ERIC Number: ED446434
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Teaching towards Cultural Awareness and Intercultural Competence: From What through How to Why Culture Is?
Sellami, Abdel Latif
This article provides an account of some characteristics of the current situation of culture teaching in foreign language education. The focus is that existing approaches need to be revisited and redefined, because the superficiality characterizing the way culture is taught is not very helpful in raising learners' cultural awareness and developing their intercultural competence. It is argued that a more focused model that explores various aspects of the "How" and "Why" of the culture construct is required towards fostering understanding and acceptance of difference. Rather than aiming to attain a native-speaker-like level of competence, the essence of culture teaching should be extended to include illuminating how the world must not be viewed from a one-sided perspective. Learners need to learn to decenter and relativize their view of the world around them. This paper departs from the premise that language and culture embody and perpetuate different worldviews. The objective is to argue that one of the noble aims of culture teaching should be to develop intercultural competence that leads to empathy, openness and understanding vis-a-vis the target culture and its people. An approach to the study of language and culture that aims to explore what, how, and why culture can open a wide range of perspectives to the learner. (Contains 24 references.) (KFT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 14-18, 2000).