Avoiding Clichés in Experiential Learning (NEMLA 2020 - Deadline Extended to Oct. 7)

deadline for submissions: 
October 7, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Chiara Azzaretti/Tulane University
contact email: 

Whether they take place during abroad programs or locally, experiential learning projects add an element of authenticity and unpredictability that is especially important and often missing from conventional language learning courses. However, despite our ongoing efforts to teach language and culture in innovative and exciting ways, these experiences outside of the classroom often rely on clichés and stereotypes that are no more enriching than the cultural content found in the average industrial textbook. In this panel, we hope to open up a discussion centered around strategies to develop experiential language learning projects that seek to demolish rather than support stereotypes and clichés, and encourage a deeper understanding course content through reflection and analysis of authentic instances of cultural contact.

How do we provide frameworks for students to push beyond the role of passive “sightseeing” and promote authentic engagement? While we acknowledge that clichés provide convenient points of reference for cultural projects, how do we encourage students to engage with them in ways that do not reinforce them? How do we create new pedagogical reference points that are still recognizable? Potential areas to explore include: development of study abroad curricula, local or community project-based pedagogy, analysis and reflection strategies, motivational strategies for student engagement, and overcoming logistical and financial obstacles. This session is not limited to French and Francophone Studies.