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Literary Texts and Intercultural Learning

Exploring New Directions

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Ana Goncalves Matos

This book offers new perspectives on the pedagogical value of literary texts. The book is, in the first place, a theoretical study – speculative in nature – about the inherent connection between reading and interculturality. The author argues that reading literary texts may open up a passage to a ‘third place’, a space in which a student can learn more about their own identity and ultimately arrive at a more nuanced understanding of otherness. Some of the skills implicated in the construction of textual understanding can facilitate intercultural learning, opening up opportunities for a pedagogical approach in which the reading of literary texts develops a student’s intercultural perspective and fosters reflection on cultural difference. The author explores the pedagogical potential of the book’s theoretical premises through a sustained classroom-based example.

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Chapter ThreePedagogical criteria and a reading model 105

Extract

Chapter Three Pedagogical criteria and a reading model Introduction Taking into account the established connection between the process of read- ing literary texts and becoming intercultural, this chapter will start with a ref lection on pedagogical criteria regarding modes of reading and text choice in a foreign language. While several modes of reading may be available for the reader in the context of the classroom, aesthetic reading presents advantages, although also limitations, from the adopted intercultural point of view. Text selection should look beyond the conventional procedure of locating a text’s identity by trying to establish a clear relationship between the author of the text and a nation or a geographic area. The emergence of a compound voice is accounted for and seen as a facilitator of reading as third place. The passage from reception to ref lection concerns some of the central pedagogical implications involved in a reader-response approach to texts. Critically questioning the text may constitute a tool to meet some of the challenges presented. Moreover, literature has the potential to problematize relevant issues in our lives. Therefore, a critical pedagogy should inform the discussion and ref lection on the texts, helping prepare the students to interact with otherness and thus contributing, for instance, to the area of citizenship education. Later in the chapter, a model for intercultural reading in foreign lan- guage education presents a synthesis of the major assumptions outlined here. The model ref lects an idealized conception, a basis for a variety of dif ferent...

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