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Teaching Intercultural Awareness

Martha Clark Cummings

In this workshop we will explore a variety of ways of teaching intercultural awareness.  We will consider new ways of thinking about culture that involve the “privilege of the intercultural speaker” (Kramsch, 1998) and developing “symbolic competence” (Kramsch and Whiteside, 2008). We will ask ourselves if the notions of “native speaker” and “native speaker norms” are still appropriate and/or teachable, and if not, what we should be teaching instead. Finally, we will investigate ways to raise our students’ awareness of how culture is often invoked to explain difference and justify exclusion.      Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to engage in several different activities and task designed to teach culture, as well as to consider beginning work on a small piece of ethnographic research involving “thick description” (Geertz, 1975), which will provide a link between the intellectual and experiential ways of understanding culture. A complete reference list will be provided.