Understanding Cultural Narratives

Exploring Identity and the Multicultural Experience
Linda Watkins-Goffman


Understanding Cultural Narratives focuses on the narrative as a tool for uncovering the individual stories of second language students. Narrative that reveals aspects of a student's experience in both a first and second culture can also reveal attitudes and expectations toward second language acquisition; this knowledge provides an invaluable bridge between student and educator and provides the educator with a context in which to develop an effective learning plan.

Understanding Cultural Narratives features poems and excerpts from the work of well-known authors—including Isabel Allende, Gloria Anzaldúa, Jhumpa Lahiri, V.S. Naipul, Pablo Neruda, and Zadie Smith—to explore questions and feelings that are part of identity formation in a second culture. Questions for Writing and Discussion guide teachers and students through a rich examination of the passages presented.

This is an excellent resource for educators and teachers in training interested in better understanding their students by first understanding their unique stories.

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Copyright © 2006, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 7 x 10.
  • 136pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2006
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03034-7

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  • $28.95 U.S.



  • culture, identity, narratives, multicultural experience, ethnography, acculturation, cross-cultural communication, short story, poetry, literature, fiction, ethnographic interview, sociocultural theory, border crossings, student attitudes, English as a second language, second language pedagogy, cultural adjustment, student empowerment, teacher training, language socialization, self-discovery