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HT Module – Fast Food Culture (ZH)

Produced by
Valeria Belmonti, Wei-Yi Cheng, Yun Guo, and Katherine Entigar

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Preparation and Resources

Objective

Students will use mobile technology to engage in an intercultural exchange with peers comparing American and Chinese fast food in terms of their products and practices.

Proficiency Level(s) and Language Use

This Module can be adapted for a variety of proficiency levels, from Novice High to Advanced High on the ACTFL proficiency scale. The materials are either in English, in Mandarin Chinese or in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Class discussions can take place in Mandarin Chinese, English or both, depending on the proficiency level of students and the goals of the particular activity. Journal entry prompts can also be adapted to the proficiency level of students. Some journal entries can be written by students in English if the main priority is intercultural critical reflection on the activities, rather than the development of language/literacy. Text messaging will be the primary form of cross-institutional exchange. The pilot project was run between an Intermediate Chinese I course at a university in the US, and an English I course at a university in China. For the pilot version of this module, students were asked to exchange a minimum amount of text messages in L2, which was Mandarin Chinese (simplified characters or Pinyin) for the class in the U.S. and English for the class in China. After the minimum amount of text messages were exchanged in L2, students were free to continue the conversation in either Mandarin Chinese or English.

Note for Heritage Language Instruction

This Module can be adapted to include the linguistic and cultural practices of heritage language learners (HLLs) who speak Mandarin Chinese at home and/or in their communities. If you work with HLLs, follow the indicator “(HLL)”—which is included in various sections of this Module—to find additional steps that will help provide enrichment and support for the continued biliteracy and bicultural development of these students.

Description of Project

For each activity, students will:

  1. Analyze relevant resources
  2. Participate in classroom discussions
  3. Exchange information and opinions with partners via mobile messaging in small groups
  4. Write a journal reflection
  5. Complete dictionary entries
  6. Carry out activities related to language development
  7. Conduct a final classroom reflective discussion

Materials

  1. 快餐文化
  2. 中式快餐的完全定义是什么
  3. The New Definition of Fast Food
  4. Definitions of Fast Foods
  5. DAE Exercise
  6. Red and Green Bun
  7. Grey Bun
  8. Black and White
  9. Duck Burger
  10. Fast Foods Gone Global – McDonald’s Balloon Wedding Party
  11. McDonald’s China promotes table service with emotional spot
  12. China strategy built on digital marketing and home delivery could drive US growth for McDonald’s
  13. McDonald’s latest strategy confirms the death of the American middle class as we know it
  14. McDonald’s all-day breakfast, promotions drive sales
  15. Cafe U.S.: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/mc_cafe.html
  16. Cafe HK: http://www.mcdonalds.com.hk/en/mccafe/menu.html
  17. Salads: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/salads.html
  18. Tea: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mccafe/Asian-tea
  19. Hamburgers CH: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mcdonalds/hamburgers
  20. Hamburgers U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/full-menu/burgers.html
  21. Specials U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/whats-hot.html
  22. https://www.tuifly.be/
  23. https://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_gb
  24. https://www.walmart.com/
  25. http://www.wumart.com/

Please note that the resources included in this document were current at the time of its creation. Make sure to (a) check all links prior to conducting the various stages of this module in order to confirm that the links are still active, and to (b) check that the resources included are relevant at the time of conducting the lesson. We encourage you to review all resources and update them as needed for your particular group of students and according to the context that is current when your course is being held.

Preparation for Instructors

Project Home Site

Set up the project home site prior to the start of class and use it to post all instructions and tutorials that will be shared with students. This will also be the site of a question databank created by you and your students and a place for students to post and update their own pages for a final shared dictionary that their peers may access and use.

WeChat

Become familiar with the WeChat application—including how to create groups and how to share images/video/weblinks—and then create step-by-step tutorials or locate online existing tutorials to share with students. Put students in small groups before the ice-breaking activity. Create a common project group chat to which all students from both courses will be added. This common project group chat will be used to share information and resources between all participants in the project. Have your students download the application ahead of time and familiarize themselves with how to share text, images, videos, and links if they have not done so already.

Cultura-Inspired Questionnaires

It is very important to become acquainted with the Cultura model prior to the execution of Activity 1. We strongly encourage you to visit the Educator’s Guide on the Cultura website to review the description of the Questionnaire activities and the explanation of the Word Association debriefing tasks. For further information on the Cultura model, consult the following resources:

  1. English, K., Furstenberg, G., Levet, S., & Maillet, K. (2001). Giving a Virtual Voice to the Silent Language Culture: The CULTURA Project. Language Learning & Technology, 5(1), 55-102.
  2. Furstenberg, G., & English, K. (2016). Cultura revisited. Language Learning and Technology, 20 (2), 172–178.

It is also important that you confer ahead of time with the instructors at C2 to create a shared timeline for students’ submissions and the publication of results. The Cultura-inspired questionnaires should be developed prior to the beginning of the course.

Create the questionnaires using relevant target keywords such as “fast food,” “McDonald’s,” “hamburgers,” “dumplings,” “healthy foods,” etc. and/or sentences to complete such as “Fast food is…” When creating the questionnaires, instructors should follow these steps:

  1. Create a first question of type “dropdown” or “multiple choice,” which can then be used to filter and aggregate responses from each class. The names of the schools should be used as indicators for this question.
  2. Create “Short Answers” or “Paragraphs” types of questions for the word associations and sentence completions.
  3. Enable participants to submit responses only once.

The link to the questionnaire should then be posted on the project home site group chat right before the execution of Activity 1.

Technology Tools

Accessibility of online tools in China should be checked ahead of time with the partner instructor. Alternatively, this can be also checked by using https://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/.

  1. Project home site: platform for posting resources and questions databank. Options include:
    1. Course Management System (Blackboard, Canvas, Moodle, etc.)
    2. Google Sites
    3. WordPress
    4. Facebook Group
    5. Blackboard
    6. Moodle
  2. WeChat Messaging
    1. How to create groups
  3. For Cultura-inspired questionnaires, options include:
    1. Google Forms (see instructions below)
    2. Survey Monkey
    3. Survey Gizmo

Activity 1: What is Fast Food?

This activity is designed to help students make initial connections between how fast food, street food and snack food are conceived of in China versus the U.S.

Pre-Chat Activities

Cultura Questionnaires

  1. Follow the instructions in the section “Cultura-Inspired Questionnaires” under “Preparation for Instructors” to create the questionnaires ahead of time.
  2. Notify students of the deadline to submit their responses and be sure to give them adequate time to complete their submissions. Students should also be advised that they must complete their submissions in one sitting, writing “spontaneously,” i.e. providing the first responses that come to mind. For this exercise they should use L1 (the language of the country where they are studying).
  3. Once all students have submitted their responses, publish them on the project home site’s group chat in a side-by-side comparison of your class’ responses with those of the class at C2. See samples here. The side-by-side comparison can be posted as an image or as a link to an online table/document.
  4. After publishing the results, discuss them with your students, inviting them to compare the results from C1 with the results from C2 in order to identify similarities and differences within and across groups and to formulate possible explanations for these similarities and differences. Based on this class discussion, ask your students to come up with questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2, seeking clarification of C2 students’ responses as well as their perspectives on the explanations that your students have generated. More information on how to guide the debriefing part of the Cultura questionnaire exercise can be found here.

Definition of Fast Food vs. Chinese Fast Food/Street Food1.

  1. 快餐文化
  2. 中式快餐的完全定义是什么
  3. The New Definition of Fast Food
  4. Definitions of Fast Foods

Have students read the articles above in small groups. Use the following questions to analyze the resources as a class.

  1. What do you think about the way that “fast food” is defined in the articles?
  2. What are some of the similarities and differences between these definitions and the ones discussed through keywords associations and concepts generated from the Cultura questionnaire exercise and debriefing?
  3. What are the differences, if any, between how fast food is defined in the U.S.-based sources vs. the Chinese-based sources? (Note: Instructors should emphasize concepts such as fast food vs. Chinese snacks/street food).
  4. In your opinion, how have the ways in which “fast food” has been defined changed over time, and what are the reasons? Reflect on examples such as Chipotle, Panera Bread, Starbucks, etc.

 As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask questions generated during classroom discussions and add questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Discuss the definitions of fast food in the U.S. and China in light of the class conversation about the results of the Cultura questionnaires. Ask your peers at C2 the questions generated in class in order to verify possible explanations of the similarities and differences that were observed during class discussion. Analyze with your peers the differences between how fast food is defined in the U.S. and in China according to the articles you have reviewed.
  2. Discuss with the students at C2 the ways in which the definitions of fast food/street food may have changed over time in both China and the U.S. and possible reasons for this. Reflect on some recent examples of fast food chains in both the U.S. and China.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
  2. What was discussed in the chat that struck you as particularly interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
  3. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese definitions of fast food as derived from the Cultura exercise, from the articles analyzed, and/or from the conversation with your partners at C2?
  4. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
  5. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 2: Fast Food Culture in China and the US

This activity is designed to facilitate discussion about the fast food industry in the US and China as well as to encourage students to explore new concepts and information.

Pre-Chat Activities

Fast Food in the US

Use the guiding questions below to introduce vocabulary related to fast food and invite students to share their own experiences and likes/dislikes regarding fast food in the U.S.

  1. Do you eat fast food? If so, what is your favorite fast food chain? If not, why not? What do you like and/or dislike about fast food? Why?
  2. Which fast food restaurants and/or chains are located in your neighborhood? What kinds of food do they serve?
  3. Does your family eat fast food? Have they eaten fast food from both the U.S. and China? If so, how do they perceive American fast food vs. Chinese fast food? (HLLs)

If possible, have students in C1 and C2 visit some fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods or school areas ahead of time so that they can observe the clientele and decor. In class have them discuss the following questions:

  1. Who appears to be the typical consumer? Consider age, social class, race/ethnicity, gender expression, and so on.
  2. Which items (decor, utensils, etc.), if any, seem to be commonly found across the fast food restaurants that you have visited?

Use the trailer for Fast Food Nation to discuss some of the impacts of the fast food industry on American society. Use following questions for discussion:

  1. What are some of the keywords/issues that stand out in the video? (Hint: teenager employment, undocumented workers, minimum wages, etc.)
  2. How do you think “fast food” has changed in the U.S. since 2006 when the movie was released? What do you think remains the same?
  3. How many of you, if any, have worked in a fast food restaurant? How is/was the food prepared and stored? Who is/was your typical customer? Who were your colleagues? What are/were the pros and cons of working at a restaurant/food service business? Share stories and experiences and make connections to the issues raised in the film trailer.
  4. What generalizations and/or stereotypes are included in the film? Do you agree/disagree with how these ideas are presented?
  5. What do you think are the intended goals of the film? Who do you think is the intended audience for the film? Explain.

Fast Food in China

Use the guiding questions below, have students share what they know about Chinese fast food and invite them to draw upon their own experiences and preferences, if any, related to fast food in China.

  1. What do you know about Chinese fast food? What do you expect to find out about Chinese food in this activity? What questions would you like to ask your peers at C2 about their experiences with fast food in China?
  2. Have you ever eaten fast food while in China? Where? Why? What?
  3. What do you expect that you will find in a Chinese fast food chain in terms of menu items, decor and/or objects that you would not typically find in an American fast food restaurant? Explain.

Divide the class into small groups. Have students use their smartphones or laptops, or go to a computer lab (if available), to search for information about popular Chinese fast food chains. Provide a list of chains such as Jiangsu Da Niang Dumpling, Zhenkungfu, LEM Hamburger, PALA, Gll Wonton, Dico’s, Hua Lai Shi, etc. and the links to their websites. A comprehensive list of chains can be found at www.chinasspp.com/brand/中式快餐/. Instruct students to find as much information as possible and be ready to share findings in class.

  1. How many stores does this chain have? Where are they located: urban locations, rural, or both?
  2. Is the food they serve Western-inspired or Chinese fast food?
  3. Find images of the restaurants. Is there anything that jumps out as interesting, surprising, or different when comparing them to U.S. fast food restaurants?

Debrief in class about the similarities and differences between these Chinese fast food chains and American fast food chains, and have students generate questions to ask their peers at C2 regarding the chains analyzed.

Assign students the articles below to be read in class or at home, depending on time constraints. Allocate time in class to assist with language comprehension as needed.

  1. 盘点中国快餐业
  2. 中式快餐带给中国人的五大改变

Divide the class into small groups and have students discuss the articles using the guiding questions below. Debrief as a class. Have students generate questions for their partners at C2 about the concepts and information learned from the articles.

According to the articles:

  1. Is the Chinese fast food market increasing or decreasing? Explain.
  2. Is Chinese fast food an important piece of the overall food industry in China? Why or why not?
  3. What are the cultural and economic advantages of Chinese fast food as compared to Western-style fast food in China?
  4. What types of food does Chinese fast food have that do not exist in American fast food?
  5. Do Chinese people tend to prefer the Western or Chinese style of fast food? Explain.
  6. What are some of the main impacts of fast food on Chinese people’s lives?

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask the questions generated during classroom discussions, and feel free to ask questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Who appears to be the typical consumer of the fast food restaurants that you and your peers at C2 have visited? How do these consumer categories compare in terms of age range, class, etc.? What similarities and differences do you detect, and what do you think might be the reasons for these similarities and differences?
  2. If you were able to visit local fast food restaurants, what are the menu items, decor items or other objects found there that you and your peers think would never be found in a Chinese chain, and vice versa?
  3. Discuss the issues raised in Fast Food Nation: are these issues (minimum wages, teen employment, undocumented workers) relevant to the fast food industry in China? Why or why not? How might they differ?
  4. Is fast food an important piece of the overall food industry in China and in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  5. What are the cultural and economic advantages of Chinese fast food as compared to Western-style fast food in China as discussed in the resources analyzed in class?
  6. What are the impacts of fast food on people’s lives in China and in the U.S. as discussed in the resources and during classroom discussions?
  7. Ask your partners at C2 the questions generated in class regarding Chinese fast food. Respond to their questions regarding American fast food.
  8. Ask your partners the questions that were generated in class about specific Chinese fast food chains. Respond to their questions regarding American fast food chains.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry.Inform students that they will write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
  2. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, intriguing, controversial, strange, or surprising?
  3. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
  4. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
  5. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 3: McDonald’s in China

This activity is designed to initiate analysis of the expansion of McDonald’s to China.

Pre-Chat Activities

Play the video in class to instigate discussion of the launch of McDonald’s in China. While students are watching the video, ask them to keep in mind the questions below and to take notes. After the video, sum up main points by having students share their notes and observations. According to the video:

  1. What did the opening of McDonald’s in Beijing represent for Chinese people?
  2. Why is the Chinese market important/appealing to McDonald’s?
  3. What adjustments did McDonald’s have to make in order to operate in China? Why?

Have students read the introduction of the book (in Chinese) “Golden Arches East.” Then use this PPT (in Chinese) to give an overview of the main points of the book. Have students work in small groups to discuss the following questions, then debrief as a class.

  1. What information from the book were you most surprised to learn, if any?
  2. What information from the book were you already aware of, if any?
  3. How does the text justify the flourishing of McDonald’s in China?
  4. Talk with your family/friends/community: were they in China when the first McDonald’s opened in Beijing? If so, what do they remember about it? What did they think of the launch of an American fast food chain in China at that time? Do they agree with the points raised by the book’s introductory chapter? What experiences have they had with McDonald’s in China, if any? What experiences have they had with McDonald’s in the U.S., if any? How do these experiences compare?

Divide the class into small groups and assign one article to each group. Have students read and discuss the article in small groups. Then debrief as a group.

  1. 美媒:中国人逐渐对肯德基麦当劳失去兴趣 咋回事
  2. 麦当劳在中国成廉价快餐 比起巨无霸年轻人更倾向一杯星巴克
  3. 麦当劳:连年轻人都不再喜欢它了吗?
  4. How does the information in the article compare to the information in the book? How have the ways in which fast food is defined changed since the launch of McDonald’s in China? How have the ways in which fast food is defined changed since the launch of McDonald’s in China? How have the ways in which fast food was seen and defined at the launch of McDonald’s in China changed?
  5. How do young people today feel about McDonald’s, according to the articles?
  6. According to the articles, what are some of the issues that McDonald’s faces in China today, and how does this information compare to what is discussed in the book chapter?
  7. What further questions would you like ask your peers at C2 to clarify the points made in the articles?

Work with students to brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask the questions generated during classroom discussions and feel free to ask questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. Do your partners feel that the information in Golden Arches East is still valid in China today? Explain.
  2. How have the practices discussed in the book changed in China, if at all, since the publishing of it? What have been the driving forces behind such changes?
  3. How do your partners explain the flourishing of McDonald’s in China?
  4. Do your partners at C2 see McDonald’s as a symbol of American culture? Why or why not?
  5. Do you see Chinese fast food as a symbol of Chinese culture? Explore this with your peers.
  6. Is it valid to look at food as a symbol of culture? Explain.

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they resolved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
  3. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding fast food and fast food culture? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in terms of the ways in which fast food is seen in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between the American vs. Chinese lifestyle as was revealed in these conversations?
  4. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
  5. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
  6. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
  7. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 4: Localization Strategies

This activity is designed to initiate analysis of how target fast food companies use localization strategies to adapt their products and services to the different linguistic and cultural practices of China and the U.S.

Pre-Chat Activities

Describe-Analyze-Evaluate

(Exercise developed by Kyoung-Ah Nam with content adapted for this module. More information about this exercise can be found in Deardorff, D. (2012). Building intercultural competence: Innovative activities and models. Stylus Publishing, p. 54-57)

 In class, use the DAE exercises below to explore the concepts of value judgement and the personal/cultural relativity of assumptions. The exercises will engage students in interpreting and evaluating products and practices as well as invite discussion about the importance of frame-shifting when encountering the unfamiliar. (Information about the DAE exercise can be found here.)

  1. DAE 1
    1. Describe: What do you see? Ask students to describe as objectively as possible the images that they see, doing their best not to use any positive or negative connotations in their descriptions.
    2. Analyze: What could help explain what you see? What else must be assumed/known to make sense of these images? Try to think, “This might mean…” Ask students to imagine contexts that could explain each image, and justify their ideas for selecting these contexts. (Note for instructors: Use these links to provide information on justification Grey Bun, Black and White, Duck Burger)
    3. Evaluate: How do you feel about each image? What positive or negative feelings do you have? What is your opinion/judgment of these burgers, and has it changed after learning the context in which they were produced/served? Was describing the burgers objectively difficult for you? Explain.
  1. DAE 2
    1. Describe: What do you see? Show the video without sound. Ask students to describe as objectively as possible the images that they see, making sure not to use any positive or negative connotations in their descriptions.
    2. Analyze: What could help explain what you see? What else must be known to make sense of the images? Ask students to imagine reasons that could explain the popularity of the practice, then re-watch the video with the audio to listen to some explanations of why this practice is popular in Hong Kong. Ask students to research and report about the various McWedding options available on the Chinese McDonald’s site.
    3. Evaluate: How do you feel about this idea? What positive or negative feelings do you have about McWeddings? What is your opinion/judgment of these ceremonies? Has your perspective changed after learning the context for these ceremonies? Was describing this phenomenon objectively difficult for you? Explain.

Ask students to conduct a quick Internet search to learn about McWeddings in the U.S.: Do they exist as a practice? If so, how do they compare with the Chinese version, and what conclusions can be drawn based on a comparison of the two? If they don’t exist, is there any other information they can track down (e.g., failed attempts to bring McWeddings to the U.S., plans to build up this market, etc.)?

Localization Strategies

Assign the handout entitled ‘Product Localization” in order to introduce students to the concept of product localization. Use the last pages of the handout to discuss with students the case study of Starbucks localization strategies in China. Debrief:

  1. Do you think these localization strategies would work in the American market? Why or why not? If you think they would, which sectors of the American market do you think they would be most successful in?
  2. Do you think these strategies would work in other locations abroad? Why or why not?
  3. What are some of the American-based localization strategies that you can recognize in products, practices, decor, etc. that Starbucks applies for the U.S. market? Do you think these strategies vary by region, demographic group, and/or other factors? Give examples.

Referring back to the Golden Arches East book chapter, assign the handout entitled “Localization Strategies” in order to present some of the localization strategies of McDonald’s in China. Ask students to reflect back on what they have learned in the book chapter as well as what they previously discussed with partners. Have students speak with family and/or community members who may offer particular insights into their experiences with these strategies, drawing upon the guiding questions suggested below.

  1. Why do you think these strategies work in China? Would they also work in the U.S.? Why or why not?
  2. Reflect on Activity 2. What are some items that you find in the fast food restaurants in the U.S. that would never be found in China according to your partners, and vice versa?
  3. Reflect on the ways in which McDonald’s employed localization strategies in the Chinese context in the 1990s. Do you think these strategies would work today in China, given what you know about the way the country has changed over time? What about in Chinese American communities in the U.S. today? Explain, providing examples when possible.
  4. What similarities and/or differences exist between the ways McDonald’s products have been created, presented, and sold in the U.S. compared to China? Give examples from the community where you live and the community where your family lives (if these are different), and whenever possible, speak with family and/or community members to obtain various perspectives. You may consider/ask about any of the following: linguistic practices (variants of the same language (Mandarin Chinese in China vs. in the U.S., British English preferences in Chinese education vs. American English), generational shifts (cultural understandings, traditions, etc.), family immigration, changes in political and/or economic context, etc. Feel free to add other points for comparison as they emerge (HLLs)

Divide the class in small groups and have students discuss the following resources:

  1. McDonald’s China promotes table service with emotional spot
  2. China strategy built on digital marketing and home delivery could drive US growth for McDonald’s
  3. McDonald’s latest strategy confirms the death of the American middle class as we know it
  4. McDonald’s all-day breakfast, promotions drive sales

Then, debrief as a class:

  1. Why do you think that these marketing strategies work in your country? Would they also work in the country where your peers at C2 are located? Why or why not?
  2. What are some other localization strategies that you observe McDonald’s applying in the U.S. market? (Note: Students could also be asked to research this information using smartphones or computers).

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Inform students that they will communicate in small groups with their peers at C2 via WeChat. It is helpful to provide some guiding questions to start the conversations, but students should also be encouraged to ask questions generated during classroom discussions and add questions about other points of interest. Some suggestions for guiding questions:

  1. How do your partners at C2 feel about the localization strategies implemented by Starbucks and McDonald’s in China?
  2. What menu choices, events, and promotions, if any, make McDonald’s in the U.S appear as strange to your C2 partners, and what information can you provide that helps explain such choices?
  3. Compare and contrast the McDonald’s menus from the list below. What menu choices, events, and promotions, if any, make McDonald’s in China appear as strange to you, and what information can your C2 partners provide that helps explain such choices?
  4. How do the “same” concepts of menu items differ between the two countries? Why?

Materials

  1. Cafe U.S.: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/mc_cafe.html
  2. Cafe HK: http://www.mcdonalds.com.hk/en/mccafe/menu.html
  3. Salads: http://www.mcdonalds.com/content/us/en/food/full_menu/salads.html
  4. Tea: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mccafe/Asian-tea
  5. Hamburgers CH: http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/product/mcdonalds/hamburgers
  6. Hamburgers U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/full-menu/burgers.html
  7. Specials U.S.: https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/whats-hot.html

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that particularly struck you as interesting, controversial, strange, or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between American and Chinese fast food culture based on the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they solved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
    1. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding localization strategies used by McDonald’s and other companies to adapt to various cultural contexts? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you about cultural differences between hospitality and promotion practices in China as compared to the U.S.? How do you account for these differences? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between American and Chinese lifestyles as is reflected in these conversations?
    2. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
    3. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
    4. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
    5. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Activity 5: Website Analysis

This activity is designed to help students analyze how cultural values and practices manifest themselves in the way target fast food companies structure and present their websites to potential customers.

Pre-Chat Activities

Use the PPT to familiarize students with cross-cultural web design and the Hofstede cultural dimensions. Use samples embedded in the presentation to analyze differences and similarities between websites created by McDonald’s for specific target countries.

Have students work in small groups to analyze one of the two sets of websites below using guiding questions to direct the class debrief. (Exercise developed by Jeanne Feldman with adapted content for this module. More information about this exercise can be found in Deardorff, D. (2012). Building intercultural competence: Innovative activities and models. Stylus Publishing, p. 104-110)

  1. Airline website sample
    1. https://www.tuifly.be/ BELGIUM
    2. https://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_gb ENGLAND
  2. Walmart example
    1. https://www.walmart.com/ U.S.
    2. http://www.wumart.com/ CHINA

Debrief as a class:

  1. What impresses you? What images are used? What is the balance between text and images? Is the design static or is there movement on the screen? Is the site navigation simple or complex? What are some of the features of the websites?
  2. Conduct a quick language analysis. What are the messages embedded in the text and visuals on each website? Discuss any similarities and differences you encounter.
  3. What cultural values seem to be promoted or portrayed through each website based on Hofstede model? From the Chinese site in the second sample: which element(s) come from American culture/website design? What other cultural insights can you gain by reviewing the sites?

As a class, have students brainstorm questions that they would like to ask their peers at C2 related to the materials and concepts analyzed. Once this list has been created, add the questions to the question databank on the project home site or have students upload them.

Telecollaboration: WeChat

Have students analyze the two McDonald’s websites according to the Hofstede dimensions and discuss their findings with their partners at C2.

  1. http://www.mcdonalds.com.cn/
  2. http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/home.html

These are some suggested guiding questions:

  1. What impresses you? What images are used? What is the balance between text and images? Is the design static or is there movement on the screen? Is the site navigation simple or complex? What are some of the features of the websites?
  2. Conduct a quick language analysis. What are the messages embedded in the text and visuals on each website? Discuss any similarities and differences you encounter.
  3. What cultural values seem to be promoted or portrayed through each website based on Hofstede model?

Post-Chat Activities

At Home

  1. Journal Entry. Prepare students to write a journal entry in English reflecting on the telecollaboration activity. This reflection should include connections made by students, particularly heritage language learners, about intergenerational and transnational similarities and differences in language use. It should also include observations they have made regarding the specific language use and practices—including emojis, slang, abbreviations, etc.—that emerged while using WeChat. Suggested guiding questions include the following:
    1. What was discussed in the chat that struck you as particularly interesting, controversial, strange or surprising?
    2. Were there any surprising similarities and/or differences between the design strategies of different websites as derived from the materials analyzed and/or your conversation with your partners at C2?
    3. What cross-cultural lessons can be learned from this activity and why are those lessons important?
    4. Did you encounter any linguistic and/or cultural barriers during the communication? Were there any misunderstandings with your partners? How were they solved?

Ask students to include examples (screenshots or directly quoted blocks of text) from the chat with students at C2. Remind students that the excerpts they select should reflect their responses to the questions above and/or other guiding questions for this journal entry, and that their work will be featured in a language analysis conducted in class.

  1. Dictionary Entry. Have students complete an entry in their own dictionary about new words/phrases that they have learned and have them think about how they might use the new vocabulary in other contexts. Encourage students to ask their peers at C2 for suggestions about how they might use this new vocabulary.

In Class

  1. Language Analysis. In class, use the dictionary entries as well as the chat excerpts that were shared by students in their journals, to analyze the language practices that emerged during the WeChat exchange. The students’ work will comprise a rich linguistic resource that encompasses the language they encountered, including emojis (which differ across country lines), slang, and texting-specific language structures. A traditional analysis of grammatical and vocabulary-related structures and concepts can also be conducted alongside translation activities.
  2. Class Discussion. Conduct a class discussion. This portion of the activity assists students in critically engaging with the target concepts and discovering new and deeper definitions, including how the language practices and structures that came about through the WeChat exchange might be appropriate or inappropriate in different contexts. Invite students to select examples from the chat to share with the class or have them use the chat excerpts they provided in their journal and dictionary entries.
    1. What different perspectives emerged between you and your peers at C2 regarding the ways in which cross-cultural website design reveals the values, likes and dislikes of customers within and across contexts? What bigger-picture ideas have emerged for you in about the ways in which Hofstede’s cultural dimensions may help us analyze these websites? What might be missing from this analytical approach? What broader reflections do you have about the contrast between American and Chinese lifestyles as reflected in these conversations?
    2. What was unique and/or interesting about the exchanges that took place on WeChat with respect to language use? What did you notice in terms of slang, emojis, abbreviations, or other aspects of the texting exchange? How are these findings similar and/or different than your experiences with texting in the United States?
    3. Take a section of dialogue from the WeChat exchange that you found interesting and “translate” it into a form appropriate for a meeting between a supervisor and an employee, or two strangers meeting on the street. What tone shifts, word choices, grammatical changes, etc. would need to take place?
    4. Compare the range of language practices in China to the range of language practices in your community (variants of Mandarin Chinese, different forms of English such as British English vs. American English, etc.). How were regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? How were these regional variations reflected in the texting exchange with students at C2? What unfamiliar items did you ask your peers about? Which of these new items did you try to use in your own language? What questions did C2 students have about your own language use? Did they learn any new language practices from you? Can you draw any conclusions from these comparisons and exchanges? (HLLs)
    5. What relationship do you think exists between (a) the dynamic, changing linguistic and cultural practices you have perceived in your exchange and (b) the social experiences such as immigration and/or contact with other languages that take place in an individual’s community? (For example, why do you think you use the version of language that you do? How does this relate to your family’s migration history?) How do you think the relationship between generations and/or intergenerational dynamics might play a part in how these linguistic and cultural practices emerge? What direction do you think these changes may be taking us in terms of what kinds of language forms and practices are becoming more or less valuable over time? (HLLs)

Final Written Report

In Mandarin Chinese

  1. Discuss either
    1. one fact/product/event/practice of Chinese culture that you have learned about from your partners at C2
    2. or a reading which presented ideas you were not familiar with and particularly interested or surprised you.

Then gather and examine more information about the topic and present your findings. You can ask your partners, family, friends, or search for information online. What did you find out?

  1. Discuss at least one similarity and one difference between McDonald’s in China and McDonald’s in the U.S. Explain.
  2. Explain 5 new Mandarin Chinese words or sentences that you learned from your partners at C2. Cite the exchange and explain further samples of usage.

In English

  1. From the chat transcripts, extract and explain two conversations in which you and your partners disagreed on a point of view. Explain how, in your opinion, your cultural systems influence your divergent points of view.
  2. Did you encounter any language or cultural barrier during the exchange that was particularly difficult to overcome? If so, how were such barriers or misunderstandings resolved? Looking back, how would you respond or express yourself differently?

Rubrics