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Using an Intercultural Approach to Teach Languages

In May 2023, with much excitement, Kate and Clare gathered with language teachers at the AISWA Offices to present this inaugural PL and ask, “What does it mean to teach languages using an intercultural approach?”

Even though Intercultural Understanding is a general capability of the WA curriculum, many language teachers are unsure what this looks like in the classroom.

So the rationale was established for teaching with an IC approach and questions of how were answered and unpacked throughout the day. Weaknesses and limitations of a traditional approach were reflected upon and why just learning about food, family, festivals and folktales treats culture separate to language, enforcing cultural stereotypes and misconceptions.

With an intercultural approach interaction is essential. It is not just learning about but learning through interaction. How is this done in the classroom?

Kate and Clare showcased some strategies to tune into culture and the impact of using realia and authentic texts.

In pairs, participants chose a theme and brainstormed ways cultural differences could be incorporated into each lesson and reflected on ways they could build this approach into their existing programs.

As their exit ticket, each teacher documented a goal they wanted to achieve based on their new understanding.

Teacher comments and reflections:

I loved learning about other cultures. It made me realise if I do enjoy it then so will the kids. Great way of respecting others and their ways and accepting them, Modern Greek Teacher

I really enjoyed today’s workshop - thank you. It has reaffirmed some of my teaching practice and also inspired me to reflect on ways to evolve my program to continue to engage students within the realm of intercultural language learning, Japanese Primary and Secondary Teacher

It has been very informative and beneficial talking with fellow language teachers about different intercultural approaches and the importance of intercultural communication in class, Chinese Primary and Secondary Teacher

Sign up here for the next Intercultural Language Learning PL on 24th August, 2023.