Intercultural Awareness and Language Learning What Do Students Say?


We present the preliminary findings of our qualitative research into the difficulties encountered by different types of foreign language students in a multicultural, multi-identity Higher Education context. In our chapter "Hexagone: not just a Pretty Shape" (Train & Wilks 2017) we assert that “Any learner of a second, third or fourth language in a diverse identity HE setting will not absorb or instinctively question cultural associations made in that “other” language”. We develop this through a series of interviews intended to expand on our quantitative research. We intend to analyse the results using narrative analysis techniques, starting from the idea that “the narrative is also both a story about who and what we identify with (a story about identification) and is also a story about our practices and the practices of others, including wider social practices and how we experience them” (Anthias, 2016). We hope to gain insight into the problem of whether different categories of students can be used to help teachers anticipate learner error, perhaps by identifying those aspects of the experience of moving towards intercultural competency which students of the same category might have in common. Our presentation will show key extracts from the interviews, categorised according to our earlier classification by native language and level of both L1 (English) and L2 (French). These findings will help us to evaluate the categories chosen and to posit learning strategies which could be adopted by teachers to allow smoother progress towards intercultural competency by students of each category.

Author Information
Catherine Wilks, Kingston University, United Kingdom
Susan Train, Kingston University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECLL2017
Stream: Language education

This paper is part of the ECLL2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon