Cultural connections

Stepping outside to see oneself

How do teachers lead students to see their own cultural lens? This point of view filters how we perceive others and, if students are not careful, they might not even see that they have cultural biases. We can expose students to target language cultures in class, but there is something powerful about when students finally glimpse how other cultures see us.

Teresa Torgoff’s easy to read language learner novel “Sleepy Meadow ou la fôret hantée” invites the reader to see a peculiar American tradition from the experience of a French student visiting her American pen pal. Annabelle thinks she knows pen pal Melissa well. When Annabelle from France visits Melissa in the US, a Halloween trip to an amusement park reveals that Melissa is not the person Annabelle thought she was. After an encounter with an unexpectedly terrifying clown, Melissa isn’t sure about the person she has become.

This is also a story about friendship; bonds that cultural differences and misunderstandings do not break.

Teresa Torgoff is a native speaker of French, English and Montreuillois from the city of Montreuil, where she grew up. She currently teaches French in Virginia and her novels are inspired by her own cross-cultural experiences. This book has a total of just under 4000 words and 400 unique words. It is meant for students in mid-year level 2 and up. To preview the first chapter please follow this link and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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