What Does it Mean to Understand a Culture?


Contemporary
  • Population
  • Geography
  • Transportation
  • Climate
  • Holidays/Festivals
  • Food
  • Current Affairs
  • Politics
  • Economy
  • People
  • Religion
  • Literature
  • International relations

Historical
  • Dynasties
  • People
  • Religion
  • Philosophy
  • Literature
  • Calligraphy
  • Painting
  • Inventions

Comparison
Explore contemporary Chinese society, including geography and population, ethnic and regional diversity, travel and transportation, climate and weather, holidays and food, sports and games, and current affairs.
Explore the realm of Chinese societal relationships, examining how individuals interact with family members, elders, and peers, and integrate this knowledge into their interpersonal communications.
Includes significant persons, products, and themes in Chinese history; may touch on such topics as Chinese contributions to philosophical thought, government institutions, and artistic pursuits (e.g., calligraphy, painting, literature, and music, as well as folk arts and culture).
View Chinese culture in an international context; learn that Chinese culture and society have influenced and been influenced by the global community, and develop an awareness of China's role in issues of global importance, concerning areas such as energy and the environment, economics and politics.
Compare Chinese cultural products, practices, and perspectives with those of our own society.
(borrowed from the AP curriculum guidelines)

New York State Chinese Content Specialty Test—CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING

Understand major developments in the history of cultures associated with the target
language and the cultural significance of these developments.
For example:
• demonstrating an understanding of major political, economic, social, and cultural
trends and developments that have shaped the history of cultures associated
with the target language
• analyzing the role of major historical events and figures in the development of
cultures associated with the target language
• analyzing the nature and significance of historical interactions between the
cultures associated with the target language and other cultures
• recognizing traditional customs and institutions of cultures associated with the
target language and demonstrating an understanding of how those traditions are
affected by contemporary historical, economic, and technological developments
Understand geographic, economic, social, and political features of contemporary
cultures associated with the target language, including the ways in which values
and/or beliefs influence these features.
For example:
• recognizing natural geographic features (e.g., climate, location, natural
resources) of nations using the target language
• demonstrating an understanding of governmental institutions of nations using the
target language and their historical or cultural significance
• analyzing major features of the economic systems of nations using the target
language (e.g., the roles of free-market institutions or central planning)
• demonstrating an understanding of characteristic features of daily life in nations
in which the target language is the major vehicle of communication
Understand literature, the nonliterary arts, science, and technology as aspects of
cultures associated with the target language.
For example:
• recognizing major movements, writers, and works in the literature of the target
language and understanding their cultural significance
• demonstrating an understanding of characteristic forms and elements of the
visual arts and music of cultures associated with the target language and their
cultural significance
• recognizing major scientific and technological achievements (historical
or contemporary) of cultures associated with the target language and
understanding their cultural significance


Four-year high school Chinese language curriculum – cultural component

Modern China

Chinese history

I. Creating a Framework
o 1. Stereotypes
o 2. Geography
o 3. Emergence of a State-level Society
o 4. Archaeology Unlocks the Past
o 5. Language
II. Enduring Traditions
o 6. Early Chinese Mythology
o 7. The Impact of Confucius
o 8. Additional Chinese Belief Systems
III. Community Life
o 9. Festivals
o 10. Family Life
o 11. Cities and Dwellings
IV. The Four Accomplishments
o 12. Calligraphy
o 13. Poetry Highlights
o 14. Traditional Painting
o 15. Music
V. Human Ingenuity
o 16. Public Works and Centralization Projects
o 17. Inventions and Innovations
VI. Beyond the Borders
o 18. The Silk Routes
o 19. Relations with Nomadic Neighbors
o 20. China and the South Seas