Language Teachers, Politics and Cultures
Author: Michael Byram, Karen Risager
The issues which foreign language teachers meet in their professional lives are usually considered to be of a 'technical' nature: how to motivate learners, what methods to use, how to assess learning etc. This book takes a different perspective and shows that foreign language teaching has a strong political character and responds to the social and political changes of the contemporary world. This is particularly evident in the cultural dimension of language teaching through which learners are introduced to other countries and their values and beliefs. The book demonstrates the importance of these issues for all language teachers in their day-to-day teaching by investigating the effect of major social and political change in two countries, England and Denmark. The authors have interviewed teachers in both countries to analyse the effects of such change. They ask, for example, about the ways in which increased mobility – one of the declared aims of European organisations – have affected their experiences of target language countries. On the basis of teachers' views, they make recommendations as to how the language teaching profession in general should face its social and political responsibilities in the education of young people in the contemporary world.