Little Red Riding Hood Goes Intercultural

Impact: Cultural Impacts


Event Evaluation: "Little Red Riding Hood Goes Intercultural"
Date: 21/04/2016
Venue: The Forum, Norwich (as part of Norwich City of Interculture Event)
The following impact activity is a direct result of my ongoing research, which addresses the challenges of bringing together language learning, human rights education, global citizenship and intercultural dialogue. My research focuses on the development of pedagogical strategies that involve learners using their language skills, intercultural competences and democratic values for public engagement beyond academia. Undergraduate students from Spanish Post A Level 1 are participating in an impact activity as part of an intercultural citizenship project with Argentina. A key aspect of this project lies in the students engaging in their community as active and informed global citizens.

A one-day event of storytelling sessions were held at the Children’s Library and delivered by the Spanish language UEA undergraduates to primary schoolchildren. The aim of the event was to develop an improved understanding of an issue of global concern through a well-known fairy tale. The students adapted the well known Little Red Riding Hood folktale to highlight two issues of global concern; poverty and unemployment. They used the example of "cartoneros" (scavengers) who walk around neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires, Argentina looking for recyclables in wealthy people's rubbish bins to sell on as a means of income. The cartoneros way of life has become very much a family business, with parents and children collecting, sorting and classifying unwanted goods for resale. The students re-imagined the character of Little Red Riding Hood as a girl who works as a cartonera so that she can buy medicines for her poorly grandmother.


There were 120 primary school children attending this event drawn from the Magdalen Gates Primary School, Norwich. This school was chosen as they have historically used the library less than other primary schools in the city and this was therefore seen as an opportunity to promote UEA activities and the library as a centre of learning.

Ellie Weatherly, one of my students helping to host the event co-wrote the following with the help of her fellow students Khalea Robertson, Elayna Phirripps and Beth Terrell:

"There were a total of four sessions with the students in which the children’s ages varied from group to group. The younger groups had some knowledge of Argentina already, such as a few Spanish words, mainly greetings and introductions, the location and the huge culture of football, naming many Argentinian players such as Messi and Aguero.

The older groups had a better overall knowledge and were more culturally and geographically aware of Argentina, knowing several other countries and languages spoken in South America, and knew more of the Spanish language."


Ellie wrote: "By creating a modern-day version of the fairy-tale, our aim was to give the children a better understanding of the current events of world around them, in this case, some cultural differences within South America; first looking at the geography and language of Argentina, then focusing on the culture of the ‘cartoneros’, the difficulties these Argentinian people are faced with, and how we can help them.

The reactions and contributions we received were what we had hoped for as they became more aware and understanding of the difficulties people face around the world and wanted to take action and find ways to help. We therefore left this event feeling satisfied and happy with our work. The eagerness of the children made the day much more exciting and easy to manage.

With the younger group of children we focused more on the story and Spanish vocabulary and focused more on the cultural differences between the UK and Argentina with the older groups, trying to raise their awareness about the ‘cartonero’ cultural group within Argentinian society and get them thinking about the situation in more depth.

The overall outcome was very positive as the younger students were eager to learn and be interactive. They were quiet and attentive during the reading but were engaged and asked a lot of questions with much enthusiasm during the discussion afterwards. The children also seemed very excited to learn the new Spanish words we taught them, repeating them loudly after us.

During the discussion sessions, we taught the students more about the ‘cartonero’ cultural group, which only one student said he had heard of before."


"Most of the children seemed shocked upon being told what the poor people of Argentina must face, especially when we showed the images of people towing huge amounts of materials behind them. When asked what they thought their life would be like if they were a ‘cartonero’, they responded with “I’d be exhausted", “I couldn’t imagine living like that” or “it would be very hard”.

Also, when put into groups to discuss the question “if you could be anyone in Argentina, what would you do to help the cartoneros and reduce poverty?”, the children worked very well as groups and came up with some very impressive answers, such as an owner of a business could employ them or some money from every ticket to a football game could be put together to raise money."

Who is affected

Primary schoolchildren
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactCultural Impacts
Impact levelEngagement