In your opinion:
- What is “Intercultural Competence” (I.C.)?
We think that Intercultural Competence is the ability to connect the knowledge and teaching to different cultures, in order to promote tolerance and respect to other cultures and harmonious coexistance. We believe that as a result of globalisation, it is crucial to include I.C. because cultural diversity and intercultural contact have become facts of modern life, so intercultural competences become a requisite response.
D.K. Deardoff defines intercultural competence as “the ability to develop targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to visible behaviour and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions.”
- Is I.C. important for comunication?
In our opinion, I.C. improves the communication between people from the same or diferent cultures by giving students the necessary knowledge. If I.C. is implemented, members of two or more different cultural groups (of whatever size, at whatever level) will be able to interact or influence one another in some way, whether in person or through various mediated forms.
Due to our cultural beliefs we often make assumptions which can lead to missunderstandings and breakdown in comunication.
Avoiding misunderstandings is particularly important in international negotiations, and this has brought about a fair amount of research.
The I. C. involves knowledge, behavior, language, values, beliefs, and attitudes learned by social actors through experience from the time they are children. Communication then would be the more active, there would be transfer of cultural knowledge, behavior, language, values, beliefs, and attitudes from one social group to another.
- How does I.C. relate to identity?
I.C. also includes how we consider ourselves and others, from our names that bear cultural connotations to the manners, interpersonal communication. Identity security reflects an individual’s overall “ego-strength,” which is highly attributed to their a developed tendency for risk taking, self-confidence, self-esteem, hardiness, and metamotivation, which is the self-trust that allows individuals not to cripple themselves with irrational feelings of inferiority or defensiveness and instead to seek more practical adaptive alternatives when interacting interculturally (or when dealing with adversity). Consciously or subconsciously, each individual adopts a set of values and beliefs as his or her own, while some are of more personal, others of a more social nature.
Identity negotiation is a process in which a person negotiates with society at large regarding the meaning of his or her identity, and it may arise from the learning of social roles through personal experience, and through a variety of identity formation strategies.
Intercultural Competence, Activity 2-5: Group discussion
1- How does I.C. relate to the use of a language as a lingua franca?
Culture and intercultural communication have been conceptualised in ELF related to intercultural communication. ELF studies add to the growing body of post-modernist thinking and research in applied linguistics that can inform intercultural communication research through underscoring the dynamic and fluid manner in which form, function and context are constructed in intercultural communication through English as a lingua franca. At the same time intercultural communication research can be of use to ELF studies through the extensive body of work exploring conceptions of intercultural communicative competence (ICC). Crucially, it is this focus on ICC and communicative competence that ELT, intercultural communication studies and ELF share. However, ELF research emphasises the importance of a conceptualisation of ICC in which language and culture are seen as emergent resources in intercultural communication which need to be approached critically. To this end the notion of intercultural awareness is proposed as a dynamic framework for intercultural competence. Such critical perspectives in understanding intercultural communication through ELF and associated notions of competencies have fundamental implications for ELT which have yet to be adequately taken up in theory or practice.
- How would you include I.C. in your teaching of English as a global lingua?
We would introduce cultural knowledge, such as talking about celebrations like Diwali in India or Fallas in Spain. Actually, it would be a good idea to compare them in order to see that there is no better culture but each has its characteristics and values. This would affect the attitude by reflecting on how differences make the world a varied and interesting place. We would introduce a didactic unit on travelling to elicit the reason why people enjoy travelling.
Also, by preparing a group presentation describing how the celebration originated, where people meet and what they do in such occasion; special songs, decorations, meals, etc. This would be followed by a discussion on the similarities and differences with ours.
Finally, students will reflect on how differences exist in different localities and regions, not only in different countries.
Deardorff, D. K. (2006), The Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence as a Student Outcome of Internationalization at Institutions of Higher Education in the United States, Journal of Studies in International Education 10:241-266
THE TOP TEN WAYS THAT CULTURE CAN AFFECT INTERNATIONAL NEGOTIATIONS by Jeswald W. Salacuse IVEY Business Journal, Issues March.April 2005 http://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/the-top-ten-ways-that-culture-can-affect-international-negotiations/