Cultural encounters through reading literature in an English language class (Anna V. Sokolova G., Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico)
Anna V. Sokolova G., Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico
Title: Cultural encounters through reading literature in an English language class
Keywords: English language; reading literature; culture
Successful communication in a foreign language requires not only using properly its grammar rules and vocabulary, but also considering the sociocultural aspects of the target language society. During communicative interactions of this kind, language learners get an opportunity to explore the culture of the Other from their own cultural perspective. In the case of Mexican language students, Chicano literature can be of special help in the process of developing their intercultural awareness because the experiences of the Chicano writers in their daily encounters with the North American culture transmitted in their works can make it easier for the learners understand this foreign culture, and even overcome their own prejudices towards the latter. Thus, a study was conducted among Mexican university language students to examine the possibility of enhancing their intercultural competence through reading Chicano literature. At the beginning and the end of their English course, the students responded to a questionnaire related to the concept of culture and their knowledge of the North American culture. The course activities included reading some literary texts written by various Chicano authors paying attention to the cultural issues in them as well as the literary techniques employed to tackle them. On the whole, the learners’ sociocultural characteristics have had an enormous impact on their perceptions of the target culture. The results of this study can help optimize selecting and elaborating didactic materials in English, class planning and the teaching methodology that would reinforce the learners’ intercultural communicative competence.