This seminar explores ways of dealing with cultural diversity in the German education system in general and in the foreign language classroom in particular. It will bring together students of Teaching English as a Foreign Language and participants of the Refugee Teachers Program at the University of Potsdam. Future teachers in Germany’s diverse classrooms need to develop the necessary skills to deal not only with some of the challenges that cultural diversity brings but, more importantly, help learners and the whole school community experience cultural diversity as enrichment.

We will start by reflecting about cultural identities and how we and our thinking is influenced by the culture(s) we belong to, before taking a look at relevant concepts of learning about culture and developing intercultural competence in educational research as well as social and cultural studies. A special focus will be the connection between language and culture (Claire Kramsch), Michael Byram’s concept of intercultural communicative competence as well as cultural conditioning and critical thinking skills. Participants of the seminar will explore the needs of school staff, teachers and learners when dealing with cultural diversity in their schools and develop ideas and materials (lesson plans, project ideas, E learning tools and materials) to be put into practice. Students will also get the chance to observe classroom situations and discuss the chances and challenges of cultural diversity with teachers.

This seminar is designed as an introduction to teaching literary texts in the foreign language classroom. We will especially focus on young adult novels, examine various genres (e.g. coming of age novel, multicultural novel, dystopian novel, … ) and discuss ways of teaching them to foreign language learners. We will reflect why and how we should read literary texts in the classroom, get to know a variety of methodological approaches and develop our own teaching materials and tasks. Students will also get a chance to develop micro-teaching units which will be presented and discussed within the seminar.