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If we accept that language, culture and identity are intertwined, the knowledge of a foreign language should heighten this awareness and understanding as it provides insight into other patterns of meaning and experience. However, in many contexts, little or superficial attention is given to this live, complex inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary and personal dimension of learning a new language so the experience remains fragmented and frustrating for learners and teachers alike.
How do we move from bits, bytes, pixels and sprites to connecting the dots?
Wilga Rivers, in her 1976 book Speaking in many tongues: Essays in foreign language teaching says:
We must find out what our students are interested in. This is our subject matter. As language teachers we are the most fortunate of teachers – all subjects are ours. The essence of language teaching is providing conditions for language learning – using the motivation which exists to increase our student's knowledge of the new language: we are limited only by our own caution, by our own hesitancy to do whatever our imagination suggests to us to create situations in which students feel involved …We need not be tied to a curriculum created for another situation or another group. We must adapt, innovate, improvise, in order to meet the student where he is and channel his motivation.
Go for it.
Beyond bits, bytes, pixels and sprites
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