Advancing Intercultural Learning in World Language Education: Recent Developments in Pre-Service Teacher Education in the U.S.
Intercultural understanding is increasingly prioritized in the teaching and learning of world languages. Empirical evidence reveals the ways in which an intercultural communicative approach to foreign language instruction can foster learners’ intercultural competence (Garrett-Rucks, 2016). Yet, in the U.S., there remains a disconnect in the distribution of federal funds for internationalization efforts to foster learners’ intercultural understanding and the support given for world languages study, in which enrollment continues to fall (MLA, 2018). This position paper is intended to raise awareness of the crucial role of foreign language (FL) learning in fostering learners’ intercultural understanding in order to put into question the underestimated role of FL learning in U.S. educational policies and internationalization efforts. Despite the lack of financial, political and educational policy support, current World Language teacher certification practices in the U.S. require candidates to provide evidence of their intercultural approach to language instruction. This paper describes the emphasis on cultural reflection in current U.S. World Languages teacher certification practices and provides a review of meaningful culture learning projects to encourage all language instructors to take an intercultural communicative approach to their instruction.
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