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Portfolio III: Knowledge evidence paper

Exploring intercultural competence of Korean English teachers: their commitment

to social justice


I. Introduction

1. Globalization and Multiculturalism

1.1. From multicultural to intercultural society
1.2. Multiculturalism in Korea
1.3. Multiculturalism in schools of Korea
2. North Korean refugee (NKR) students
2.1. Underachievement of NKR students in schools
3. English Language (EL) Education for NKR students
3.1. Factors of NKR adolescents’ underachievement in English
3.1.1.Personal factors
3.1.2.Institutional factors
3.1.3.Socio-cultural factors
3.2. Teachers’ intercultural competence (IC) in multicultural society
3.2.1.English language teachers’ IC for NKR students’ academic success
4. Research Question

II. Literature Review and Conceptual Framework

5. Traditional approach to IC
5.1. Culture
5.1.1.Origin of the term ‘culture’
5.1.2.Function of culture
5.1.3.Anthropologic concept of culture
5.1.4.Traditional dimensions of culture
5.2. Historical overview of IC and ICC
5.2.1.Intercultural competence
5.2.2.Intercultural communicative competence
Portfolio III: Knowledge evidence paper
5.3. Conceptualization of IC/ICC
5.4. Models of IC/ICC
5.4.1.Compositional model: Deardorff’s pyramid model (IC)
5.4.2.Developmental model: Bennett’s developmental model (IC)
5.4.3.Co-orientational model: Byram’s intercultural communicative competence (ICC) consideration of ‘native-likeness’ perspective on English
6. Critical social justice approach to IC
6.1. Cultural studies concept of culture
6.1.1.Critical understanding of ‘interculturality’
6.2. Re-conceptualization of IC/ICC
6.2.1.Critical attention to ‘intercultural’
6.3. Critical social justice model of IC
6.3.1.Intercultural praxis
6.3.2.Intercultural competence

I. Introduction Commented [RF1]: Jin, as you finalize this for your Port III
paper, it will be important for you to "place" or "situate" this
work in your introduction within your own context as a
Korean teacher of English, and then talk about why this is
important to YOU. That would be the paragraph after your
1. Globalization and Multiculturalism heading called Introduction. By the way, you will not need
to use Roman numerals or number the paragraphs, OK?

The world’s regions and countries have close ties with one another in most areas of THEN, you could proceed into the various sections.
Commented [RF2]: Also, in your intro, you should tell the
human activity such as politics, economics, society, culture, and education (Baylis et al., 2017; reader that this background knowledge about NK and SK, as
well as the research you have done is essential to
understanding how the proposed study will add to the
Beck, 2018; Knight, 2015; Pieterse, 2015; Popkewitz et al., 2009; Satyanath, 2006; Suarez- small,yet growing, body of research literature emnating from
Korea and contributing toward a more comprehensive
understanding of global trends and needs. (particularly in
Orozco et al., 2004). The form of interconnections among nations and people is commonly the fields of international education, MC education, etc.)

indicated by using the term globalization. The increasing interaction of people through the

internet, the media, and international travel brought about cultural globalization. Cultural

globalization refers to how “contacts between people and their cultures—their ideas, their values,

their way of life—have been growing and deepening in unprecedented ways” (UN Report, 1999,

p. 33). Due to the transmission of various cultures, multicultural society became one of the

various aspects of 21st century expressed by the diverse world.

1.1. From multicultural to intercultural society

The term ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘interculturalism’ have acquired multiple meanings;

different speakers use them in different ways and contexts. Hence, I will approach my topic by

first examining two areas: the concepts of ‘multicultural’ and ‘intercultural’ in the context of the

studying of other societal phenomena. Then, the reasons why we need to focus on intercultural

competence will be addressed.

The core value of multiculturalism is peaceful coexistence. In a multicultural society,

there are several cultural, ethnic, and religious groups living alongside one another based on the

principle of cultural relativism (Portera, 2011). Barrett (2013) explains well in his book

Interculturalism and Multiculturalism: similarities and differences, three major forms of


multiculturalism: symbolic, structural and dialogical. The aim of symbolic multiculturalism is to

preserve and protect cultural differences. There are varying interpretations of terminology. For

example, Kymlicka (2010) points out that it fails to value all cultures equally and ignores the

discrimination and economic disadvantages which the minorities commonly experience. When it

comes to structural multiculturalism, it actively tackles the political, economic, and social

prejudices and inequalities that are confronted by minority groups, as well as allows culturally

minority people to adhere to their own cultural practices. However, people do not necessarily

engage in interactions with others from different culture-groups. Dialogical multiculturalism is

about how to implement successful multiculturalism in a society. Parekh (2006) argued that

multiculturalism was about relationships between different cultural communities. Through “open

and equal dialogue” (Parekh, 2006, p. 13), and “a shared commitment to dialogue in both the

political and non-political areas of like as the unifying focus and principle of society” (p. 15),

multiculturalism could be manifested successfully in a society.

In recent years, talking about society as “multicultural” or “intercultural” has shown

accelerating change within Europe. According to Barret (2013), the term interculturalism

strongly proposes a cohesive society. There is a distinctive factor, namely, ‘intercultural

dialogue’ which is placed in the center of the ideology of interculturalism (Barrett, 2013). Barret

mentions that “intercultural dialogue itself may be defined as the open and respectful exchange

of views between individuals and groups that have different cultural affiliations, on the basis of

equality” (p. 15). Through intercultural dialogue, individuals exchange ideas and cultural norms

mutually, so that they are able to build deep relationships with one another. Barrett argued that in

order to participate effectively in intercultural dialogue, participants should demonstrate

intercultural competence. According to Barrett, intercultural competence includes “open-


mindedness, empathy, multiperspectivity, cognitive flexibility, communicative awareness, the

ability to adapt one’s behavior to new cultural contexts, and linguistic, sociolinguistic and

discourse skills including skills in managing breakdowns in communication” (p. 26).

1.2. Multiculturalism in Korea

South Korea is rapidly becoming a multicultural society. Since the mid-1990s, in line

with its economic growth, South Korea has been undergoing a change in its social situation.

Increasing the number of foreign migrant workers and international marriage are transforming

South Korea into a more diverse and multicultural society. According to the press release of the

Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs and National Statistical Office, the

total number of foreign residents living in Korea on November 1, 2015 was 1.71 million which is

3.4% of the total population. This is a 300% increase compared to 2006, and it is continuing to

accelerate. After 2020, the population of multicultural families is expected to reach 5% of the

whole population. (Korean Ministry of Education, 2017).

In addition, due to the continuous inflow of North Korean (NK) refugees, the cultural

diversity of residents in South Korea is been promoted further. Viewed from outside Kore, it

may seem that the society is monocultural, however, in actuality the divide between North and

South Korea have resulted in a strong divide. It is because since the day when the Korean war

Armistice Agreement was signed, South and North Korea have been maintaining different

political stances and the political events destroyed the cultural and linguistic homogeneity of

people. The sharp difference in political philosophy has divided the Korean peninsula into two

parts along the 38th parallel so that North and South Korea have been in a prolonged conflict,

ceasing political, economic and cultural interchanges for over 67 years. As a result, the two

nations have formed dissimilar values and attitudes of life—the elements of little ‘c’ culture and

have not experienced mutual exchanges until now. Among younger generations, the cultural gap

is significant.

In the past, owing to the scarcity of food and harsh living conditions in NK, the number

of North Koreans living in SK had steadily increased. On the other hand, in the future, we expect

that the increasing mutual exchange between South and North Korea in all areas will make SK a

more culturally diverse country. After the historic inter-Korean summit followed by “talks of the

century” between the American president and the North Korean leader, South and North Koreans

became full of hope for ending the 1950-53 Korean War and bring permanent peace to the

Korean Peninsula. Continuous dialogues on economic cooperation and cultural exchanges

between the both sides’ leaders seems to be accelerating the realization of that national hope.

1.3. Multiculturalism in schools of Korea

The ethnic and cultural diversity toward a multicultural society have led to changes in

the education/learner population. The increase in the number of multicultural families has begun

to challenge the traditional education system in Korea. Due to the ‘Us vs. Them’ paradigm that

underlies Koreans’ mindset, often culturally and linguistically diverse students are not well

accepted as members of a group within educational contexts. To be specific, according to the

result of a survey in which 190 immigrants participated, asking them to identify a place where

racial discrimination mainly took place, education facilities such as schools were ranked as the

top (Gyeonggi-do Foreigner Human Rights Supports Center, 2016). Therefore, the social

requirement to ameliorate the condition of education should be explicitly and specifically


2. North Korean Refugee (NKR) students


To understand NKR students’ traits, it seems to be necessary for us to see their various

backgrounds first. For their parents, it was by no means easy to defect from their own country. It

takes quite a long time to arrive in South Korea; the process of defections takes from six months

to eight years (Korea Hana Foundation, 2014). That is, a number of refugees had their children in

third countries: China, Russia, and other North East or South East Asian countries. According to

the report of the Chungnam Association for Research on Unification Education (2015), out of the

NK refugees who arrived in South Korea by December 2015, the number of young people who

were aged 6 – 20 years accounted for 16 % of the total. Until the early 2000s, most of the NK

young refugees were born and raised in North Korea. However, after the mid-2000s, the number

of northern refugee students from the third countries increased. South Korea’s Ministry of

Unification announced that the number of third-country-born NKR students in 2003 was 36.2%

of the total, but as of the end of 2016, it outnumbered young NKR, accounting for 52.3%.

Considering the diverse backgrounds NKR students have, the South Korean government should

prepare education stakeholders to create welcoming classroom environments for the new settlers

and meet the special learners’ educational needs.

2.1. Underachievement of NKR students in schools

As of 2015, the figure of third-country-born northern refugee students is more than half

of all NKR students. Although many private and non-profit organizations and the Korean

government have supported refugee youths to help them adapt to new school environments,

many NK teenagers still struggle with culturally unfamiliar circumstances. Korean government

has been hiring NK adult refugees who used to be teachers in North Korea as educational

supporters to deal with the culture shock that NK young students might experience in the South.

The supporters engage in various activities such as after-school coordinating, academic


mentoring, and developing and running cultural experience programs. As a result, the school

dropout rates have gradually decreased by about 80 percent since 2008, from 10.8% in 2008 to

2.2% in 2015. However, it is still at an alarming level, because it is more than 5 times higher

than the average for SK students who have an average dropout rate of less than 0.4%.

There are a variety of reasons why NK students have difficulty in adjusting to school life,

but, according to the report conducted by Korea Hana Foundation in 2014, the main reason for

dropping out is the challenges related to differences of language, lifestyle, and academic

background. The result of the survey that the Korea Hana foundation performed for 744 NKR

students shows that as the most difficult problems with school life, 48.0% of students responded,

‘following curriculum,’ 17.6% ‘adapting cultures and language,’ 9.7% ‘making friends,’ and

1.4% ‘developing good relations with teachers’ (Korea Hana Foundation, 2014). Kim (2010)

regarded NK young refugees’ low self-confidence and cultural stress as crucial factors which

influenced negatively their adjustment to the new educational environments. In particular, unlike

NK adult refugees, youths tended to think that they were forced to defect from their countries by

their parents. Leaving their country was not a matter that most NK teenagers chose by

themselves, so the willingness to adapt to an unfamiliar environment and the attempts to learn

new culture are inevitably low. In such a situation, the disconnection in language and cultural

norms between SK and NK students were primary obstacles to forming a natural friendship in

schools. In addition, the different curriculum and learning content, and the competitive learning

atmosphere of South Korea made their school life more challenging (Chungnam Association for

Research on Unification Education, 2015).

3. English language (EL) education and NKR students


For NKR students, the subjects such as Korean and mathematics that are taught in South

Korean schools are gradually being adapted because they had learned them in the North.

However, most of NKR students regard English as the most difficult one to learn among regular

subjects (Shin et al., 2012). Recently, there has been an increase in the number of students who

have studied English in North Korea. Yet, they had not felt the need for English much there, they

are less willing to learn English after coming to the South. According to the research of 2011

National Elementary, Middle, and High School English Achievement, a great part of NK learners

were in the ‘deficit’ category.

3.1. Factors of NKR students’ underachievement in English

Through conducting and analyzing in-depth interviews, Kwon (2017) was able to

summarize the common factors that made NKR students feel difficulties in learning English. He

was able to find three major themes out of the factors: personal, institutional, and socio-cultural

factors. First, NKR students presented their personal reason, a lack of basic knowledge of

English that caused by ‘educational gap.’ Second, between NK and SK, noticeable differences of

educational environments are challenging for NKR students to overcome. Lastly, educational

contents are not effectively delivered to NKR students due to difficulties in communications that

they have in schools.

3.1.1. Personal factors

In the Kwon’s (2017) research, NKR students commonly mentioned that ‘learning gap’

was an important reason of their underachievement in English. In the case of students who came

into the South without staying in a third county, they had never learned English before in the

North. Even if they took English classes, the number of lessons was very limited. According to

Cho and her colleague (2013), in North Korea, students had been taught English once a week for

an hour since 2008, but most of NKR students said that learning English at public education

institutions was not experienced until the first year of junior high school. Moreover, the NK Commented [RF3]: thid, we would refe to as Eng as a Gor
adolescent who spent several years in third countries might suffer from learning shortage in a

severe way. While staying in those countries, their status was as illegal aliens, and they often had

to endure physical and psychological suffering. Under these hardships, NK adolescent students

were easily excluded and marginalized from any types of educational opportunities including

English language education.

Persistent socioeconomic disadvantage over their motherland, intermediate countries, and

South Korea had a negative impact on their English education. Particularly, given that the

relationship between parents’ socioeconomic backgrounds and students’ academic outcomes in

SK, low socio-economic status of NKR students’ parent(s) can be interpreted as one of key

factor of their underachievement in English learning. According to Cho, the last personal factor

was the limited accessibility to quality and reliable information with regard to English education.

Among NKR students who born and raised in third countries, it is easily observed that they do

not have Korean language ability in their repertoire. This has resulted in NK students’

maladaptation to the mainstream SK education information.

3.1.2. Institutional factors

There is a distinct difference between NK and SK in English education. In terms of

educational purposes, in SK students learn the language under the aim of the national curriculum,

“Students will develop their ability to communicate in English to expand their intellectual

capacity and knowledge and to raise ability to cope with the changes in the times as the future

leaders (Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, 2011).” The language use ability,

namely communicative competence is highlighted. The national curriculum strongly emphasizes


learner-centered education composed of process-/task-based activities. On the other hand, in NK

there is a unified goal that is embedded over the educational curriculum; learning the Juche idea

(North Korea’s political ideology), the policy of the party, the revolutionary tradition, and

communist education contents is given priority (Park et al., 2001; Jung, 2010). Due to the

rigorous and rigid ideological education, the learning motivation of NK students might not be

same as the one of learners who are in SK. Moreover, through the narratives from interviews

with NKR students and NKR teachers (Kwon, 2017), we are able to understand that NK teachers

stick to traditional teaching methodologies which are known to be less efficient. They emphasize

rote memorization without scaffolding and encouraging students to collaborate with one another.

The concept of ‘communicative competence’ is not revealed in the English education curriculum

(Lee et al., 2006). Owing to the old-fashioned way of teaching and learning, it is not very

surprising that students are likely to lose their interest in learning English. The existing gap

between North and South Koreas’ English education curriculums would be causative of NKR

students’ frustration in English classrooms. Lastly, in the NK English text books, the negative

connotations associated with cultures and societies of English-speaking countries make students

have an inhibition about English language (Lee, 2007).

3.1.3. Socio-cultural factors

According to Oh (2008), because of the ideological education provided by NK education

institutions, NKR students tend to have anti-American sentiment. In addition, it was revealed that

the contents of classes were in general not conveyed successfully because they said they could

not understand the language used in classrooms. This lack of language comprehension ability

become a stumbling block to learning another language, English. Also, NKR students were

suffering from different academic stresses than in North Korea.


In North Korea, it was hard for teachers to force us to study English, but in South Korea it was so
good at first that teachers did not compel us to do homework and they treated us kindly and gently.
Over time, I learned how important English is here. And then, I had to make preparation for paper-
based exams where there are a lot of things that I couldn’t understand (From the interview in
Gwon, 2017).
While in North Korea, they had difficulties in a standardized education style and teachers’

oppressive attitude, the fact that they were far behind the SK students in English (Gwon, 2017)

and the mainstream English curriculum for NKR students was not tailored enough to reflect their

needs (Lee, 2014) cause frustration and give-up.

3.2. Teachers’ intercultural competence (IC) in multicultural society

Owing partly to the influx of the NK refugees, the transformation of SK society to a more

multicultural society than ever before experienced. Multiculturalism makes people rethink the

importance of teachers’ roles in society. For students from multicultural and multilingual

backgrounds, the school should be able to provide safe environments for new challenges and

equal opportunities in education through an inclusive curriculum and teaching methods.

Especially, teachers’ intercultural competence (IC) is called for more than before. Teachers who

have positive beliefs regarding diversity are able to impart their IC to their students who bring

different cultures into classrooms. Commented [Office4]: reference?

3.2.1. English language (EL) teachers’ IC for NKR students’ academic success

Despite the wealth of research findings on challenges NK refugee students experience

and other scholarly research to date, our understanding about SK teachers’ difficulties as they

work with NK refugee youths remains incomplete; I could not find any research with regard to Commented [RF5]: tryto be as specific as y9u possibly can
here. "in a search for . . .., using search terms such as xxxxx,
liittle to no research was found. then tell what yu did find.
the cultural gap between SK teachers and NK students and intercultural competence of SK EL Ad thge fact that one article was in Korean . . . This part will
be important for your actual proposal, but you can shorten it
teachers who are working with NK adolescent refugees. Missing are descriptions of SK EL a bit here.

teachers’ actual experiences with attempting to being ‘good/effective’ EL teachers in their


instruction for NK students. Given the huge gap of achievement in English between SK and NK

students (Shin et al., 2012), it is highly recommended that SK EL teachers be prepared to serve

this underrepresented group of students.

I argue that the current lack of research concerning SK EL teachers’ perceptions and

practices on IC prevent us from fully understanding the key issues at the core of teachers’

professional development as a cultural-mediators in SK. Hence, in order to add to the literature

coming from Korea on this topic, I would like to do my research by exploring Korean English

teachers’ IC. The following research questions capture the nature of this research, which (at this

time) I propose to investigate using qualitative approaches.

4. Research Question
1) How do Korean English teachers perceive the concept and functions of culture in the
increasing multicultural and intercultural society of Korea today?
i) How do they understand the nature of culture such as mobility, hybridity, and
ii) How do they understand cultural labeling and discrimination?
[Probe for participants’ understanding of cultural hegemony]

2) How do Korean English teachers perceive and practice IC in working with NKR
i) How do they define IC?
[Probe for participants’ understanding of IC ]
ii) How do they address to cultural differences?
[Probe for participants’ inquiry]
iii) How do they deal with cultural conflict situations in classes?
[Probe for participants’ framing]
iv) How do they perceive the power imbalance between communicators?
[Probe for participants’ positioning]
v) How do they manage ambiguous situations in uncomfortable conversations?

[Probe for participants’ dialogue]

vi) How do they reflect their intercultural communications?
[Probe for participants’ reflection]
vii) How do they practice their IC?
[Probe for participants’ action]

II Literature Review and Conceptual Framework

Due to advances in communication and transportation technologies, interdependence and

interconnectedness among people are increasing. The accelerated interrelationship among people

from diverse cultures drive us to feel the necessity and urgency of IC/ICC because IC/ICC plays

a crucial role in effective and appropriate communication (Huang, Rayner, & Zhuang, 2003).

Although there are no naysayers on the importance of IC/ICC, owing to its dynamic and

multifaceted nature, IC was treated lightly by researchers (Aikman, 2012; Holliday, 2010). The

definition, dimensions, and assessment of IC/ICC have been arguable and disputable. Therefore,

I would like to investigate IC/ICC by synthesizing conceptual, historical, and theoretical

knowledge in the first half of this literature review. In the second half, the relatively new

perspective of the critical social justice approach to IC/ICC will be introduced.

5. Traditional approach to IC

5.3. Culture

Across many disciplines, scholars have studied the subject of culture over a long period

of time. Due to the complex and often ambiguous nature of culture, as well as its many

connotations across disciplines, there are many different meanings and definitions attached to the

term: there were over 150 definitions of culture identified in the 1950s (Kroeber & Kluckhohn,

1952). According to Brody (2003), there are hundreds of definitions of culture at the beginning

of the 20 century. The reason why culture has been regarded so importantly in the history of

human beings is that it is impossible to understand human society without understanding culture.

5.3.1. The Origins of the term ‘Culture’

The word “culture” originated in the Latin “cultura” which means ‘care’. There are many

words which stem from the term ‘cultura’ such as ‘agriculture’. The word has meanings related

to ‘care’: cultivating, feeding, breeding, and raising. In Korean, we use the term ‘moonhwa 문화’,

borrowing Chinese Characters 文化. 文 means ‘letters’ and 化 means ‘change’. According to the

meaning of the Korean word ‘문화’, it is closely connected human beings’ communication

activities with languages, and it means through the interactions, members of society can

influence one another.

5.3.2. Function of culture

Among many cultural notions, it is useful to examine the one of Edward T. Hall (1989),

because he was an original thinker whom many scholars consider to be the founder of the study

of intercultural communication. He introduced a concept which he regarded as potentially

threatening to harmonious relationships among people, focusing on the micro-level of human

interaction. According to Hall (1989), mankind has been adding to their weaknesses by evolving

various “extensions” (p. 25), cultural elements such as languages, mechanical systems, and social

structures that affect how one perceives one’s culture. Humans are caught in a trap called

“extension transference” (p. 28), thus, culture is lived in an unconscious way. Hall used

“extension transference” to explain the phenomenon, underlining how one loses consciousness or

awareness of one’s culture. Once the extensions are internalized, the author explained cultural

influences on humans’ political acts, decision-making, prioritizing and ways of thinking are not

consciously understood. Culture plays such a prominent part in every aspect of our lives and it is

easy for us to be hoodwinked into believing that our convictions are true and universal when in

fact they are not. As a result, human beings marginalize themselves and lose their ability to

control their culture. So long as direct conflicts do not occur in intercultural and interethnic

encounters, culture does not easily come up to the level of consciousness. It is in the

‘background’ and is extraordinarily subtle. Hall (1989) argued that through a process of rigorous

analysis, “identity-separation-growth” (Hall, 1989, p. 227), mankind should make efforts to find

the original identities that have been lost and marginalized.

5.3.3. Anthropologic concept of culture

Anthropologists identified culture as a system of shared meaning. From generation to

generation, the system hands down through symbols that represent and stand for any aspect of

the culture including beliefs, traditions, and values. Paige’s (2005) definition is “Culture refers to

values, beliefs, attitudes, preferences, customs, learning styles, communication styles,

history/historical interpretations, achievements/accomplishments, technology, the arts, literature,

etc.—the sum total of what a particular group of people has created together, share, and transmit”

(Paige, 2006, p. 43). Culture allows people to convey expressions and understand meanings to

their own lives through symbols such as words, images, ideas, people and actions (Sorrells,

2015). For example, the Bald Eagle is the national symbol of the United States, delivering

meanings of freedom, strength and power. The assigned meaning of symbol constitutes culture

and the symbols are interrelated one another to create a system of meanings. Geertz (1973) also

defined culture as a system. Within the system, there are large arrays of symbols with which

people communicate and understand social phenomena.

5.3.4. Traditional dimensions of culture


Culture is a multidimensional concept. Bennett (1998) identified culture as having two

layers; Upper-Case Culture and Lower-Case culture. The first is “Culture writ large” with a

capital “C” (p. 2) such as social, economic, political and linguistic systems. By means of

understanding those objective cultures, people are able to increase their knowledge regarding the

cultures. On the other hand, the subjective culture, “culture writ small” with a small “c” (p. 2)

can generate competence, because subjective culture refers to the psychological features such as

the patterns of beliefs and acts and values of people. Edward T. Hall (1989) was a pioneer in

identifying different communication methods in different cultures. He developed the concept of

‘high context communication’ and ‘low context communication,’ for understanding behaviors

across cultures. In high context cultures such as South Korea, Japan, and China, a few words go

a long way. Full meaning is found in the broader context in which the communication occurs. In

contrast, in low context cultures such as the US, German, and the UK, lots of words are needed

to communicate meanings clearly as the context or situation is not as ‘meaning rich.’

A broad understanding of the importance of the cultural dimension in society had been

further expanded and explored in detail by G. Hofstede (2001). He developed value indexes—

measures of traits that appear in cultures. These are outlined in the table below. According to

Hofstede, each index can be regarded as a continuum. Organizations and societies can be placed

along each index. Given that all individuals exhibit various degrees of their own cultures,

categorizing people based on dimensional models and then assuming people’s ways of

communicating is oversimplification. Hall and Hofstede’s distinctions contribute to

understanding and handling the complex reality of our social world (Hofstede, 2011).

Power Distance Index (PDI)

High Power Low Power

• Concentrated power • Dispersed power

• Authority clear • Authority less clear
Individualism vs. Collectivism Index (IDV)
Individualism Collectivism
• Loose family ties • Strong, extended family ties
• Loose Loyalty to group • Strong Loyalty to Familial Group
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)
High UAI Low UAI
• Strict Codes of Behavior • Less Structure
• Rigid Outlooks • Acceptance of Differences of Views
Masculinity vs. Femininity (MAS)
High Masculinity High Femininity
• Achievement Orientation • Empathy, Care for Others
• Assertiveness, Heroism • Modesty, Cooperation
Long-Term Orientation vs. Short Term Orientation (LTO)
High LTO High STO
• Adaptive Problem Solving • Past Oriented, Tradition
Hofestede’s Cultural Dimensions (2001)

5.2. Historical overview on IC and ICC

5.2.1. Intercultural competence

Since the 1950s, many scholars from various fields such as business, engineering, health

care, religious organization, tourism, policing, military and education have attempted to

conceptualize the tenets of intercultural competence (IC). They have also explored the

components of IC and tried to find out effective ways of measuring IC. Beyond a pre-

paradigmatic era (before 1950) of the field of intercultural communication, Edward T. Hall

(1959) who concluded “Culture is communication and communication is culture” (p. 186)

emphasized the impact of hidden cultures on human beings’ communicative interactions. Hence,

in the United States, the term ‘intercultural communication’ was conceptualized and introduced

through Hall’s (1959) important book, The Silent Language. During the Cold War era, the US

ambassadors to allies such as France and Italy could not speak in the national language of the

countries where they were designated, whereas 90 percent of all Russian diplomatic staff were

able to communicate with the national people in their indigenous language (Rogers, Hart, &

Miike, 2002). As a result, the US government felt the necessity of training political

representatives to become interculturally competent so that they could play a crucial role in

solidifying diplomatic relations. Hence, a number of scholars studied regarding intercultural

competence, intercultural effectiveness, and intercultural adaptation (as cited in Deardorff,

2009). According to scholarly and practical objectives, experts have been conceptualizing IC in

diverse ways, using various terminologies.

5.2.2. Intercultural communicative competence

Although the academic areas—language education and intercultural competence are quite

overlapped with each other, some interculturalists leave language concerns to experts of the

linguistic field. Given the essential role of an individual’s linguistic proficiency in

communicating, it is a fallacy to discuss successful education of intercultural competence with

the exclusion of language issues. Therefore, we should rethink how to educate interculturality for

people by means of establishing education goals for an individual to understand others and be

understood by others linguistically as well as to develop intercultural competence comprised of

knowledge, attitudes, and skills.

In the field of language education where ‘linguistic’ aspects of communicating was

generally focused on ‘communicative competence’ in which cultural components were

considered emerged and began to develop in parallel with ‘intercultural communication.’

However, although Hymes’ (1972) sociolinguistic competence and Stern’s (1983) socio-cultural

competence were introduced to the language education field, “the link with the cultural sphere

has been lost because … language teaching has been influenced above all by speech act theory

and discourse analysis, where the linguistic predominates” (Byram, 1997, p. 9). Moreover,

scholars did not address socio-cultural components as thoroughly as the sociolinguistic until “a

framework of reference for language learning and teaching introduced a more nuanced vision”

(as cited in Byram, 1997, p. 8). Actually, observed were “fluent fools” (Bennett, 1997, p.16-21),

namely “individuals … who are fluent in other languages, perhaps dilettantes intrigued by

linguistic systems, without knowledge of the cultures they represent. … also individuals who

have entered other cultures to varying degrees without host language knowledge” (Fantini, 2012,

p. 269). Lusting & Koester (1996) argued that in order to make intercultural communication

occur more effectively, interlocutors should be equipped with intercultural competence. It was

because there was “the crucial link” between culture and communication (p. 27). In 1997, Byram

developed his intercultural communicative competence model, influenced by van Ek’s (1986)

communicative competence model comprised with six competences: linguistic, sociolinguistic,

discourse, strategic, socio-cultural, and social competence, emphasizing personal and social

development as well as communication skills of learners.

5.3. Conceptualization of IC/ICC

In terms of the concept, models and frameworks of IC and ICC, many researchers have

not actually differentiated between IC and ICC. In order to avoid confusion, I will use the

terminologies that scholars adapted in their studies. Commented [RF6]: However, in world languages, the two
terms do have specific understandings related to languistic
competence reached in the target language as well as
Spitzberg & Cupach (1984) and Kim (1991) explained the conceptualization of human intercultural competence that also means the same thing as
other researchers use for IC.
competence—motivation (affective, emotion), knowledge (cognitive), skills (behavioral,

actional) (Deardorff, 2009) to include context. Kim (1991) suggested that intercultural

competence as a concept “must be anchored with a person as his or her capacity to manage the

varied contexts of the intercultural encounter regardless of the specific cultures involved” (as

cited in Tylor, 1994). In the intercultural contexts, cultural disequilibrium occurs, and the

phenomenon is the catalyst of the IC developing process (Tylor, 1994). Tylor (1994)

conceptualized IC as a transformative process in which individuals could learn ways to deal with

cultural disparities through activating cognitive orientations, learning strategies, and evolving

intercultural identity. Chen and Starosta (1996) mentioned that IC was useful in developing “an

awareness of cultural dynamics” and discerning “multiple identities in order to maintain a state

of multicultural coexistence” (p. 364). In addition, Chen and Starosta (1997) considered

intercultural competence as a behavioral aspect for effective intercultural interaction. Based on

their argument, to interact with others in an effective manner people need intercultural

awareness (cognitive), intercultural sensitivity (affective), and intercultural competence

(behavioral) (Chen & Starosta, 1997). According to Byram (1997), intercultural

(communicative) competence is comprised of five savoirs; Savoir (knowledge), Savoir-etre

(curious and opened attitudes), Savoir-comprendre (skills of interpreting and relating), Savoir-

apprendre/faire (skills of discovery and interaction) and Savoir s’engager (critical awareness).

Byram (1997) emphasized appropriate language using as communication interlocutors negotiated

linguistic and cultural differences. Even though over 50 years, many scholars were interested in

IC, attempting to define the term intercultural competence, but they could not reach a consensus

on a single definition (Deardorff, 2006). However, in terms of the commonalities between

various definitions, a majority of theorists recognize that intercultural competence is related to

four dimensions: knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors (Perry et al., 2011).

In 2006, Darla K. Deardorff produced a meaningful Delphi study. She sought to

determine a definition and appropriate measurement tools of IC based on the agreement of


intercultural scholars. Deardorff developed a consensus by a panel of prominent intercultural

experts with regard to a definition and components of IC. Through the Delphi process, the top-

rated definition of IC was “the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in

intercultural situations based on one’s intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes” (Deardorff,

2004, p. 194). When it comes to common elements of IC, there are three components that

highlight the underlying importance of cultural awareness, not only one’s own but also others’

cultures; “awareness, valuing and understanding of cultural differences; experiencing other

cultures; and self-awareness of one’s own culture” (Deardorff, 2006, p. 247).

5.4. Models of IC/ICC

After categorizing based on similarities among various models, Spitzberg and Changon

(2009) provided five types of intercultural competence; compositional, co-orienctational,

developmental, adaptational, and causal path process. Among the five models, I would like to

investigate three models—Compositional, Co-orientational, and Developmental models that

would be useful as I explore intercultural competence of my future participants.

5.4.1. Compositional model of IC

Compositional models hypothesize the components of IC without identifying the

relations among those components. The models represent the inventory of relevant

characteristics and abilities supposed to be competent in interaction between communicators.

Deardorff’s pyramid model. Deardorff (2006) sought to gain intercultural scholars’ consensus

on a definition and components of IC by employing the reiterative grounded-theory method—

Delphi methodology. As one of findings of the inductive study, the researcher was able to

develop a compositional model of IC, relying on the conceptual perspectives and theories of the

experts who participated in this study. Deardorff pyramid model eliminates long fragmented list

through placing factors of IC within a framework that can be approached from various levels, but

in which having components of the lower levels is the premise to reach to the higher levels;

attitude is a primary starting point (Byram, 1997). The model lists not only fundamental

elements, but implicit ordering of them; knowledge and skills follow attitudinal dispositions and

effective and appropriate behaviors in intercultural situations are considered as consequences of

achieving knowledge, skills and attitudes (Spitzberg & Changon, 2009).

Deardorff’s Pyramid Model of Intercultural Competence (2006)

5.4.2. Developmental model of IC


Developmental models serve the evolutionary nature of interaction and relationship,

which means intercultural competence evolve over time individually and relationally (Spitzberg

& Changon, 2009).

Bennett’s developmental model. M. Bennett (1993) conceptualized a developmental model of

intercultural competence. The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) is used

as a framework for understanding cognitive development, not attitudes and behavior, that

learners come to experience in intercultural situations. Teachers should carefully reflect on their

perspectives to detect if unintentional and subtle prejudice are promoted in their classes. DIMS

could be an effective tool to understand a teachers’ world view, because through the DMIS

stages, the level of cultural competency and sensitivity among teachers could be measured (van

Hook, 2000). The assumption underlying the model of DMIS is that as the experiences of

cultural disparities become more sophisticated, one’s intercultural competence increases. In the

DMIS model, there are total six stages along the continuum of intercultural sensitivity. The first

three stages, denial, defense, and minimization, are ethnocentric. People who are dominated by

ethnocentrism consider their own cultures as a center, so they tend to interpret phenomena based

on their own cultures. The rest three stages, acceptance, adaptation, and integration, are

ethnorelative. People who are oriented to ethnorelativism are inclined to understand their own

culture as it relates to other cultures and their behaviors are context-bound.


Bennett’s Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (1993)

5.4.3. Co-orientational model of IC

Even before Bennett’s work, McLeod and Chaffee were exploring a co-orientational

model of IC. Their co-orientation model was developed in order to identify the nature of the

relationships between stakeholders in the process of communication. At the heart of the model,

the question was: what place did mental process and the role of cognition occupy? So as to make

any communication process be effective, interactions must be oriented appropriately, which

means the central focus is placed not on the message itself between a sender and a receiver but

rather on more fundamental aspect of communication—finding problems and understanding

problems (Simcic Brønn & Brønn, 2003). Due to the relevance of comprehension outcomes of

interactional process with the cognate concept ‘co-orientation’, it is natural that co-orientation

drew attention from scholars in the intercultural competence area.

Byram’s intercultural communicative competence model. An inspiring model that includes

commonalities with co-orientational models had been developed by Byram and his colleagues

(Byram, 1997, 2003; Byram et al., 2001). Byram paid attention to interactions between both

interlocutors who have different “social identities” (Byram, 1997, p. 32). He asserted that

successful interaction could be judged by the effectiveness of information exchange and by the

maintenance of human relationship. In addition, unlike other types of models that are primarily

concerned with psychological characteristics, the researcher argued that the ‘intercultural

speaker’ (Byram, 2008, p. 57) needs both intercultural competence and linguist/communicative

competence. According to Byram (1997), intercultural communicative competence is comprised

of five savoirs; Savoir (knowledge), Savoir-etre (curious and opened attitudes), Savoir-

comprendre (skills of interpreting and relating), Savoir-apprendre/faire (skills of discovery and

interaction) and Savoir s’engager (critical cultural awareness/political education).

Byram’s Factors in Intercultural communication (1997)

Byram (1997) placed an emphasis on open and curious attitudes (Savoir-etre) toward Commented [RF7]: Oh, and you should definitely mention
that Byram's work is largely in the domain of WL education.
This is important, I think.
others’ meanings, beliefs, and behaviors under conditions free from any types of pre- Looking at these various models both historically and by
discipline -- this makes an interesting study from varying
assumptions, no matter those are positive or negative, which could hinder mutual understanding. perspectives. :-)

When it comes to knowledge (Savoir), there are two broad categories: “knowledge about social

groups and their cultures in one’s own country, and similar knowledge of the interlocutor’s

country on the one hand; knowledge of the processes of interaction at individual and societal

levels, on the other hand” (p. 35). With respect to the first category of knowledge, it is acquired

through both formal and informal process of socialization. The declarative knowledge should be

complemented by the second category of knowledge—procedural knowledge of how to act in

specific contexts. The skills of interpreting and relating (Savoir-comprendre) are abilities to

identify ethnocentric perspectives in a document and notice in which areas interlocutors

misunderstand each other due to their ethnocentrism. The skills of discovery and interaction

(Savoir-apprendre/faire) enable people to acquire new knowledge of a culture and to operate

knowledge, attitude, and skills so that they are able to interact with those whose culture is

unfamiliar in complex ways. Lastly, Savoir s’engager is ability to evaluate documents and events

in ones’ own and other cultures critically and to mediate in intercultural exchanges in accordance

with explicit criteria.

By virtue of identifying the distinctions between ‘being bicultural’ and ‘being

intercultural’, Byram (2003) contributed to build more precise intercultural competence model.

Bicultural speakers are like to experience two cultures in possession of knowledge, skills, and

attitudes to facilitate effective and appropriate interaction in both cultures. Yet, the person can

“experience conflict and a sense of not knowing where he/she belonged” (Byram, 2003, p. 55).

Whereas, intercultural speakers are more effective mediator between two cultures, because they

are able to negotiate the values of different cultures. In terms of their identity, they are flexible so

that they are able to combine aspects of various cultures in performance. The best intercultural

mediators/speakers are those who are able to understand the relationship “between their own

language and language varieties and their own culture and cultures of different social groups in

their society, on the one hand, and the language (varieties) and culture(s) of others, between

(inter) which they find themselves acting as mediators” (Byram, 2003, p. 61).

Byram’s Intercultural Communicative Competence Model (2003) Critical consideration of ‘native-likeness’

In the foreign language education field, by taking consideration of the native speaker as

model for the learner, there was a tendency to imply that the power in social interaction was

placed in the hands of the native speaker. There was a noticeable premise in van Ek’s (1986)

linguistic and sociolinguistic competences of the model of ‘communicative ability’ (p. 35) and

Byram criticized it. It was that the native speaker was a model for the learners. van Ek asserted

that learners should have used ‘in accordance with the rules of the language concerned,’ and their

utterances should ‘bear their conventional meaning’ (Byram, 1997). Moreover, the scholar failed

to address different language learning environments and conditions between the native speaker

and the nonnative speaker. In both cases, the language that the educated native speaker used was

regarded as a standard and the one that the learners was regarded as incomplete. Another reason

why van Ek’s model was criticized was that the six competences implied that “a learner should

be linguistically schizophrenic, abandoning one language in order to blend into another linguistic

environment, becoming accepted as a native speaker by other native speakers” (Byram, 1997, p.

11). Kramsch (1993) made an important point that according to van Ek’s approach, the native

speakers engage in social interactions with power, upholding the learners’ rights to use a foreign

language for their own purposes. Byram (1997) addressed two kinds of misconceptions that were

interruptive in developing ‘communicative competence’ in FLT classrooms: bilinguals can speak

two languages perfectly at the level of native speakers, and the learner should separate from

one’s own culture and acquire a native sociocultural competence and a new sociocultural

identity. In addition to that, he concluded that the more desirable outcome of communicative

competence in FLT is:

… a learner with the ability to see and manage the relationships between themselves and their
own cultural beliefs, behaviors and meanings, as expressed in a foreign language, and those of
their interlocutors, expressed in the same language—or even a combination of languages—which
may be the interlocutors’ native language, or not (p. 12).
Furthermore, Byram coined the term ‘intercultural speakers,’ referring those who were in a

position as a ‘complete’ individual, not ‘almost’ a native speaker.

30 Post-colonial perspective on English

English is regarded as a major language that all the world uses in the international

communication context such as international business, education, and multinational conferences

and events. Given the prominent role of English in all areas of human activity and the fact that

acquiring various level of English competence is considered now a life skill and a way toward

future success, it is understandable and predictable that English is now taught as a second or

foreign language in most countries around the world.

Due to the power of the culture which English-speaking people possess, the dominance of

English has been observed in different areas, which has been constructed over a long period of

time. Donaldo Macedo (2000) debunked the value of the English Only movement by uncovering

the implicit assumption that English was a superior language and argued that the movement

might be considered as a form of language-based racism in a class society. Macedo (2000) said,

“the attempt to institute proper and effective methods of educating non-English speaking

students cannot be reduced simply to issues of language but rest on a full understanding of the

ideological elements that generate and sustain linguistic, cultural, and racial discrimination,

which represent, in my view, vestiges of a colonial legacy in our democracy” (p. 16). As the

global language, English is no longer only for people who live in English-speaking countries,

which occupy the Inner Circle of Kachuru’s (1992) three-circle model; rather, it is an

international language used for communication between people from various languages and

cultures (Crystal, 1997; McArthur, 2003; Pennycook, 2017; Trudgill & Hannah, 2017). Commented [RF8]: Right. and by many as a "lingua
franca" (Grinshaw)
Post-colonial perspectives on language might impede teachers’ professional development Commented [RF9]: EVentually, for your proposal, you
might define the role of English in Colonialism, and then it
will make more contextual sense to proceed ahead and
of IC. Which English should we teach in our classes? How can teachers guide students to have address English in a post-colonial society

their second language—English—without any feeling of suppression of non-English-speaking


cultures? In what way should teachers increase their students’ cultural awareness so as to let

them be effective communicators in international/intercultural settings? McKay (2002)

suggested rethinking goals and perspectives of teaching English as an international language,

mentioning “the teaching and learning of an international language must be based on an entirely

different set of assumptions than the teaching and learning of any other second or foreign

language” (p. 1). The author claimed that once a language is internationalized, the language is

“no longer linked to a single culture or nation but serves both global and local needs as a

language of wider communication” (p. 24). Macedo (2000) warned that if people’s mindsets are

held hostage by the neocolonialist language, they are likely to lose their own languages and

cultures, and it could be related to the matter of losing dignity. In this sense, it would be an

effective way to gauge their IC to explore to what extent EL teachers are aware of linguistic

imperialism and in what way they analyze and modify the text book based on critical


6. Critical social justice approach to IC

6.1. Cultural studies concept of culture

Focusing on the political dynamics of culture, an academic field—cultural studies

analyzes contemporary culture. Cultural studies researchers are in general interested in ways how

cultural practices are related to the system of power. In this sense, the field of cultural studies is

distinct from the discipline of cultural anthropology. Traditional anthropologists view cultures as

systems of shared meanings and sets of discrete and stable entities. A cultural anthropologist,

Geertz (1973) defined culture as “an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in

symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in a symbolic form by means of which

men communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge about attitudes towards life” (p. 89).

Challenging the positivists’ objective approaches, scholars of cultural studies such as

Grossberg et al. (1992) consider culture as a site of contestation where meanings were constantly

negotiated. They more focuses on the relations of power and the context where cultural practices

are situated historically and politically in understanding culture (Sorrells, 2015). In this sense, it

is clear that the perspective of cultural studies originated in Marxist theories of class struggle and

exploitation. Sorrells points out “through a cultural studies lens, then, the notions of culture shifts

from an expression of local communal lives to a view of culture as an apparatus of power within

a larger system of domination” (p. 6). Byram (1997) assents to the interactionist—Christensen

(1994)’s viewpoint in which the ‘pattern of meanings’ is likely to be that of the dominant group

and the culture is too static to allow for the negotiation within social groups. Christensen

counters the representation of a society’s culture, because a dominant group probably possesses

the culture and makes others believe that it is ‘national’ despite the fact that only a limited group

of people can access to the culture called ‘national.’

To sum up, the insightful interpretation of cultural studies encourages individuals to

tackle the given knowledge on culture and be agents for constructing cultural knowledge within

their subjective contexts. Researchers of cultural studies argues that cultural meanings are not

necessarily shared and determined, rather the meanings continue to be challenged, negotiated and

changed at micro-level, individuals in a society. It results in finding the cultural uniqueness of

each individual person out of various stereotypes generated from grouping people by age,

gender, class, and ethnicity.

6.1.1. Critical understanding of ‘interculturality’


People are able to build relations between different cultures through processes of

interaction, namely interculturality. Recently there is the trend that many researchers look at the

notion of ‘interculturality’ through a critical perspective.

With a totalizing perspective, multiculturalists tend to prioritize group culture rather than

individual one. Hofstede’s ‘macro-level laws’ (Hofstede, 2001, p. 28) provides the precise

behavioral formulae for how to interact with people from specific cultural groups. If observed

was the behavior which goes against national stereotypes, Hofstedians—cultural essentialists

frames it as an exceptional case (Holliday 2011). However, the sociologist, de Singly argued that

“imposing an identity in relations to a culture or a nation represent an abuse of power” within a

form of ‘totalitarism’ (as cited in Dervin & Hahl, 2015).

There is a sustained criticism on cultural essentialism. Kumaravadivelu (2008) criticizes

the social phenomenon of simply treating individuals as discrete members of a community, not

as beings possessing multiple identities, belongings, and loyalties. The theorist also mentioned

that “the deceptive nature of various forms of cultural pluralism (a.k.a. multiculturalism) can best

be understood in terms of exclusivity, superficiality, and inequality” (p. 108). In addition,

Holliday (2011) and Pillar (2017) contradict the pervasive notion of banal nationalism that treats

the nation as the basis of culture in intercultural dialogue. Especially Pillar expresses his concern

on monolithic and essentialist views of the nation as the foundation of one’s own cultural

identity. The researcher said that “we are never just members of a nation but perform many other

identities, too, simultaneously and at different points in our lives” (p. 63). In the censorious

viewpoint, each individual belongs to various cultural groups contemporaneously and negotiates

identities in mutually respectful relationships with others. Similarly, Hahl et al. (2015)

emphasize that there is also cultural diversity within an individual as well as between people who

belong to the same cultural groups. They warned against using the concept of national culture as

an alibi for not analyzing hidden aspects of culture and tolerating cultural ambiguity.

Furthermore, according to the scholars, there is an ironic situation to ‘respect’ someone’s culture,

overlooking the person’s pattern of behavior and system of value.

6.2. Re-conceptualization of IC/ICC

6.2.1. Critical attention to ‘intercultural’

An increasing number of scholars who are in the field of IC/ICC are posing questions on

the positivistic approach to social interactions. Positivists tend to understand ‘communication’ as

a process of exchanging information or knowledge, which could be comprehended objectively.

The modern, unlike post-modern, idea deceives people into accumulating knowledge of target

language and culture, and honing skills of translating between the target and native languages

and cultures in order to become interculturally competent (Shi-xu, 2001). However, that is overly

simplifying the complicated phenomena of miscommunications or misunderstandings that occur

in intercultural communications. Shi-xu (2001) argues that communication is a “joint social

activity that is embedded in broader cultural and historical and by implication unequal power

context” (p. 280). According to this scholar, a communication breakdown is not totally attributed

to the lack of relevant knowledge and skills; rather, it is closely related to the existing unequal

power relations. It is because “intercultural communication does not take place in a power

vacuum” (Shi-xu, 2001, p. 286). Intercultural communication is a social practice through which

individuals construct and find meanings. These meanings are dependent historical and political

“background context”, rather than “foreground expression” (Shi-xu, 2001, p. 285). Hence, the

theorist inspires people to consider the power dynamic between interlocutors and to challenge

the current discourse of discrimination and exclusion so that they can embrace themes of social

justice and equality. In this respect, Dervin & Hahl. (2015) define IC as a “critical ability to

question the implicit and explicit assumptions behind cultural claims and the power dynamics

that they may be concealing” (p. 98).

6.3. Critical social justice model of IC

Sorrells (2015) introduces intercultural praxis in her book, Intercultural communication:

Globalization and social justice. The praxis, which is constituted within six interrelated points of

entry, presents a process of critical and reflective thinking and acting. The author developed the

framework expecting all stakeholders of communications to navigate the complicated and

challenging intercultural spaces. The purpose of engaging in the intercultural praxis is to raise

cultural awareness and critical analysis, and increase the sense of social responsibilities with

regard to intercultural interactions. The theoretical framework is not only about intercultural

communication per se, but practical ways of “being, thinking, analyzing, reflecting and acting”

(p. 15).

6.3.1.Intercultural praxis

There are six interrelated ports in the intercultural praxis: inquiry, framing, positioning,

dialogue, reflection, and action. Inquiry is a port of entry for intercultural praxis. It refers to a

willingness to know, to ask, and to learn. An individual who has a curious inquiry about culture

is willing to engage with others from different cultural backgrounds. While it sounds simple, the

inquiry of this praxis urges people to take risks in challenging their own cultural norms and being

tackled about their own cultural values by others. By virtue of embracing a curious inquiry

toward cultural differences and a willingness to suspend any types of judgement on other

cultures, people are able to step through one of the doors of entry into intercultural praxis. In

terms of framing, it connotes a person’s view of him/herself, others, and the world. The frames

tend to constrain a person’s flexibility so that they take a rigid attitude toward the different

cultures of conversation partners. Hence, Sorrells (2015) argues that we need to be aware of the

frames of reference from which we view and experience the world. Another important aspect of

framing is being aware of the local and global contexts that influence intercultural interactions.

Interlocutors should have capabilities to narrow and broaden their frames. By doing so, they

could understand the micro-level differences in communication styles and to look at the

interactions within historical/current patterns of inequities between communicators and global

relations of power (Sorrells, 2015). The author summarizes the framing as follow:

As we zoom in and foreground the micro-level of intercultural communication, we need to keep

the wider background frame in mind as it provides the context in which meaning about the
particular is made. Similarly, as we zoom out and look at larger macro-level dimensions, we need
to keep in mind the particular local and situated lived experience of people in their everyday lives
(p. 18).
As another point of entry into intercultural praxis, positioning denotes how geographic

positioning would be related to social and political positions. The globe is stratified based on

culture, race, class, age, gender, nationality, religion, and physical abilities and the hierarchical

categories place us socially, politically, and materially in relations to each other and in relations

to power (Sorrells, 2015). It is important for you to recognize that your positionality might

change based on where you are and with whom you interact. Sorrells (2015) encapsulates the

positioning, mentioning “Positioning, … directs us to interrogate who can speak and who is

silenced; whose language is spoken and whose language trivialized or denied; whose actions

have the power to shape and impact others and whose actions are dismissed, unreported, and

marginalized (p. 18).” When it comes to ‘dialogue,’ the original meaning of it is a stream of

meaning through and between people and dialogue results in new understandings (Bohm, 1996).

Due to the difference in power and positionality, intercultural dialogue entails tensions.

According to Sorrells, “cognizant of differences and the tension that emerge from these

differences, the process of dialogue invites us to … engage with points of view, ways of thinking

and being, and beliefs different from our own” (p. 19). In the intercultural praxis, reflection is a

key feature. Reflection is central to the other points of entry: inquiry, framing, positioning, and

dialogue. Sorrells emphasizes action in order to complete the concept of intercultural praxis. She

argues that critical and reflective understanding ourselves, others, and the world should be

followed by responsible action to make the world more socially just, equitable, and peaceful.

Sorrells’ Intercultural Praxis (2015)


6.3.2. Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence refers to a range of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills

that make intercultural communication successful in an effective and appropriate way. The

model of intercultural praxis which is concerning a way of being in the world, presents a

blueprint for developing intercultural competence. Engaging in the praxis connotes joining

critical and reflective analysis with informed actions for global justice. Sorrells (2015) elaborates

competencies corresponding to the points of entry of the intercultural praxis.

Inquiry is characterized by ‘interrogative’ attitude toward existing knowledge regarded as

true and real. As an intercultural competence, inquiry require motivation to be curious about

others and ourselves. The curious inquiry leads people to step outside of their comfort zones.

Framing, as an intercultural competence, is an ability to be aware of one’s own frames that

influence how to recognize oneself and others and how to interpret phenomenon. Moreover, at

the point of framing in the intercultural praxis, people are required to be flexible to shift their

own perspectives from micro-, situated dimension, to macro-, global dimension of intercultural

communication. Based on the fundamental understanding of hierarchical configurations of

power, people should be cognizant of the positions of communicators. At the positioning phase,

individuals are needed to be prepared to respond to the critical questions: whose behaviors and

communication styles are seen as ‘normal’?, why do you think so?, and who benefits if we

believe and act in accordance with the so-called ‘truth’? In dialogue of intercultural interactions,

it is necessary to extend into unknown territory, continuing probably uncomfortable

conversations. Intercultural dialogue requires an ability to manage ambiguity; individuals should

be open-minded toward ambiguity, anxiety, and tension which arise from cultural differences.

Reflection, in particular self-reflection would be manifested into self-awareness. Self-awareness,


as an aspect of intercultural competence, denotes a consciousness of oneself as a cultural being

whose values, beliefs, and behaviors are formed by one’s own cultures. Lastly, action as a way of

actualizing our increased knowledge is observed in the forms of analyzing and reflecting within

the intercultural praxis framework. Commented [RF10]: So, now, how might you bring this
back to your proposed study and the questions you would
like to investigate?
Which of these frameworks do you think yu will use and

You've done a conprehensive job of examining the field --

bravo - now you are at the point of decision-making. What
are you called to do and how do you think you will
investigate those questions you posed toward the beginning?
How do you think this will be applied to your context of
teachers of English in SK? That will be your conclusion for
your Port III papert and your launching pad for your
proposal :-)


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