Martin Cortazzi: Transcultural Issues in TESOL (

by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) academic is a knowledge dissemination site which links the work of TESOL-based academics to teachers, teacher-trainers, teacher-trainees, decision-makers and other researchers. Edited by Huw Jarvis, it provides a global forum for people to talk about how their published research, or an aspect of it, impacts on language pedagogy. only posts talks about research which have gone through the peer review process and this ‘guarantees’ the quality of the submissions. 

In the following video webcast, Martin Cortazzi focuses on some fundamental transcultural issues in teaching English to speakers of other languages (click on image to view):

5 responses to “Martin Cortazzi: Transcultural Issues in TESOL (

  1. I enjoyed watching this lecture last night–thank you for posting this, and for your timely and thoughtful blog posts, as always!

    I am curious as to how he conceives of “transcultural” as opposed to “intercultural” and “cross-cultural”. I know this is a short lecture, and he did try to disambiguate them in the beginning somewhat but in the course of his lecture “transcultural” seemed to have to do with the phenomenon of movement and flows of people of ‘different cultures’ across borders and into the same classrooms (for example), and less explicitly with any particular phenomena of “transcultural communication” or, like the Modern Language Association’s 2007 report refers to, “transcultural (and translingual) competence”.

    Of course, maybe this is just my impression from having watched this too late in the night. :)

  2. Ahhh. Just tried commenting on this post and I fear it was lost. I was trying to say thank you for posting this video, and your timely and thought-provoking blog posts, as always.

    I would have liked to hear him say more about how the “transcultural” can be distinguished from the “intercultural” and the “cross-cultural”, though he did do this a little bit in the beginning. In practice, it seemed that the “transcultural” was more about macro-level flows of people across borders and students into classrooms, and less about individual competences or dispositions (a la the Modern Language Association’s 2007 report).

    Of course, this was a short and non-technical video, and I did watch it rather late at night…but a topic I’d love to read more about.

  3. David,
    Thank you very much for your immediate feedback! I must admit that I don’t know anything about the MLA 2007 report you are referring to. How can I get my hands on it? Is it, perhaps, available online?

  4. Sure, it’s here on the Modern Language Association’s website. Very much written in the U.S. context, I think; I wonder which documents from European contexts it’s in dialog with? (Apologies for the double comment last time–I thought the page had refreshed without accepting the first one, so re-typed)

    • Thanks a lot. Corresponding initiatives in Europe are: a) the European Action Plan for Languages (2004-2006), b) the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Council of Europe 2008), c) the European Language Portfolio, and d) the Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters. There is also a very interesting empirical study available on this, i.e. “The Intercultural Competence Developed in Compulsory Foreign Language Education in the European Union”. For the action plan, please click here. The other resources are available through this blog (please use search function, e.g. ‘autobiography’). There is a link to the empirical study on the sidebar (please scroll down a little bit). Last not least: I’m going to offer a workshop on intercultural education in primary FL classrooms in Hamburg 2011 (next DGFF conference, workshop 8). For more information, please go the official conference website, which is online already (use links on this blog).

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