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Byram, M; Peiser, G
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects: LB
Language learning is linked to culture learning through the assumption that language and culture are inseparable and that full understanding of a language is only possible if learners have some knowledge of one or more countries where the language is spoken. For many years, culture learning involved knowing about national cultures; this has often been criticized as leading to stereotyping or essentializing. More recently, however, the emphasis has been on culture as complex and constantly evolving, and thus, culture learning involves knowing about different groups within societies as well as the changes taking place in those societies. In addition to the long-established focus on knowledge of other cultures, the cultural dimension of foreign language teaching is more recently expected to also influence attitudes and build skills, both components of intercultural competence. Language educators design activities to enhance learners’ attitudes toward people speaking the target languages, reduce prejudice, and increase their ability to interact successfully with such people. Thus, intercultural competence is now considered by many to be a central aspect of learning in the language classroom, even though there may not be as much attention paid to it as might be expected, owing to gaps in language teachers’ preparation or lack of teachers’ skills in culture teaching.\ud \ud This entry provides a historical overview of the cultural dimension in the language classroom, demonstrates how various education policies reflect theoretical developments, and outlines some of the pedagogical principles and methods of intercultural language teaching
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