In this chapter, I set out both the methodological concerns of this study, as well as its context; a space where the tensions between expectations, mine and students’, and the normative processes of traditional liberal humanist educational perspectives and instrumental ones were constantly felt.
The aim of this classroom study was to find out how students engaged with my pedagogy of intercultural language education which I had been developing over the previous years: a cultuurtekst approach. The process of this study was not a neat and linear one. As I let the data ‘rest’ for a few years after I initially collected these, the underpinning ideas to this pedagogy kept evolving. This was as a result of reflection on the analysis of my data, the everyday experience of teaching this particular language course and a range of other courses, and through further theoretical reflection. The first three theoretical chapters of this book, then, do not just set out the theory underpinning the data chapters. Conversely, the data chapters also underpin the theoretical chapters, as my notion of the cultuurtekst approach, and its accompanying idea of becoming a ‘text ethnographer’, and how this contributes to learners’ cultural and intercultural awareness became more refined.