The role of language teachers as cultural diplomats
Co-authored with: J. C. P. Almeida Filho
In: Multicultural Education Review, 7(1-2): 85-98 (2015)
In an increasingly multi-territorialized and interdependent world, people are getting more in touch with each other than ever before through many mass media services. This provides the possibility to overcome geographical boarders in order to build new relationships that foster mutual interests in economical and socio-cultural aspects from different countries. However, not only official diplomats are in charge of this exchange. As many language instructors are hired to teach in partner countries, they can all be considered cultural diplomats who perform interaction between cultures through the teaching of their native languages. Therefore, instructors will have to provide the students information about socio-cultural aspects, rather than only linguistic ones, of the people who speak the target language. This study focuses on Cultural Diplomacy through foreign language teaching, illustrating real life situations experienced by instructors of Portuguese as a Foreign Language (PFL), who act as cultural diplomats of their language in an international setting. We discuss which actions the PFL instructors (native and non-native ones) must perform to be considered cultural diplomats of this language in a setting like Macau, where Portuguese is starting to be seen as a global rather than a local language.
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