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  • Created 26 Jun 2019

About the Group

Public Description

This group is designed to foster the sharing of ideas, strategies, pedagogical tools, theoretical discussions, challenges, experiences, and general praxis among language educators.  


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    Aletha D Stahl

    Having spent 22 years as a faculty member in a Department of Languages & Cultures at a small liberal arts college (formerly Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Earlham College), I am intrigued at the evolution of approaches toward intercultural knowledge, attitudes, and skills in language education in the US and beyond. Years ago in my own first- and second-year language courses I began integrating activities designed to support shifts in students' worldviews and thinking that would remain long after they could no longer conjugate basic verbs. Although I didn't have the theoretical underpinnings, I understood that, for better or for worse, the cultural factoids, vocabulary, structures, and even critical reading skills, etc., that students learned and practiced in my courses did not guarantee that they would be more open to difference, more capable of empathy, more culturally self-aware, and more able to engage others with cultural humility. Yet I felt strongly that ten years down the road, this latter set of skills would be by far more important to them and to the world. Yes, these skills were targeted to some degree in upper-level courses and off-campus programs, but how many students ended up engaging in these? 

    Now as a member of the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research at Purdue University, I have the opportunity to explore more in depth just how one might teach and assess for intercultural knowledge, attitudes, and skills more generally. Yet my years as a faculty member in a teaching-centered institution mean that the question of intercultural learning in the language classroom remains close to my heart. It is gratifying to observe that national bodies like ACTFL also now recognize the centrality of intercultural learning to language acquisition and that scholars actively pursue research in this area. In fact, colleagues in the School of Languages and Cultures here at Purdue are among the leaders in terms of experimenting with practical applications and curricular design, while elsewhere, professionals in the fields of World Languages, Communication Studies, and more are articulating theoretical frameworks that bring together what had once been somewhat disparate fields of inquiry.

    It is my hope that this group will be a space to explore the role of intercultural learning in language acquisition from multiple angles. 

    In joining this group, I invite you to introduce yourself to the extent you feel comfortable and to raise your questions, to share your ideas and resources, and in general, to use this space creatively to further your work as a language educator.

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    Aletha D Stahl

    I invite you to join tomorrow's webinar featuring two group members, Tatjana Babic Williams and Annalisa Mosca. It takes place Friday, July 10, at 11 am Eastern Time.

    They will discuss how they are embedding intercultural learning in Italian classes at Purdue, especially in the new remote learning environment.

    Instructions below.

    Hoping you are well!

    Aletha Stahl


    Open the link below, click on the "Episode 6", and follow the instructions to log into Zoom. 


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