Developing Intercultural Communicative Competence: A

Moving From Communicative
Competence to Intercultural
Communicative Competence:
Working With MA TESOL and
TFL Students
Dr. Lynn Goldstein
Monterey Institute of International Studies,
A Graduate School of Middlebury College
Tucson, Arizona
January 25, 2014
Communicative Competence vs.
Intercultural Competence
Communicative Competence (Canale, 1983)
“The theoretical framework for communicative competence
proposed here minimally includes four areas of knowledge and
skill: grammatical competence, sociolinguistic
competence, discourse competence, and strategic
Communicative Competence vs.
Intercultural Competence
Communicative Competence (Canale, 1983)
Grammatical Competence: “Mastery of the language code itself”
Sociolinguistic Competence: “Utterances are produced and
understood appropriately in different sociolinguistic contexts depending
on contextual factors such as status of participants, purposes of the
interaction, and norms or conventions of interaction.”
Discourse Competence: “Mastery of how to combine grammatical
forms and meanings to achieve a unified spoken and written text in
different genres…Unity of text is achieved through cohesion in form and
coherence in meaning.”
Strategic: “Mastery of verbal and nonverbal communication
strategies…to compensate for communication breakdowns due to limiting
conditions or insufficient competence… and to enhance the effectiveness of
Intercultural Competence
Intercultural Awareness (Baker, 2012)
For effective communication, learners should know more than
syntax, lexis, and phonology.
Importance of how to use “linguistic and other communicative
resources in the negotiation of meaning, roles, and relationships in
the diverse sociocultural settings of intercultural settings of
intercultural communication through English.”
Skills of multilingual communicators:
◦ “Role of accommodation in adapting language to be closer to that of one’s
interlocutor in order to aid understanding and solidarity.”
◦ “Negotiation and mediation skills are also key, particularly between
different culturally based frames of reference, which have the potential to
cause misunderstanding or miscommunication.”
These skills enable interlocutors to “adjust and align themselves to different
communicative systems and cooperate in communication”
Intercultural Competence
(Byram, 1998)
Attitudes: “Curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend
disbelief about other cultures and belief about one's own.”
Knowledge: “of social groups and their products and practices
in one's own and in one's interlocutor's country, and of the general
processes of societal and individual interaction.”
Skills of interpreting and relating: “Ability to interpret a
document or event from another culture, to explain it and relate it
to documents from one's own.”
Skills of discovery and interaction: “Ability to acquire new
knowledge of a culture and cultural practices and the ability to
operate knowledge, attitudes and skills under the constraints of
real-time communication and interaction.”
Critical cultural awareness/political education: “An
ability to evaluate critically and on the basis of explicit criteria
perspectives, practices and products in one's own and other
cultures and countries.”
Transcultural Competence
(Slimbach, 2005)
6 Categories of Competence
Perspective consciousness: “The ability to question
constantly the source of one’s cultural assumptions and ethical
judgments, leading to the habit of seeing things through the
minds and hearts of others.”
Ethnographic skill: “The ability to observe carefully social
behavior, manage stress, and establish friendships across
cultures, while exploring issues of global significance,
documenting learning, and analyzing data using relevant
Global awareness: “A basic awareness of transnational
conditions and systems, ideologies and institutions, affecting the
quality of life of human and non-human populations, along with
the choices confronting individuals and nations.”
Transcultural Competence
(Slimbach, 2005)
World learning: “Direct experience with contrasting political
histories, family lifestyles, social groups, arts, religions, and cultural
orientations based on extensive, immersed interaction within
non-English speaking, non-Americanized environments.”
Foreign language proficiency: “A threshold-level facility in
the spoken, non-verbal, and written communication system used
by members of at least one other culture.”
Affective development: “The capacity to demonstrate
personal qualities and standards “of the heart” (e.g., empathy,
inquisitiveness, initiative, flexibility, humility, sincerity, gentleness,
justice, and joy) within specific intercultural contexts in which one
is living and learning.”
A scene from “Japanese Story”
What does it mean to develop and “possess”
Intercultural Communicative Competence ?
Attitudes, Knowledge, & Skills
 Understand that language and culture and the interactions
between them are situated and variable, that intercultural
interactions need to be ethical, and understand the roles
power and its distribution play in intercultural interactions.
Gain linguistic and cultural knowledge to understand and
interact effectively in multilingual/multicultural settings.
Develop an understanding of the roles linguistic and
cultural attitudes play in interactions across multilingual and
multicultural settings and how they influence the success of
such interactions.
What does it mean to develop and “possess”
Attitudes, Knowledge, & Skills
Develop the awareness needed to successfully
participate in multilingual/multicultural interactions. This
addresses not only the knowledge and attitudes
discussed above but also how
communication/interaction is structured across
cultures and languages, how communication is
monitored while in interaction, and what factors
support or hinder successful interactions.
Develop "tools" for understanding their own and
others' ways of interacting in order to be able to
participate effectively in multilingual/multicultural
interactions across a range of languages and cultures.
How to Achieve These Goals
Course content
◦ Blogs
◦ Other Group Analysis
◦ Professional Needs Analysis
Course Content/Topics
February 26th: Politeness and Face Across Languages and Cultures
Kachru & Smith
Parameters of Politeness
Language and Professional: Choose one from either Language or Professional below
Mursy & Wilson
Towards a definition of Egyptian Complimenting
Hua, Wei & Yuan
The Sequential Organization of Gift Giving in Chinese
Declining an Invitation: A Cross-cultural Study of Pragmatic Strategies
Politeness in Small Shops in France
Japanese Culture Specific Face and Politeness Orientation: A
Pragmatic Investigation of Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu
Linguistic Politeness and Greeting Rituals in German-speaking Switzerland
Lindsley &
You Should Wear a Mask: Facework Norms in Cultural and Intercultural Conflict
in Macquiladoras (Business and Policy)
Interactional Pragmatics and Court Interpreting: An Analysis of Face (T&I)
Cultural Differences and Similarities in Seeking Social Support as a Response to
Failure: A Comparison of American and Chinese Students (IEM/TESOL/TFL)
April 29th: Examining The “Causes” of Miscommunication in
Intercultural Communication
Wilson &
Will and Power: Towards Radical Intercultural Communication
Research and Pedagogy
What Are The Key Factors That May Cause Misunderstandings
In Intercultural Communication?
What Contributes to Successful Communication
Choose One
& Xing
Cross-cultural Miscommunication in Welfare Officers
Managing Rapport in Intercultural Business Interactions: A
Comparison of Two Chinese-British Welcome Meetings
May 8th: Intercultural Communicative Competence and Awareness
A Model for Intercultural Communicative Competence
How to Develop Intercultural Communicative Competence
Choose One
The Transcultural Journey (Policy)
Business Study Abroad Tours for Non- Traditional Students: An
Assessment Outcome (Business)
Intercultural Competence in Foreign Language Classrooms:
Framework and Implications for Educators (TESOL/TFL)
Young &
Intercultural Communication Competence: Exploring English
Language Teachers Teachers Beliefs and Practices (TESOL)
The Role of Faculty Study Abroad Directors: A Case Study (IEM)
Paige & Goode
International Education Professionals and the Development of
Intercultural Competence (TESOL/TFL/IEM)
Assessing Intercultural Learning Through Introspective Accounts
Activities: Personal, Experiential,Visual,
Tangible, Comparative, and Real World
Personal: Cultural History and Repertoire
 Experiential: Alpha versus Omega: (Ting
Toomey and Chung)
Visual: Sleeping Babies (DIE); Stereotypes;
Written Artifacts
Activities: Personal, Experiential,Visual,
Tangible, Comparative and Real World
◦ Good Will
◦ Pushpaka
◦ Japanese Story
Real World: Visa applications, Healthcare on the
All observation posts should include the following information:
Who the participants are: Their relationship to each other (relative
status, degree of solidarity, degree of intimacy), approximate age,
gender, race, ethnicity if known, native language if known, language of
the interaction.
Purpose of the Interaction: For example— checking books out of
the library, ordering/serving a hamburger, asking for/giving directions,
making plans, asking for/offering assistance and so forth.
Observe an interaction between participants from different
groups (age, gender, socio economic status, occupation, status,
religion, expertise, and knowledge, field of study): Observe to see
if the participants interact in ways that signal their solidarity, intimacy,
and/or their perceptions of higher or lower status, or more or less
power. What aspects of the interaction led you to believe that the
participants were enacting solidarity, intimacy, status and/or power
through language?
Other Group Analysis
The goal of this assignment is to observe and analyze an entirely
unknown discourse event.
Attend an event (social, religious, educational, sporting, civic, and so
forth) you have never attended before in a culture different from
your own /culture you are unfamiliar with. Note that I am using
culture broadly here—it could be religious, occupational, sports,
social, avocational and so forth.You could go to a religious service
different from your own, attend a sports event of a type you have
never attended/watched, go birding having never done so before, go
surfing, take a cooking class, go to a Board of Education meeting, a
Rotary club meeting, a city council meeting—use your imagination.
Please make sure to get permission to observe (unless it is a public
venue to which all are welcome).You can let your contact person
know that you are doing an assignment to observe a setting you have
never been in before.
Professional Needs Analysis
Step One: For this project you will locate participants (3 people if you are taking the class
for 3 units, 5 people if you are taking the class for 4 units) to interview who are currently
working in your professional field, i.e., people who are ESL or EFL teachers, or foreign
language teachers of your FL, or interpreters or translators, or involved in international
business, or involved in policy/ policy administration, or involved in international education
management. All should be in job settings where they regularly interact with people from
different language and cultural backgrounds.
Step Five: Summarize your participants’ views, including where they are similar and
different, in response to all of the above questions, regarding working with people with
diverse language and cultural backgrounds.
Step Six: Given your participants’ answers that you have addressed in steps 3-5, consider
(1) what they already “possess” in terms of the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed for
successful, ethical, intercultural interactions in their work place and (2) what they need to
learn to be more interculturally competent. In doing so, bring in the pertinent concepts,
constructs and literature from our course and readings as the lenses through which you
decide what they already believe/ know/can do and what they need to develop in terms of
beliefs/attitudes, knowledge and skills.
Step Seven: Given your analyses in step six, identify and justify the topics, readings, and
activities you would engage your participants in to develop ethical, sound intercultural
attitudes, develop their knowledge of intercultural communication in ways that will lead to
successful, ethical intercultural interactions in their work place, and develop the skills and
practices needed for successful, ethical intercultural interactions in their workplace.
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