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Working/Operational Definition of ICA

Having given this background, and in reviewing the literature written on ICA

in order to avoid being distracted by the ongoing debates about conceptualization of

the intercultural dimension and its aspects, the subsequent section outlines the central

aspects that were adopted for the operational definition of ICA that served as the

framework for the analysis of the data in this in this study. It is worth mentioning that

it was a challenging task to decide on what components of the intercultural dimension

to include, and what to leave out at the onset of this research study. The main

challenges can be attributed to the dynamic and complex nature of the concept of

culture which is difficult to delimit its scope as it "touches on all aspects of our lives"

(Matsumoto & Yoo, p.257), so is ICA. Yet, at this stage, we felt it was necessary to

delineate the scope of this study by providing a working definition of ICA (the DV in

this study) that we inspired from various former definitions in the literature and

adapted to the characteristics of the aims of this research. As mentioned earlier in this

chapter, existing research has shown that while disagreement still exists on how to

define ICA, a consensus has been felt regarding its fundamental role as a prerequisite

stage for developing ICC and becoming an interculturally competent communicator.

Despite a lack of consensus on the term, it is important to explain which definition the

researcher considered for this study.

Given the fact that no agreed on model of ICA has not been met in the

literature for EFL classroom, following this assumption, our definition of ICAwas

found to match the general theoretical perspective already held by Fantini's (2012)

and Byram's (1997) and also draws on perspectives from the Council of Europe's

concept and platform and earlier definitions of ICA as all of their frameworks were

specifically designed for foreign language learning contexts compared to the other
models. Accordingly, ICA is enhanced through developments in knowledge, skills

and positive attitudes. These dimensions will serve as an analytical tool for this


Stages in Integrating ICA

As has been well documented in the literature, developing understanding of

another culture is a process which involves a series of steps that take the intercultural

learner along a journey of discovery and reflection (Baccin & Pavan, 2014; Byram,

1997). Baccin and Pavan (2014), for instance, suggest that to develop ICA in

language learners, teachers should go through an ongoing process of "... observation,

analysis and comparison" (p.16). Liddicoat (2002b) together with Scarino and

Liddicoat (2013) posit a non-linear, cyclical model to support the development of

intercultural understandings involving interaction, reflection, noticing, and

comparison (Figure 2.1). Our study suggests an innovative way of integrating ICA in

EFL classes which, according to Baccin and Pavan (2014), helps avoid "a static

representation of culture, that of facts and artefacts, and paying special attention to

values and beliefs, social conventions and expectations" (p.16). Therefore, the

approach we developed unfolds along a series of steps designed to introduce learners

to progressively more complex artifacts in order to broaden their scope of inquiry.

This section will detail those steps. Our stand was concurrent with Liddicoat (2002b)

and Scarino and Liddicoat's (2009) existing theory on intercultural language learning

in the context of the language classroom, which suggests a cycle of learning practices

to occur and be facilitated through an interconnected set of activities involving

noticing, comparing, reflecting and interacting. The intercultural framework that

Scarino and Liddicoat (2009, p.23) have proposed and which was adopted in this

thesis involves:
- noticing cultural similarities and differences as they are

made evident through language

- comparing what one has noticed about another language

and culture with what one already knows about other languages and


- reflecting on what one’s experience of linguistic and

cultural diversity means for oneself: how one reacts to diversity, how

one thinks about diversity, how one feels about diversity and how one

will find ways of engaging constructively with diversity

- interacting on the basis of one’s learning and

experiences of diversity in order to create personal meanings about

one’s experiences, communicate those meanings, explore those

meanings and reshape them in response to others.

Input Noticing Reflection

Reflection Noticing Output

Figure 2.1 Stages of ICA (Source: Scarino & Liddicoat, 2009, p.23)

Moreover, as far as reflection is concerned, Scarino (2014) expounded this

intercultural learning step as "a process of making sense or coming to understand,

involves becoming aware of how learners reciprocally interpret knowledge to others

and themselves through their language and culture, and its use with others, and reflect

upon the process" (p. 390).

It is clear from what has been said that one can infer from the aforementioned

definitions that it is not easy to delimit what awareness stands for. Nonetheless, in all

the definitions of ICA stated earlier, it is clear that some agreement surrounds the

concept of ICA. It is an integral part of FL learning (Fenner, 2006). The definition of

ICA that matches the approach taken in this thesis is that put forward by Baccin and

Pavan (2014) and Byram (2002). For that reason, an Inventory of Intercultural

Awareness (IICA) Components Scale was developed by the researcher, guided by a

synthesis of what was generated from a comprehensive review of relevant literature.

For more detail on the (IICA) Components Scale selection and adaptation, see

Chapter Four)

Chapter Summary

In conclusion, this chapter has explored the existing literature, discussing

another complex, multi-layered concept, although still a matter of debate and further

study, interculturality, which set out the academic foundations of this thesis; thus

providing a brief historical overview of the developments in the field of ICC, from LC

to CC and then to the ICC. Ultimately, the Inventory of Intercultural Awareness

Components (IIC) Scale selection and adaptation was reviewed and discussed,

building up to a rationale for the working definition of ICA and the model relevant to

the context within which this study was situated.

The following chapter, Chapter Three, endeavours to perform a similar task

with respect to the literature concerning idioms the objective of which is to generate a

theoretical framework from a review of literature examining the interplay between

idioms and culture.