Providing a bridge to intercultural pedagogy for native speaker teachers of Chinese in Australia

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    Language pedagogy in Australia, North America and Europe has been influenced in the past 20 years by a sociocultural understanding of language and culture, which has asked teachers to adopt an intercultural approach, integrating critical cultural reflection within language learning. Due to the diversity of backgrounds, however, different groups of teachers need to make sense of this new pedagogy using their own particular cultural lens. This paper examines the engagement of native-speaker teachers of (Mandarin) Chinese with the principles of intercultural language pedagogy. It is located within the context of calls for more successful learning of Chinese in Australian schools. Data derive from the implementation of a one-day course in intercultural language pedagogy for 20 native speaker teachers of Chinese. Pre- and post-course surveys and a number of interviews were analysed to identify teacher needs, and to track changes in understanding and intended practice. Findings demonstrate the positive impact of the intervention on teacher understanding and practice. They also raise the question of Western cultural assumptions inherent in the intercultural discourse approach, and its ability to include and address the perspectives and practices of Chinese teachers. They also highlight the need for more training to provide a cultural bridge between pedagogies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)213-228
    Number of pages16
    JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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