Intercultural issues in second language education

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2022

International symposiums series. Map of continents and digital connections


2022 International Symposiums Series

In this session, Professors Sarasa, Cerrato, and Tavella from Argentina will share with our Faculty community their research on intercultural issues in second language education (SLE) in relation to curriculum design, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), and second language teacher education and will cover issues such as intercultural awareness, intercultural identity and intercultural diversity in the Argentinian educational context. Professor Douglas Fleming will share the intercultural experiences of a group of rural Chinese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) secondary school teachers during and after their participation in a professional-development program offered at a Canadian university. He will present issues such as situated teacher training course design and implementation, decolonization, agency development, and reciprocal learning opportunities between students and instructors.

Date: April 21, 2022

Time: 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST

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12:05 - 12:20 PM

Intercultural understanding in an international professional development program

Douglas Fleming, Full Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

Summary: This session reports the experiences of a group of rural Chinese EFL teachers enrolled in a PD training program at Uo that helped help them develop a deeper intercultural understanding of how to adapt alternative approaches to EFL pedagogy to local conditions. The findings of data collected and during the program outline the challenges (and successes) teachers had in adapting what they had learnt and how their time in Canada had affected their self-identity as professionals; demonstrate that successful teacher training requires carefully listening to participants so as to provide the theoretical knowledge and exposure to practical classroom treatment options so that they can exercise the agency to assess, appropriate, and apply what they see fit for their unique contexts; and reveal that teacher trainers have much to learn from participants in professional development training. The data from a follow up research conducted in China shows that teachers made sophisticated choices in view of local contexts and that these local contexts were important to understand.


12:20 - 12:35 PM

Interculturality in EFL teacher education curricula in Argentina

María Cristina Sarasa, Consultant professor, School of Humanities, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata

Summary: This presentation will deal with EFL Teacher Education curricula in Argentina. Current federal guidelines for foreign language teacher education have introduced culture and interculturality as core curricular areas that should be included in all subjects to foster intercultural awareness about identities and diversity. As such, core learning priorities for teaching foreign languages in schools adopt a plurilingual and intercultural stance comprising linguistics, cognition, and sociocultural identity construction processes and foster teaching practices that should encourage respect towards intercultural and linguistic differences. Language courses should provide opportunities for reflecting on diversity and co-constructing knowledge to create informed discernment. She will examine the process of curriculum innovation recently carried out in the EFL Teacher Education Program at the School of Humanities, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina and will look into curricular areas, subjects and contents, aided by the concepts of curricular justice, curricula of lives, and culturally sensitive curricula.


12:35 - 12:50 PM

Intercultural education through CLIL pedagogies

Gabriela Tavella, ESP lecturer and director of a research team at Facultad de Lenguas (FADEL), Universidad Nacional del Comahue

Summary: The presentation aims at sharing some findings of a research project we are carrying out in a rural school in Patagonia, Argentina. Its main objective is to promote plurilingual and intercultural education through CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) pedagogies. Dialogue between local cultures is encouraged in each classroom situation through the use of teacher-made and context-sensitive materials. To this end, CLIL is the chosen approach that allows teachers to foster intercultural understanding and global citizenship.


12:50 - 13:05 PM

Intercultural competence in an English language teacher education programme

Gimena Cerrato Will, Professor and researcher in a four-year IELTE programme, Universidad Nacional de Villa María

Summary: It is well-known that English language teacher education is going through a steady growth. As such, educational systems around the world are under constant pressure to prepare teachers who can offer knowledge about current teaching approaches as well as context-responsive, informed pedagogies. Since little is known about how ELT student-teachers understand intercultural competence and its implementation potential, the purpose of this presentation is to show how this topic is dealt with at a four-year initial English language teacher education programme in Argentina. Knowledge related to the topic comes from a research study carried out at Universidad Nacional de Villa Maria (UNVM) called “Intercultural communicative competence in the teaching of English as a foreign language in middle school: a didactic proposal” and concepts from studies carried out at Facultad de Lenguas (FL), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC): contextualization, linguistic contrast, facilitation of learning and intercultural reflection.

13:05 - 13:30 PM

Q & A


Douglas Fleming is a Full professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. His interests focus on critical and post-structural ESL teaching and research methodologies, second language policy development, inductive approaches to teaching, citizenship and equity. Professor Fleming worked for over 20 years in public school districts, community colleges and immigrant serving agencies as a teacher and administrator and has conducted numerous curriculum and professional development projects for government, community agencies, private firms and NGO’s.

María Cristina Sarasa is a consultant professor in the School of Humanities at Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina, teaches graduate courses and supervises dissertations. She specializes in narrative inquiry and narrative pedagogies in TESOL teacher education. She is co-founder and assistant director of the Education and Cultural Studies Research Group (GIEEC in Spanish), a team gathering Latin American narrative inquirers published in Spanish, Portuguese, and English-language journals. They have established a narrative doctoral program in education with Universidad Nacional de Rosario, where they are currently developing the potentials of narrative research in education.

Gabriela Tavella holds an MA in Professional Development for Language Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education, UK. She is an ESP lecturer and director of a research team at Facultad de Lenguas (FADEL), Universidad Nacional del Comahue, a professor at the Masters programme from FADEL, UNCo, and coordinator of professional development sessions and regular presenter at conferences. She is also Former vice-president of Federación Argentina de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés (FAAPI). Member of AJAL editorial board. Her research interests are Intercultural citizenship, CLIL, ESP and language methodology.

Gimena Cerrato Will is a professor and researcher in a four-year IELTE programme at UNVM, Argentina and teaches English Language Didactics and Teaching Practice III at the undergraduate level. She holds a M.A. degree in Compared Culture and Literature from UNC, Argentina and a Postgraduate degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Universidad Internacional Iberoamericana (UNINI), Puerto Rico.

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