Teaching and Learning English Interculturally: Utdrag

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Teaching and Learning English Interculturally



Magne Dypedahl and Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund (Eds.)

Teaching and Learning English Interculturally


© CAPPELEN DAMM AS, Oslo, 2020 ISBN 978-82-02-63632-6 1. utgave, 1. opplag 2020 Materialet i denne publikasjonen er omfattet av åndsverklovens bestemmelser. Uten særskilt avtale med Cappelen Damm AS er enhver eksemplarfremstilling og tilgjengeliggjøring bare tillatt i den utstrekning det er hjemlet i lov eller tillatt gjennom avtale med Kopinor, interesseorgan for rettighetshavere til åndsverk. Illustrasjoner: Azzi In Between, written and illustrated by Sarah Garland, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, an imprint of The Quarto Group, copyright © 2015, s. 76, 77 og 79. Omslagsdesign: Roy Søbstad Sats: Bøk Oslo AS Trykk og innbinding: Livonia Print, 2020, Latvia www.cda.no akademisk@cappelendamm.no


Contents Preface....................................................................................................................... 9 Chapter 1 Intercultural Learning and Global Citizenship in the English Language Classroom .............................................................................................. 10 Magne Dypedahl and Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund Introduction .............................................................................................................. 10 The tradition of dealing with culture in foreign language education ............. 12 What is context? ..................................................................................................... 13 What is culture? ...................................................................................................... 16 What is intercultural competence? ...................................................................... 19 What are the components of intercultural competence? ................................ 20 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 22 Chapter 2 Language Learning and Intercultural Learning ................................................ 26 Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund Introduction .............................................................................................................. 26 The processes of intercultural learning and language learning ....................... 27 Becoming aware of differences in language ....................................................... 28 Becoming aware of differences in language use ................................................ 33 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 39 Chapter 3 Multilingualism and Intercultural Competence .............................................. 41 Christian Carlsen Introduction .............................................................................................................. 41 Multilingualism and language learning ............................................................... 42

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Language learning and culture .............................................................................. 44 Language and identity ............................................................................................. 45 Awareness raising ................................................................................................... 47 Language activation ................................................................................................ 50 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 55 Chapter 4 Culture Studies for Intercultural Learning ........................................................ 58 Magne Dypedahl Culture and society in the LK20 curriculum ....................................................... 58 Culture studies in Norway at a turning point? ................................................... 60 Culture-specific and culture-general learning .................................................... 61 Three aims of a culture-specific approach ......................................................... 62 A plurivocal approach: multiperspectivity .......................................................... 64 Using authentic materials ...................................................................................... 65 A culture-specific approach to indigenous peoples .......................................... 65 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 67 Chapter 5 Using Literature for Intercultural Learning in English Language Education .................................................................................................................. 69 Janice Bland Introduction .............................................................................................................. 69 Literature working on the reader .......................................................................... 72 A graphic novel for young readers: Azzi In Between .......................................... 75 The verse novel and intercultural learning: Home of the Brave ........................ 81 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 86 Chapter 6 Using Film for Intercultural Learning ................................................................. 90 Maria Casado Villanueva Film for intercultural learning ................................................................................ 90 Which films to use? ................................................................................................ 92 How to work with films for IC: some practical ideas ........................................ 98 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 109


Chapter 7 Using Picturebooks for Intercultural Learning ................................................ 112 Sissil Lea Heggernes Introduction .............................................................................................................. 112 Principles for choosing texts for intercultural learning ..................................... 113 Stimulating cognitive and emotional growth through picturebooks .............. 116 The affordances of picturebooks for intercultural learning .............................. 117 Pedagogical principles of intercultural learning ................................................. 120 A presentation of four inclusive, challenging and adaptable picturebooks .... 122 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 126 Chapter 8 Reflection Tools for Intercultural Awareness .................................................. 130 Magne Dypedahl Reflection for learning ............................................................................................. 130 Intercultural encounters ......................................................................................... 131 Reflection tools ........................................................................................................ 132 Asking questions ..................................................................................................... 133 Communication patterns ....................................................................................... 134 Mindsets ................................................................................................................... 141 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 147 Chapter 9 Intercultural Learning in the Classroom: Some General Principles ............ 150 Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund and Maria Casado Villanueva Introduction .............................................................................................................. 150 Link the work to the learners’ own experiences ................................................. 150 Encourage curiosity ................................................................................................. 151 Help the learners explore and reflect ................................................................... 152 Focus on diversity .................................................................................................... 155 Address stereotypes ............................................................................................... 158 Help learners develop knowledge about the world ........................................... 158 Focus on critical thinking ........................................................................................ 160 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 161


Chapter 10 Assessment of Intercultural Competence and Intercultural Communicative Competence ............................................................................... 164 Michael Byram Introduction .............................................................................................................. 164 Some important distinctions ................................................................................. 165 Limits to teaching (and assessing) IC and ICC .................................................. 168 Towards a pedagogical model for teaching and assessing Intercultural (Communicative) Competence (Byram, 1997) .................................................. 168 Assessing IC and /or ICC ....................................................................................... 172 What can be assessed and how can it be assessed? ....................................... 173 Intercultural competence and competences for democratic culture ............. 180 Concluding remarks ................................................................................................ 182 Contributors.............................................................................................................. 186


Preface Intercultural competence has become increasingly important in today’s world. This is acknowledged in the national curriculum (LK20), where this aspect of the teaching and learning of English is emphasized even more than in earlier curricula. The cross-curricular topics in LK20, public health and life skills, democracy and citizenship and sustainable development, also require attention to intercultural issues. The main objective for learners is to develop communicative competence in English. Since English can be used to communicate with people all over the world, it is obvious that communicative competence needs to be combined with intercultural competence. However, intercultural competence is not only necessary in international encounters. In LK20, the aim is to relate to different ways of living, thinking and communicating in general, regardless of linguistic and cultural background. In this anthology, we therefore consider intercultural competence to be relevant to all communication between people. A main idea in this anthology is that intercultural learning can happen in conjunction with any other aspect of the teaching and learning of English. The different chapters exemplify this, as they relate intercultural issues to work with language, multilingualism, literature, picturebooks, film and culture studies. In addition, one chapter presents specific reflection tools that can be used for intercultural learning, and one chapter discusses issues related to assessment of intercultural competence. This final chapter is written by Professor Michael Byram, and we are very grateful that the most influential scholar in this field in Europe wanted to be part of our team. We have greatly enjoyed working with him and all the other writers in this project. Magne Dypedahl Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund 9


Chapter 1

Intercultural Learning and Global Citizenship in the English Language Classroom Magne Dypedahl and Ragnhild Elisabeth Lund, University of South-Eastern Norway

We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools. Martin Luther King Jr.

Introduction There are many reasons why teachers and students need to concern themselves with intercultural learning and issues related to citizenship, democracy and cultural diversity in the English language classroom. One obvious reason lies in the fact that, when students learn – and start to use – English, they will come in contact with people from all parts of the world. In order to be able to communicate successfully at home and abroad, more than just language skills are needed. It is also necessary to know how to deal with possible challenges when it comes to the ways in which people speak, write, think and behave. 10


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Another reason lies in the quote that introduces this chapter. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech was delivered more than five decades ago, but his message is as relevant as ever. In line with King’s sentiments, steering documents issued by the Norwegian education authorities focus on global citizenship and respect for others in general. Section 1 in the Norwegian Education Act (Regjeringen, 1998) states that learners “shall develop knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they can master their lives and can take part in working life and society” (p. 5). Other aims for education and training specified in this Act are to “open doors to the world”, “provide insight into cultural diversity” and “promote democracy, equality and scientific thinking” (p. 5). In the newest national curriculum (LK20), one of the topics common for all subjects is democracy and citizenship, and one of the aims is to make students “able to take part in democratic processes” (Utdanningsdirektoratet, 2017, authors’ translation). The core elements in English in the national curriculum show how the study of a foreign language can have a particularly important role to play here: By reflecting on, interpreting and critically assessing different types of texts in English, students should acquire language skills and knowledge about culture and society. In this way, students develop intercultural competence, so that they can relate to different ways of living, mindsets and communication patterns. Students should form a basis for seeing their own and others’ identity in a multilingual and multicultural perspective (Utdanningsdirektoratet, 2019, authors’ translation).

The emphasis on citizenship, democracy and cultural diversity in Norwegian education links up with similar measures internationally. The Council of Europe and UNESCO, for example, have issued numerous publications that emphasize the importance of intercultural competence and also provide guidance as to how such competence can be developed in school (see for example UNESCO, 2002, 2006, 2013; Council of Europe, 2001, 2016, 2018). How, then, can teachers and students work with intercultural learning in English? One of the aims of this book is to show how an intercultural dimension can be added to most daily activities in the English language classroom. One thing to remember is to use every opportunity to show 11


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complexity and discuss ambiguity, and to explore any situation from multiple perspectives. In order to do that, it is necessary to be able to relativize one’s own perspective. Different reflection tools can be used, for example when investigating situations of interaction in terms of the communication styles or mindsets involved. But the book also provides information as to how intercultural learning can be linked more specifically to different aspects of the subject, such as work with grammar and vocabulary, literary texts, picturebooks, films and cultural topics. This chapter, however, will look more closely at ways in which the central concepts in this book, namely culture, context and intercultural competence, can be understood.

The tradition of dealing with culture in foreign language education Including cultural issues in a foreign language curriculum is not a new thing. Traditionally, however, focus has been on providing learners with some knowledge about the history, institutions, and the arts of a specific country or specific countries. Prominence has often been given to literature. This tradition can be traced back to the teaching of classical languages (Latin and Greek), when the main purpose was not to develop the students’ practical language skills, but rather to provide them with an “entrance ticket to the universal culture of the European educated elite” (Kramsch, 1997, p. 5). Knowledge about a country’s history, institutions, literature and arts, often referred to as big C culture, was instrumental in building European nation-states during the 19th century. Naturally, states still promote knowledge about these aspects of a country’s heritage, in order to maintain a common memory and common frames of reference among its citizens. In foreign language education, it has also been customary to focus on big C cultural topics (Fantini, 2014, p. 270). In the 1960s and 70s, more emphasis was given to the development of learners’ practical language skills, and the teaching came to center more around language that could be used in situations of everyday communication. As a consequence, it also became common to provide learners with insights into the everyday practices and the dos and don’ts of one or more nations where the language was spoken. Information about common 12


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practices was often referred to as everyday or small c culture. The idea was to show learners what to expect in different communication situations, and make them able to adjust their verbal as well as non-verbal behavior accordingly. In textbooks for the teaching of English, emphasis was most often on politeness, which could boil down to the need to remember to say please and thank you, and how to behave in a queue. Here is a rather humorous example from This Way 7: In other countries people fight to get on to a bus. In England the Englishman always forms a queue, even if he is alone. Outside cinemas the biggest notice does not tell you the name of the film, it tells you where to queue. At weekends Londoners, for example, queue up at a bus stop, travel to the river, queue up for a boat, then queue up for tea, then queue up for ice cream, then queue up to go home again. (Mellgren, Walker, Backe-Hansen, & Nielsen, 1972, p. 163)

It is worth noticing that both the big C and the small c approaches to culture have traditionally been nation-specific, and the term target culture has often been used to refer to a country where the language was spoken. Less attention has been given to knowledge about cultural diversity with­in nations, cultural issues across national borders and to the relationship between language and context.

What is context? Although the tradition of including cultural issues in foreign language education is a long one, these issues have not necessarily been related to other aspects of language learning. Linguistic elements such as vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation have mostly been dealt with separately from the contexts in which these elements can be used and understood (see Stern, 1983, p. 191). In the 1980s, however, foreign language scholars on both sides of the Atlantic started to develop what came to be known as the communicative approach to foreign language education. A basic tenet here was to develop the learners’ ability to use the foreign language in social contexts, in culturally acceptable and appropriate ways. The Council of Europe (1991) publication Threshold Level 1990 used the notion of socio-cultural 13


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competence and underlined the need for learners to familiarize themselves with topics such as “social conventions and rituals” and “politeness conventions” as well as other aspects of everyday life and interaction (pp. 103–109). At the same time, research indicated that it is not enough for language users simply to know about topics such as these to be able to communicate appropriately. Halliday and Hasan (1985) argued that language – or text – and context are, in fact, two sides of the same coin, and that language only makes sense when it is placed within a context or situation. This means that in order to understand something that is said or written, we must be able to interpret and understand the context in which it occurs. For example, if we meet the single letter P in a context where parking a car is relevant, our previous knowledge of such contexts will help us interpret P as a mean­ ingful text (Widdowson, 1995, p. 163). If we hear the words I love you!, our interpretation of the context will certainly determine how we understand and react to the message. Our interpretation of a text – something that is said or written – works on a number of levels. First, we may try to make sense of the text based on how we have interpreted similar situations previously. Then, we also need to take the particular context into consideration, which includes factors such as the time, place, the objectives of the text and the participants. In a context that we are familiar with, we are usually able to anticipate the kinds of meaning and the kinds of language that will be exchanged. This can make communication easier. If we are not familiar with the context, this can make communication more challenging. Interlocutors who share the same knowledge of the context in question will naturally have better chances of understanding one another than interlocutors who do not (Scollon, Scollon, & Jones, 2011, p. 26). Knowledge of contexts initially comes from our upbringing and the way we are socialized into the world. Language plays a key role in this, as our caregivers use language to communicate knowledge, beliefs, values and norms. In this way, we also learn how language is supposed to be used in different situations. However, it is important to remember that people who grow up with the same language, in the same country, may still learn quite different things. Moreover, as we grow and develop, we get into contact with new groups of people, new places and new areas of life. In this way, it can 14


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be argued that we are all part of several different communities and thus influenced by many cultures. In terms of language as well as behavior, we learn to navigate quite effortlessly between them. This means that it can be useful for learners to reflect on the way they engage in different types of communication in their native language, depending on who they talk to, when and where the conversation takes place, and for which purpose. Situations with friends on the football field, with grandparents on the phone and with a stranger in a queue can be examples here. When we use our native language, however, we are hardly aware of the way in which prior knowledge of context helps us communicate and make sense of what is being said or written. The reason is that the knowledge and the skills that we acquire as part of our upbringing are usually invisible to us. We may perceive our own ways of speaking, communicating and interpreting the world not only as normal and natural, but in fact the only possible ones (see Kramsch, 1997, p. 4). Therefore, in order to learn how to relate to people who have other ways of being and of interpreting the world, we need to realize that our own and others’ ways of seeing the world are culturally determined and certainly not the only possible ones. While it seems obvious that learners of a foreign language need to concern themselves with the contexts in which language can be used, a central question remains: Which contexts should learners work with? English is spoken in all corners of the world, and the variety in cultural background and mindsets among the users of the language even in one single community is immense. How can the teaching of English possibly address such a challenge? The traditional focus on specific English-speaking countries is an issue that needs consideration here. First of all, there are many English-speaking countries to choose from. Which country or region should be given prior­ ity? Secondly, there is always a risk of focusing on the typical, sometimes stereotypical, behaviors of the most dominant group of native speakers of the language (see Kramsch, 2013, p. 66). Last, but not least, there are more non-native than native speakers of English in the world today, and many people question the relevance of the native speaker as a point of reference for learners of a language (see Davies, 2013, p. 19). The English subject curriculum (LK20) acknowledges these perspectives by referring to “the English-speaking world” and to English as a world language, or a lingua franca. 15


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