Teaching EFL with a Hidden Agenda: Introducing Intercultural Awareness through a Grammar Lesson

Teaching EFL with a Hidden Agenda:
Introducing Intercultural Awareness through a Grammar Lesson

Guest post by Dr. Paola Giorgis

Is there anything more standardized than grammar? How can it then work to dismantle the standard, favoring non-standardized and non-sterotypical readings and representations of individual and collective cultural identities, and promoting intercultural understanding?

Here’s a brief example of an actual unit of two lessons, which I conducted some years ago, on simple past during a course on English as a Foreign Language.

The context
• a vocational high school with an art curricula in Turin, a city in the northwest of Italy
• a class of 25 students, the majority of Italian origins, a couple of students from Morocco, another three from Romania, and two from Peru. Most of the students of Italian origin came from families who had experienced migration, belonging to the third generation of what is known in Italy as the “internal immigration”, a phenomena which, from approximately the Fifties to the Seventies, moved families and work force from the south of Italy to the industries of the north.
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