ERIC Number: EJ1074833
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 30
"Why Should I Study English if I'm Never Going to Leave This Town?" Developing Alternative Orientations to Culture in the EFL Classroom through CAR
Villacañas de Castro, Luis S.
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v37 n4 p289-307 2015
This research set out to explore what the author interpreted as a interpreted as a pedagogical shortcoming in the intercultural understanding (IU) model of cultural awareness, which prevails in foreign language (FL) education. According to it, fostering intercultural competence (Byram and Gribkova 2002; Deardorff 2009) is often considered one of the most relevant aims of teaching a FL. This perspective originally stemmed from the field of social semiotics, according to which language and culture are inseparable phenomena (Holme 2003), an idea that became translated, in the sphere of FL education, as the need for learners to be educated in the target language culture if knowledge of the language was to occur (Driscoll, Earl, and Cable 2013, 149). Behind this suggestion was--and still is--the belief that language teaching can assume the role of cultural mediation (Borghetti 2013, 255), a thesis the author wished to analyze from the standpoint of the negative pedagogical consequences which it might easily (and inattentively) lead to. This article describes a collaborative action research (CAR) project where three different perspectives were taken into account to explore the cultural dimension in EFL education: those of ten university STs, who were training to become primary EFL educators; ten in-service EFL primary school teachers who worked in public schools of Valencia; and the author's, a university researcher whose investigations and lectures focused on EFL education and literacy, who acted as the organizer of the project. The main motivation of this CAR project was to cater to the STs' transition into teachers-as-researchers in the academic context of their placement period and realization of their final practicum report (FPR) and helping them do so as they researched the cultural dimension in primary EFL education. Academically speaking, this CAR aimed to provide a methodological safety net for the STs to learn how to articulate the teaching and research skills that they needed to complete their FPR, and thus graduate. But in the long run it anticipated more than that: No less than that this controlled academic experience would show them how to organize and design educational research initiatives that they could implement in the future, when they worked as school teachers, for the whole educational system to benefit from.
Descriptors: English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Action Research, Models, Cultural Awareness, Second Language Instruction, Semiotics, Role, Student Teachers, Language Teachers, Teacher Education, Elementary School Teachers, Literacy Education, Teacher Researchers, Practicums, Reports, Public Schools, Foreign Countries, Semi Structured Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain (Valencia)