Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Learning Language and Culture through Intergenerational Community Engaged Programs

Ana García-Allén, University of Western Ontario (Canada)


The proposed Intergenerational Community-Engaged Language and Cultural Program implicitly recognizes that all language learners have something to offer with respect to teaching; that is, their native language and culture.
Conversing with a native speaker in one’s target language can be an awkward and a trying experience for many. Some language learners may feel embarrassed because of their perceived lack of skill in the target language, hesitate to speak to native speakers, and remain in socially isolating situations. An Intergenerational Program (IP) could be a good way to cross those barriers. Newman and Hatton-Yeo (2008) state that creating opportunities for intergenerational learning and the development of meaningful relationships among non-familial older and younger generations is fundamental to the creation of IPs.
We will describe the design of the program, the implementation and preliminary results based only in observations. iknowledge of the cultures, institutions and ways of life of different communities; understanding of the relationships between culture, contexts of communication and language use; insight into the roles and conventions governing behavior within specific intercultural environments; critical awareness of their own and others’ beliefs and values; and sensitivity towards cultural stereotypes and related obstacles to successful intercultural communication (Language Network for quality assurance).

Keywords: Community Engaged-Learning; Intergenerational; language use; Intercultural Competenc; Languaging.


  • Newman, S., & Hatton-Yeo, A. (2008). Intergenerational learning and the contributions of older people. Ageing horizons, 8(10), 31-39.

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