Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence 

Beatrice Dupuy & Linda Waugh (Eds.)
Description: This volume includes twenty papers by intercultural competence scholars from Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, and the United States. Through this publication, they share their research, approaches, strategies, materials, and ideas.

For the table of contents, click here.

Table of Content Abstracts & Articles


Beatrice Dupuy and Linda R. Waugh, University of Arizona

The publication of the 2010 Proceedings of the International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence marks the culmination of more than a year long process involving conference planning, the Call for Papers, formal review of presentation proposals, the very successful conference itself in January and, finally, the preparation of the refereed Conference Proceedings. Much of this work happens behind the scenes and all too often goes unacknowledged. We are especially grateful to the conference planning committee, in particular, Kate Mackay, Ladd Keith, M’Balia Thomas and Catherine Botelho, to the readers who provided valuable feedback during the review process, and to Kristin Helland, Assistant Editor of the Conference Proceedings, for her thorough and detailed editing work. The final scholarly product appearing here owes much to their hard work – thank you all!

This year’s 2010 second International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence: Aiming for the “Third Place” was yet another success, building on our first successful conference in the fall of 2008. In organizing the conference we worked closely with the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT), our Title VI funded sister National Resource Centers at the university, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies, as well as the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona.

We are also grateful to the Arizona Humanities Council and the Center for English as a Second Language for providing funding, as aas the College of Humanities for logistical support. In addition to our internationally known keynote speaker (Claire Kramsch, University of California-Berkeley) and our three distinguished plenary speakers (Vicki Galloway, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jun Liu, University of Arizona; R.S. Zaharna, American University), we had 73 very well received presentations from a variety of research and teaching contexts. Our conference theme, “Aiming for the Third Place”, attracted close to 300 participants. These participants were not only able to listen to the stimulating keynote and plenary addresses by leading figures in SLA and Intercultural Communication but also to the important work being done in the field of intercultural competence by presenters from such countries as Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. For many of the presenters who shared their research, approaches, strategies, materials, and ideas with participants and peers, the Conference is a platform for getting the initial feedback they need to draft their manuscripts for formal publication. It is a very engaging and important process, and we have taken great pleasure in seeing it through to fruition as Proceedings editors.

For the 2010 Proceedings of the International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence, we are pleased to present twenty papers. It is the fine work of our contributing presenters and authors on which the quality of the 2010 Proceedings of the Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence depends. We applaud their collective effort, and thank each author for considering these Proceedings as a venue for further sharing their insights on the important topic of intercultural competence. The third International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence will take place in Tucson on January 26-29, 2012, with a general theme of immersive environments and language learning, including, for example, study abroad, bilingual education, and immersive pedagogies. Further details, including a Call for Papers, will be available on the Center of Educational Resources in Culture, Language, and Literacy (CERCLL) website in Spring 2011.

From Headphones to Hijabs: Cultural and Religious Experiences of Somali Youth in US Schools

Letitia Basford, Hamline University

Using data from a two year qualitative study, this paper examines how East African Muslim immigrant youth experience and become shaped by the environments of U.S. mainstream schools as compared to a culturally specific charter high school. Results from this study reveal that East African Muslim immigrant youth are affected by religious and cultural discrimination in mainstream schools, and that attending a culturally specific charter school actually promotes positive intercultural competence where students are able to build a good self-concept and find comfort in who they are as East African immigrants, as Muslims, and as American citizens. Download the article here.

If Intercultural Competence is the Goal, What are the Materials?

Carol Chapelle, Iowa State University

Language educators argue that foreign language learning in the United States should increase students’ intercultural competence (IC), which will allow them to see relationships among different cultures, mediate across cultures, and critically analyze cultures including their own. Qualitative research investigating students experiences with such cross-cultural conversations in study abroad and Internet collaborations raises questions about how well prepared students are to converse in a manner that is likely to increase their intercultural competence. To begin to explore the quality of cultural content language learners are exposed to, I examined Canadian cultural content of beginning-level French books used in the United States in view of its potential for developing intercultural competence. Findings reveal some examples of potential intercultural competence-building content, particularly pertaining to Quebecois identity and French maintenance in Canada, but also point to missed opportunities. Download the article here.

Case-Based Pedagogy Using Student-Generated Vignettes: A Pre-Service Intercultural Awareness Tool

Amy Cournoyer, Boston University

This qualitative study investigated the effectiveness of case-based pedagogy as an instructional tool aimed at increasing cultural awareness and competence in the preparation of 18 pre-service and in-service students enrolled in an Intercultural Education course. Each participant generated a vignette based on an instructional challenge identified and/or a learning challenge experienced in an intercultural educational setting. The instructor-researcher used the case method approach in the analysis of the 18 student-generated vignettes. Using Shulman’s (1986) conceptual framework of teacher expertise as the target for investigating the effectiveness of case-based pedagogy as a teacher preparation tool, the study sought to identify aspects of teacher knowledge and teacher thinking about intercultural education and praxis that were facilitated via the use of case-based pedagogy. Interviews, video-taped discussions, pre and post-case discussion reflection papers, and critical incident reports were coded. The results of the correlation and case study analyses indicate a strong influence of case-based pedagogy on teacher knowledge of the variety of ways in which culture shapes us all; teacher capacity to relate theories to personal and professional intercultural experiences; teacher understanding of how cultural factors impact educational contexts; and teachers’ abilities to design culturally responsive lessons as well as design curricula that promotes intercultural awareness and competence in multicultural educational settings. Download the article here.

Engage: Equipping Airmen as Global Ambassadors

Felisa Dyrud, University of Arizona

The reality of a modern-day expeditionary military force with goals of establishing security and enabling nation-building in some of the most volatile areas of the world means that effective cross-cultural partnership has never been so crucial. Air Force and Department of Defense leadership at the highest levels has long acknowledged the importance of developing cross-cultural competence in its members, and current efforts by the Air Force Culture and Language Center established in 2006 are moving rapidly closer to that goal, developing distributed learning systems and incorporating cross-cultural training into every level of professional military education. With the high rate of deployment, however, the challenge to ensure that each member is adequately and specifically prepared prior to deployment is monumental. In one approach to meet this challenge, the author and associates have developed ENGAGE, a grassroots experiment in cross-cultural predeployment training, featuring an interactive model which invites attendees to participate in their own learning through dialogue, active illustrations, and actual cultural practices which amount to more of an immersion experience than a briefing. As each participant is engaged, stereotypes begin to break down, and a mentality of respectful, discerning, and creative approaches to cross-cultural interaction develops. Download the article here.

Social Obstacles to Intercultural Competence in America’s Language Classrooms

Bonnie Fonseca-Greber, University of Louisville

In contrast with debates over language pedagogy or aptitude, this paper examines seven societal obstacles which impact the success of classroom language learning and the development of intercultural competence in American language classrooms. These include expectations for teacher preparation, language proficiency and target language use; curricular legitimacy; and school and home language climate. It is argued that these first six obstacles ultimately stem from the seventh: The challenge of sensitizing Americans to the value of seeing the world through the languageculture of another. The paper then discusses implications of this situation and offers potential, preliminary solutions for creating a more effective climate for developing language proficiency and intercultural competence in America’s language classrooms, although it is unlikely that substantive progress can be made without acknowledgment of the role of national linguistic identity. Download the article here.

Migratory Literature: A ‘Third Place’ for Intercultural Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Second Language

Trevor Hay and Yongyang (Catharine) Wang, University of Melbourne, Australia

This paper, drawing upon multidisciplinary studies such as critical and cultural studies, literary criticism, intercultural communication and second language acquisition, suggests a specific literary genre – ‘migratory literature’ – to support intercultural competence for learners of Chinese. We begin by elucidating key terms – ‘migratory,’ ‘discourse,’ and ‘third place’ and then move to an examination of Kramsch’s 1993 view of discourse and narrative, and its uses in teaching ‘orate’ and ‘literate’ modes of writing. We then propose our use of ‘discourse’ as a means of achieving intercultural competence and knowledge in support of the teaching and learning of Chinese. In this paper, we use ‘migratory literature’ to refer to literary works written by Chinese writers who have experience living outside China and by non-Chinese writers with experience living inside China. The term also suggests a habit of mind of writers – and readers – who have not ‘settled’ permanently anywhere but move between worlds. In this way, what we have termed ‘migratory literature’ provides a comparative perspective for viewing Chinese language and culture, and forms a ‘third place’ in which outsiders and insiders are negotiating culture. We introduce a resource list of works in English about China that might be used for this purpose. Download the article here

All cultures are involved in one another; none is single and pure, all are hybrid. (Said, 1993, p. xxix).

Innovative Methods for Promoting and Assessing Intercultural Competence in Higher Education

Gundula Gwenn Hiller, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

This paper presents an intercultural training program that was developed by the Center for Intercultural Learning at the European University Viadrina in cooperation with students. A few of the student-generated activities will be described in detail. The program, aimed at enabling students to acquire intercultural competence, was developed at an international university on the German-Polish border, and with the special situation, needs and experiences of this place in mind. Local students were involved in creating the program by developing methods and exercises based on their own experiences. As the concept of intercultural competence constitutes the theoretical basis of the program, I first introduce the model we worked with. Then, I outline how the students were involved in the program’s development, and I describe some especially innovative methods that arose from the students’ rich experience and creativity. In this context I describe a model for peer assessment of intercultural competence. The methods depicted serve as examples for the methods that were created within the program and as examples for a new approach to classic intercultural methods such as role-plays and Critical Incident Analysis. It is shown that those methods can be used to achieve a holistic learning effect, which corresponds to the complex concept of culture and intercultural competence. Download the article here.

Views and Workshops of a Master’s Class in Intercultural Competence: Mill’s Model of Intercultural Action

Gina Ioannitou, Université du Maine, France

This paper is the result of a participative process in which the students of the Master’s Degree “Didactique des Langues” (foreign language didactics) at Université du Maine (Le Mans, France) explored through whole-class activities the field of intercultural dialog and intercultural competence teaching. Our approach to intercultural teaching offers a new point of view: it places intercultural competence in a wider context. We consider it to be beyond encounter and dialog, beyond professional skills, and instead an intercultural action: living, accepting and creating together. As Byram (2008) emphasizes, the development of intercultural competence has to lead to a critical cultural awareness of oneself as a citizen. My thesis is that teachers and students who work with their own cultural biography, who keep the social dimension in their minds, can through intercultural competence cause changes in society. We will try to prove that a culture of a given society does not consist, as Descombes states, of whatever one has to know or believe in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its members (Descombes, 1995), Rather, this acceptable manner takes on a new perspective in language teaching. Culture influences action not by providing the ultimate values toward which action is oriented, but through the construction of habits, viewpoints, and beliefs from which people construct strategies of action. Mill (1990) suggests that it is important when different ways of living exist, just as it is useful when different opinions are expressed, that different characters should be allowed enough latitude, provided that they do not harm one another. Download the article here.

A Course in Conversation as Cultural Practice

Elizabeth Knutson, U.S. Naval Academy

This paper describes an upper level foreign language course designed to enable students to learn about conversation as both a universal and culture-specific form of talk, and to learn to converse at an advanced level and in culturally appropriate ways with speakers of French from France and Francophone countries. Students explore both universal and culture-specific features of social conversation, such as listening behavior, selection and shifting of topic, interruption, and overlap. In order to improve communicative skills in French, students learn the technique of conversational shadowing (Murphey, 2001) and practice various forms of response in conversational interaction. This work in theory and practice culminates in the planning and carrying out of a “real-world” conversation hour (Kaplan, 1997) hosted by students in the course for a variety of native speakers of French in the undergraduate institution and surrounding community. An important objective is to foster students’ critical reflection about cultural aspects of communication in all languages, including their own. In addition, the course aims to provide the practice and interaction which are indispensable to conversational fluency and culturally appropriate communication in a foreign language. Download the article here.

Evaluation of Cross-Cultural Training Programs for International Students from East Europe

Michaela Kováčová and Stefan Eckert, Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia and International Graduate School Zittau, Germany

This paper presents a comparative evaluation of didactic and experiential training in Germany carried out on a sample of international university students from Eastern Europe. The long-term evaluation was conducted by using a quasi-experimental design with a control group according to Kirkpatrick’s model including three steps: reaction, learning and behavior. Empirical results on the reaction level indicate that the students prefer the learner centered didactic training. Learning effects, measured by a previously unpresented case study showed that the experiential group differed significantly from the control group in the posttest on culture specific knowledge and empathy. They also performed significantly better on culture specific knowledge than in the pretest. On the other hand the didactically trained subjects achieved significant learning progress in their ability to identify sources of problems in cross-cultural encounters, culture specific knowledge, empathy and problem solving ability. A significant contrast to the control group in the posttest was found only in empathy. However behavioral results evaluating the transfer of achieved knowledge and competencies into “daily work” and encounters with foreigners were rather modest. In addition, no special differences between trained and non-trained individuals on the degree of work performance, adjustment and satisfaction during internships abroad were reported in interviews with superiors and the self reports of the students. Download the article here.

Exploring Intercultural Competence in a Victorian Novel

Frank Malgesini, Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Mexico

Although the characters speak English, Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall explores interactions among representatives of different speech communities. The protagonist, Helen Graham, moves through communities differing enough from hers to create misunderstandings. Her difficulties can be clarified through Hymes’ model of the speech community and communicative competence, with speakers separated by cultural assumptions rather than linguistic diversity. Helen sometimes fails to perceive conventions that govern other participants and sometimes refuses to submit to those conventions. She compounds her problems through several interaction strategies, judging others by standards derived from her home community, closing off communication when she encounters unexpected responses, preferring solitude to social interaction and communicating through writing rather than face-to-face encounters. These strategies limit Helen’s integration because she remains unaware of her neighbor’s conventions, inadvertently provoking hostility through unconventional conduct and because she uses her own conventions as standards for judging others. Her avoidance of encounters limits her opportunity to improve interaction skills. Helen’s experiences can help readers gain awareness of how differing expectations and lack of empathy can cause misunderstandings and exacerbate cultural differences. L2 readers may recognize parallels between Helen’s experience and their own, leading to greater awareness of issues involved in intercultural competence. Download the article here.

Reciprocity in Service Learning: Intercultural Competence through SLA Studies

Kara McBride, St. Louis University, USA

Undergraduate students enrolled in a second language acquisition (SLA) course were required to undertake a service-learning project involving teaching or tutoring second language learners. Connected to the community service project, students kept journals in which they reflected on their experiences and connected them with SLA theories discussed in class. Analysis reveals that those undergraduates whose attention remained most fixed on their tutorees’ SLA processes were also the participants who showed the greatest insights into intercultural communication. This paper argues that the subjects whose service learning project was more successful in the ways described above exemplified the role of a participant in what Palmer (1998) calls a community of truth. While other students who experienced less satisfying service learning experiences generally had similar interests and goals as their more successful peers, intercultural connections and deeper understanding of SLA was hindered by the way those students framed their inquiry and reflection. Download the article here.

Taking on Nationalism in the Name of Intercultural Competence

Bryan Meadows, University of Texas, Pan-American, USA

This article focuses on how to teach intercultural communicative competence to learners of English as a foreign language enrolled in a university exchange program in Europe, and help them become ‘intercultural speakers.’ The intercultural speaker can be defined as an intermediary between his or her own culture and the other’s culture. Intercultural competence is a skill to be acquired. Significant elements of this process were identified during a three-year action-research project with students learning English as part of their business degree at Mulhouse University (France). The outcomes of this project were in turn used to design a specific course to prepare Erasmus students for a stay in a European university where they complete a master’s degree in disciplines other than English. The purpose of this course is to improve both the linguistic and cultural adaptation of these students, help them reach greater intercultural awareness and thus become real ‘intercultural speakers.’ In this article, I first discuss the theoretical background of the course. Next, I examine the learning context for which this course was designed and detail the implementation process of the course. Finally, I report on the outcomes of the course. Download the article here.

Making Intercultural Language Learning Visible and Assessable

Robyn Moloney and Lesley Harbon, Macquarie University and University of Sydney, Australia

While languages education (Liddicoat, 2002) is being transformed by intercultural language learning theory, there is little illustration of either how students are achieving intercultural learning or how to assess it. This article reports on a study of high school language students in Sydney, Australia. Its findings make visible student intercultural learning within language study and thus make possible new modes of assessment of this learning. Pedagogical implications arising from this study are discussed. Download the article here.

Images, Discourses, and Representations at the Art Museum

Christelle Palpaceur-Lee, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA

This article focuses on the ways world language teachers individually and collectively negotiate intercultural encounters and symbolic competence while abroad, at the art museum. In this empirical study, I locate, describe and analyze emerging third places by examining the teachers’ discourse, in interaction at the museum. The data consists of a tape-recorded group discussion, participants’ diaries, lesson plans and follow-up interviews. The research methodology adopts an interpretive framework, relying on post-structuralist methods of discourse analysis (Kramsch & Whiteside, 2008). This project is also tied to current research in study abroad and intercultural education (Alred & Byram, 2002; Kramsch, 2008, 2010; Kinginger, 2004, 2008, 2010) and in museum education (Knutson, 2002; Leinhardt & Knutson, 2004). Download the article here.

Developing Intercultural Competence through the Learning Community Model

Susana V. Rivera-Mills, Oregon State University, USA

Learning Communities (LC) represent an alternative model of teaching and learning in higher education that can foster intercultural competence and knowledge. “Some of the distinctive features of LCs are that they are usually smaller than most units on campus, they help overcome the isolation of faculty members from one another and their students, they encourage continuity and integration in the curriculum and they help build a sense of group identity, cohesion and ‘specialness’” (O’Connor 2003). Having integrated a Spanish language LC at our institution we found this model to produce positive academic and affective outcomes. This model engages disaffected second language (L2) learners, helps keep first- and second- year students in school, and helps Latino students feel supported (Trujillo 2009). This paper focuses on how this model additionally helps to develop intercultural competence by describing the implementation of assignments and the interethnic and intraethnic interactions in the course. Download the article here.

Going Beyond Appropriateness

Rachel E. Showstack, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

People who grow up speaking Spanish in Texas often learn a colloquial variety of Spanish at home or in their communities and have limited abilities to move between different registers in different social contexts. As heritage language (HL) learners’ understanding of the value of different language varieties plays an important role in the development of their cultural and linguistic identities, the best methodology for the exploration of register and genre in the HL classroom is a key question that merits further discussion. Research also indicates the need for instruction on discourse, linguistic variation and local uses of the target language in the L2 classroom. In order to address the needs of HL and L2 learners described above, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating to create a database of recordings of authentic conversations between Spanish speakers from Texas. This paper proposes a unit on local uses of Spanish that allows heritage language learners to participate in the development of the database while at the same time exploring and reflecting on language use in local Spanish-speaking communities. Download the article here.

Deconstructing Gender Stereotyping through Literature in L2

Leticia (Goodchild) Yulita, University of East Anglia, Great Britain

While it is generally accepted that literature fosters (inter)cultural learning, few qualitative studies have sought to understand in what ways interculturality is developed. This article investigates the development of Spanish L2 students’ intercultural awareness through the reading of a short story entitled “Norma y Ester” by Argentine writer, Carlos Gamerro, and partially reports on a two-semester action research project funded by the Higher Education Academy LLAS Subject Centre. The study draws its data from final year Spanish Honours Language undergraduates in multicultural classes at a British university, who were exposed to a literary text written in rioplatense1 Spanish. This article describes students’ responses and seeks to identify, describe and explain evidence of intercultural learning in their reactions and contributions through the pedagogies implemented. The results of the study indicate that Gamerro’s story can bring out students’ stereotyping of the remote, and not so remote, Hispanic Other, and provide opportunities for problematising gendered identities and deconstructing fixed essentialised notions of Otherness. Pedagogies for intercultural exploration through literature in L2 educational contexts are now being reconceptualised, therefore this study not only contributes to a growing body of research, but it also represents a slice of students’ development of intercultural learning in flight. Download the article here.

The Associative Perspective of Communication and Relational Communication in the Arab World (Plenary Presentation)

R. S. Zaharna, American University, USA

This paper seeks to contribute to the growing body of literature on the importance of relationship in intercultural communication. The paper explores the diversity that characterizes the people and societies across the Arab world as well as the shared perspective of communication that puts a premium on relations and social context. To explain the significance of relationships, the paper introduces three lenses for viewing communication based on the nature of the relationships among the participants: assertive, associative, and harmonious. The associative perspective, which focuses on relational patterns of pair alliances, is used to highlight features found in the Arabic language, Islam and dominant social norms. Viewed from the associative perspective, relationships are not a tool for facilitating communication between two people or gaining intercultural “competence,” but the core for understanding the process of communication itself. The paper concludes with implications that the associative perspectives have on teaching, student-teacher relations, orientation programs and cultural adjustment of U.S. students abroad. Download the article here.

Preparing an Intercultural Program for University Studies Abroad

Hélène Zumbihl, Université Nancy 2, France

This article focuses on how to teach intercultural communicative competence to learners of English as a foreign language enrolled in a university exchange program in Europe, and help them become ‘intercultural speakers.’ The intercultural speaker can be defined as an intermediary between his or her own culture and the other’s culture. Intercultural competence is a skill to be acquired. Significant elements of this process were identified during a three-year action-research project with students learning English as part of their business degree at Mulhouse University (France). The outcomes of this project were in turn used to design a specific course to prepare Erasmus students for a stay in a European university where they complete a master’s degree in disciplines other than English. The purpose of this course is to improve both the linguistic and cultural adaptation of these students, help them reach greater intercultural awareness and thus become real ‘intercultural speakers.’ In this article, I first discuss the theoretical background of the course. Next, I examine the learning context for which this course was designed and detail the implementation process of the course. Finally, I report on the outcomes of the course. Download the article here.