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Title: The significance of intercultural understanding in modern foreign languages Key Stage 3 curriculum : the perspectives of policy makers, teachers and pupils
Author: Peiser, Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9638
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2012
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This study focuses on the significance of Intercultural Understanding (IU) in the Key Stage 3 Modem Foreign Languages (MFL) curriculum. It investigates the perspectives of the three key stakeholders: policy makers, teachers and pupils. The research is situated against the backdrop of the 2008 National Curriculum revision which placed a new emphasis on Intercultural Understanding in MFL. At the macro level, it examines the drivers for this curriculum change and the extent to which the new terminology for the cultural dimension (which was previously called "cultural awareness") overlaps with theoretical research on interculturallanguages education. At the micro level, it investigates teachers' conceptualisations of IU and the factors which affect their intercultural practice. It is equally concerned with pupils' perceptions about the significance ofIU, investigating how these may vary as a function of demographic and social influences. The study adopts a predominantly interpretative approach, employing semi-structured interviews with policy makers (n=2) and secondary MFL teachers (n=18). Pupil perceptions were investigated using a questionnaire survey (n=765) which was followed up with group interviews (n=5). The teacher and pupil samples were drawn from a total of fourteen state schools in the North West of England that comprise of mixed comprehensive, girls' comprehensive, boys' comprehensive, girls' grammar and boys' grammar schools. The study finds that the reference to Intercultural Understanding in curriculum policy was primarily influenced by broader political concerns that overlooked interculturallanguages theory and has resulted in ambiguous curriculum guidelines. This research reveals a new insight into the teacher perspective, showing that attitudes and pedagogical approaches to the cultural dimension are highly individualistic and are closely related to interests, personalities and life experiences. Furthermore, the pupil perspective on IU varies not only from school to school, but also from pupil to pupil. Overall, the findings suggest that effective IU curriculum development in MFL must be flexible enough to respond to and cater for this evident diversity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LB Theory and practice of education ; LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools