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Developing critical cultural awareness in the MFL classroom

Written by: Philip Mahoney
5 min read
Philip Mahoney, University of Oxford PGCE / Head of Mandarin at St Birinus School, Didcot, UK In 2013, the Department for Education stated that ‘a high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world’. However, my observations of modern foreign languages (MFL) lessons in UK secondary schools during my initial teacher training year highlighted an absence of opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the world, as the focus was invariably on language acquisition. Therefore, I piloted a compound intervention combining a flipped classroom, content and language integrated learning, and groupwork in an all-boys Year 10 Mandarin class over five weeks, to develop a means of efficiently integrating critical cultural awareness in MFL curriculum time. Critical cultural awareness (CCA): When students have ‘an ability to evaluate critically the practices and products in one’s own and other cultures and countries

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