Teaching intercultural competence - the complementarity of

Teaching intercultural
competence - the
complementarity of training and
Michael Byram
University of Durham
About purpose and means
• Concepts and language
• Whorfian/Humboldtian hypotheses – weak
Education and training
• “Education = ‘values’” versus “training =
• Becoming interculturally competent through
education and training (Feng, Byram and
Fleming eds. – Multilingual Matters)
– Introduction – Fleming
• Competence in training
– Repetition and reflection
• Competence in education
– Reflection and criticality e.g. ‘critical cultural
awareness’/’savoir s’engager’
Fleming diagram
Surface ………………………………… Training
Depth …………………………………… Education
Intercultural competence
• Greeting and leave-taking – surface
– Compare pronunciation and identity
• Symbolic competence (Kramsch) – depth
• -- Not which words, but whose words are those? Whose
discourse? Whose interests are being served by this text?
• -- What made these words possible, and others
• -- How does the speaker position him/herself?
• -- How does he/she frame the events talked about?
• -- What prior discourses does he/she draw on?
Symbolic competence for postmodern society - California
Seen from California in 2010, culture today is
associated with ideologies, attitudes and beliefs,
created and manipulated by the discourse of the
media, the Internet, the marketing industry,
Hollywood and other mind-shaping interest groups.
It is seen less as a world of institutions and historical
traditions, or even as identifiable communities of
practice, than as a mental toolkit of subjective
metaphors, affectivities, historical memories,
contextualisations and transcontextualisation of
experience, with which we make meaning of the
world around us and share that meaning with others.
Transcultural and intercultural
• Transcultural – ‘is’ and ‘ought’
– No identification with national etc groups
• Intercultural
– Reinforces boundaries – racist
• BUT – transcultural does not exist and is not
• Intercultural includes ability to understand
otherness in its variations within (national and
other) groups
Internationalism and cosmopolitanism
Internationalism may be described as the
ideology of international bonding. However,
the bonds that link states, nations and groups
of individuals and make up the
multidimensional international society of the
modern world are of several kinds and join
together broad variety of parties.
Internationalism, it follows, is distinct from
cosmopolitanism, which does not in its
essence pertain to international society.
Proclaiming a worldwide society of individuals
that overrides states, nations and groups of
people, it tends to disregard all kinds of
international relations and to consider the
society of human beings en masse.
• Cosmopolitanism as ideal
• Internationalism as feasible
Characteristics of internationalism
in education
• opportunities for students to create and cooperate in
groups of several nationalities, forming ‘bonded’
international groups
• teaching and learning which include critical thinking
as intended outcome
• teaching and learning which leads to learners
becoming aware of the presuppositions they hold
and the national basis of many of these
• a change of allegiance among students towards the
idealism of a cosmopolitan society and a fair and
democratic world.
Foreign language teaching and
• Intercultural competence as a basis for
successful cooperation and ‘bonding’
• Project work e.g. internet
• Temporary ‘bonding’ and reflection on own
• Complementarity of education and training –
includes all kinds of competences
• Intercultural competence includes both
surface and depth competences
• Interculturality and internationalism (feasible)
AND transculturality and cosmopolitanism
• FLT contributes intercultural competence to
international bonding/cooperation