Arts and Education: Creative Ways into Languages
On Saturday (7th May) I am presenting a paper at a conference Arts and Education: Creative Ways into Languages in Athens. This international conference is organised by the University of Athens (Department of Primary Education) and the Greek Association of Primary Music Education, a professional body which represents music education specialists that teach Art in the primary education system.
To provide some context, the theme of the conference is most likely influenced by the recent government decision to increase the provision for language learning in primary education. By exploring the interface between foreign languages and foreign cultures, Arts education is framed as supportive of foreign language education, rather than competing against it.
At any rate, my own contribution to the conference is not about exploring how languages can be taught more effectively through culture. I trust that there will be many teachers at the conference who are more creative than me and who can do this more competently and more confidently. What I want to do instead is to problematise on what culture might mean in the context of foreign language learning, and to raise awareness of the fact that the selection of cultural input and culturally-based activities for inclusion in the curriculum is a political act: it reflects ideology and it shapes identities. Singing an English pop song is different from discussing the traditions of immigrants in Greece, both in terms of what the activity reveals and in terms of its likely outcomes.
The abstract of my talk can be found here, and I will add links to the presentation and paper in this space after the talk.
Richard’s input (and patience!) have been immensely helpful in shaping my thinking on MATE (Multicultural Awareness Through English), and I would like to thank him once more.