Heritage Preservation in the Intermediate Czech Language Classroom

Mila Saskova-Pierce, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

The teaching of culture within the language classroom is both necessary and challenging. It is necessary for the students to have a contrastive approach from the American point of view. In order not to lose valuable class time, it is necessary to teach it in Czech, which at this stage constitutes a challenge for students because of their linguistic limitations. The materials that are used have to be simplified in a way that does not take away their essential authenticity.

In Nebraska about fifty percent of students of Czech come from heritage families, although none of them have any knowledge of Czech. They do, however, have experience in American Czech culture. Their knowledge of the contemporary culture of the Czech Republic is often limited to the moment in history when their ancestors left the Czech Lands. It is important to bring into the classroom both the living Czech American Culture, and modern culture of the Czech Lands.