Intercultural Communication and Critical Pedagogy: Deconstructing stereotypes for the development of critical cultural awareness in language education

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This study researches the problem of gender stereotypes that Spanish language undergraduates uphold against Hispanics and develops critical pedagogical approaches through the reading of a literary text for the deconstruction of such stereotypes so that students can think and act in less biased and prejudiced ways. This thesis develops the argument that stereotyping is a form of oppression, and through empirical research in three case studies, this research demonstrates that stereotypical oppression can be addressed by Critical Pedagogyfor the development of „critical cultural awareness‟. This thesis provides answers to three operational sub-questions addressed in each of the three case studies, which contribute to answering the main overarching question in this study of how can Critical Pedagogy help in the deconstruction of stereotypes for the development of „critical cultural awareness‟.
This study found that a literary text can bring stereotypical thinking out to the fore for analysis and reflection, and that a reader-response approach to literature can trigger past experiences that reveal essentialising discourses of otherness. The research reviews the effectiveness of the use of an „identity-focused‟ critical pedagogical intervention for the development of a „self-regulation strategy‟ as a mental reasoning exercise to control bias and stereotyping. The results indicate that students tend to transpose stereotypical binaries and create new ones, whilst developing further views of cultural realities as being fluid, dynamic and contradictory, constantly being reconstructed and renegotiated. However, the findings indicate that a „self-regulation strategy‟ may be insufficient to appreciate the oppressive nature of stereotyping. Therefore, a Critical „Pedagogy-of-the-Oppressed‟ intervention is implemented, whereby students describe and „name‟ their own experiences of suffering stereotyping during their year-abroad experiences with narratives of stigmatisation, discrimination, exclusion and marginalisation. A tentative pedagogical model, a teaching tool and a „grammar of interculture‟ emerge from this study for the deconstruction of stereotypes in the development of „critical cultural awareness‟ for practical teaching practice and classroom use.
Original languageEnglish
TypeThesis (Doctoral)
Media of outputUniversity of East Anglia
PublisherUniversity of East Anglia
Number of pages347
Place of PublicationNorwich
Publication statusUnpublished - 10 Jul 2013


  • intercultural communication
  • Language Learning and Teaching
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Stereotyping
  • Critical Cultural Awareness

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