This plenary by Claudia Ferradas took place at the online Future of English Language Teaching Conference (FOELT), organised by Trinity College London and Regent’s University London. You can learn more about the annual event at trinitycollege.com/FOELT.
Watch the video
Intercultural competence has long been considered essential in language education. The work of Michael Byram, Bonny Norton and John Corbett, to mention but a few, has been instrumental in encouraging effective curricular reform, as well as materials and classroom activities to contribute to the development of intercultural awareness and communication across cultures. More recently, the concern with intercultural competence has been extended to a focus on mediation, which the Common European Framework or Reference for Languages Companion Volume (2020) defines as instances when “a learner/user acts as a social agent who creates bridges and helps to construct or convey meaning”. Mediation is particularly necessary when breakdowns in communication are the result of disagreements derived from social or cultural differences.
Our learners’ reading experiences, involving a wide range of different media, offer opportunities to come into contact with diverse contexts and personal circumstances, thus contributing to intercultural awareness and offering fertile soil to develop linguistic and cultural mediation skills. In this plenary, we will explore the potential of short narratives, poems and video-poems as spaces to enlarge learners’ linguistic repertoire and develop mediation strategies, such as responding to texts, clarifying meaning and enabling understanding by explaining, paraphrasing or giving examples. Using the variety of texts available, teachers can also develop engaging and transferable activities for learners to work collaboratively on how to negotiate some of the most difficult areas of language learning, including resolution of disagreement, critical thinking and reflecting on how to transcend cultural borders to build engagement and empathy.
About the presenter
The presenter, Claudia Ferradas, is a writer, teacher educator and singer based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she graduated as a teacher of English and has taught language and literature for many years. She holds an MA in Education and Professional Development from the University of East Anglia and a PhD in English Studies from the University of Nottingham.
She has extensive international experience as a teacher trainer and conference presenter and has co-chaired the Oxford Conference on the Teaching of Literature (Corpus Christi College) on five occasions. She often works as a consultant for Oxford University Press and Trinity College London Argentina.
She teaches on the MA programme in Foreign Languages at the Universidad Nacional de Luján, Argentina, and is an Affiliate Trainer with NILE (Norwich Institute for Language Education), UK. She has also taught on the MA programme in TEFL at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Spain and Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. She has published numerous academic papers, contributions to books and intercultural ELT materials and is a member of several editorial boards.
Claudia writes poetry in Spanish and in English. In her poetry readings, she likes to put poetry in dialogue with songs. She also has a multilingual poetry and drama podcast and a YouTube channel which features academic presentations and poetry readings.