K. Kupatadze

Elon University (UNITED STATES)
Although there is a wide range of scholarly research conducted on foreign language pedagogy in the US and around the world, discussion has frequently revolved around the communicative language teaching model and the incorporation of culture in the curricula. As the most recent MLA Report pointed out, our approach to foreign language curriculum has been two-tiered (language-literature), and as such has exhausted itself as nonfunctional and ineffective. A new emphasis in Foreign Language pedagogy on text and literacy extends the intellectual framework of our profession and is geared towards adult (college-level) learners whose learning is metacognitive and metalinguistic. Adult learners negotiate meaning by comparing the linguistic and cultural realms of L1 and L2. Hence, according to the literacy-based approach, reflection upon and comparison of native and target languages and cultures has to be the centerpiece of college-level FL pedagogy. This approach is more engaging and attractive for students, it bridges the divide between language-centered and literature-centered curricula, and it enhances students’ intercultural competence.

Taking the recommendations of the most recent MLA report, as well as the literacy-based approach to language teaching as its guiding principles, this presentation will describe innovative techniques developed for 300-level FL Reading and Writing Courses that focused on developing students’ cultural competency while still addressing the issues of formal linguistic accuracy. The changes implemented in these courses were guided by recognition of content-based learning with emphasis on analyzing cultural narratives as the best practice in today's FL pedagogy. This presentation will also describe practical experiences and approaches to FL pedagogy that center on literacy-based learning that develops students’ critical thinking, intercultural competence and intellectual abilities in the FL classroom. Approaching cultural competency through texts/contexts can aid educators in teaching effective communication that steers clear of ethnocentrism. Methodologies drawing from narratives to enhance cultural competency can prove to be instrumental in helping students manoeuver through multidisciplinary and multicultural local and global contexts no matter what their principle field of study may be.