Empowering plurilinguals with (meta-cultural) awareness in pluricultural environments

Presenter: Stephan-Alexander Ditze

Affiliation: Max-Planck-Gymnasium Delmenhorst, Germany

Chosen format: Presentation


Plurilingualism and pluriculturalism are closely intertwined concepts. Promoting cultural awareness among learners, therefore, makes it imperative to empower students with meta-cultural awareness, i.e. the capability to reflect upon the notion of ‘culture’ itself. The approach set forth intends to convert culture from an often ephemeral concept of the Humanities into an accessible reflexive model applicable in variegated contexts, especially FL learning environments. It uses key insights of cultural semiotics such as the distinction between material, social and mental culture, as well as findings gained by literary imagology and social psychology such as the interplay of auto-images and hetero-images, auto-stereotypes and hetero-stereotypes in the shaping an individual‘s cultural identities and identifications. The aforementioned notions form the framework of a tool which allows plurilingual speakers living in pluricultural environments to ascertain, reflect upon and verbalize their variegated cultural identifications. This, in return, empowers them to engage with others in negotiating and aligning their cultural experiences thus establishing both differences and, above all, finding common ground.