. This script is not complete! The tension in the script will be created from the juxtaposition of very different cultures: the alien culture, created by the fourth grade and the three cultures being studied by the other six classes: Puerto Rico, Russia and Ghana. (Following is a “Sample Content Chart”, a “Sample Script”, a “Sample Master Schedule”, and five “Sample Lesson Plans”.)