The influence of EFL teachers' understanding of intercultural competence on their self-reported pedagogical practices in higher education institutes of technology in Taiwan
Ching-Mei Cheng, University of Minnesota, United States
University of Minnesota . Awarded
This study explored eight Taiwan EFL teachers' understanding of culture and intercultural competence. The study examined the influence of their understanding on their self-reported pedagogical practices in higher education institutes of technology. This study was particularly concerned with not only what, but also how and why the participating EFL teachers embraced or rejected intercultural competence teaching as an integral part of EFL education.
The data collected from interviews, documents, and teaching materials provided detailed insights into the participating EFL teachers' understanding of culture and intercultural competence, and their self-reported pedagogical practices. The study analysis further revealed that the participating EFL teachers' understanding of intercultural competence was interrelated with their understanding of culture, the curriculum, their personal intercultural experiences, and their study-abroad experiences. Compared with their self-reported pedagogical practices, the data analysis showed that teachers' understanding of intercultural competence and teaching of intercultural competence were actually missing. The participating EFL teachers' self-reported pedagogical practices were significantly constrained by the textbooks. Culture teaching was rare and teaching intercultural competence was absent from the classroom. Since culture teaching was rare, it can be concluded that the participating EFL teachers might have limited knowledge of culture and language.
To the participating EFL teachers, intercultural competence was a vague and new term. All of them had difficulties in defining culture and intercultural competence. The absence of intercultural competence teaching may have been because the participating EFL teachers were trained to be professional foreign language teachers and had little knowledge in the field of culture and language; they did not have the theoretical frameworks on intercultural competence; the curriculum at the Departments of Foreign Language did not emphasize the role of culture in foreign language teaching and learning; U.S.-American culture has dominated in English education in Taiwan; and the eight EFL teachers' personal intercultural experiences were limited.
Educational policy makers, teacher educators, and curriculum designers need to be aware of the increasing importance of intercultural competence in foreign Language education, and include in their curricula intercultural competence relevant to local contexts and teaching pedagogy.
Cheng, C.M. The influence of EFL teachers' understanding of intercultural competence on their self-reported pedagogical practices in higher education institutes of technology in Taiwan. Ph.D. thesis, University of Minnesota.
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