Critical Citizens for an Intercultural World: Foreign Language Education as Cultural Politics

Author: Maria Manuela Guilherme

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Multilingual Matters
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210mm x 148mm
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Mindful of the fact that cultures are now more interdependent than ever, this book explores the development of critical cultural awareness through the processes of teaching and learning about foreign cultures. It draws upon theoretical foundations relating to inter- and intra-cultural communication from contemporary philosophical movements, namely Critical Theory and Postmodernism. The study adopts Critical Pedagogy, as it is described by Freire, Giroux and others, as the educational framework providing guidelines for taking a critical perspective towards both native and foreign cultures. It examines the critical dimension of some selected documents and models used worldwide for teaching/learning culture within foreign language classes. It includes a research project carried out among secondary school teachers of EFL in Portugal whose national syllabus suggests a critical approach to English-speaking cultures. This project aimed to illustrate how practising teachers approach foreign cultures critically, to provide some grounded theory for a definition of critical cultural awareness within foreign language/culture education, and to inspire a proposal for teacher education and development. Finally, this book submits a general proposal for the development of critical cultural awareness and intercultural communication competence among prospective and practising teachers of foreign languages/cultures.

Critical Citizens for an Intercultural World should be on the personal reading list of every foreign language educator and required reading for those preparing to teach a second language and its culture.

This is a timely and important book. The work is profound and rigorous in its analysis, soundly based in empirical research and above all lucid and accessible in its style; essential reading, I'd say for anyone with an academic interest in the teaching of foreign languages.

Manuela Guilherme has been a teacher of foreign languages and cultures for the past 30 years both at secondary school and university levels, in Portugal as well as in Great Britain. She has also been a teacher trainer and a researcher in this area for the past 15 years. The research she presents in this book was awarded the 2001 Emma Birkmaier Award by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Modern Language Journal and her contribution to the study of language and culture worldwide was also recognised by the California Language Teaching Profession.


1.       Critical Pedagogy as cultural politics

2.       Philosophical foundations for critical cultural awareness

3.       The critical dimension in foreign culture education

4.       The teachers' voices: How they view critical cultural awareness in foreign language/culture classes

5.       Preparing critical citizens and educators for an intercultural world

Bibliography; Appendices

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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