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Hirsch and Cultural Literacy on McNeil/Lehrer News Hour

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Published on Sep 27, 2011

This is a clip that I edited and posted on YouTube. I use this clip in my Intercultural Communication course to introduce students to the idea of cultural literacy and the role it plays in intercultural communication.


E.D. Hirsch: education scholar who proposed the idea of cultural literacy. The idea was first introduced in the book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (1988).

Cultural Literacy: All U.S. American students should have a commonly shared set of knowledge.

Rationale: Better communication and thus better relations.
People w/o a shared cultural literacy have less effective communication. (Heterophily).
People w/ a shared cultural literacy more effective, efficient communication. (Homophily)

Additional rationale: Many business leaders find young graduates lack good communication skills.

Examples of Things All Americans Should Know
1492
1776
Achilles
Adam & Eve
Adams, John
Aesop's Fables
Ahab, Captain
Alamo
Alcott, Louisa May
Ali, Muhammad Allah
Allen, Woody
All roads lead to Rome

This is a somewhat representative sample of his list of 500+. Video: Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire - lyrics

Your task: You are in China and have to teach
An American Culture/English Language class. What would you do?

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