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Towards a Cultura Franca

Contemporary American Civil and Human Rights Drama in the Foreign Language Classroom

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Jeannette U. Böttcher

This book is mapping the fields of modern output-oriented teaching, intercultural learning, and drama methods in the foreign language class. It explains that drama-based language learning transcends the usual learning scopes in its practical relevance and its far-reaching contextual implications. By including (inter-)cultural aspects, as well as human and civil rights issues, modern teaching can provide students with new frames of references and shifts their attention from an individualistic worldview towards a more tolerant perception of «the other.» The term of «cultura franca» hints at a liberation of cultural restraints and this is exactly what is indispensable in order to educate students to become the interculturally adept speakers our modern time needs.

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Part II: Staging Drama or the Art of Didactics

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Part II: Staging Drama or the Art of Didactics

In the second part the focus is turned to drama-based language learning and teaching in the foreign language class. The theater techniques and methods incorporated in this project are designed to draw attention to a methodology that comprises all the requirements for modern foreign language teaching and learning.

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand. (Chinese proverb)

Teaching in general has become more complex because school has to take into account the changing paradigms of society’s, parents’ and students’ expectations. As the most important educational institution, school is expected to equip students with relevant knowledge as well as soft skills based on current educational theories and didactic findings. At the same time, school needs to be vigilant of modern-day dangers, such as the Internet, social networks, peer group pressure, and (cyber) bullying. Also, school has to be always up to date with the latest developments on the job market and impart those competences to its students. Until the 1970s and even into the 1980s, the role of school was defined primarily by society’s needs and wishes and teaching was seen as a science (cf. Hebart, Allgemeine Pädagogik, 1806). Nowadays, teachers find themselves caught in between what society needs and requires them to do, what (individual) students want, and what their own professional ethics tell them. The traditional role of the teacher as...

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