How Americans See Europe is a funny, accurate (in the sense that I believe it reflects what many Americans believe), and very sad map showing the stereotypes that many people in the United States have about Europe.
My first thought was that it would be great to help teach Perception in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class. And I do think that’s still a good idea.
But then I got to wondering if there was any way I could use it with my English Language Learners.
I don’t think the map itself would be very accessible to them. However, I could adapt the idea.
I’ve written in my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work, about having my Hmong refugee students share the stories they heard in the Thai camps about the United States (we ate people, etc.). It would be interesting to do a more in-depth lesson with ELL’s sharing the perceptions they think people in their country have of the U.S.– and why. Then they could share if they’ve found any to be true. In addition, they could share what perceptions they think people here have of their native country, and why.
It could make for some interesting discussions and excellent learning opportunities.
In fact, I’m going to add this infographic and lesson idea to The Best Sites For Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes. It seems like a good fit.
One thing reinforced for me since September 11th is that America and Europe know next to nothing about each other. London papers, and thereby others around the world, have lame features professing to have the inside track on the latest trends in America but they are wrong. Ultimately, what anyone perceives of a nation’s current pop culture or headline making events (though who reads a newspaper anymore as confidence in journalistic integrity is at an all time low) leads less to an understanding of the peoples than the historical events and laws a citizenry has developed under.
This map somehow captures the state of the Atlantic alliance more accurately than any in-depth analysis. Teaching the U.S. Constitution and showing the marked differences (and consequences) of other nation’s rule of law in schools would go a long way to foster immigrant immersion and informed voters. Not to mention, well learned students. Skip the Hollywood enforced stereotypes.