What do teachers need to knnow

What do ELT professionals need to
know … about intercultural
Michael Byram
University of Durham, England, UK.
[email protected]
Here: ‘professionals = teachers’
Some starting points
Some axioms
What we know teachers know
What teachers need to know
How they get to know …
[Is ELT different?]
What we still need to know
Starting points …
• Intercultural (communicative) competence
– IC = encounters where culture is ‘noticed’ but
language is not
– ICC = ditto where language is noticed
• Competence versus sensitivity
• Competence for diversity classrooms
• Competence to teach competence (in FLT) –
for dialogue not only communication
• Communication (dialogue) = face validity
– For learners and other stakeholders – and
therefore teachers
• Dialogue leading to action
• Language teaching = language (humanistic)
What teachers know …
What we know teachers ‘know’ = believe/opine
• Research on perceptions
• Research on factors affecting perceptions
– Residence/Study ‘abroad’ = in FL country
– Personal ‘stories’ /personal experiences/theories
– Effect of training
• Research on effect of perceptions on practice
– NB not all teachers think ICC is important.
Example from ‘residence’ research
New Zealand – investment in languages - ‘immersion programmes’
• Findings have evidenced positive gains for teachers from the
immersion programmes in terms of knowledge of culture and,
to some extent, development of their own ICC.
• However, the full potential of immersion programmes in this
respect has not been harnessed as well as it might have been.
Participants appeared to be confident and comfortable talking
about the development of their cultural knowledge, but they
were less confident about their understanding of the
relationship between language and culture.
(AUT university 2011: 74)
Residence and competence to teach
While some teachers appeared to be familiar with the
overall aim of ICC in terms of interaction with people of
other cultures, awareness of differences and similarities
and preventing overemphasis on foreignness and
stereotypes (…), understanding was varied and largely
descriptive with no links to explicit ICC theory and research,
nor to iCLT.
(…) while teachers appeared to demonstrate the
subcompetencies relating to willingness to engage and
interact with people of the immersion programme country,
a lack of knowledge of theory and terminology affected
teachers’ ability to identify and reflect on the development
of their own ICC.
Key points
• Development of cultural knowledge
• Not clear about ‘language and culture’
• Knowledge of NZ curriculum aim for ICC – but not theoretical
• Demonstrate their own ICC BUT not able to reflect on it
Other research
• Lazar: teachers interpret the curriculum ‘in a highly
idiosyncratic and intuitive way’
→ indications of training needs - implicit assumptions/ axioms
of researchers
From ‘is’ to ‘ought’ – conceptual
research …
What should be in teacher training?
• Kelly and Grenfell – importance of residence
aboard – remains general
• EPOSTL - ‘can do’ for IC but not
Outcomes and axioms …
• Teachers should ‘believe’ in ICC – as
communication and education
• Teachers should have ICC:
– language competence to level X (CEFR) ; IC to level
???[residence helps and ability for self-analysis (IDI,
AIE …)
– disciplinary/historical knowledge of ICC e.g. of
‘language and culture’ relationship
– pedagogical competence to teach ICC
The use of models …
• To define ICC - components
• To determine component outcomes
• Savoirs model – prescriptive:
– Learners’ competences
– Teachers’ objectives for teaching and assessing
THEREFORE pedagogical competences/subcompetences
Example 1 – savoir être
• ICC includes ‘Savoir être’ involves attitudes of
curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend
disbelief about other cultures and beliefs about
one's own.
• to teach ‘savoir être’:
– designing and implementing teaching and learning
situations where learners are encouraged if not
obliged to become curious, etc
– pedagogical competence to ‘teach curiosity’, and to
assess the learner's success in achieving these
Example 2 – savoir s’engager
• ICC includes Savoir s'engager/critical cultural
awareness is an ability to evaluate, critically and on the
basis of explicit criteria, perspectives practices and
products in one's own and other cultures and
• To teach savoir s’engager:
– design and implement learning situations in which learners
are obliged to decentre from judgements of others’ ways
of living, and reflect on the criteria they are using and why.
AND critique own social groups
– Pedagogical competence to teach decentring, critiquing …
and assess learners’ success
– AND to take ethical position on critique and action
Is ELT different?
ELT as traditional FLT - no difference
ELT as international language /lingua franca
– IC plus language competence still necessary
– Different ‘language and culture’ relationship
• Different/extra knowledge - same theory
• Different ‘residence aboard’
• Different ‘cultural knowledge – not FL country but of
‘another country’ as example
And …. ??
What we still need to know ..
Teachers’ belief in ICC – how do we ‘persuade’?
Teachers’ ICC competence
• What is minimum ICC (language and IC) level
for teaching – how do we describe?
• How do teachers acquire that level?
• How do we assess their IC level?
Teachers’ pedagogical competence
• How do we decide on pedagogical
• How do teachers acquire – and how are they
assessed – what is the minimum?
Instead of a conclusion
The problem of the native speaker
- As a model for language competence
- As a model for ICC
An alternative – ‘intercultural speaker’ =
NS language and IS culture
The problem of the native speaker teacher
– e.g. Japanese ‘native-speakers’
Pros and cons ….
Select bibliography
AUT University (2011) An Evaluation of the Language and Culture Immersion Experiences (LCIE) for Teachers
Programmes: Their Impact on Teachers and their Contribution to Effective Second Language Learning. Ministry of
Education, New Zealand http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/103807/Evaluation-ofLCIE.pdf
Braine, G. (2010) Non-native Speaker English Teachers: Research, Pedagogy and ProfessionalGrowth, New York and
London: Routledge
Byram, M. (2012) Reflecting on teaching ‘culture’ in foreign language education. In: D. Newby (ed.) Insights into
the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages (EPOSTL). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Byram, M. and Risager, K. (1999) Language Teachers, Politics and Cultures. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
Davies, A. (2003) The native speaker. Myth and reality. (2nd ed.) Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Ehrenreich, S., Woodman, G. and Perrefort, M. (eds) (2008) Auslandsaufenthalte in Schule und
Studium:Bestandsaufnahmen aus Forschung und Praxis. München: Waxmann.
EPOSTL (2007) The European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Language Graz: Council of Europe.
Kelchtermans, G.(2009) Who I am in how I teach is the message: self understanding, vulnerability and reflection.
Teachers and Teaching, 15, 257-272.
Kelly, M and Grenfell, M. (2004) European profile for language teacher education. A frame of reference.
Lázár, I. (2011) Teachers’ beliefs about integrating the development of intercultural communicative competence in
language teaching. ForumSprache 5(5), pp.113–127.
Sercu, L. et al. (2005) Foreign language teachers and intercultural competence: an international investigation.
Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

similar documents