Issue 46, March 2018

Mustafa Zülküf Altan

Intercultural Sensitivity - A Study of Pre-service English Language Teachers

Since societies develop mutual aims and different societies perpetuate developing long-term economic, social and cultural relationships with other cultural groups and the global instability continues hitting the world, developing intercultural sensitivity becomes more and more important at all levels of the education, especially for those who will teach other languages. One of the major aspects of intercultural communication competence is intercultural sensitivity which has been gaining increasing attention in different disciplines. This paper focuses on the importance of intercultural sensitivity and shares the results of a study on the intercultural sensitivity of Turkish ELT major (English Language Teaching) pre-service teachers. For this purpose, 70 senior ELT major pre-service teachers completed an instrument comprising 5 factors with 24 items developed by Chen and Starosta (2000) for measuring intercultural sensitivity.

Keywords: Intercultural sensitivity, ELT, pre-service teachers

Clark Callahan, Thomas Robinson & Kari-Ann Trachmann

Migrant Perceptions of Social Media

New media are changing the way identities are managed. This is increasingly relevant to global communication (Lévy, 2000). The purpose of this article is to understand how these changes effect individual perceptions of media within a new cultural environment. By applying Q-methodology to cultural migration, this research asked cultural sojourners to rank subjective statements of media. Factor analysis were applied to the rankings, which provided three main perspectives of media.. These three perspectives include Instrumental Adaptors, Social Connectors, and Abiders. These perspectives provide an alternative to traditional categories of culture and allow for a unique understanding of cultural adaptation theory.

Keywords: Culture, Q-methodology, Media, Intercultural

Maryam Farnia & Elham Yazdani

Politeness Strategies in Remindings - A Cross-cultural Study of Iranian EFL learners and Americans

This cross-cultural study examines the speech act of reminding by Iranian English learners and American English native speakers. The primary objective is to study how Iranian EFL learners perform much understudied speech act of reminding in English. To this end, the participants are selected from Iranian learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and American English native speakers through an open-ended questionnaire in the form of a Discourse Completion Task (DCT).The collected data are then analyzed based on a framework adopted from Peterson’s (2012) study of speech act of reminding. The findings show that whereas English native speakers utilize more indirect strategies in reminding their interlocutors to cope with the required activity, EFL learners tend to use direct strategies more frequently.

Keywords: Iranian EFL learners, pragmatic competence, politeness, speech act of reminding

Franco Vaccarino and Mingsheng Li

Intercultural communication training to support internationalisation in higher education

With a steady growth in globalisation, many universities increasingly invest in their human capital by training employees to meet the demands of organisational diversity, to become culturally flexible and adaptable in multicultural contexts. Internationalisation is an important part of a university’s economic, academic and cultural vitality, and this is true at Massey University in Aotearoa New Zealand. In order to proactively build the University’s internationalisation capability, an introductory interactive intercultural communication workshop which encourages self-reflection, was developed and presented to staff on three campuses. As a follow-up to these workshops, staff were invited to participate in an online survey a week after attending the workshop, and then a focus group one month later, to ascertain any transfer of learning to the workplace. This paper reports on the findings and provides recommendations for universities to enhance their intercultural capabilities.

Keywords: Intercultural communication, higher education training and development

Jelena Vuksanovic

ESL Learners’ Intercultural Competence, L2 Attitudes and WEB 2.0 use in American Culture

This study explores ESL learners’ intercultural communication, L2 attitudes, and their relationship to the use of Web 2.0 tools and technology. Survey responses were obtained from 24 intermediate ESL speakers living in the United States. The results reveal there is low correlation between learners’ intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and use of technology. However, the correlation is stronger for learners’ ICC and L2 attitudes. Although the findings in this study are not statistically significant, they indicate that there is potential for further investigating the variables at hand. Additionally, it is argued that intercultural competence should be made a part of the ESL classes, and that learners’ attitudes are imperative when it comes to interacting with people from other cultures.

Keywords: intercultural competence, L2 attitudes, Web 2.0

Jenny Yau-ni Wan

Functions of Frequently Used Back Channels in a Corpus of Intercultural Conversations between Hong Kong Chinese (HKC) and native English Speakers (NES)

In conversation, two channels operate simultaneously. Yngve (1970) refers that the ‘main’ channel is that through which the speaker sends messages, whereas the ‘back’ channel, such as okay, mm is that over which the listener offers response without claiming the speakership. Back channels are particular to languages and cultures. The present study aims to examine the naturally occurring conversations between Hong Kong Chinese (HKC) and native English speakers (NES) and to investigate how these culturally divergent participants manage to use different back channels. Two important taxonomies that describe variations in cultural patterns in the present study are Hofstede’s cultural differences and Hall’s high-context and low-context cultures. The results reveal that NES use more newsmarkers, change-of-activity tokens and markers of dispreference than HKC; while HKC use more continuers and acknowledgement back channels. The present study hopes to develop better culturally specific discourse strategies in intercultural encounters.

Keywords: back channels, Hong Kong Chinese, Native English Speakers, intercultural conversations

Pin-Hsiang Natalie Wu & Michael W. Marek

Developing Intercultural Competence via Social Media Engagement in a Language Learning Framework

Today’s EFL students need both advanced language skills and an appreciation of other cultures. Technology for language learning, however, is usually focused on language skills. Cultural understanding is rarely a primary goal. Intercultural competence was the primary goal of this study, using a technically-mediated and culturally-oriented online learning community to cultivate intercultural competence using social collaboration, understanding, reflection, and appreciation. Students in South Africa and Taiwan reacted to videos on cultural topics made by American college students. Qualitative data analysis included the social media discussions of the participants, end-of-study questions, and teacher-participant journals. Six themes in the data are presented, as well as resulting best practices for instructional design and specific author recommendations.

Keywords: EIL, language learning, computer assisted language learning, cross-cultural, intercultural, social media

Copyright by the authors.
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