TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Ankara
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,
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,
Language awareness is defined as the knowledge that
teachers have of the underlying systems of language
that enables them to teach effectively (Thornbury,
Research Questions
How do English language teachers with study abroad experience define
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?
Pseudonyms were used for each participant.
9 language teachers working at TOBB ETU
Erasmus /
Duration of
E- Poland
BA- Linguistics
C- Spain
C- Italy
MA- Linguistics
E- Germany
MA- Translation
C- Sweden
C- Austria
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
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.
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)
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)
Perspectives of teachers on the necessity of
gaining ICC knowledge
A relationship between teaching a language and teaching a
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
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)
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
(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)
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
Student profile: only motivated to pass the exam
In-class activities: mostly teaching grammar, vocabulary and
strategies for the exam, not context-related
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
(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 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.
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.
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!

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