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Enhancing Language Learners' Intercultural Capability: A study in New Zealand's schools.

Enhancing Language Learners' Intercultural Capability: A study in New Zealand's schools

June 7 2019

Enhancing Language Learners' Intercultural Capability: A study in New Zealand's schools

Authors: Martin East, Constanza Tolosa, Christine Biebricher, Jocelyn Howard, Adèle Scott

ISBN 978-0-473-44275-0

In the context of a two-year project (2016–2017) funded by the Ministry of Education through the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), a team of five researchers worked in partnership with five primary/intermediate school teachers. Their goal was to investigate how programmes designed to fulfil the requirements of Learning Languages could enhance year 7 and 8 school students’ intercultural capability. The teachers taught a range of languages (te reo Māori, French, Chinese, Japanese), and were located in a variety of different schools across the North and South Islands. Working together with the teachers, the researchers investigated how languages were currently taught in the partner schools. They supported the teachers as they developed independent teaching as inquiry cycles with an intercultural focus, leaving it up to the teachers to interpret what inquiry might look like in each unique context. A primary goal was to utilise the findings of their inquiries to raise issues about effective practice.

The full report is available for download as a pdf file:

iCLT - Engaging Examples of Practice in NZ Schools (PDF, 3 MB)


The Teacher Partners - Engaging Examples of Practice

Lillian - Challenging stereotypes (PDF, 1 MB)

Lillian, a native speaker of Mandarin, teaches Chinese in an International Baccalaureate School located in the North Island. The school has 34 different nationalities, with students from all over the world. Working alongside a Mandarin Language Assistant (MLA), Lillian facilitates three dedicated 20-minute lessons in Chinese a week for her students. 

Kelly - Values and Beliefs (PDF, 661 KB)

Kelly, an intermediate-level user of Chinese, has taught in two very different full primary schools in the North Island in the course of this project. The first was a low decile school where students were mostly from Pasifika and Māori backgrounds. Kelly taught Chinese once a week for 45 minutes to her Year 7/8 combined class. Kelly’s current school is high-decile, with students mostly from New Zealand European and Asian backgrounds. Every classroom teacher in Years 5-8 teaches Chinese for at least 30 minutes per week. The teachers, including Kelly, are supported by an MLA. 

Mike - Guiding Intercultural Exploration through Resources and Questions (PDF, 670 KB)

Mike includes one hour of French per week in his programme with a Year 7 class at an intermediate school in the South Island. Mike learnt French for six months when he was at high school some years ago. More recently, he has done night classes at the Alliance Française and has completed a masters degree in computer assisted language learning. 

Tamara - Integrating Language and Culture through Games (PDF, 751 KB)

Tamara teaches at a South Island intermediate school, with a very ethnically diverse range of students. Tamara developed te reo Māori skills initially through cultural activities, and then more formally at high school and through papers at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. She integrates Māori language and culture across all the learning areas in her Year 8 class programme. 

Kathryn - Using Students' Inquiries for Intercultural Exploration (PDF, 712 KB)

Kathryn teaches Japanese in an International Baccalaureate School in the North Island. Kathryn studied Japanese in high school and university. She teaches the language every six teaching days for 30 minutes to all students in her "team" who are divided into four groups of about 32 students each.

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