A periodic newsletter for TESOL members.

2009 Volume 7 Number 2 Read: http://www.tesol.org/NewsletterSite/view.asp?nid=3244

Intercultural Communicative English Language Teaching
Jasmina Djordjevic, djordjevic.jasmina@gmail.com English teaching is increasingly intercultural, leaving English language (EL) teachers with a recurring dilemma o ma!ing culture com"rehensible and intercultural# $ny teacher o E%L (English as a oreign language) or E&L (English as a second language) has "robably had the rustrating e'"erience that 2( out o )0 students are "ut o by the act that English is hard to understand not because o the language but because o the culture that goes along with it# *nderlying cultural conce"ts behind many English "hrases, idiomatic e'"ressions, collocations, and "hrasal verbs drive many a student into des"air and many a teacher into serious sel +criticism because those e'"ressions are miles away rom the amiliar cultural conce"ts o the students# ,he ollowing article outlines three ma-or "rinci"les that can hel" EL teachers integrate an intercultural communicative language teaching a""roach into their classes# ,he suggested "rinci"les are based on ./ years o e'"erience in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms in &outhern &erbia and on the results o the author0s 1h2 research (2-ord-evic, 2003) conducted on a sam"le o /34 &erbian secondary+school students# ,he results o this 1h2 research, ins"ired by sociolinguistics (5rystal, .9976 %reire, .9726 7essner, 20046 8ramsch, .99)6 9ertsch, .93(a, .93(b and Vygots!y, .973, .934), showed that an integration o the &erbian and the English culture inevitably resulted in higher motivation and inally in a more success ul English language learning "rocess# ,he communicative a""roach was seen as an ideal oundation because it is a :"rocess which grows out o the interaction between learners, teachers, te't, and activities in a classroom conte't; (<reen = 5andlin, .930, "# 9()# 9hen intercultural communication is integrated, the interaction between students0 native and target cultures motivates students to communicate reely in the target language without any ear o moc!ery because their cultural diversity is ac!nowledged and legitimi>ed# ,he im"act o such a teaching method can be identi ied on linguistic, sociolinguistic, and "sycholinguistic levels?

• • •

,he students will learn English more success ully6 ,he level o cultural and intercultural awareness is raised6 and &tudent motivation and engagement are enhanced# !LT!R"LL# $I%ERSE SER&I"

,his intercultural teaching ramewor! is based on teaching and research conducted with multicultural &erbian E%L learners# ,he &erbian s"eech community is inhabited by members o di erent ethnic, religious, "olitical, and cultural bac!grounds (&erbian, $lbanian, @oma, <ulgarian, @omanian, Aungarian, 7ewish, 5atholic, Brthodo', Cuslim, etc#)# Ci'ed marriages are common# $ccordingly, the &erbian language is not necessarily the mother tongue o all "eo"le living in &erbia# &ome members o one ethnic community irst acDuire their "articular mother tongue and then &erbian as their second language# ,he learning o English adds one more language to a growing list# $ more com"licated issue with &erbian E%L students is the native culture because the EL teacher has to teach English to members o several di erent cultures in one single classroom# ,he greatest challenge is o ten hel"ing students overcome their own ethnocentrism or cultural in eriority (de"ending on the "revailing attitude o the larger community, the awareness they have about their own culture can range rom a strong sense o su"eriority to e'treme in eriority)# @esearch conducted with these diverse &erbian students identi ied three "rinci"les underlying an intercultural communicative language teaching a""roach?

&'ilding ('lt'ral awareness: the need to identi y and wor! with student cultural bac!grounds, building intercultural awareness, in addition to wor!ing with cultures o the English language6

he teacher0s neglect o a student0s cultural bac!ground may result in other students "er"etuating this alienation# . the teacher can encourage students rom other cultures to share something about students0 holidays celebrated in their culture# En addition.he terms may be "resented in the orm o a chart.eachers o English can "re"are a ew classes integrating intercultural communication and introduce these into the curriculum# . as!ing the other students in the grou" to match them with the two students0 cultures# En addition to re ining English communication s!ills. te'ts contrasting 5hristmas in the *nited &tates.he teacher can choose two students rom di erent cultures and "re"are a list o terms related to their cultures# .perien(e Into the lassroo- Entercultural communicative English language teaching can motivate students to tal! about their culture in the English language# Every to"ic may acilitate interaction between the native and the target culture. and they can develo" a better understanding o how to coe'ist with di erence# T.eachers should not assume all students are culturally eDual or similar but recogni>e and wor! with the cultural diversity their students have to o er# "(tivel) "(*nowledging the onne(tion &etween Identit) and 'lt're 5ultural diversity in a language classroom may be a great obstacle in the English language learning "rocess because an individual o a uniDue cultural bac!ground may eel alienated in a classroom dominated by a ma-ority cultural grou"# . acce"ted by "eers who are di erent.he ollowing sam"le a""roaches have been tested by the author and are suggested as a starting "oint? • 9hen the class is reading a te't about holidays (a recurring to"ic in te'tboo!s). written on a sheet or on the board.perien(e into the (lassroo-: the need to integrate arti acts o student cultures into classroom wor! to integrate individual identity into the classroom community# T. validating identity and hel"ing students overcome their ear o linguistic "er ormance# Not only do students recogni>e the challenges their "eers have with learning English but they also eel connected with their classroom community.his can result in low motivation and in some e'treme cases even ailure# $s my research in &erbia showed.• "(tivel) a(*nowledging the (onne(tion +etween identit) and ('lt're: the need to understand and "roactively recogni>e that cultural bac!ground is an integral "art o a learner0s "ersonality6 and • Integrating st'dent ('lt'ral e.E /RIN I/LES IN /R" TI E Et is not necessary to change the entire EL syllabus in order to integrate intercultural communication and learning# . and have students read and discuss them# En that way students are encouraged to critically re lect about cultural "atterns and to share their o"inions# (%or e'am"le. the communicative language teaching a""roach may be turned into a huge o""ortunity? adding intercultural communication s!ills and learning# Not only will students eel more motivated to study English but they will also ind it easier to integrate into the classroom community# Integrating St'dent 'lt'ral E.E /RIN I/LES IN $ET"IL &'ilding 'lt'ral "wareness Entercultural interaction is inevitable and should be regarded as a ma-or advantage to the teachingFlearning "rocess rather than a "roblem# . i the EL teacher is o"en+minded and "roactively wor!s with diversity in the classroom. the students amiliari>e themselves with the un amiliar culture and start building a sense o res"ect or diversity# . the *nited 8ingdom. and the Brthodo' 5hristmas in &erbia were used in the author0s research and "roved very motivating#) • . the teacher could "re"are te'ts ada"ted to the "articular learning grou" contrasting holidays in two or three di erent cultures.

easy to integrate. &erbia# . hel"ing them build intercultural awareness and a sense o belonging# 0N L!SI0N . 7# (2003)# English language learning under the influence of the multicultural Serbian language environment (*tica.he "ossibilities are numerous. leisure activities. and communication s!ills# $c!nowledging and "roactively wor!ing with student cultural identity rather than -ust ocusing on linguistic com"etence can em"ower and motivate English language learners.0 minutes o a class can be used to introduce di erent cultures# &tudents can then be encouraged to write a short summary about what they have learned# • $ chain story may be written in a way that each student writes a comment on a "iece o "a"er re lecting an idea elicited in a class devoted to issues o culture# Later the comments may be "ut together and the students can be as!ed to analy>e the contradictions and agreements# %or instance.his can greatly im"rove the sense o sel +esteem o minority culture students and can "rom"t Duestions and curiosity about the un amiliar culture# • . living arrangements (i#e#. and can have a dramatically "ositive im"act on the classroom and language teaching "rocess# $n intercultural communicative language teaching a""roach used in a culturally diverse classroom enables cultural sel +re lection. England? 5ambridge *niversity 1ress# 2-ord-evic. = 5andlin. 2# (.he students can write down comments re erring to chores. 1/2.he teacher then reads the comments and as!s students to tal! about the similarities and di erences. *niversity o <elgrade.930) . "oc!et money. develo"ing intercultural communication s!ills that are highly needed in today0s societies# RE1EREN ES <reen. sharing bedrooms).he essentials o a communicative curriculum in language teaching# Applied Linguistics. 39+. and amily time in those di erent cultures# . the issue o amily li e in two or three di erent cultures could be com"ared to "erce"tions o amily li e in the *nited &tates or the *nited 8ingdom# .. meals. students rom other cultures ("articularly rom minority cultures) can translate "aragra"hs rom literary wor!s amous in their cultures and read them to the rest o the class# . C#.viHe!ulturne sr"s!e govorne sredine na uIen-e engles!og -e>i!a)# *n"ublished doctoral dissertation.he last . increased intercultural awareness. 5# (.he "ros and cons regarding "articular cultural di erences between cultural grou"s can be elicited rom students and written on the board to hel" students critically re lect on culture# • &tudents may be encouraged to share "ersonal o"inions about as"ects o culture based on a discussion in class# • $n essay assignment may be given to advanced students to com"are and contrast culturally diverse issues based on ideas elicited in class# Gounger students may be encouraged to write short sentences about the similarities and di erences that they have learned about# • 9hen wor!ing with e'cer"ts rom literature.997)# English as a global language# 5ambridge.• .2# 5rystal.

7# V# (.ovi Sad in Serbia and teaches $ulture of +usiness $ommunication.973)# &ind in societ!# 5ambridge. &uite 200 $le'andria. communication. England? 5ambridge *niversity 1ress# Jasmina Djordjevic is a lecturer at the *acult! of Legal and +usiness Studies . 1ress# 9ertsch. Tea(hers o5 English to Spea*ers o5 0ther Lang'ages6 In(. 1# (. e. and Legal English. She has a great interest in the field of multiculturalism and intercultural communication in addition to the methodolog! of teaching English in culturall! diverse environments. L# &# (.? 70)+3)4+734/ or 70)+3)4+4//7 E9-ail? in oKtesol#org (general in ormation) :e+? htt"?FFwww#tesol#orgF .972) edagog! of the oppressed# Aarmondsworth. I IS Newsletter 2223 %ol'-e 4 N'-+er 2: Ta+le o5 ontents ontents (op)right +) a'thors I IS Newsletter is p'+lished +) TES0L and s'pported +) )o'r a(tive -e-+ership. and cognition# (!gots)ian perspectives # 5ambridge. C$? Aarvard *niversity 1ress# 9ertsch.934)# 'hought and language# 5ambridge./ *&$ Tel. L# &# (.93(b)# $ulture.93(a)# (!gots)! and the social formation of mind# 5ambridge. 7TES0L8 700 &outh 9ashington &treet.(ept where otherwise noted. *# (2004)# Linguistic a"areness in multilinguals# English as a third language# Edinburgh.99))# $onte%t and culture in language teaching# B' ord. 7# V# (.%reire. England? B' ord *niversity 1ress# Vygots!y. 'ranslation 'echni-ues. 70)+3)4+077/ J 1a. England? 1enguin# 7essner. &cotland? Edinburgh *niversity 1ress# 8ramsch. 5# (. C$? CE. Virginia 22). C$? Aarvard *niversity 1ress# Vygots!y.