Article published in:Language and Intercultural Communication Pedagogies in Australian Higher Education
Edited by Paul J. Moore and Adriana Díaz
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 42:2] 2019
► pp. 192–213
Conceptualizing language, culture and intercultural communication in higher education languages programs
Languages curricula are an important, yet underutilized, site for students’ development of intercultural knowledge, awareness and skills in higher education, though there has been little related empirical research. Given the key role teachers play in student learning, in the context of two Australian universities, this study explores language teaching academics’ perspectives on language, culture and intercultural communication, and how these are reflected in their teaching approaches. As part of a larger needs analysis project into the teaching of languages and intercultural communication, this article reports on semi-structured interviews with ten academic staff engaged in teaching and/or researching languages, and one study abroad coordinator with a language teaching background. Interpretations of the key concepts varied, as did participants’ reported approaches to teaching, from critical to instrumental. Teachers’ interpretations and approaches were influenced by their teaching and learning histories, and while there were a range of approaches to the incorporation of the (inter)cultural in the teaching of languages, this was approached more critically than reported in previous studies. Contextual features which may limit such integration of language and culture are discussed, as is the contribution of languages teachers to students’ development of intercultural competence.
Keywords: language, intercultural communication, higher education, languages programs
Published online: 15 July 2019
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