Language teachers and learners interpreting the world

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For better or for worse, neither linguistics nor applied linguistics are mandatory in the pre- or in-service education of Australia’s language teachers. It may therefore be serendipitous that a teacher of languages and cultures in an Australian school can access techniques from the domain of applied linguistics to apply to issues arising in the languages classroom. The invitation in this volume to examine the nexus between intercultural language education and applied linguistics has challenged us to examine what may be possible when a simple strategy is employed. In this paper we examine classroom data from a junior secondary school Spanish classroom and superimpose a linguistic frame – the linguistic turn in the linguistic exchange – to examine teacher talk and turn-taking and its relationship with construction of intercultural understanding in students. Building on the work undertaken on the evaluative exchange and turn-taking (Edwards & Westgate 1994), we analyse existing data from one of our studies in the past three years (Moloney & Harbon 2010a). We posit that teacher awareness of the linguistic aspects of classroom discourse can highlight the intercultural negotiation of meaning-making in a foreign language classroom.


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