Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Highlighting the Interdisciplinary

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Highlighting the Interdisciplinary

Article excerpt

According to many educators, interdisciplinary teaching is where much dynamic learning occurs. Connections are made and knowledge is acquired. Many societal and academic issues are too complex to be addressed adequately by a single discipline. In the first section of this issue of Foreign Language Annals, your colleagues highlight interdisciplinary approaches. Interdisciplinary thinking fosters critical analysis and the application of linguistic knowledge to myriad fields such as film, sociopolitics, literature, history, engineering, and the sciences. A byproduct of this cross-disciplinary interaction is the stimulation of much rich discussion about identity, customs, concepts, constructs, cultural products, and places.

In the section dedicated to interdisciplinary foreign language education, Jean Fallon's article focuses on the work of the French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch and its usefulness in the classroom. Her article features a thought-provoking discussion about immigration and identity in modern-day Europe that is relevant to all contemporary European cultures experiencing similar trends. James Davidheiser's article addresses the use of European fairy tales in an English language, freshman interdisciplinary course, as well as in traditional German classes. Although these two articles have a European focus, their treatment of identity and immigration, as well as literary tales, could reap similar benefits in other language classes from non-Western traditions. In the third article on interdisciplinary approaches, we shift from the humanities to engineering. David Neville and David Britt offer insight into combining language study with engineering to develop a curriculum that cross-trains students with linguistic and technical skills so they can manage complex situations in an international context. In their program, Neville and Britt use a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, which is applicable to other languages and contexts.

The broadening of our traditional concepts of foreign language teaching and learning continues to be a successful strategy to address practical professional concerns such as enrollment issues and program building. …

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