Plenary session by Claudia Ferradas "Crossing Borders: the Art of Communicating across Cultures"

bbeltOne of the central concerns of foreign language learning is how to communicate our hybrid, fluid identities in a language used to express worldviews different from our own. In a context of growing international contact, virtual as well as face to face, intercultural competence has become paramount. This competence involves not only the capacity to understand the values and customs of others but also to be able to express our own meanings so that others can understand them. How can we find the words to express concepts, habits and perceptions which do not seem to have an equivalent in another culture? How can we find points in common that make communication possible? And how effective is English as the language of international communication to express local meanings?

This presentation explores auditory, visual, printed and digital texts in English in which intercultural encounters are highlighted and proposes activities and resources for the classroom which aim at crossing intercultural borders. Reading, listening, watching and responding to creative cultural products (such as songs, poems, stories, video clips, blogs and V-logs, etc.) can help us develop intercultural awareness. The encounter with otherness can encourage reflection on how meanings can be communicated across cultures. Considering such products critically and comparatively and then finding ways to respond to them can contribute to developing the linguistic repertoire necessary to express our own meanings in English.

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