Intercultural understanding in teaching and learning English An opportunity for Swedish compulsory education

Ulla Lundgren

Abstract



The aim of this study is to examine the prospects of developing intercultural understanding through English as a foreign language (EFL) in the Swedish comprehensive school. The study draws on perspectives applied to culture theory (Street, Hannerz, Thavenius, Sjögren), current theories about language and culture (Kramsch, Byram, Risager), critical discourse analysis (Fairclough) and curriculum theory (Svingby, Englund). The intercultural dimension of EFL is analysed as an order of discourse with competing discourses: research discourse, education authority discourse and language teacher discourse. The findings are summarized as two categories: opportunities and obstacles for developing intercultural understanding in EFL education. Finally the three discourses are related to each other and a model is presented showing a space for the interpretation of teaching and learning in EFL.

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