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Mirjam Danilovic - Intercultural Competency

Mirjam Danilovic - Intercultural Competency

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Chapter submission for the Classroom 2.0 Book Project
Chapter submission for the Classroom 2.0 Book Project

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Author contact: mirjam.danilovic@gmail.

com Author Biography: Mirjam Danilovic graduated from the University of Maribor, Faculty of Arts at the department of English and American Studies and Slavic Studies. She currently works as a proofreader for local newspaper but is looking forward to going back to the classroom as a teacher. She was trainee teacher at the private Catholic secondary school in Maribor, Slovenia, and teacher of Slovene as foreign language in bilingual secondary school in Caritnhia, Austria. Her research and teaching interest include teaching both English and Slovene as foreign language and incorporating modern technologies and methods in the classroom. She has been scout leader for several years and is involved in various voluntary work with children. Activity Summary
Why is the progress in science and technology so rapid on one hand and the progress of teaching and learning methods so slow on the other? Why is classroom in general still a space for learning (also intercultural) information by heart rather than discovering it? How to complement traditional material, such as coursebooks, with information and communication technology provided by the Internet. With the attempt to answer the questions above I planned four lessons for developing intercultural communicative competence in the secondary English classroom. I based the activities in the texts on intercultural topics which are included in the two most commonly used coursebooks for students at the secondary level in Slovenia. I have selected and analyzed material which involves intercultural topics from the two coursebooks. In my paper I am going to present the lessons I planned to expand knowledge around the selected intercultural topics by using ICT provided by social web. Class or subject area: English as a second language Grade level(s): Intermediate to Advanced Specific learning objectives: • Information and communication technology, intercultural competence, secondary students, taskbased learning.

Anniversary Book Project

5th

Development of Intercultural Competence in Contemporary Foreign Language Classroom
By Incorporating Infomation and Communication Technology

By: Mirjam Danilovic Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC

ABSTRACT (305) “Today’s child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured in fragmented, classified patterns, subjects and schedules.” ~ Marshall McLuhan, 1967 The words above were written in 1967. However, if we enter a classroom we may soon realize that nothing much has changed and these words can be applied to modern classroom as well. Why is the progress in science and technology so rapid on one hand and the progress of teaching and learning methods so slow on the other? Why is classroom in general still a space for learning (also intercultural) information by heart rather than discovering it? How to complement traditional material, such as coursebooks, with information and communication technology provided by the Internet. With the attempt to answer the questions above I planned four lessons for developing intercultural communicative competence in the secondary English classroom. I based the activities in the texts on intercultural topics which are included in the two most commonly used coursebooks for students at the secondary level in Slovenia: New Headway Intermediate and New Matrix Intermediate. I have selected and analyzed the material which involves intercultural topics from the two coursebooks. In my paper I am going to present the lessons I planned to expand knowledge around the selected intercultural topics by using ICT provided by social web. By planning those four lessons I realized the development of intercultural communicative competence should be given greater importance in the curriculum for English as foreign language. Successful intercultural communication leads to better understanding in the world and should be the main educational aim in the curriculum for English as foreign language. Beside that I produced an extensive list of web sites which can be successfully used in English language classroom, especially for developing intercultural communicative competence. Keywords: Information and communication technology, intercultural competence, secondary students, task-based learning. 1 Introduction This article attempts to give an example of creating a classroom, which would extend the scope of traditional teaching in terms of the real life situations. I realized that the most obvious way to do that in the era of digital technologies is to incorporate technology in the classroom. I watched a video clip on You Tube titled A Vision of Students Today in which students in a lecture room wrote different notes and held them in the air in order to emphasize the importance of reshaping the school system. One girl held up a note saying: “I will write 43 pages for class this semester and over 500 pages of email” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UynehA_l0). These words clearly signal that students are far more involved in digital reading, speaking, and writing and also listening than any other activity practised in a traditional classroom. However, the school system in many ways forces them to remain “analogical students”. A further stimulus for my article came from Nik Peachey’s Learning Technology Blogs, which offer a vast variety of activities and articles on how to incorporate technology in the English language

classroom. In one of his articles I read the following: “At present most standard ELT teaching qualifications only really deal with what teachers do in the classroom and very little credit or demand is put on how they extend learning beyond it.” He goes further by saying that most course materials offer self-study activities for students online but those activities do not provide an environment that can extend social interaction with the peers, teachers or the real world of language speakers outside the classroom. He claims that technology can make all of these things possible. Considering those stimuli I decided to combine my view on modern teaching and Nik Peachey’s idea of extending the classroom or breaking down the walls of the classroom by creating a set of online activities to develop students’ intercultural competence by using information and communication technology. 1.1 Goals Article attempts to provide a plan of an EFL lesson for developing intercultural competence in the secondary English classroom. I decided to base the activities in the lesson on intercultural topic which is included in one of the most commonly used coursebooks for students at the secondary level in Slovenia: New Headway Intermediate. I selected the material which involves intercultural topic and planned activities to expand the knowledge around the topic by using ICT. I was particularly interested in how the selected material can be used to develop both intercultural competence and also introduce students to the use of ICT available on the Internet within the classroom and outside it. 1.2 Methodology The coursebook New Headway Intermediate was examined and the topic My kitchen was selected. The topic is presented as tasks which can be performed in the classroom or as extended activities outside the classroom. The emphasis is put on the Internet collaboration, sharing of material with other students, creativity and authenticity. The topic is planned and taught with task-based approach. Special emphasis was put on the abilities of discovering knowledge about a culture because the Internet provides an extensive source for such learning. Thus at the end students are expected to acquire some knowledge about the topic, interpret it in terms of the target culture and their own cultural environment, and also critically evaluate it. 1.3 Wiki Wikis are examples of social software and public websites. However, unlike blogs, which are usually written by one person and are static, “a wiki, on the other hand, is like a public website, or public web page, started by one person, but which subsequent visitors can add to, delete or change as they wish” (Dudeney and Hockly, 2007, p. 93). 1.3.1 Using wikis in the English language teaching Wiki is a collaborative website and as such works especially well in collaborative writing. Students can add new pages to a wiki, as well as edit previous entries/pages. There is one very important advantage of using wikis with students. Students need only a browser in order to become web authors or to participate in a collaborative project. The best way to start using a wiki with a group of students is to set up a simple collaborative writing project. Incorporating intercultural topics such as holidays, food or people in certain countries works especially well with wikis.

1.3.2 Creating a wiki The preparation stage includes setting up the first page of a wiki with details about the topic of the project, and the steps the students need to take in the project. There are several websites available to set up a wiki: • Pbwiki: www.pbwiki.com; • Media Wiki: http://mediawiki.org; • Wikihost: http://wikihost.org; • Wetpaint: http://www.wetpaint.com/. The first lesson is then spent to create a wiki. In the second lesson students do the task, e.g. write a wiki, either individually, in pairs or in groups. At this stage students will need clear directions on how to write a wiki, how to add a new page etc. In the third lesson students do the tasks on wikis written by their classmates and correct them if necessary. To introduce the use of wikis in the classroom I decided to extend the topic of the text My Kitchen taken from the coursebook New Headway Intermediate (Fourth Edition). The text presents three housewives who come from three different countries and thus three different cultural backgrounds (Figure 4.2 and Figure 4.3). They all talk about their kitchen at home but from three very different perspectives because they come from different social backgrounds in their countries. In the tasks I planned to expand the topic I focused on the housewife from India and the eating style in India. In this context I incorporated the practice for passive voice in English by using task-based learning and awareness raising approach. The activity consists of the following stages: • introduction • quiz • discussion in pairs • reading • language focus • activities Wiki also enables creating a glossary. Some words in the text involve links to the glossary. Thus students can check the meaning of unknown words directly while reading the text. The wiki (Figure 4.1) is available on the following URL: http://bigappleefl.wetpaint.com/.

Figure 1.1: Screenshot of the first page of the Wiki on Indian food.

Figure 1.2: The text: My Kitchen (Soars, 2009, p. 50).

Figure 1.3: The text: My Kitchen (Soars, 2009, p. 51).

Table 1.1: Lesson based on the wiki. Time 2 lessons (90 minutes) Lesson Fit Unit 6: What matters to me, Reading and speaking about what matters to me. Lesson Aims Students will become familiar with eating habits in India by completing a quiz and reading a text. Students will become aware of the passive voice in English. Students will describe Slovenian eating habits by using the passive voice. ICT AIMS Students will complete an online quiz. Students will use and edit a wiki. (Internet Skills) Assumed Students are aware that Indian kitchen and eating style are different from Knowledge ours. Students have a basic knowledge of the passive voice but they are not aware of it in the text/speaking. Technical Computer with the access to the internet, access to the web site with the Requirements online quiz. Preparation of Teacher sets up a wiki prior to the lesson. Materials Possible Students may have problems with understanding the text. Problems Interaction Individual and pair work. Pattern 1.3.3 The Procedure According to the lesson details provided above (Table 4.1) I planned two lessons. All the instructions and links for the lesson are posted in wiki and students complete all tasks in this wiki. There is also the key provided for all activities. The tasks that students have to complete are a quiz, reading the article and using the glossary, finding examples of the passive voice from the text and doing the activities to practise the passive voice. The main lesson aims are to learn about Indian eating style and compare it to the Slovenian. The grammar aim of the lesson is to revise the passive voice. Below are the instructions in stages for students. They are written in wiki. Introduction After reading the text My kitchen in your coursebook you got an idea about Indian kitchen and Indian food. With this wiki you will learn more about Indian food, especially Indian eating style. To start, click on Quiz on the left side and do the quiz about Indian eating styles.

Quiz The quiz is available on http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=indian-kitchen. Table 1.2: The questions from the quiz. Question Question Number 1. In India it is not likely to be invited for a meal. 2. You are expected to arrive on time. 3. Alcohol is served before the meal. 4. The meal is nowadays eaten on the floor only in rural areas.
Key In India it is not likely to be invited for a meal. You are expected to arrive on time. Alcohol is served before the meal. Nowadays, the meal is eaten on the floor only in rural areas. You are not allowed to eat with your fingers. The food can be eaten with both hands. You are considered impolite if you ask for more food. Key I. The Present Perfect Passive: It is therefore, perfectly all right, to arrive at your host’s home 15-20 minutes after the time you have been invited at. The Future Passive: Most times, even when you gently say you’ve had enough, you will be coaxed and cajoled to have “just a little more”. II. Hosts expect you to arrive on time. They serve alcohol before the meal. Nowadays, you eat meal on the floor only in rural areas. You should not eat with your fingers. III. Possible solution: If you are invited for a meal in Slovenia, you are not expected to arrive exactly on time. However, you should not be more than 10 minutes late. When you go to a private home, you are expected to take your shoes off. Soup is a part of a meal in Slovenia. You are expected to eat it. You are not allowed to smoke in pubs and restaurants in Slovenia. In Slovenia, you are expected to taste some wine. If you ask for more food during a meal it means that the meal was excellent.

Answer FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Typical meal consists of rice, Chapati (flatbread), meat, vegetable and lentil dishes, a salad, yogurt, pickles. You are not allowed to eat with your fingers. The food can be eaten with both hands. You are considered impolite if you ask for more food. Burping at the table is impolite. It is good to praise the cook at the end of the meal.

TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE

Discussion Discussion of the questions Did you have any problems answering the questions? Were all the answers obvious? Work with your partner. Go through the questions, discuss them and decide which are true or false

on the basis of your prior knowledge – do not search the web for now. Two pairs will be chosen to present their decisions and support them with arguments. Reading Read the article The Ultimate Guide to Dining Indian Style and find the answers to the questions from the quiz. The words in blue are the ones you might not understand. If you click on them, you will get to their definitions in glossary. The Ultimate Guide to Dining Indian Style So you’ve been invited to a meal at an Indian home. You’re thinking, “Oh my! I don’t know a thing about Indian food traditions! What do they eat? How do they eat? Do they sit on the floor? Will I be expected to eat with my fingers?!” Before we start however, chuck everything you thought about India, Indian food, Indian traditions (with relation to food), out the window. Let’s start with a clean slate and no pre-suppositions. That way, by the time we are done, you’ll be dining like an Indian! Let’s get to it. Before the meal Most Indians are very hospitable and love to entertain and have friends over. It is a sign of honor and respect to ask somebody over for a meal. In fact, even if you just casually visited the home of Indian friends, it is very likely you will be invited to stay for a meal. According to one of the traditional sayings, “Atithee Devo Bhava” which means, “The Guest is God!” So, unless you have a very good excuse for why you can’t make it, do accept, as refusing for frivolous reasons might give offense. Now, even among Indians there is a joke about Indian Standard Time! While it does refer to the time zone for India, it is also a sarcastic comment on how most Indians work to their own version of this time! It is therefore, perfectly all right, to arrive at your host’s home 15-20 minutes after the time you have been invited at. You might actually surprise your host (unpleasantly sometimes) if you got there at the exact time! When you get there, it is customary not to be served the meal soon after you arrive. Instead, you might have a few drinks - whether they are alcoholic beverages or not depends entirely on your host - a snack or two and some chit-chat. In most modern Indian homes, while alcohol is no longer taboo, women will often not drink it. Once the meal is announced, everyone will wash and dry their hands and proceed to the table. Unless you are in a very rural place, most families eat their meals at a table and not sitting on the floor! You could very well be served a buffet-style meal depending on how many people are present at dinner and whether all can be accommodated together at the host’s table. For now, let’s presume you are dining at a table. The Meal Instead of pre-served individual portions, there will most likely be several dishes of food from which you can help yourself. Most Indian meals (depending on whether your host is vegetarian or not) comprise of rice, Chapati (flatbread), meat, vegetable and lentil dishes, a salad, yogurt, pickles.... at the very least! Water is served with every meal but in current times, you could even be offered a glass of wine. Once you’ve served yourself, wait for everybody else to do so before you start eating. It is not customary to make a toast or pray, but again, that depends on your host. While it is perfectly acceptable to use cutlery to eat your meal, lots of Indians prefer to eat with their fingers. In fact, there is a joke about how food tastes better when eaten with the fingers! This is done neatly and only the tips of the fingers are used. It is not considered polite, contrary to popular belief, to actually

put your fingers in your mouth or lick them! Not that you were gong to do that! :-) Do not, under any circumstance, use your left hand to eat! This is considered very rude and unhygienic! The reason? Indians consider the left hand as ‘unclean’. We won’t go into the whys and wherefores right now. :-) Another no-no, is offering anybody food from your plate or helping yourself to some from theirs. But then again, you weren’t going to do that anyway. As you are eating, don’t be surprised if your host or hostess urges you to have some more and “not be shy”. Most times, even when you gently say you’ve had enough, you will be coaxed and cajoled to have “just a little more”. Try not to refuse, as that is considered rude! In Indian culture, how much you eat is considered an indication of your enjoyment of the meal. In the face of such politeness, you’d think burping would be extremely rude. No! Well to be precise, in some states in India, not burping is what is frowned upon! In these places, burping is a sign that you have greatly enjoyed your meal. My 2 cents regarding burping: Please refrain unless you know your host intimately and are acquainted with the state of their origin and whether or not it is polite in their tradition! Most meals end with dessert and some sort of digestive nibbles. Tea and or coffee may be served later too. As in any other culture, feel free to extol the virtues of whoever has cooked the meal. It will ensure you are invited again... and again. Indians love to eat and saying you enjoyed a meal they cooked for you will greatly endear you to them! In Conclusion If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the do’s, don’ts and points at which offense could be taken, please don’t. Even though Indian’s may appear to have an umpteen number of traditions, they are also very extremely gracious hosts and very accommodating. Faux pas are promptly ignored (even if everybody noticed them) and quickly forgotten and life... or dinner... goes on. Remember to relax and enjoy! Believe me, you will have many reasons to do so. Source: Dine Like an Indian. Retreived on 29 May from http://indianfood.about.com/od/thebasics/a/ indianmealtrads.htm. Language focus Go through the quiz questions and put the verbs in passive in italics (click on Easy Edit on the top of the page and start editing the text). In India it is not likely to be invited for a meal. You are expected to arrive on time. Alcohol is served before the meal. Nowadays, the meal is eaten on the floor only in rural areas. You are not allowed to eat with your fingers. The food can be eaten with both hands. You are considered impolite if you ask for more food. Activities I. In the article you have read find an example of … • the Present Perfect • Passive Future • the Passive Voice II. Rewrite the following sentences in active voice. The first one has been done for you (on the left). You are expected to arrive on time.

Hosts expect you to arrive on time. Alcohol is served before the meal. Nowadays, the meal is eaten on the floor only in rural areas. You are not allowed to eat with your fingers. III. Think about the habits and eating style one has to consider when invited for a meal in Slovenia. Write at least five sentences saying what one should/should not do/ is expected to do etc. Use passive voice. Here are some tips to help you: • arrive punctually? • take you shoes of? • soup before the meal • smoking • alcohol • asking for more food 2 Conclusion The inclusion of ICT and the Internet in an English language classroom has several advantages. One of them is certainly the fact that students nowadays spend a great amount of their free time working with computers and they extensively use computers and especially the Internet to do their homework. They grow up with computers and are therefore called digital natives. Working with computer can be easier also for the ICT-skilled teacher because they can better organize the material that students produce and thus obtain a better idea about their knowledge, including its assessment. One of the greatest advantages is also the use of the ICT to interact with other students and work on projects together. Especially in intercultural learning this is the easiest way of collaboration. However, there are some general restrictions for the use of ICT in the classroom. The restrictions are connected mainly with the equipment and hardware available to students. At most schools there are rarely enough computers available for students so they usually have to share a computer or perform tasks in turns. Technical problems with computers occur on a daily basis and often there is no Internet connection. Another considerable restriction for the use of the ICT is also the amount of time that a teacher has to spend in order to explain students how to use a certain tool or what the rules are while performing activities online etc. However, once they start working with computers, such lessons become a routine and can work better than traditional lessons. The lesson I planned to combine both ICT and intercultural learning was planned to use a wiki. Wikis can be used for teachers to post instructions for students’ tasks, texts with links to glossaries; students can arrange jumbled texts etc. However, students also can produce their own wiki about a topic of their interest. The topic of the lesson I planned was Indian eating style. The strongest point of this lesson is the task-based approach with activities with consciousness-raising approach to practise passive voice in the given context. If students have not studied the passive voice before, they might find it difficult to find the examples of it in the text and to do the activities. However, the activities are planned to guide students from the known towards the unknown knowledge.

This article attempts to present an alternative and additional way to introduce intercultural topics which are often neglected in language teaching and learning (and also by the curriculum). The information and communication technology used in the lessons that are planned in the article is free and simple to use and introduce in the classroom. However, the material available on the Internet is extremely extensive and planning such lessons is in the beginning time-consuming and tiresome because technology does not always work properly. In the long term, planning such lessons is rewarding both for teachers who gradually build their own collection of material, which can be reused, and students who learn in the environment that gives them space for creativity and personal approach. The article is not intended to ruin the values of traditional classroom, teaching and learning methods, and teachers using them. It offers an alternative to the established teaching practice in the modern digital-age classroom. Technology can maximize learning opportunities and help to bridge the gap between classroom and the real life. As effective teachers did in the past also modern effective teachers would incorporate as much information as they know from students’ personal lives in their formal instruction. The technology allows teachers to bridge these learning experiences more naturally and seamlessly. As more tools become available and technologies that facilitate learning in multiple modalities become more prevalent and accessible, modern teachers have to continue to seek additional tools and ways to improve their students’ learning.

3 References Dudeney, G., Hockly, N. (2008). How to … Teach English with Technology. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Hanson, J. T. Free Education for all. (n. d.). Retreived on 14 May 2011, from http://www.openeducation. net/?s=personalizing+learning. Intercultural communicative competence. (n. d.). Retreived on 2 June 2011, from http://134.2.2.174/index.php/documentsand-papers.html. Lázár, I., Huber-Kriegler, M., Lussier, D., Matei, S. G., Peck, C. (Ed.) (2007): Developing and assessing intercultural communicative competence. A guide for language teachers and teachers educators. Retreived on 2 June 2011, from http://archive.ecml.at/mtp2/publications/B1_ICCinTE_E_internet.pdf. Lázár, I. (2007): Culture-related activities in the language classroom: an inter-cultural study. Retreived on 29 December 2010, from http://archive.ecml.at/mtp2/iccinte/results/downloads/6-3-3.pdf. Peachey, N. (2009): Technogogy. Retreived on 20 December 2010, from http://www.technogogy.org.uk/about.shtml. Peachey, N. (2010): Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers. Retreived on 12 December 2011, from http://nikpeachey.blogspot. com/2010/12/5-tasks-to-teach-yourself-to-teach-with.html. Sarkar, P. V. (n. d.): Dine Like an Indian. The Ultimate Guide to Dining Indian Style. Retreived on 28 May 2011, from http:// indianfood.about.com/od/thebasics/a/indianmealtrads.htm. Soars, L. and J. (2009): New Headway Intermediate Student’s Book. Fourth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. You Tube. (n. d.). Retreived on 7 January 2011, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UynehA_l0. Wetpaint (n. d.), Retreived on 30 May 2011, from http://educationalwikis.wikispaces.com/Examples+of+educational+wikis. Windeatt, S., Hardisty, D., Eastment, D. (2000): The Internet. Resource Books for Teachers.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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