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Culture in language teaching

Culture in language teaching

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Culture in language teaching

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  1. Culture in language teaching Multi – Pluri – Inter The Prefixes of Culture

  2. Culture in language teaching “Although some L2/FL teachers seem to think that the presence of culture in current writings is relatively recent, a review of the L2/FL literature shows that this is clearly not the case” (Lessard-Clouston, M. 1997). Culture and Language come together in LT, culture appearing and disappearing from theoretical approaches regularly. Now it is enjoying a revival.

  3. Culture: the prefixes • If at first the terms “contrastive” and “cross-cultural” were the key terms in cultural studies, the incorporation of multicultural and intercultural approaches widened our perspective. • The scope of cultural studies nowadays includes the self, the group and the communicative situation.

  4. The prefixes Interculturality Pluriculturality Pluriculturality Multiculturality

  5. Static definition “Inter-”: definition of a communicative situation “Pluri-”: definition of the identity of a person “Multi-”: definition of the social context Dynamic definition “Inter-”: active and critical participation in communication “Pluri-”: perception and construction of the multiple identifications of a person “Multi-”: ackowledgement and appreciation of the coexistence of a number of cultures in the social context Definitions: two approaches

  6. Multiculturalism (I) • Multiculturalism describes a general situation (region, country, community) of “culture contact”. • Normally, the term comprises three visions of diversity: • culture as state-nation (multicultural = different nationalities) • culture as religion (multicultural = different religions) • culture as ethnic groups (multicultural = different ethnic groups).

  7. Multiculturalism (II) • However, none of these metaphoric definitions of culture are satisfactory • it could be argued that other “cultures” could be added: “culture as age”, “culture as gender”, “culture as profession”, “culture as ability/disability”, ... • Consequently, any country, region, community or group is multicultural by definition, as different cultures interact simultaneously at any level. • So, we would keep multiculturalism for the description of contexts where cultures are in contact, not restricted to nations, religions or ethnic groups.

  8. Pluriculturalism • Identity is the by-product of experiences in different cultures. • Thus, multiple identifications create our unique personality more than a static “identity”. • Pluriculturalism implies an approach to the self and the other as complex, rich beings which act and react from the perspective of those multiple identifications.

  9. Interculturality • Interculturality is, undoubtedly, one of the key notions in language teaching at the moment. • ECML projects: • Candelier, Oomen-Welke and Perregaux (2004) • Dupuis et al. (2003) • Huber-Kriegler, Lázár and Strange (2003) • Aleksandrowicz-Pędich, Draghicescu, Issaiass and Šabec (2003), Skopinskaja (2003) and Facciol and Kjartansson (2003) • Zarate, Gohard-Radenkovic, Lussier and Penz (2003) • Grima Camilleri (2002)

  10. Interculturality • Interculturality is, for our perspective, intimately related to communication: it is the link between language and culture. • Being intercultural is a way of participating in communication in which interlocutors • Are aware of the relevance of culture in communication. • Participate actively in communication. • React critically to communication.

  11. Awareness of culture • The language learner must be aware of three layers of culture: multi-cultural, pluri-cultural and inter-cultural. • First, the language learner must be aware of • diversity in society and • how social groups, including nations, create, use and manage cultures, which are intermingled in a complex matrix of social contact. • We will refer to it as awareness of culture from a multicultural perspective.

  12. Awareness of culture • Secondly, awareness of culture from a pluricultural perspective implies • to define identity as a complex, flexible, dynamic composite which, in any situation, can adopt an apparently definite layout for a certain purpose with a particular interlocutor. • culture as product – which is static – • culture as process – which is dynamic.

  13. Awareness of culture • From an intercultural perspective, awareness must be displayed in two directions. • First, the learner must be aware of the pluricultural identity of his or her interlocutor as defined above. • Second, the language learner must be aware of the cultural conventions of the language(s) they may use. • Language is a culture-bound phenomenon and there are conventions ruling any communicative act, written or spoken. • Awareness of these cultural conventions can smooth communication • At the same time, a positive, cooperative attitude on the part of the listener/reader can help overcome ignoring, forgetting or flouting these conventions.

  14. The LEA Project • To raise awareness of diversity as a key element of society. • To enrich language teacher education with the potential to exploit cultural diversity at individual and social levels • To facilitate curricular changes aimed at incorporating a pluricultural dimension into language classes.