Home Culture Project
Namhee Kim, Woosong University
Namhee Kim (2003) researched the impact of website authoring by ESL students in US high schools. In their “culture projects” the students constructed a website about an aspect from their own culture. The project engaged various literacy activities to support language acquisition: Students searched the web for links to relevant cultural sites; they wrote explanations about cultural topics and histories for the webpages; and they discussed their ideas with classmates during the authoring process and in final oral presentations. Just as significantly, the project forced students to negotiate their identities out of the everyday confrontations they were experiencing with American culture and English. As one student reported:
This kind of project is really helpful for international students. This project gave me confidence and made me feel proud as a Korean in an American school. If I had the chance, I would even present this project in a regular class with American students. Now I am proud of myself as a Korean. (Kim, 2003, p. 157)
The process of authoring a public website in this project engaged students in self-examination of their own cultural perspectives and how to represent that identity through a second language to students of different cultures. They learned to reposition symbols from their first culture in a second language, thus developed an essential intercultural framework for representing and interpreting ideas and identities.
PDF document of the ESL students' websites.