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Using new literatures as a resource in fostering cross cultural awareness

Rubdy, Rani Sumant (2007) Using new literatures as a resource in fostering cross cultural awareness. In: The Second Biennial International Conference on Teaching and Learning of English in Asia : Exploring New Frontiers (TELiA2), 14-16 June 2007, Holiday Villa Beach & Spa Resort, Langkawi. Faculty of Communication and Modern Languages, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, pp. 1-14. ISBN 978-983-42061-2-3

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This paper is based on the premise that the wealth of new literatures in English that are available in several countries of Asia and South East Asia today can serve not only to provide students access to the rich and varied cultural life of the people in these settings, but also help develop in them sensitivity and empathy towards other cultures. Given that English no longer belongs to any one nation or culture, and is increasingly being used in numerous multilingual and multicultural settings worldwide, it is fast becoming ‘re-nationalised’ (McKay 2000), as it takes on new cultural associations, experiences and values. In teaching English as an international language (EIL), therefore, it no longer makes sense to place an exclusive focus on target culture knowledge alone. The paper makes a strong case for including other cultural materials, especially those from Asian and South East Asian literature, in the selection of content and topics for textbooks constructed for use in EFL/ESL contexts, with a particular focus on fostering cross-cultural tolerance and understanding, a neglected area in ELT. Further, the paper goes on to illustrate how texts from these new literatures may be used in promoting cross-cultural understanding in the language classroom. Only recently has cross–cultural understanding begun to receive the kind of attention it deserves in the realm of EFL and ESL teaching/learning. Indeed, for a long time culture itself was considered peripheral, or at best, no more than a supplementary diversion (Tseng, 2002) to the teaching and learning of language, although cross-cultural variation has continued to be a live and productive topic of study in sociolinguistic and pragmatic research. Even where cultural aspects of language study have been addressed in EFL/ESL, traditionally this has pertained exclusively to target language culture. Given the insight that language and culture are inseparable, and that therefore, to teach language is to teach culture,the belief prevailed that in order to gain full competence in the language learners of English in different parts of the world need to internalize the cultural norms of native speakers of English – that is, speakers of English from the Inner Circle (Kachru, 1989) or BANA (namely, British, Australasian and North American) countries (Holliday, 1994).

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Organized by Department of Modern Languages, Faculty of Communication and Modern Language, Universiti Utara Malaysia
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: College of Arts and Sciences
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 29 May 2011 07:33
Last Modified: 29 May 2011 07:33
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/3203

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