Lectures by BLC Fellows (Bonicatto, Beitler, De Luca) April 30, 2021

Spring 2021 BLC Fellows Forum
Instructional Development Research Projects

Exploring Culture through Definitions of Words
Laura Sacia Bonicatto, Lecturer, German
This project focuses on using comparative definition activities to help students build an awareness of the cultural bias associated with key terms. Through cross-linguistic comparisons and historical analyses of definitions in the German Duden dictionary, students gain both cross-cultural understanding and a deeper appreciation of German culture.

Don’t Throw Them Out! Old Textbooks in the New L2 Classroom
Ben Beitler, GSR, French
Old textbooks can be given new life in the L2 classroom. They are historical objects rich with cultural information. Presented with care, they allow students entry into the worlds of learners from other times and places. As such, they can be tools for thinking about the relationship between texts, education and power. For all of these reasons, old textbooks offer many pedagogical resources for instructors interested in teaching what Claire Kramsch has called “symbolic competence,” or the ability to understand how language users deploy symbols to impose worldviews. 

Teaching Italy as a Multicultural Space through Language
Mariagrazia De Luca, GSR, Italian Studies
What Italy, and what italianità [Italianness] do language textbooks–and Italian language instructors–convey to early language learners? Do we reiterate the same old stereotypes to make “Italy” more marketable? Through my BLC project, I created learning materials and activities that question Italy as a monocultural space, presenting it instead as multicultural and multilingual. With this intervention into Italian language instruction, I present italianità as cross-cultural and radically inclusive, and aim to illuminate the richness of diversity in contemporary Italy, and more broadly, around the globe.

Friday, April 30, 2021
3 – 5 pm
Zoom Session (registration required)