Reader’s Response: Global CitizenshipI want for example Saudi Arabi second lounge for EnglishAfter reading the t

Reader’s Response: Global CitizenshipI want for example Saudi Arabi second lounge for EnglishAfter reading the two selections (Banks; Tarozzi & Torres), post a short reader’s response for the pieces as one post (at least 500- Use sub-headings to indicate which piece you are responding to within your post. Please see the section Reader’s Response Discussions above for more details.


Intercultural Education
ISSN: 1467-5986 (Print) 1469-8439 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ceji20
Intercultural education and communication in
second language interactions
Claudio Baraldi
To cite this article: Claudio Baraldi (2012) Intercultural education and communication in second
language interactions, Intercultural Education, 23:4, 297-311, DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2012.727601
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Intercultural Education
Vol. 23, No. 4, August 2012, 297–311
Intercultural education and communication in second language
interactions
Claudio Baraldi*
Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia,
Modena, Italy
This article analyses intercultural education outcomes produced in the setting
of teaching Italian as a second language (ISL) in an Italian school. Intercultural education is produced in interactions which are based on specific cultural presuppositions, i.e. expectations regarding learning, role hierarchy and
evaluation of student performances. Sixteen hours of interactions associated
with ISL teaching in a multicultural classroom were audiotaped, transcribed
and analysed. The analysis highlights three ways in which cultural diversity
becomes meaningful. First, cultural diversity is constructed as one task of
learning. Second, cultural diversity is constructed as conflictive interaction.
Third, cultural diversity is constructed as a point of departure for positive
school performance. These three ways of giving meaning to cultural diversity
reveal a prevailing ethnocentric form of ISL teaching, as a consequence of
educational presuppositions which do not take the difficulties of intercultural
communication seriously. Recently, ‘dialogue’ has been invoked to address
ethnocentrism; however, the conditions of effective intercultural dialogue are
uncertain.
Questo articolo analizza l’educazione interculturale prodotta nell’insegnamento
dell’italiano come seconda lingua (ISL) in una scuola italiana. L’educazione
interculturale è realizzata in interazioni che sono basate su specifici presupposti
culturali, che sono aspettative di apprendimento, di gerarchie di ruolo e di
prestazioni degli studenti. L’educazione interculturale si occupa del problema
della diversità culturale, basata su presupposti culturali diversi che emergono
nella comunicazione. Sono state audioregistrate, trascritte e analizzate 16 ore
di interazione durante l’insegnamento di ISL in una classe multiculturale:
l’analisi ha evidenziato tre modi in cui la diversità culturale è resa significativa. La diversità culturale è costruita anzitutto come compito di apprendimento,
in secondo luogo come interazione conflittuale, infine come punto di partenza
per conseguire una prestazione scolastica positiva. Questi tre modi di costruire
la diversità culturale rivelano una forma prevalente di tipo etnocentrico per
l’insegnamento ISL, che è una conseguenza di presupposti educativi che non
permettono di prendere seriamente le difficoltà della comunicazione interculturale. Recentemente, si è proposto di usare il ‘dialogo’ per superare l’etnocentrismo; tuttavia c’è incertezza sulle condizioni di un dialogo interculturale
efficace.
Keywords: communication;
ethnocentrism
*Email: claudio.baraldi@unimore.it
ISSN 1467-5986 print/ISSN 1469-8439 online
Ó 2012 Taylor & Francis
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14675986.2012.727601
http://www.tandfonline.com
interaction;
second
language;
diversity;
298
C. Baraldi
Introduction
This article analyses the teaching of Italian as a second language (ISL) in classroom
interactions. It aims to demonstrate that: (1) ISL teaching and intercultural education
are produced together in interactions between teachers and migrant students and (2)
in these interactions, teacher actions promote different ways of constructing migrant
students’ cultural diversity and identities.
For our analysis, we adopt a social constructivist approach, based on the connection of four conceptualisations. Firstly, communication is the primary social
process and interactions are systems of communication (Luhmann 1984). In interactions, each action is followed by further actions, displaying interlocutors’ understandings, and each action can refer to previous actions in terms of both content
(information) and apparent intentions or motivations. Secondly, each participant’s
position in the interaction is ‘a discursive construction of personal stories that
make a person’s actions intelligible and relatively determinate as social acts’ (van
Langenhove and Harré 1999, 16), including stories relating to cultural identity
(Carbaugh 1999). Thirdly, interactions can be analysed by looking at language
use; the organisation of language use in interactions is based on participants’
turn-taking and on the fact that each turn influences the following turn (Goodwin
and Heritage 1990; Heritage and Clayman 2010). Finally, interactions are based
on cultural presuppositions which allow participants ‘to maintain conversational
involvement and assess what is intended’ (Gumperz 1992, 230); these cultural
presuppositions may be observed as forms of expectations guiding interactions
(Luhmann 1984).
Following this social constructivist approach, (1) individual actions can condition
but not determine interlocutors’ understanding and reactions. Therefore, the organisation of interaction is not determined by individual actions. (2) Individual positions,
including displays of cultural identities, are discursive constructions in the interaction. Therefore, their psychological foundations are not objects of analysis.
Looking at the data within a social constructivist framework highlights the ways
in which teacher–student interactions produce ethnocentric forms of intercultural
communication, avoidance or suppression of intercultural conflicts and de-construction of diversity. This scrutiny may suggest ways of avoiding ethnocentrism, opening the way to the enhancement of the teaching of diversity. This allows for the
production of new knowledge in ISL teaching and provides food for thought
regarding the ways in which ethnocentrism can be overcome in such teaching.
Multicultural classrooms, intercultural education and ISL teaching
The inclusion of migrant students who do not know Italian has become a main concern in Italian schools. The continuous flow of migrant newcomers leads to a perception that classrooms have to confront a constant educational emergency due to
the lack of linguistic competence among these newcomers. Due to such developments ISL teaching is becoming a priority. The lack of ISL competence among
teachers points to the fact that Italian classrooms can hardly be considered multicultural spaces. But this lack of true multiculturalism goes further. Newcomers are not
the only students with migrant parents. Second generation students and children of
mixed couples find themselves in comparable circumstances. The two latter categories of students speak at least reasonable, and often very good, Italian. A classroom
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299
can be termed multicultural if and when evidence of cultural diversity and plural
cultural identities arise in educational interactions (Baraldi 2006; Herrlitz and Maier
2005). The Italian education system misses the complex interrelation between ISL
competence and cultural diversity/identity: teachers are frequently not aware of the
complex meanings of cultural diversity. They simply associate it with ISL incompetence. Nevertheless, this awareness emerges indirectly when we consider the fact
that ISL teaching is often seen as a way of ‘doing’ intercultural education – since it
relates to intercultural communication.
The debate on intercultural communication presents three controversial issues
that are relevant to the present discussion. First, intercultural communication is frequently seen as a way to ‘meet’ existing cultures (e.g. Ting-Toomey 1999). However, cultural diversity may be observed only in the communication process; it is
necessarily a communicative construction (e.g. Baraldi 2009; Verschueren 2008),
which cannot be inferred from the observation of separate ‘cultures’ (e.g. the Italian
culture vs. the Moroccan culture). Inevitably, this observation creates pre-communicative stereotypes. Cultural diversity is displayed through the emergence of different
cultural identities, evoking different cultural presuppositions (Gumperz and CookGumperz 2009).
Second, intercultural communication is frequently described as a positive relationship. However, at least when it arises, intercultural communication causes problems since it introduces different cultural presuppositions, therefore threatening
cultural sharing. This problem needs solutions, of course, but solutions can only be
found after intercultural communication is initiated. Once different cultural presuppositions have emerged in communication, it is possible to attribute to them a positive or a negative meaning, i.e. the emergence of ‘intercultural’ issues encourages
participants to promote a new form of communication.
Third, problems in intercultural communication are frequently conceived of as
misunderstandings. However, intercultural communication may be achieved only if
different perspectives are understood. External observers sometimes see misunderstandings, but participants in communication always see the difficulties in accepting
different presuppositions, i.e. different expectations about values and beliefs, actions
and results.
These considerations lead to the conclusion that a classroom includes intercultural communication if and when different cultural presuppositions (or expectations)
are made evident in the interaction by participants’ actions, thus creating problems
of acceptance. Intercultural education has the function of dealing with the emergence of intercultural communication in the classroom.
The functions of intercultural education have been widely described and
explained in the pedagogical debate (e.g. Alred, Byram, and Fleming 2003; Cushner
1998; Desinan 2000; Gundara 2000; Mantovani 2004; Portera 2003, 2008;
Woodrow et al. 1997). This debate highlights four possible functions of intercultural
education. Firstly, intercultural education can eliminate prejudice, inequalities and
ethnocentrism, by creating awareness and understanding of cultural diversity. Secondly, it allows students to acquire the skills needed to interact with cultural diversity effectively. Thirdly, it can demonstrate that, despite the differences that seem to
separate cultural groups, many similarities exist across them. Finally, it enhances
positive exchanges among cultural groups, contributing ‘to the development of cooperation and solidarity rather than to relations of domination, conflict, rejection,
and exclusion’ (Portera 2008, 483).
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C. Baraldi
In sum, the function assigned to intercultural education is to teach students to
accept cultural diversity, by integrating cultural minorities and promoting intercultural sensitivity among them, enhancing successful communication across cultures.
Intercultural education should favour the acquisition of intercultural competence and
lead to the construction of new mixed cultural identities, so that ‘individuals may
keep their own cultural habits and beliefs while “integrating” aspects of the new
culture into their lifestyle’ (Yamada and Singelis 1999, 707). Intercultural education
tries to teach dialogue among cultures and intercultural learning, without denying
specific cultural identities. In short, intercultural education means teaching and
learning positive intercultural relations.
From a sociocultural perspective, learning is observed as a social communicative process (Mercer 2000) and a social form of thinking (Mercer and Littleton
2007). This perspective provides clear evidence of the relevance of the interaction for learning and demonstrates that learning is enhanced by forms of communication in which teachers consider learners as active constructors of
knowledge. It also demonstrates that teachers can promote students’ active participation, positioning themselves as ‘learners’ (Erickson 1996). The focus is
mainly on (1) learners’ cognitive achievements as displayed in the interaction
(Seedhouse 2004, 2007) and (2) the relationship between the interaction and the
cognitive aspects of learning, such as modes of thinking (e.g. Johnson 2006),
internalisation and imitation (Lantoff 1999, 2005, 2006). This article, however, is
not focused on the ways in which ISL teaching, and intercultural education,
promote students’ learning. Rather, it highlights how they create the meanings of
students’ cultural identities.
A teacher’s degree of intercultural awareness is considered crucial in multicultural classrooms (Ciliberti and Anderson 2005; Ciliberti, Pugliese, and Anderson
2003; Grassi 2007), as teachers’ relations with migrant students seem to depend
primarily on stereotypes and prejudices (Pugliese 2005; see also De Ruiter 2006;
Gitz-Johansen 2006; Schell 2009). Frequently, teachers ask for students’ uncritical
adaptation to the social and school context, and celebrate cultural diversity only as
an abstract value, while neglecting it in daily classroom interactions. In particular,
teachers tend to be dissatisfied with interactions with migrant students, and tend to
blame these students for not making sufficient efforts. The problem here is the
connection established between classroom interactions and teachers’ prejudices. In
the next sections, I will try to demonstrate that problems in multicultural classrooms
originate in the interaction between teacher and students, where teachers’ prejudices
(or incompetence) can become evident and can be observed by students. On the
one hand, utterances expressing stereotypes and prejudices affect the interlocutors’
positioning in the interaction (Tan and Mogaddham 1999). On the other hand,
interlocutors’ (e.g. students’) understanding and reactions are not determined by
(teachers’) utterances. Students’ cultural identities are discursive constructions in
teacher–students interactions.
Teacher–student interactions frequently feature a triplet of turns, which
includes a teacher’s question (or initiation), a student’s answer (or response) and
a teacher’s comment or evaluation of the answer (Johnson 1995; Mehan 1979).
The peculiarity of this triplet depends on its cultural presuppositions. The social
organisation of education (Vanderstraeten and Biesta 2006) is based on explicit
expectations regarding learning (cognitive expectations), and, in some cases,
regarding maintenance of correct behaviour (normative expectations), which
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301
guide educational interactions. They lead teachers to systematic initiations and
evaluations of student performance and behaviour. This means that teacher–student interactions are hierarchical: teacher actions aim to determine both the students’ experience (learning) and the student’s actions (answering to demonstrate
learning is taking place).
Methodology and data analysis
The present article is based on a study of ISL teaching in a classroom with migrant
pre-adolescents. This study focused on eight lessons (16 h) held in a school in a
town in the Centre-North of Italy with one of the highest rates of migrant students
in the country. The lessons were sponsored by the local administration to support
migrant students’ integration. The administration hired two retired teachers with
long-standing experience in ISL teaching, but without any specialised ISL training.
The sample consisted of 12 students who originated from different countries and all
were aged 11–14. They were advanced learners of ISL. Therefore, the teachers were
able to engage in relatively elaborate conversations regarding the meanings of cultures and cultural differences. The teachers were assigned the task to facilitate interpersonal relations and promote respect for cultural diversity. In Italy, this task is
frequently associated with ISL teaching, which is interpreted as an opportunity to
introduce intercultural education. Therefore, here ISL teaching is analysed in order
to understand how intercultural education is initiated and managed in interactions.
The whole cycle of lessons was audio recorded, with the permission of the
teachers as well as the students’ parents, and subsequently transcribed.1 The
sequences of teachers’ and students’ actions, and the ways in which these
actions were performed by teachers and students, were analysed in order to
explain their cultural presuppositions, i.e. the expectations guiding intercultural
education. The extracts of transcribed interactions discussed in the following sections aim to identify the organised sequences of teachers’ and students’ actions,
which are important for the production of meanings of cultural diversity in
intercultural education.
In the next few sections, I will present some examples of sequences in order to
show how cultural diversity is introduced and managed in intercultural education.
These examples are representative of the main types of organisation in the analysed
interactions, and provide an idea of the sequences of actions making the bulk of the
teacher–students interactions observed in the whole cycle.2 Transcriptions and analyses aim at explaining presuppositions and meanings of cultural diversity. They do
not include details of lexical choices and turn design required by other kinds of
analysis (e.g. Goodwin and Heritage 1990; Heritage and Clayman 2010). The analysis aims to highlight interactional episodes which raise important questions for both
researchers in intercultural education and teachers.
The analysis highlights three ways in which cultural diversity becomes
meaningful in interaction. First, cultural diversity is constructed as one task of
intercultural learning, completely managed by the teacher’s actions (Extracts 1
and 2). Second, cultural diversity is constructed as a contradiction initiated by
the students’ actions and managed by the teacher’s reaction (Extracts 3 and 4).
Third, cultural diversity is initiated by the student’s actions, and positively evaluated by the teacher, as a point of departure for positive school performance
(Extract 5).
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C. Baraldi
Teaching cultural diversity
In Extract 1, the teacher (T1) introduces a student, with the explicit intention to
enhance ‘learning to know each other’ (turn 3). This intention is visible in the following series of questions, which were intended to get the student to define his cultural identity. The questions related to his name (turn 3), his class and school (turns
5, 7) and his inclusion in the school (turn 11). In turn 13, T1 explains that the ongoing interaction is a ritual aimed at identifying cultural differences and relationships.
Extract 1
1. T1 Allora, andiamo avanti? Possiamo? Se avete delle cose da chiedere le
chiedete. Lo conoscete voi C.?
So, shall we continue? Can we? If you wish to ask questions, do it. Do you
know C.?
2. STS ((everybody)). No
3. T1. Allora dobbiamo anche imparare a conoscerci. Allora, lui si chiama C.S.
C. è il nome, S. è il cognome, vero?
So, we must also learn to know each other. So, his name is C.S., C. is the
name, S. is the surname, right?
4. ST1. Sì.
Yes
5. T1. Fa la seconda media. In che corso sei? Sei vicino a qualcuno di loro
come classe?
He attends the seventh grade. ((addressing ST1)) In which classroom are
you? Are you near anyone of them here in the classroom?
6. ST1. Sì.
Yes
7. T1. Li conoscevi già?
Did you know them already?
8. ST1 Conoscevo ((names of classmates))
I knew …
9. T1. Lui già dall’anno scorso
You knew him from last year
10. ST1. Anche lui. Ma non conoscevo altri.
I knew him, but nobody else.
11. T1. Ho capito. Allora come ti trovi a scuola? Prova a raccontare tu
I see. So, how do you feel at school? Try to tell me
12. ST1. Benissimo!
Very well!
13. T1. Benissimo? Vuoi aggiungere qualcosa? Se no, si va avanti. Quando qualcuno ha finito passa la parola all’altro.
Very well? Do you wish to add something? If you don’t, we can go on.
((addressing the whole class)) When somebody has finished, they can leave
the floor to somebody else.
This kind of interaction ritual (Goffman 1967) makes it possible to introduce
the meaning of diversity and the understanding of the extent to which this
meaning is ‘cultural’. In Extract 1, the teacher encourages the expression of the
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303
student’s cultural identity and tries to discover its meaning. This use of role
hierarchy allows the inclusion of ‘diversity’ in the mainstream educational discourse, its identification and scrutiny (Foucault 1971). The student ‘resists’ this
attempt, although avoiding direct conflict with the teacher. He replies in a concise way, not elaborating at all. Clearly, he tries to avoid the external construction of his cultural identity, resisting the pressure to respond (turn 12), although
he diligently answers the teacher’s questions, and finally the teacher gives up
her attempt to go in depth into the social construction of the student’s cultural
identity (turn 13).
In Extract 2, the construction of cultural identities is more directly pursued in
the interaction. T1 introduces a typical symbol of cultural diversity, ‘ethnic’ clothing. As clothing can be considered an explicit way of expressing cultural identity in
public, T1 insistently asks the students to show their cultural identities through their
knowledge of ‘ethnic’ clothing (turns 1, 3, 5 and 7). In doing so, she ignores the
students’ indifference (turn 2) and explicit refusal legitimised by the ignorance (turn
8) for this presumed dimension of cultural identity.
Extract 2
1. T1. Parlando di vestiti, D. e K., vi potrebbero raccontare che i vestiti che
hanno in Gana sono famosi in tutto il mondo. D., glielo puoi raccontare?
Prendi il quaderno.
((addressing the whole class)) Talking of clothing, D. and K. can you tell
something about Ghanaian clothing being famous all over the world.
((addressing D., a Ghanaian female student)) D. can you tell them? Take
your exercise book.
2. ST1. Io mi vesto in Italia come in mio paese.
I dress in Italy as I would in my country.
3. T1. Ma tu mi avevi portato l’anno scorso un vestito– e le stoffe del Gana?
But last year you brought me a dress– and fabrics from Ghana?
4. ST2 ((reading)). Sono di due tipi: il primo kente è di seta e un altro si
chiama adinkra, di cotone, con disegni stampati.
They are two types: the former kente is silk and the latter is called adinkra,
it is cotton with printed drawings.
5. T1. I colori hanno dei significati particolari, vero? Anche in Cina–
Colours have particular meanings, don’t they? In China too–
6. ST2 ((reading)). Il colore rosso è della terra e del sangue, blu è dell’amore,
giallo, come l’oro, è il colore della ricchezza.
Red is the colour of land and blood, blue is love, yellow, like gold, is the
colour of wealth.
7. T1. Allora durante le feste i colori dei vestiti possono cambiare a seconda
del tipo di festa. E in Cina i colori sono? Ho letto che anche in Cina hanno
dei significati diversi. Ti ricordi?
So during festivals the clothing colours change depending on the type of festival. And in China, what colours are there? I read that in China they also
have different meanings. ((addressing ST3, a Chinese male student)) Do you
remember?
8. ST3. Mmm – No (..) Ho il quaderno a casa.
Mmm – No (..) My exercise book is at home.
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C. Baraldi
In this interaction, the students are invited to learn the meaning of their own
cultural identities through reading pre-structured texts. The non-existent direct
experience of students is substituted by reading, which attaches a given meaning to
the cultures to which the students are assigned by the teacher. In this case, the teacher’s power in defining cultural identities is applied directly to a crucial symbol of
‘culture’. While the teacher’s action is more direct, the students’ resistance
increases, as shown by their indifference and ignorance. Rather than showing their
cultural identities, the students show their detachment from the discussion. Nonetheless, the students avoid direct conflict, complying with the teacher’s request to performance (reading).
In both Extracts 1 and 2, although in different ways and with different degrees
of explicitness, the teacher’s educational action promotes a form of intercultural
communication which is predefined and not shared by the students, who try to
escape it. The students let the teacher define their identities, but, by avoiding either
the production of a narrative on personal experience as a migrant (Extract 1) or the
identification of clothing as ethnic feature (Extract 2), they show their reluctance to
accept the teacher’s other-defining actions.
Managing intercultural conflicts
The construction of cultural diversity through teaching is scarcely effective in the
examples given above because the students are reluctant to participate. On the other
hand, the students’ active display of cultural diversity creates problems, because it
can initiate intercultural conflicts, introducing different cultural presuppositions as
contradictions in the interaction. Conflicts are displayed as disagreements in communication – they can be seen as communicated contradictions (Luhmann 1984).
Intercultural conflicts are communicated contradictions between different cultural
perspectives. Education systems produce and establish strategies to avoid or suppress these conflicts in order to maintain internal order.
In the past few years, the importance of conflict management in classrooms has
been frequently stressed in the literature (see, e.g. Jones 2004). In general, role hierarchies prevent the surfacing of conflicts in classroom interactions. In our data, role
hierarchies are visible in questions which emphasise the importance of learning cultural differences (Extracts 1 and 2). Role hierarchies determine shared cognitive
expectations (what has to be learned) and consequently prevent conflict from arising. When students’ actions introduce contradictions in the interaction, role hierarchies become visible through normative expectations. In these cases, the teacher (1)
establishes a norm, (2) produces a correction of its violation and (3) diverts the
interaction towards other topics. In this way, the teacher tries to avoid or suppress
conflicts in the interaction.
Before the sequence shown in Extract 3 takes place, the teacher asks the students to talk about Carnival celebrations in their home countries. In turn 1, T1
defers to a student from Rumania who starts talking about a festival in his country
which is associated with the ancient struggle against the Turks (turn 2). This leads
to laughing among the student’s classmates because it does not appear to relate to
commonly shared conceptions of Carnival (turn 3). The teachers see this as a provocation directed at the Turkish students in the class, and therefore as a violation of
the norm of mutual respect and as a potential risk for interaction. T2 tries to repair
the situation, through an implicit correction (turn 4: ‘We are in February’), immedi-
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305
ately followed by T1’s explicit correction (turn 5: ‘Excuse me A., this has nothing
to do with the topic. We were talking about carnival in February’). T1 completes
her turn with a diversionary tactic, talking about Carnival in Rumania (‘So, is there
Carnival in Rumania?’). In this way, the teacher attempts to avoid potential conflict
among migrant students.
Extract 3
1. T1. Sentiamo A. che cosa deve dire.
Listen to A. ((ST1, a Rumanian male student)), what he has to say.
2. ST1 Ventotto novembre, giorno della liberazione dai turchi.
28th of November, the day of liberation from the Turks.
3. STS ((everybody laughs))
4. T2. Siamo a Febbraio.
We are now in February.
5. T1. Scusa A., non c’entra niente. Stavamo parlando del carnevale a febbraio.
Allora, c’è il Carnevale in Romania?
Sorry A., this has nothing to do with the topic. We were talking about Carnival in February. So, is there Carnival in Rumania?
In Extract 4, T1 introduces another typical symbol of cultural diversity and
food, with specific reference to the Chinese cuisine. Some students actively participate in the interaction, showing their curiosity about this cuisine. However, they ask
questions that T1 perceives as embarrassing for the Chinese student (turns 3, 4). In
turn 5, T1 corrects the students (‘you are a bit confused’) and then diverts student
attention towards a different topic, avoiding a potential conflict. The students do not
challenge this diversion.
Extract 4
1. T1. In Cina tutti i cibi vengono messi già pronti. Al posto del pane((addressing ST1, a Chinese male student))
In China food is presented ready to be eaten. Instead of bread2. ST1 Usiamo il riso.
We use rice.
3. ST2. E’ vero che mangiano le rane?
Is it true that they eat frogs?
4. ST3. Anche i pesci vivi!
Live fish too!
5. T1. Avete fatto un po’ di confusione. C., ti ricordi come si chiamano le
posate che abbiamo studiato al corso del mattino?
You are a bit confused. ((addressing a Moroccan male student)) C., do you
remember what the eating utensils we studied in the morning class are
called?
In Extracts 3 and 4, intercultural conflict is avoided through normative assertions, followed by corrections and diversions. Student actions that introduce potential contradictions in the interaction are treated as risky. Teacher actions are based
on normative expectations regarding ‘positive’ intercultural communication.
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C. Baraldi
However, these actions discourage students’ opportunities to participate in the interaction actively, and prevent a healthy and appropriate discussion of cultural diversity, which is promoted by students rather than guided by teachers.
De-constructing cultural diversity
A third way of constructing cultural diversity is suggesting that it can be ‘overcome’ through successful integration by means of academic achievement in the
classroom. The idea, which is popular among teachers, is that academic achievement eliminates the need for diversity management.
Extract 5 features an interaction ritual which is similar to the one described in
Extract 1. In turn 1, the migrant student starts presenting herself to the class. Her
hesitation in concluding this self-presentation projects T1’s question in turn 2,
which aims to explore the student’s interests. However, the student explicitly signals
that she has not concluded her presentation (turn 3), and immediately T1 leaves the
floor to her, apologising for the interruption (turn 4). After another student contributes to the discussion, supported by T1 (turn 6), the student stresses her positive
integration (turns 7, 9). This turning point in her self-presentation is strongly supported by T1’s appreciation in turns 8 and 10. This appreciation coincides with a
positive evaluation, as is evident in turn 10, where T1 stresses the student’s school
achievement. The importance of this positive evaluation is highlighted by the both
teachers reinforcement in turns 11 and 12.
Extract 5
1. ST1: Vengo dal Gana, sono alta e magra, ho i capelli neri e gli occhi neri.
Sono nata a Accra, in Gana. Sono arrivata in Italia il 14 novembre 2002,
mmm–
I am from Ghana, I am tall and slim. My hair and my eyes are black. I was
born in Accra, in Ghana. I arrived in Italy on the 14th of November 2002,
mmm–
2. T1: Che cosa ti piace fare?
What do you like to do?
3. ST1: Aspetta!
Wait!
4. T1: Ah, scusa!
Ah, sorry!
5. ST1: Frequento la terza media.
I am attending the third year ((eighth grade))
6. T1: La terza media del corso E, ha detto L. Ci tiene perché è la sua stessa
classe.
The third year in class E, L. said. It’s important to her because that’s her
own class.
7. ST1: Io sono tranquilla, intelligente e paziente.
I am quiet, clever and patient.
8. T1: Brava!
Good!
9. ST1: Ho tanti amici e a me piace ballare, cantare e studiare.
I have many friends and I like to dance, sing and study.
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307
10. T1: Bene, è molto importante perché io vedo che tu, a studiare, sei diventata
molto brava. Io non ti vedevo da tanti mesi e adesso parli veramente bene!
Fine, it is very important because I can see that you’ve become very good at
studying. I hadn’t seen you in months and now you speak ((Italian)) very
well.
11. T2: Sì!
Yes!
12. T1. Brava! Sei stata proprio brava!
Good! You have been really good!
The