Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning: Is it possible to bridge the gap between policy and practice?
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In recent years, Australian language-in-education policies have explicitly endorsed an intercultural approach to language teaching and its avowed purpose of developing learners’ intercultural competence (MCEETYA, 2005). The most ambitious initiative put forth to achieve this goal in practice has been the Intercultural Language Teaching and Learning Practice (ILTLP) project: (http://www.iltlp.unisa.edu.au/ ). This project, commissioned by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) and carried out at national level between 2006 and 2008, set out to provide languages teachers with the tools to develop an “intercultural stance” to their teaching and curriculum development practices. As part of this project, many useful resources, research projects and reports have been produced. Yet, there still is uncertainty about ILTL’s actual realisation in everyday practice (Kholer, 2010, p. 190). In this presentation I explored a number of obstacles standing in the way between policy and practice which led to a stimulating discussion about the core issues underlying the development of an “intercultural stance” in languages education. This paper provides a summary of the presentation’s content, together with relevant points raised during the discussion.
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