In revising the content of this book, we concentrated on updating events that have occurred since the second edition was published in 1997. The issues surrounding multiculturalism continue to be of great importance as the cultural diversity of the United States continues to increase. Indeed, estimates are that by the mid-2000s, the United States will be majority minority. That is, the majority of Americans will be from minority groups. The traditional group of white Americans of European descent will be in the minority. Already this is the situation in the largest school systems in the country. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to describe the American culture, and it is uncertain whether the traditional mainstream culture will continue to be the dominant culture in the future. In the third edition of this book, the basic conceptual framework of traditional values remains the same. However, it is not clear how future generations will interpret or change them. Chapter 12 has been completely rewritten to focus more clearly on what is happening to traditional American values and on the challenges the United States faces after the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001.
Originally we envisioned this book primarily for use in English language courses designed to prepare students to study in American universities. We believe students in those courses need experience presenting information and voicing their personal opinions to others; they should be encouraged to make both oral and written reports and participate in debates and formal discussions. We have written many exercises that suggest appropriate topics and activities. The third edition also includes other exercises that can be used to help students become more effective in American universities. For example, some exercises provide instruction on how to identify and organize academic information into main ideas and supporting details; others focus on skimming and scanning. There is also much more attention to vocabulary in this edition, including
some exercises on collocation. Answers to the exercises, additional teaching tips, and graphic organizers can be found in the Teacher’s Manual.
We have been delighted to hear from many teachers about creative ways they have used American Ways—not only in courses that introduce American culture, but also in courses focusing on cross-cultural communication, listening/speaking, reading/writing, academic preparation, and even literature. Teachers have used the values framework to design courses where students could explore ways in which the values appear in American literature or current events, for example, focusing on materials the teacher developed from other sources and presented in addition to the text.