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).
- Demonstrate an open, inclusive attitude towards cultural awareness - children learn by example
- Discuss how your own attitude and ideas may have changed over time
- Acknowledge stereotypes but challenge them
- Use authentic materials and discuss regional and cultural differences
- Establish a pen-pal/e-mail exchange with children in the target country
- Establish class correspondence exchanges
- Email exchanges can also be arranged with other MLPSI schools studying the same language
- Invite guests in to speak about different regions / countries where the target language is spoken
- Make links, where appropriate, with other areas of the curriculum
- Give children opportunities to question and reflect on what they have learnt
- Encourage children to look at their own culture and attitudes
- Incorporate an intercultural dimension into the study of the target language
- Celebrate and recognise the different cultures of the classroom