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Why this project?

Migration as well as population mobility and globalization resulting in international business mobility have created the need for specialised language teaching material focusing not only on the acquisition of linguistic structures but also on the acquisition of intercultural competence and skills for intercultural communication. The key for successful communication in a foreign language is not based only on linguistic competence but also depends on the intercultural competence of L2 users.  In adult education the transmission of cultural knowledge such as the use of gestures and expressions, the use of expressions, irony and visual language is an important part of language education. Audiovisual media (films, video, presentations etc.) are regarded as a useful basis for the development of such material since they combine both sound and image.
The teaching of L2 has to adapt to the increasing demands of adult learners and the need for authentic up to date material.
What Mark Kaiser states about the use of film in language teaching is more or less valid for all forms of audiovisual material (“New Approaches to Exploiting Film in the Foreign Language Classroom” (http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum/archives/docs/files-folder111111/48_2-etf-intercultural-training-with-films.pdf and http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6568p4f44):
– it is an authentic source material eg. material created by native language speakers for native language speakers
– the language spoken is often performed text, but it is a performance where native speakers suspend disbelief and accept the dialogue as ‘real
– the language used often incorporates a wide variety of sociolects of the target language, e.g., the speech of various socio-economic and educational levels, the speech of children and non-native speakers, slang and jargon, rural and urban speech, and a range of regional dialects. These reflect the varieties of speech that students will encounter in the target
country, and making students aware of the varieties of L2 sociolects should be an important part of their language learning
– it can facilitate an analysis of the L2 society’s value system, allowing learners to reflect on differences and similarities
– and in the case of films they are a cultural artifact as worthy of study in foreign language classrooms as canonical texts of literature
The same conclusion is reached by Christine Roell in “Intercultural training with films” (http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/forum/archives/docs/files-folder111111/48_2-etf-intercultural-training-with-films.pdf) who also proposes a series of possible activities for classroom use.
Although the use of films and audiovisual material in general in L2 teaching and learning has been recognized in various studies there is still a need for the creation of material for use in adult education. Films and other digital material that is available from various sources is a tool easily accessible to educators but what teachers are missing is the time or/and the methodological background to develop the adequate material for use in their classes.
The partners of this project have identified this problem in their work in teacher training or in adult L2 teaching and have decided to conduct this project in order to create
– a methodological basis for the development of teaching material using audiovisual media
– a database of material that has been tested and and adapted in class
– a collection of suggestions and answers for problems that might arise from the use of audiovisual material in class such as technical problems, copyright issues etc.
In this way a wider use of audiovisual material in L2 teaching will be encouraged with the aim to develop the linguistic, communicative and intercultural competence of adult learners in L2.

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