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Final assignment. A trip through the (inter)cultural world. An intercultural workbook

Aerts, Stijn
Professionele bachelor in het onderwijs: secundair onderwijs

Abstract :
As English teachers we want our pupils to be communicatively strong in our current world. We want them to be able to go into the world and use the skills and knowledge they have acquired throughout their many years of English classes. The English lessons we currently teach do make them communicatively very strong, but do we prepare them for the outside world by just staying within the boundaries of culturally traditional subjects and themes such as Stonehenge or the London Eye? No. To raise pupils’ intercultural awareness and help them become citizens of this world I have designed a workbook in which current intercultural themes are discussed.

In the workbook called An (inter)cultural journey we work with knowledge, cognitive and affective objectives. In particular, this workbook focuses on raising intercultural awareness but also works towards achieving communicative skills for a second grade class. Consequently every chapter in this workbook offers one to three intercultural subjects that serve as a general theme to work with. With regards to stereotyping, for instance, there are multiple exercises that help pupils increase their awareness. In addition, the exercises and activities offer the pupils room to think, discuss and offer ideas to contribute to the learning experience. Discussions are often held to help pupils reflect and consider other pupils’ thoughts as well as their own. Although discussions are often held, it still is important to help the pupils create a friendly class atmosphere in which ideas and thoughts can be shared.
While the workbook works with intercultural subjects, it still provides ample resources to train pupils’ vocabulary and grammatical skills. Obviously teachers like to test pupils’ progress in achieving these objectives and skills. Unfortunately this workbook does not offer any standardized testing of any kind. Pupils are, in fact, encouraged to choose their own method of presenting their progress. In chapter five, pupils revise previously seen inter(cultural) subjects and work towards achieving intercultural awareness.
Although the pupils choose their own method of presenting their progress, the workbook still provides ample alternative assessment methods to use in class.

To conclude I would like to encourage teachers to experiment with their own intercultural subjects as an addition to this workbook. It is our goal to help pupils’ achieve certain skills so why not do it while working interculturally? Working with intercultural material we can offer the pupils a powerful learning environment in which they can work cooperatively towards achieving a plethora of objectives and skills.
Good luck,

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Aerts, S. (2015). Final assignment. A trip through the (inter)cultural world. An intercultural workbook. Unpublished thesis, Hogeschool PXL, PXL-Education.
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