Language Teaching for the 21st Century

Dr. Marianne David,
Dr. Fabienne Gérard
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To meet the requirements of our rapidly evolving global society, education for the 21st century needs to be both interdisciplinary and cross-cultural. As foreign language teachers, our approach is to make language acquisition not an end, but a means for acquiring cultural information essential for communication. We offer two examples, one for Spanish and one for French.

Exploring the phenomenon of convivencia, i.e., the productive interaction of Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Medieval Spain, and the brilliant multicultural that resulted from it, students learn about Spanish history between 711 and 1492, geography, art and architecture styles, music, food, customs and traditions. In the process they learn Spanish. They recite medieval texts, listen to music and view art slides that illustrate the 'three cultures.' To evaluate this integration of culture with language, we examine a list of creative student projects, and watch a video of student produced skits, music and art.

Similarly, we highlight the European Union to teach French. Students learn about European geography, the origin of place names, history and art, the various spoken languages. They also explore and discuss political, social and economic issues i.e., pros and cons of Turkey’s admission into the European Union, and problems of diversity facing Europe. This Web based lesson plan allows students to discover and practice new linguistic elements within the cultural framework of contemporary Europe.

Communication is the goal of our cross-cultural foreign language teaching approach. Thus we stress oral and written communication, as well as history and literature, in order to prepare students to interact in their new language, while furthering their knowledge and appreciation of different cultures and disciplines.

Keywords: Foreign Language, Teaching, Cross-cultural Approach, Communication
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Language, Linguistics, Cyberspace, Technology
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: Teaching Language and Tolerance in the 21st Century

Dr. Marianne David

French and Spanish Teacher, Foreign Language Department, Trinity School, NY

Marianne David has a Ph.D in Comparative Literature from Yale University and teaches French and Spanish at the Trinity School in New York City. She is a also gallery educator at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, and a professional painter. Her fields include French Language & Literature (dissertation title: “Proust’s Mme Verdurin), Spanish language and literature with a specialty in Medieval Spain, and Latin American literature. Recent conference papers include: “Lazarillo de Tormes: Faceless as well as Masked,” “Enchanted by the Alhambra: Washington Irving Recovers its History and its Poetry,” “Images of Medieval Spain in Washington Irving’s Alhambra Stories.” Recently organized conference entitled: “Journey through Convivencia,” and traveled through Andalusia to paint the monuments of convivencia.

Dr. Fabienne Gérard

French Teacher, Foreign Language Department, Trinity School, NYC, NY

Fabienne GÉRARD is a Ph.D. Candidate, University of La Sorbonne-Nouvelle, Paris, France. Her field includes Foreign Language Didactics and her dissertation is entitled “The Web and the Aims of Education in Foreign Language Teaching and Learning”. She is a French Teacher at The Trinity School, New York City, NY. The conference presentations she has given include “The Web and the Aims of Education in the Foreign Language Classroom”, “The French Cyberbooks – A set of Online Textbooks Created at Cary Academy for the French Curriculum”, “The Web: a Collaborative Editing Tool for Foreign Language Instruction”, “The Use of Authentic Web Documents in the Foreign Language Classroom”. The Workshops she taught included: “Developing Web pages with Front Page”, “Creating a Thematic Online Unit for the Foreign Language Classroom”, “Teaching the Humanities with Technology at the Secondary Level”, “Using Technology to Connect to Other Disciplines”.

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