May 1st, 2012 - blog carnival puts together a collection of posts that aims at depicting how ICTs may boost people’s intercultural awareness and critical thinking in the language classroom. According to Douglas Brown, communicative competence is the ultimate goal of the language classroom, and instruction should point towards all its components: organizational, pragmatics, strategic and psychomotor. To avoid cultural misunderstandings and become the tolerant, global citizens the world needs, language students should be exposed to big C Culture (factual knowledge about the fine arts such as literature, music, dance and film) of different places, as well as small c culture (attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, customs, conventions, patterns of interaction and discourse organization, the use of time in communication, and the use of physical space and body language). Our students should be provided the chance of gaining solid knowledge of different world cultures, and they should develop the ability to compare their native cultures to others; thus, not only would they become better communicators but also increasingly understand cultural differences and be open to new experiences. I understand that ICTs face criticisms, and that technology alone does not lead to effective teaching, but I strongly agree with the quote below:
“I'm not a fan of technology.
I'm a fan of pedagogy,
of understanding how people learn
and the most effective learning methods.
But technology enables some exciting changes.”
(Donald A. Norman)
After reading about advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom, some ideas have really lingered on. A well-informed educator will use whatever tool he/she has at hand to make it work for the learner. I am listing here inspirational posts that deal with raising cultural awareness and critical thinking to a higher level, for they do not inform students , but they offer insights and ideas on how to make them add their contributions as effective 21st century learners and collaboratively build upon the world’s growing cultural knowledge.
Please, enjoy the posts in alphabetical order.
Adam Simpson looks at ways of getting students to think critically about the content covered in class through the production of poster presentations. Interesting way to build students' confidence and prepare them to convey their ideas to a wider audience.
Carla Arena wrote an interesting post about using realia she brought from the TESOL conference in Philly to engage her learners in a cultural, creative hands on activity.
Claudio Azevedo submitted three engaging activities to color our classes and make some room for conversation on important culture related issues.
Larry Ferlazzo developed a list that focuses on helping students learn about the cultures of different countries, and asked for collaboration to build another one on teaching and learning critical thinking in the classroom.
Lindsay McMahon, an English language trainer and cross-cultural trainer at English and Culture Tutoring Services, writes about the pros and cons of online cultural awareness training.
Renaud Davies, an ESL teacher/Adviser in Japan working for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, sent us a savvy project that aims at connecting over 100 Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) working on JET in Akita with students to communicate with native speakers from around the world to build genuine interest in foreign culture and the English language.
Stephen Greene wrote a very useful post about how technology has opened up ways to raise cultural awareness.