Using Stereotypes and Prejudices as a Way to Promote the Intercultural Competence in Teaching Spanish as a Second or Foreign Language
Often when we are speaking a foreign language, we focus on its national identity which tends to be embodied in various stereotypes and widespreadclichés. Given the increased cultural heterogeneity of modern society, the cultural diversity awareness has become a key factor in the language teaching profession. Despite the fact that the process of stereotyping impliesthe preconceivedbeliefs, generalizations and often inaccurate judgment towards other people, teachers can use learner’s stereotypical knowledge as a way to promote the acquisition of intercultural competencein classroom practice.Bearing in mind that Spain has always been a multicultural society, as well as thesizeof theSpanish-speaking area, in this paper we will try to show how the most common cultural biases can be used asan effective tool to developthe affective and the cognitive component of language learning experience and ensure the learner’s ability to interact appropriately.In so doing, our starting point will assume that stereotypes and prejudices are ideal as a means of intercultural communicative language teaching approach in two ways. First, they provide dynamic learning opportunities that encourage the cultural criticality method and explicit discussions which lead to integration of the target culture with the learner’s source culture, and secondly, they engender the teacher’s reflective approach to his own culture teaching practice and beliefs.
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