How important is culture in second laguange teaching?

Twenty Years of Culture Learning and Teaching Research: 

In his 2016 study, “Twenty Years of Culture Learning and Teaching Research: A Survey with Highlights and Directions”,

Michael Lessard-Clouston concludes:

The 52 studies outlined in this article add to our knowledge base, and provide empirical support for the value of culture learning and teaching.

To read the full research paper, click here. 

I recommend you take a particular look at the tables in the appendices of the study. For example, one USA study of French students found significant gains in understanding of the culture for students who had watched videos compared to those who had only been exposed to books or other media. 

1 intermediate-level (third semester) French students in four classes at a
private university watched eight short videos to supplement their textbook
lessons (quantitative). Two classes used advanced organizers (AO) before
watching the videos. Pre-/post-tests revealed signicant long-term gains in
cultural knowledge (e.g., practices, products, information, and inferences),
but AO did not appear to assist with recall of cultural information

To preview videos about Booksmarts French culture kits, click here. 

Teaching French culture with Kinesics and Body Language

In an article Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute article by Deborah Peck, we learn about gestures in second language teaching.

Gestures are one of the non-verbal cues students get from watching videos. Booksmarts French culture kits and packs are loaded with videos at all levels of French.

“Culture is a network of verbal and non-verbal communication. If our goal as foreign language teachers is to teach communication, we must not neglect the most obvious form of non-verbal communication which is gesture. …

Gesture conveys the “feel” of the language to the student and when accompanied by verbal communication, injects greater authenticity into the classroom and makes language study more interesting. …

…Teachers can show foreign films to students just to have them focus on body movements.”

Booksmarts videos provide the most non-verbal cues and modelling examples to students, but it doesn’t stop there. The books match the videos and the activities take the students in a step progression towards summative tasks using an action-oriented approach. To read more about how the kits work, click here.