In their “Pedagogical Strategies to Foster Intercultural Competence and Address Social Justice Issues in the Beginner Language Classroom” workshop Britta Meredith (PhD Candidate), Mareike Geyer (M.A. Candidate, ALDS) and Professor Manuela Wagner put theory into practice by presenting exercises grounded in principles of intercultural citizenship (e.g. Byram, 2008) and social justice (e.g. Osborn, 2006).
Using the fairytale “Cinderella” (Aschenputtel in German) they addressed issues such as gender (in)equality while fostering students’ use of the target language and
integrating the knowledge, skills and attitudes of intercultural competence. They showcased activities, scaffolding techniques, described the unit implementation, and addressed how students reflected on issues of gender (in)equality in a sample implementation.
They presented how, after only a few weeks of German, students used their critical cultural awareness to interpret issues of social justice linked to gender, gender roles, and gender equality in the fairy tale “Cinderella.” Moreover, students went beyond the fairytale context to interpret and address similar issues in historic and modern real-life contexts, while making use of their linguistic, semiotic and pragmatic abilities.
They showed that it is possible to confront complex, real-life issues in the elementary language classroom using the target language only.
The workshop at the 12th CCSU conference for language teachers was well attended and overall a success.