Fostering 'knowledge' through representations of eating habits in Italian foreign language textbooks: An intercultural challenge

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Journal Article
Forum Italicum, 2017, 51 (3), pp. 761 - 774
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© Forum Italicum. This article problematizes the implementation of the knowledge component of the Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) framework, drawing on documents developed by Byram (2009) for the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe. In response to policies developed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Italian education sector has undertaken major initiatives to adopt the European framework at the national level and engage with an increasingly multicultural society impacted by immigration. This process has been supported by new resources and textbooks, including textbooks of Italian as a foreign language, designed to portray Italy's contemporary society and foster intercultural discussion. However, I argue that the analysis of selected units of Italian foreign language textbooks, focusing on eating habits, indicates that they are yet to reflect the changes taking place in Italy. Rather, they foster knowledge of culture and society through representations that contradict the principles on which the ICC framework is based.
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