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Engaging the city: Language, space, and indentity in urban environments

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Title:Engaging the city: Language, space, and indentity in urban environments
Authors:Charitos, Stéphane
Van Deusen-Scholl, Nelleke
Date Issued:01 Jan 2017
Citation:Charitos, S., Van Deusen-Scholl, N. (2017). Engaging the city: Language, space, and indentity in urban environments. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 15-36.
Abstract:Cities bring together a great diversity of people and cultures and constitute the backdrop
for many of the sociocultural processes shaping the new century. Yet urban
spaces are not just the product of urban design and architectural concepts. They are
also constructed, appropriated, and given meaning through the social and linguistic
interactions of the people who inhabit them, in other words, at the confluence between
language and space. The languages of the city are in a dynamic relationship with the
urban spaces where they occur. In this chapter, we discuss current developments in
language pedagogy and connect them with the recent literature on social pedagogies
and spatial analysis. We first explore their potential to serve as a bridge between formal
language classroom instruction and motivated, purposeful engagement with language
usage beyond the classroom and then reflect on how place-based curricular offerings
can help language programs connect with the other disciplines that also study and
engage with the city. We end by highlighting opportunities for building communities
of practice within and outside the classroom and offering suggestions for incorporating
principles, tools, and techniques to help L2 learners connect with the evolving
nature of the modern multilingual and multicultural global city.

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