Linguistics for Intercultural Competence in the Classroom


We argue that adopting a linguistically oriented pedagogical approach following Aygen (2021,2022 a, b,2023, and in progress) in the classroom contributes to fending off linguistic discrimination and provide empirical evidence that a linguistic path to eliminating cultural discrimination also helps improves intercultural competence.

The effect of this linguistic approach as a systematic incorporation of intercultural sensitivity and consciousness raising efforts were tested by using the ISS survey of Bennet (2011). In this study, approximately 445 students were given the ISS at the beginning and end of 8 semesters of an English Grammar course. They were asked to self-evaluate their attitudes toward different cultures using Bennett’s developmental model, which divides stages of intercultural sensitivity into ethnocentric (denial, defense, minimization) and ethno-relative (acceptance, adaptation, integration) categories. In aggregate, students saw a positive unidirectional shift toward more ethno-relative responses: approximately 38% of students showing moderate or high degrees of ethnocentric attitudes moved toward showing little of them, and the same percentage of students exhibiting low levels of ethno-relative attitudes shifted to moderate or high levels.

Combined with our qualitative evaluations and comments from students, we conclude that Aygen’s pedagogical approach adopted in Language classes contributed significantly to consciousness raising, resilience against linguistic discrimination, and overall intercultural performance, which may be considered a major step forward in building intercultural competency. Furthermore, the results suggest the potential for future research into fostering better intercultural communicative performance in students using the descriptive linguistic approach adopted in this study.

Author Information
Zachary Killebrew, Peru State College, United States
Gulsat Aygen, Northern Illinois University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Learning Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon