Interkulturell förståelse i engelskundervisning - en möjlighet
Sammanfattning: The aim of this study is to examine the prospects of developing intercultural understanding through English as a foreign language (EFL) education in the Swedish comprehensive school. This overall aim is split into two subordinate aims: (1) to analyse and problematize the intercultural dimension of EFL as three discourses, research discourse, authority discourse and teacher discourse; (2) to relate the above discourses to each other in order to reveal a space for the interpretation of culture teaching and learning culture in EFL.The thesis is set in a broad social constructionist frame. The study draws on perspectives applied to culture theory (Street, Hannerz, Thavenius, Sjögren), current theories about language and culture (Kramsch, Byram, Risager), critical discourse analysis (Fairclough) and curriculum theory (Svingby, Englund). The intercultural dimension of EFL form an order of discourse with competing discourses. The findings are summarized as two categories, opportunities and obstacles for developing intercultural understanding in EFL education: Opportunities promoting intercultural understanding: (1) International and national guidelines prescribe understanding of otherness across the curriculum. (2) A theoretical base is available which is in agreement with the Swedish value base. (3) EFL syllabus introduces intercultural understanding and intercultural competence. Intercultural understanding shall be assessed. (4) The interviewed teachers consider developing students´ understanding of otherness and self as important issues. (5) An increasing number of multicultural students can contribute to alternative perspectives in the language classroom. Obstacles preventing intercultural understanding: (1) Current research does not reach teachers. (2) The national syllabus narrows culture to factual knowledge, uses vague concepts and offers no assessment criteria. (3) National tests do not assess intercultural understanding. (4) School organisation, obstructs cross - curricular thematic education. (5) Teachers lack time for didactic reflection and development. (6) Local microcontext is seen as main obstructions. (7) Students´ lack of ability to take the perspective of the other is considered a major obstacle.Finally the three discourses are related to each other and a model is presented showing a space for the interpretation of culture teaching and learning culture in EFL.
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