INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING: STRATEGIES AND CHALLENGES
Published: 19 Oct 2023
Abstract: In the field of foreign language teaching in higher education, the scope goes beyond mere language acquisition to include the cultivation of intercultural competence in both teachers and learners. The importance of intercultural competence in foreign language teaching lies in its ability to equip learners with the necessary skills to navigate successfully in diverse cultural environments, especially for students who intend to study abroad or in a multicultural context. The development of such a competence therefore enables them not only to interact effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds, but also to gain a deeper understanding of their own culture and of the cultural nuances embedded in the target language. However, developing this competence is by no means a simple matter; it requires specialised training and continuous professional development for teachers. Teachers are expected to have extensive experience, sensitivity and some knowledge of the cultural implications associated with the language being taught, which presents its own set of challenges. It is therefore essential to provide teachers with ample opportunities to interact with different cultures, to encourage them to reflect on their experiences and to critically analyse their preconceptions and assumptions about other cultures. Drawing on current research, this paper briefly outlines the theoretical underpinnings of intercultural competence in language learning and emphasises the importance of developing awareness and sensitivity for effective classroom interactions. It also discusses strategies used to promote intercultural competence in the foreign language classroom and examines the obstacles teachers face in this endeavour. In addition, the paper examines how teachers can integrate intercultural competence into their curriculum and possible methods for assessing intercultural competence. Finally, the paper emphasises the need to integrate intercultural competence into teacher education programmes from the outset and into ongoing professional development.
Keywords: intercultural competence, foreign language teaching, teacher training, intercultural awareness in higher education, intercultural communication
Cite this article: Stella A. Achieng. INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING: STRATEGIES AND CHALLENGES. Journal of International Scientific Publications: Language, Individual & Society 17, 19-26 (2023). https://www.scientific-publications.net/en/article/1002548/
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