Using the Concept of Perspective to Integrate Cultural, Communicative, and Form-Focused Language Instruction


  • Katra A. Byram


In 2007, the Modern Language Association Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages advocated for revising postsecondary second language programs to cultivate students’ “translingual and transcultural competence.” Since then, the meaning, merits, and difficulties of these goals have been much discussed. This article presents the concept of linguistic and cultural perspective as a strategy for helping students to develop the interrelated linguistic and cultural competencies at the heart of these goals. Because of its centrality to both language and culture, this concept can link communicative, form-focused, and cultural instruction and promote the critical awareness that underlies the target competencies. Instructional examples from beginning, intermediate, and advanced German-language classrooms illustrate how the concept of perspective can be used to pursue these goals.