Intercultural skills and teaching go hand in hand
Luca Fiori is a KU Leuven graduate with a Master in Linguistics and a degree in teaching. He works as a Dutch and English teacher in secondary education. As part of his job, he teaches many aspects that are related to these languages, such as literary history, literature analysis, argumentation theory and language proficiency which also includes writing and reading skills.
Luca’s ability to treat and manage information and knowledge in an expert way allows him to prepare engaging and clear classes for his students. For example, giving a lesson about a medieval text during literary history, requires Luca to put the information in context. This means that he not only has to be able to narrow down the characteristics that are typical of the era and type of literature in question, but he also needs to convey this material in an appealing way to his students.
Being able to reflect about diversity in society in a nuanced way is a key skill in Luca's work
“As a teacher, I deal with diversity every day, since the student population is also diverse. This means that I need to be aware of the cultural background of students when planning lessons and consider that students can respond differently to certain topics due to their background. For example, I have experienced that some of my students did not want to read stories with an LGBTQ+ theme, because it is still a taboo in their culture. This may be a negative example, but that diversity is also a huge asset. It presents an opportunity to introduce people to a different culture than their own and thereby foster understanding for each other.”
A deep understanding of language allows Luca to contribute to his school's language policy
Having a Master’s in Linguistics doesn’t only mean that Luca understands the composition and structure of Dutch and English, but he is also aware of how language is used in day-to-day life. This allows him to work as part of his school’s language policy team. Luca’s ability to pay attention to the way in which language varies, functions and changes in his surroundings is very important in his role in the language policy team. This allows Luca to better understand the linguistically complex environment in which the school operates. In addition, the region in which he works faces language related challenges leading students to score lower than average on their central final exams. It is the task of language teachers to ensure that pupils are linguistically prepared for higher education when they leave secondary school. As a developer of the school's language policy, one must therefore be aware of the linguistic situation to be able to support students’ needs.