Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Nativisation – An effective tool in foreign language teaching

Published:Monday | April 22, 2024 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

After over three decades of teaching Spanish, I would like to highlight nativisation of second or foreign language teaching and learning materials. The current trend is one that is largely constructivist in nature; teachers engage in analysing their teaching and learning context and constructing for themselves a systematic, coherent, and effective teaching approach.

The shift means that localisation of teaching and learning contexts and materials will invariably become prominent features of teachers’ classroom practices. The key implication of localisation of teaching and learning contexts and materials for Spanish teachers is to analyse their teaching and learning context vis-á-vis learner’s characteristics, needs and interests; useful aspects of the learners’ ancestral culture. They should also see which Spanish vocabulary and grammar element will be used to achieve comprehension and expression goals in the teaching and learning exercise. Then, teachers must construct a systematic, coherent, and effective teaching approach; one which is most efficacious, given the teacher’s local situation and based on good theoretical, empirical, and pedagogical insights.

Nativised teaching and learning materials allow for teachers to channel learners’ lived experiences and interests through Spanish. Similarly, teachers can convert elements found in authentic Spanish materials to suit learners’ lived experiences and interests, without changing the linguistic and rhetorical structure of the original materials.

The procedures related to the nativisation of second or foreign language teaching and learning materials can be divided into two main types of operation. On the one hand, nativisation can involve the adaptation of textual cues found in the original authentic Spanish materials, such as titles and pictures, into the learners’ own Jamaican culture.

On the other, the nativisation procedure can be related to the treatment of contextual cues – useful elements in the text which learners can use to facilitate comprehension. These contextual cues can include names of persons, and/or places, events, and so on. These contextual cues also can undergo pragmatic modification to become relevant to the learners’ Jamaican culture.

CHRISTOPHER BARRETT