Integrating cultural awareness into language teaching to enhance communication and encourage students’ reflection
Impeccable grammar and rich vocabulary certainly are a great step towards language proficiency. However, cultural awareness is just as essential to communication. Misunderstandings may arise, or someone may cause offence because of intercultural knowledge deficit. Current affairs such as Brexit or Ireland joining the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie confirm that intercultural skills are more relevant to the language classroom than ever. The new Junior Cycle specifications and the Senior Cycle curriculum list cultural awareness as a central objective. However, what is culture in the MFL classroom? We expect students to be familiar with customs, arts, media, and literature but also, aspects of everyday life from the target language country/ies. This workshop will discuss strategies to efficiently source and adapt authentic resources to increase students’ interest. Participants will also engage with sample tasks that integrate cultural awareness into language teaching to enhance communication and encourage students’ reflection.