THE IMPACT OF CROSS-CULTURAL SOJOURN ON LANGUAGE TEACHERS Nurhan TÜTÜNCÜ TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Ankara Betil ERÖZ-TUĞA Middle East Technical University, Ankara Purpose of Study Identifying teachers’ knowledge on ICC & its importance for a language teacher and learner in Turkey The effects of study abroad experience on English teachers’ philosophy, teaching practices, and professional development The personal, social, language-related effects of study abroad on English teachers Investigating possible ways of integrating ICC into language teaching, and possible problems that may arise in the integration progress because of the curriculum, student profile, materials, and activities Background to Study In an attempt to foster ICC governments make substantial investments in study abroad and exchange programs such as Comenius and Erasmus. The objectives of the exchange programs are mainly stated as: gaining personal maturity and independence, Having a better cultural insight, and improving foreign language proficiency (Byram, 2008, p.45). ‘to know them is to love them’ Lack of empirical evidence from Turkey regarding the effects of these programs on the development of ICC and whether teachers can integrate their gained knowledge into their teaching practices. Literature Review-1 ICC is defined as a “global mind-set”, “global learning”, “culture learning”, intercultural effectiveness”, cultural intelligence”, “global intelligence”, “global leadership competence”, “intercultural communication competence” and lastly, of course, “intercultural competence” (Bennett, 2004). In terms of the comprehensive explanation of ICC, Lundgren (2004) makes a clear distinction among “communicative competence”, “cultural competence” and “intercultural competence” and argues that the integration of the three components can result in the achievement of ICC (Lundgren, 2004). Literature Review-2 The aim on the part of language learners is not to become native speakers but to become intercultural speakers, who act as mediators between two cultures, interprets and understands other perspectives (Lundgren, 2004). Empathy, perspective taking and adaptability are the three common themes that can found in Western models of intercultural communication (Deardorff, 2006). Language awareness is defined as the knowledge that teachers have of the underlying systems of language that enables them to teach effectively (Thornbury, 1997). Research Questions How do English language teachers with study abroad experience define ICC? What are the effects of ICC on language teachers’ classroom practices? What are the perspectives of language teachers on the necessity of gaining ICC for a language teacher and a learner in Turkey? Which language skills are seen as the indicators of ICC? What are the roles of curriculum, materials, student profile and in-class activities on ICC development? Participants Pseudonyms were used for each participant. 9 language teachers working at TOBB ETU Participants Erasmus / Comenius Duration of Stay Experience Education Ayşe E- Poland 5-month 2-year BA- Linguistics Betül C- Spain 4-month 2-year BA- ELT Ceren C- UK 9-month 4-year MA- ELT Dilara C- Italy 8-month 6-year MA- ELIT Elif E- UK 10-month 2-year MA- Linguistics Filiz E- Germany 4-month 1-year MA- Translation Gözde C- UK 8-month 3-year MA- ELIT Hülya C- Sweden 10-month 4-year BA- ELT Ismail C- Austria 8-month 4-year MA- ELT Data Collection Instruments Detailed Background Questionnaire Semi-Structured Interview In-Class Observations- Observation Chart Data Analysis SPSS 17.0 packet program for background questionnaires Transcription of the interviews Frequency tables – time spent abroad and the personality traits Open coding to determine general categories Emerging themes to address research questions Analysis of the observation chart Listing the topics, materials, and activities used Differentiating the culture-related items in the list Results Teachers’ definitions of ICC ICC can be defined as an ability, a competence or an experience that one gained by spending time in a multi-cultural society and by communicating with people with different backgrounds. It may not be classified as only using the language; it also includes having knowledge about the cultural differences, being tolerant to them, and lastly understanding the diversities among cultures. Results Teachers’ definitions of ICC so this means between cultures and communicative competence and the ability to communicate well in different cultures.. (Ayşe, Interview, 18 July 2013) It means the ability to communicate with people from other cultures... it is not just a language.. your personality... your tolerance to culture... your knowledge about the culture (Ceren, Interview, 22 July 2013) It is about understanding different cultures and knowing how to communicate effectively and appropriately... knowing how to communicate with people with different backgrounds. (Elif, Interview, 18 July 2013) Results Effects of ICC on teachers’ classroom practices Using anecdotes, telling stories about their experiences Organizing real-life related role-play activities and discussions Warm-ups or as ice-breakers to raise their attention Personalization via telling her experiences as an effective and impressive way they also tried to integrate games as warm ups or as an ice breaker in their courses... it was a lecture based course. I did it in my class... if I see that my students are getting bored, I tried to add game to get their attention back. I also did that. I shared my experiences. I said one time I went there, I did this etc. it also attracted their attention. (Ceren, Interview, 22 July 2013) we were doing some role-plays. I was the person who was organizing this role plays. I was the model... I was expressing how to do these. how to order a food from a restaurant. if you see a doctor, how would you express yourself, like this kind of questions can be asked to you... For example, if you are at an airport, which words are important... I started to use more notional-functional. I started to build my lessons around the topic and these topics are related to real life. (Elif, Interview, 18 July 2013) Results Perspectives of teachers on the necessity of gaining ICC knowledge A relationship between teaching a language and teaching a culture Being competent communicatively means being more effective in teaching Effective use of textbooks Knowing a language means knowing people They should know what is actually going on there Results Perspectives of teachers on the necessity of gaining ICC knowledge I absolutely believe that it is necessary.. because as a language teacher I think that in order to teach English, you should first of all really get into culture and being able to communicate with these cultural features.. you have to know the culture to teach it. And students find, in my opinion, the teachers who know the culture, more successful.. When I enter the classroom and talked about British and American things, European stuff, I am a different person to them... they want to learn the language, because they want to feel different as well. Especially it is important to make the learning process more interesting. (Gözde, Interview, 19 July 2013) yeah.. it is the same thing.. if you wanna use that language, you have to know what is going on.. if you go to another country, you have to know how to behave in particular situation. (Filiz, Interview, 18 July 2013) it depends on the country you are teaching I guess.. because here.. students are coming from the same nationality.. so I don’t think so.. that it must be something that teacher should have.. it can be something that …you might need it when you are teaching in a multicultural class. (Dilara, Interview, 18 July 2013) Results Language skills as indicators of ICC development very first skills is speaking.. and then listening.. because culture is something which conveyed via speaking... if you are good at speaking , then it means you are good at listening.. so they are related to each other. (Dilara Interview, 18 July, 2013) I think you should know certain communicative strategies. you know such as turn-taking. you should know how to nominate a topic. how to start a conversation. how to end it…actually empathy is also quite important... understanding the feelings is important.. you should understand the feelings of the person. (Elif, Interview, 18 July, 2013) all the skills including grammar as well... listening, speaking, all the productive skills. Vocabulary, grammar is also important because it is the term that you should you the language effectively and for that you should know the grammar rules...sub-skills are also important. (Hülya, Interview, 25 July, 2013) it is not only about language skills. can that person take into consideration of differences like not saying something that would offend the other person.. so that person has this discourse skill. (Ismail, Interview, 23 July, 2013) Results Roles of curriculum, materials, student profile and in-class activities on ICC development Curriculum: too limited and restricted, mainly focuses on exam, comprehensive and demanding, no space for teachers Materials: not useful, only some of the topics related to real life Student profile: only motivated to pass the exam In-class activities: mostly teaching grammar, vocabulary and strategies for the exam, not context-related Results Roles of curriculum, materials and in-class activities on ICC development no I don’t think so because the curriculum is focused on ITP... so we are teaching the structure, reading. the materials are not authentic enough to make them… interculturally aware. (Betül, Interview, 23 July 2013) No..they are mostly based on exam.They are mostly about the theoretical part of the language. . we hardly, almost never watch something related to culture but next year there will be foreign teachers.. maybe this may help a bit. (Gözde, Interview, 19 July 2013) I think they are not suitable...they just want to pass TOEFL and that is all. (Hülya, Interview, 25 July 2013) Results Results of classroom observations Only one of the participants used a culture-related material: a video as a warm-up activity before the reading passage MC courses: grammar points of the day via exercises such as fill-in-blanks or rewriting the sentences Teaching vocabulary items: instead of using the words in a meaningful context, the teachers focused on the parts of speeches of each word and their synonyms. Teaching writing: the focus was only to teach how to write a paragraph. The parts in the paragraph and the connectors. Neither the sample sentences nor the topics were chosen from any culture-related aspects. Discussion As it was stated in the literature review, the objectives of exchange programs are to gain personal maturity and independence, to have a cultural insight and lastly to improve foreign language proficiency (Byram, 2008, p.45). In the same way, all of the participants reported positive changes in their personal, social, language and professional developments. Unlike previous studies, which stated that learners may return with stereotypes reinforced, or with more negative impressions (Byram, 2008, p.13), none of the participants returned with negative opinions about the host country. Although most of the teachers were competent enough to integrate cultural and pragmatics use of language into their teachings, the curriculum, student profile, limited materials and resources are reported as problems in the application process. Pedagogical Implications Curriculum should be evaluated to enable teachers to apply their cultural knowledge into their teaching practices. Learning a language should not be equivalent to being able to pass the TOEFL Learners need to realize that they need English to be able to have an effective communication with the people with different backgrounds in an appropriate way. References Bennett, J. M., & Bennett, M. J. (2004). Developing intercultural sensitivity: An integrative approach to global and domestic diversity. In D. Landis, J. M. Bennett, & M. J. Bennett (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural training (3rd ed., pp. 147-165). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Byram, M. (2008). From foreign language education to education for intercultural citizenship : essays and reflections. Buffalo : Multilingual Matters Ltd Deardorff, D. K. (2004). The identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization at institutions of higher education in the United States. (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, North Carolina State University). Lundgren, U. (2004). An intercultural approach to foreign language teaching. Retrieved December 27, 2012, from http://tntee.umu.se. Thornbury, S. (1997). About language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thank you for your attention!