Fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes through language teaching

Authored book


Ingram, David E., Kono, Minoru, O'Neill, Shirley and Sasaki, Masako. 2008. Fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes through language teaching. Maleny, Australia. Post Pressed.
Book Title

Fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes through language teaching

Book CategoryAuthored book
ERA Publisher ID2978
AuthorsIngram, David E. (Author), Kono, Minoru (Author), O'Neill, Shirley (Author) and Sasaki, Masako (Author)
Number of Pages246
Year2008
PublisherPost Pressed
Place of PublicationMaleny, Australia
ISBN9781921214400
Web Address (URL)http://www.postpressed.com.au/
Abstract

The first years of the 21st Century have tragically demonstrated that few issues are so important in the world as that of relationships between nations, faiths and ethnic groups. It is the contention of the authors that the most positive response that can be made to this situation is for societies to try to ensure that each generation grows up with attitudes conducive to harmonious and rewarding lives in the multicultural world in which they live. This requires that each generation grows up accepting the rights of others to be different in race, language, culture and faith, accepting and benefiting from the ethnic diversity around them.
Societies have basically two tools open to them to ensure such harmony: legislation and the concomitant litigation to suppress acts of disunity or gratuitous antagonism between groups and, more positively, education by which to try to foster positive cross-cultural attitudes. Within education, it is the present authors' belief that properly designed languages education can be an effective element to achieve this goal.
This book reviews some of the research into the relationship between languages education and cross-cultural (and inter-cultural) attitudes. It also reports on two large-scale surveys of cross-cultural attitudes amongst Year 10 students in Brisbane, Australia and Akita Prefecture, Japan. It shows that languages education does not inevitably create more positive cross-cultural attitudes and, indeed, the outcome of languages education may be harder or more negative attitudes unless a number of elements of course design and methodology are also in place. The large-scale research studies reported here were one-off, which raises serious problems in determining cause and effect but the research funds received were insufficient for the sort of longitudinal studies that are most desirable. Despite this limitation, we believe that the studies do provide insights of interest to languages education and to teachers and policy-makers who wish to find ways to positively influence students' cross-cultural attitudes or to enhance the inter-cultural attitudes and inter-ethnic relationships in multicultural societies.
This book is intended for anyone interested in languages education and, in particular, in the vital importance of fostering more positive cross-cultural attitudes and inter-cultural relationships in the world of the 21st Century. It may be of interest to policy-makers who need to justify the place of languages in the education system and who see a need for good quality languages education designed to foster, in addition to good language skills, positive cross-cultural attitudes conducive to life in our increasingly multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual world. It may also be of interest to curriculum planners and, not least, to language teachers and student teachers as they design their courses and plan their lessons.

Keywordscross-cultural attitudes; languages teaching; EFL; language pedagogy; languages education policy; language learning research
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470212. Multicultural, intercultural and cross-cultural studies
441013. Sociology of migration, ethnicity and multiculturalism
470306. English as a second language
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Melbourne
Akita University, Japan
Centre for Research in Transformative Pedagogies
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