A Cultural Road Trip and off to an Extended Break
Greetings on the LEA Newsletter Nov 2023!
As we approach the last month of the calendar year, allow me to take a moment to express my gratitude for the incredible work that each one of us do every day. Our dedication to fostering language learning and cultural understanding is nothing short of remarkable, and I am constantly energised with the understanding that there are many of us striving our very best to empower learners of all ages with the gift of expression and connection through language.
The last weekend has been nothing short of “upgrading” for Language Educators Assemble (LEA). I am hardly a shopaholic, but I sure did engage in much of online commercial activities during the Black Friday weekend that has just passed. All these, as part of ongoing efforts to load up my inventory of tools and instruments to create higher quality content of different media for us. We can sure look forward to them in the pipeline.
I would also like to take the opportunity to extend an invitation to educators among us who may be working on solo projects. Collaboration and connection are powerful enablers for growth and inspiration. I encourage you to reach out, connect with fellow educators, and explore opportunities for support, knowledge-sharing, and potential partnerships. Together, we can achieve even more and make a greater impact on language education. So, for a start, why not connect with me? You can reply to this email to do so.
November has been a month in the exploration of cultural elements of language education for LEA. I started the journey with a search for the importance of INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE in language learning. I know this has been an area of concern for many of us, and that is why I wanted to enter the depths of relevant literature to gather materials for “The Ultimate Introduction to INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE in Language Learning”.
Do we face challenges in deciding how to build a framework within the language curriculum in our contexts? This article thus presents answers to critical questions of ‘Whats’ and ‘Whys’ we may have about INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE. I hope it would help many of us in our professional work as well as in our communications with policymakers, administrators, and other key stakeholders.
Following that, I knew we might not be completely satisfied as there are many competing terms within our academic discourses that may be related to INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE, one of which is CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY. From where I am, the latter term is even highlighted as an important 21st-century competency to be developed. So, how is CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY related to INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE?
This is the key question I addressed in “CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY and INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE: Unraveling the nexus from 5 well-informed perspectives”. I dissected both concepts based on how they have been engaged in the research literature and demonstrated how CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY is an indispensable component of INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE. Most importantly, I provided some tips, albeit simple ones, for our reference if we want to design specific learning projects or activities for nurture CULTURAL LITERACY in our language classrooms.
Following this, I decided to take the cultural exploration into the Miniseries “Decoding Definitions”. In the previous instalment, I addressed one of the most frequent questions that I have received “What is the difference between Mother Tongue and First Language?”. In that article, I introduced the phenomenon that a mother tongue may also become a heritage language when certain sociopolitical conditions are met.
In the new instalment just published fresh out of oven yesterday, I moved into the next pertinent question “What is the difference between MOTHER TONGUE and HERITAGE LANGUAGE?”. For experienced applied linguists, it might not be too difficult to answer this question. For newer practitioners and laypersons, however, both sound crystal clear when used separately but become very foreign when juxtaposed side by side.
And so, I attempted to bring us through 5 standpoints in distilling the nuances implied by both concepts while discussing their relevance in multilingual scenarios, emphasising the acknowledgment of cultural heritage alongside language proficiency. Most importantly, I guess, is that we have a strong understanding of the assumptions underpinning the labels placed within our context of practice.
Moving into December, it is the holiday season that I believe many of us are looking for. In Singapore, the official extended school vacation actually commences from mid-November till end December. Most families, privileged ones especially, frequently opt for extended breaks and indulge in travel escapades during this period. In a certain sense, that includes myself.
As such, I will mainly be doing some housekeeping in December. I could not meet a couple of targets I have set for LEA – the fire of work continues to burn strongly right till the day I go for my break. I would probably do some catch up during December for that. So, that would include updating old articles, the glossary and recommended blogs, toying with the tools I have just purchased and migrating some creatives from LEA’s social media accounts onto the website for increased accessibility.
That being said, not knowing how the constraints of overseas network might be (no prize in guessing where I am heading to), I can only promise to do my best – so that we can all be invigorated with more informative (or even inspiring) content from January 2024 onwards! With that, an early wish of MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of us!
Chin Yew KIEU
Founder, Language Educators Assemble
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Don’t Miss Our Featured Content for Nov 2023
The Ultimate Introduction to INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE in Language Learning: 5 Whats and 2 Whys expertly addressed
Find the answers to the ‘Whats’ and ‘Whys’ of INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE in language learning. Realise the importance of why we need to communicate and work with people from different cultural backgrounds.
Cross-cultural Literacy and Intercultural Competence: Unraveling the nexus from 5 well-informed perspectives
Enhance your understanding of the nexus between CROSS-CULTURAL LITERACY and INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE in the context of globalization and language learning with 5 expert perspectives.
What is the difference between Mother Tongue and Heritage Language? (5 standpoints of spotlight people overlook) Decoding Definitions Miniseries: Question #4
Examine the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOTHER TONGUE AND HERITAGE LANGUAGE, and how this matters for multilingual contexts and the recognition of cultural heritage alongside language proficiency.
Stay Tuned for What’s To Come!
- Updates to the LEA Glossary and more recommended language education blogs to follow
- More updates to previous articles with new insights and information
- (Hopefully) Introduction of new resource type
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