Developing intercultural language learning textbooks: Methodological trends, engaging with the intercultural construct, and personal reflections on the process
Keywords:Languages education, Textbooks, Intercultural language learning, Language teaching methodologies, Indonesian language learning, Middle years curriculum
Historically, textbook development for languages education has reflected methodological trends in languages learning, from grammar-translation methods used in the first half of the twentieth century, through audio-lingual, notionalfunctional, communicative language learning and other methodological paradigms. A current methodological trend – arguably more an ‘orientation’ to languages learning than a ‘method’ – involves developing ‘intercultural’ perspectives. In this orientation,
learners are invited to constantly consider the interrelationship of language and culture; what this interplay means within variable cultural contexts; to work ‘across and between’ the languages they know and are learning; and to think reflexively on how developing understandings of new languages and cultures ultimately affects them as individuals and members of communities.
The authors have been researching and working with intercultural language learning over a number of years. In response to the need for resources reflecting this orientation and their own desire to see how this might be realised in commercially available materials (textbooks and online support), Lesley Harbon, Michelle Kohler and Anne-Marie Morgan have developed a textbook series with an intercultural orientation for Australian middle years learners of Indonesian. The journey in developing these materials has raised many questions and challenges, including considering how a diversity of perspectives about languages and cultures might be represented and catered for in ‘static’ resources. This article situates the current trend towards intercultural language learning within an historical context of textbook development and language teaching methodologies; explores current understandings of the intercultural construct and considers how this understanding has influenced the writing of the series; and provides reflections on the complexities and challenges of development of this resource.
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Copyright (c) 2011 Anne-Marie Morgan, Michelle Kohler, Lesley Harbon
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