Cultural Awareness

The Cultural Awareness strand of the curriculum aims to allow the child to learn about the lives and interest of children of his/her own age in other countries. Through this strand the child 'begins to appreciate similarities and differences from the aspect of culture and location' (p.23 Draft Curriculum Guidelines NCCA).


The Cultural Awareness strand also aims to develop the child's intercultural awareness. Not only is the child learning about other cultures but they also learn to use analytical skills to interpret aspects of  the other culture and relate them to aspects of their own culture, enabling them to engage in a learning process that makes 'the strange familiar and the familiar strange' (Byram, Gridkova & Starkey 2002:29).

Practical recommendations:

  1. Demonstrate an open, inclusive attitude towards cultural awareness - children learn by example
  2. Discuss how your own attitude and ideas may have changed over time
  3. Acknowledge stereotypes but challenge them
  4. Use authentic materials and discuss regional and cultural differences
  5. Establish a pen-pal/e-mail exchange with children in the target country
  6. Establish class correspondence exchanges
  7. Email exchanges can also be arranged with other MLPSI schools studying the same language
  8. Invite guests in to speak about different regions / countries where the target language is spoken
  9. Make links, where appropriate, with other areas of the curriculum
  10. Give children opportunities to question and reflect on what they have learnt
  11. Encourage children to look at their own culture and attitudes
  12. Incorporate an intercultural dimension into the study of the target language
  13. Celebrate and recognise the different cultures of the classroom
For further information on how to develop the cultural awareness strand please refer to the language specific pages of this website. Further ideas can also be found in editions of our Language Links newsletter which can be downloaded from this website. 
This area is also more fully explored in the MLPSI training booklet - Introduction to My European Language Portfolio pps. 54-71, accessible by clicking on the title.
See also the following documents produced for the third Module of our CPD programme - click on the following links -

Tools to promote Cultural / Intercultural Awareness
Video                       Postcards and photos            Questions for interviews 
Culture boxes           Links with a partner school      
See also the language-specific sections of this website for resources on these areas.
You should also consult a copy of the 'Intercultural Education in the Classroom - Guidelines for Schools' which is available in every primary school and available to download from the NCCA website or by clicking on this link - Intercultural Guidelines