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Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R.

Teaching English through an Intercultural Approach


Detected problems:

Students have little exposure to authentic texts. And much of the material lacks context.

As the learners study tourism, they are supposed to deal with national and foreign tourists. But they dont have much information about other cultures. Solutions:

Work with real examples of cross-cultural encounters. Use the Intercultural approach to assure successful international communication. Approach to achieve

Theoretical Framework: Intercultural Intercultural competence

According to Cortazzi and Jin (1999): The term culture can, of course, have different meanings. Some language teachers use the term to refer to cultural products (e.g literary works or works of art). Others use it to refer to background information (e.g facts about the history or geography of countries where the target language is spoken). Here the term culture includes such aspects, but it also includes behavior and attitude, and the social knowledge that people use to interpret experience. The former authors also mention the importance of becoming aware of differing cultural frameworks to interpret target- language messages in a proper way. Kramsch (1993) explains that one of the goals regarding culture in language teaching is: Establishing a sphere of interculturality: Learning culture is more than just the transfers of information between cultures. The process of learning entails a reflection on ones own culture as well as the target culture. Cortazzi and Jin (1999) also argue that apart from the four aspects of communicative competence (grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competences), there should be included intercultural competence.

Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R.

*Communicative competence is the ability to use the language correctly and appropriately to accomplish communication goals. Intercultural competence is the ability for successful communication with people of other cultures. This ability can exist already at a young age, or be developed and improved thanks to willpower and competence. The bases for a successful intercultural communication are emotional competence, together with intercultural sensitivity. (Chaney & Martin, 1995) A cultural focus on intercultural competence has communicative ends, but there are further important advantages: It may not only encourage the development of identity of identity, but also encourage the awareness of others identities and an element of stabilization in a world of rapid pace. (Hinkel, 1995) Culture content in Language teaching materials: Cortazzi and Jin (1999) claim that there are three basic types of cultural information that we can encounter in language textbooks and materials:

Source Culture Materials: The use of the learners own culture as content in order to make it familiar to them (Chilean society and culture) Target Culture Materials: The use of the culture of a country in which English is spoken as an L1. (United States, Great Britain, Australia, etc.) International Target Culture Materials: The use of a wide range of materials from a variety of cultures around the world which can be English or non- English-speaking countries.

Adaskou, Britten, and Fahsi (1990): Using culture can promote international understanding, deepen an understanding of ones own culture, facilitate learners visits to foreign countries, and motivate learners. Kramsch (1993) argues that knowing about a culture (cultural competence) does not mean that one has an obligation to behave in accordance with its conventions. Advantages and disadvantages of using source culture materials and target culture materials

Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R.

Source Culture Materials

Advantages - Students know about their own culture so they can participate more because they have much more to say. - It is easier for teachers to prepare materials. (If the teacher belongs to the Source Culture) Teachers and students can learn more about their own culture As the target language is new and students are curious, they might have more interest in it. This could encourage students to study English more.
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Disadvantages - Students are already familiarized with the topics, so students might not be interested.

Target Culture Materials

International Target Culture Materials

It increases students general knowledge about different cultures and about the world. - Students feel that they can use English in any situation or context It provides students background information about other cultures around the world.
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Cultural conflicts. - Few resources for teachers to draw on to help students. - It can be irrelevant or uninteresting for some students.
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- Few resources for teachers to draw on to help students. - It can be irrelevant or uninteresting for some students.

English as an International Language

Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R.

Smith (1976) maintains that in the acquisition of an international language:


a. learners do not need to internalize the cultural norms of

native speakers of the language, b. the ownership of an international language becomes denationalized, and
c. the educational goal of learning the language is to enable

learners to communicate their ideas and culture to others. Prodromou (1988) claims that culture is not a motivating topic for students. This is because of: How the culture learning is presented in ELT books: Anglo-centric
Unrealistic

He adds that when both the materials that we use and the way we use it are culturally alienating then, inevitably, the students switch off, retreat into their inner world, to defend their own integrity (ibid.:80).

Role-play The aim of this activity is that the learners experience and identify others cultures features, different social customs and non-verbal communication styles. Moreover, they have to recognize underlying values in the performance. Procedure: Before this activity, students read and talked about certain cultures and different countries etiquettes. So each learner will be given a role card with the information of a particular country (meeting and greetings, corporate culture, body language, etc).
1. Explain learners that they come from different countries and they

are supposed to meet in the airport. Only the person who has the card will know the country it comes from. (it doesnt have to be mentioned until the end of the activity)

Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R. 2. All they have to do is to know one another a little by talking briefly

about their culture. (the teacher will say change after some minutes of dialogue, so they can talk to everybody)
3. After that, students have to guess the nationality of their partners.

To know if it was complicated for them to recognize cultures etiquettes. 4. They are given a set of questions that will be discussed in group. Questions for the follow-up discussion: What sort of conflicts did you have in your encounter? What caused (or could have caused) conflicts? What is the role of physical contact? Are there any similarities between your culture and any of these three cultures? What are some of the differences? Which culture did you find the strangest of all? What else would you like to learn about these cultures? How did you feel while you were participating in the game? 5. Ask your students if they have ever had intercultural misunderstandings with people from other cultures or tell them about your own experience.
You come from Japan. In my country: You like to meet foreigners, but you really dislike being touched by strangers. You tend to avoid direct eye contact when you first meet people. You dont show affection in public. Silence is a natural and expected form of non-verbal communication. You come from India. In your country: People dont stand close because you value personal space It is considered rude to smoke in the presence of elders. You always arrive 15-30 minutes later than the stated time for a meeting.

The host pays for guests in a restaurant.


You come from Brazil. In my country: Physical contact is part of simple communication. You also stand extremely close to one another. Women kiss twice -- once on each cheek -- if they are

You come from the United States. In my country:


We smile a great deal, even at strangers. We like to have our smiles returned. Eye contact is important when shaking someones hand. We are generally uncomfortable

Maricela Astudillo P. Daniella Muoz R. with same-sex touching, especially between males. It is rude to interrupt someone who is talking. married. Single women add a third kiss. You are expressive and passionate conversationalist. You tend to interrupt the others while speaking.

Possible Problems: Students may not have the English level sufficient to maintain a conversation entirely in English, and they may switch to Spanish. Students may not feel comfortable speaking in English. Possible Solutions: Review of chunks that can help students to maintain a conversation more fluent. The creation of a good learning environment through positive evidence and not overcorrecting students.

Bibliography: Cortazzi, M. & Jin, L. (1999). Cultural mirrors: materials and methods in the EFL classroom. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Culture in second language teaching (pp. 196-219). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Corbet, J. (2003). An International Approach to English Language Teaching. McKay, S. L. (2003). The Cultural Basis of Teaching English as an International Language. TESOL matters 13 (4): 1,6. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 13, N. 1, 2003 1