Intercultural understanding and professional learning through critical engagement

Díaz, Adnana
November 2013
Babel (00053503);Nov2013, Vol. 48 Issue 1, p12
Academic Journal
Intercultural understanding is one of the seven General Capabilities identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in the national curricular development currently underway. Conceiving languages education as 'an endeavour focused on the development of intercultural understanding' (Liddicoat & Kohler, 2012, p. 73) requires teachers to identify and challenge their own beliefs and conceptualisations of the nature of their task as educators. This paper presents the outcomes of a small-scale professional development program designed to help languages teachers engage with this re-envisioned task. The program aimed to provide an opportunity for teachers - in primary and secondary language classrooms - to critically explore the links between language and culture and how these can be translated into classroom practices to foster learners' intercultural understanding within an action research methodological framework. This paper examines the data-driven insights yielded by this program, in particular, examples of good practice as well as teachers' personal reflections, and considers them in relation to the field of languages education and teachers' professional learning. In addition, the paper identifies emerging implications for current policies supporting the development of intercultural understanding.


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