The widespread access to internet can be considered as a democratizing tool which integrates its users as members of a cosmopolitan community regardless their original country and language. There are different activities which imply the contact among cultures, such as reading newspapers, having contact with friends and family all over the world, buying products online, checking scientific material from different sources, communicating with experts by e-mail, advertising products and services, enrolling in free or paid online courses in different areas, visiting countries for recreational, study or business reasons, etc. All these interactions require the use of language to successed. In some cases, the mother tongue is enough, in others, English is usually the lingua franca. The new generations do not need to experiment the transition from local to global citizens because technology and internet access are part of their everyday life. In this way, the school, and specifically the second language class, becomes an opportunity to foster capacities to interact in this globalized world. Multiculturalism, this is the acceptance of different perspectives on the same issue in a frame of respect, should help students to reinforce their own cultural identity and to learn from others to increase their world knowledge. To be a teacher in this society requires to expand the scope of abilities to be developed in order to include or highlight values and the cultural dimension. What Is Globalization? Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world.
Forming teachers should go beyond a structuralistic perspective, because mastering the system will not guarantee effective teaching practice. English teachers need to view language as a complex concept, which implies different interactive processes which need their mediation. English teachers should have the distiction of these three areas of study clear so as to integrate each dimension in their teaching practice. To be able to design and adapt objectives and materials according to each approach gives us more opportunities to facilitate language learning. These concepts are also important to be coherent and consistent in team work with our peers.
Even though the approach in the National Curriculum is supposed to be the communicative approach, the official programmes and the textbooks disbtributed by Mineduc are mainly based on a view of language as system. Students don’t have enogh opportunies to put their second language into practice. MINEDUC has different ways to reinforce and improve the results of English as part of the national curriculum. Some of these are: Scholarships for prospective teachers to study one semester in an English speaking country. Visits of native speakers to assist teachers and interact with students in schools. Flexible programmes to be used in schools to teach English according to the student’s needs and opportunities. Currently, Chilean students can learn……. Mecesup projects. MINEDUC is sponsoring projects in different universities to find put what is necessary to improve and adapt syllabi, methodologies, trainning and facilities, so as to have effective teaching practices in EFL classrooms.
The grammatical competence is defined as knowledge of lexical items and rules of morphology, syntax, and sentence-grammar semantics, and phonology. The sociolinguistic competence: knowledge of the rules of language use in a specific context. The strategic competence: verbal and non-verbal communication strategies that may be called into action to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to performance variables or insufficient competence. The discoursive competence: knowledge of how to achieve cohesion and coherence in a text. The competence that has prevailed in SLT for a long time is the grammatical competence. Some reasons that I can mention to justify this tendency is the possibility to present second language learning as a group of stable patterns that can be controled by grammatical restrictions; this competence can be evaluated in concrete terms; grammatical constrains allow teachers to have a unified criteria towards language.
They consider that this notion has not been pursued rigurously in any research on communicative competence. They also doubt that any theory of human action that can adequately explicate “ability for use” and support principles of syllabus design intended to reflect this notion. According to Johnson (2001) it is difficult to imagine that nonverbal strategies, for example, represent only an individual’s knowledge and not skills,such as the individual’s ability in drawing or using gestures. The same reservation can apply to the notion of coherence. It is difficult to imagine that the ability to create coherence in a text is only a matter of knowledge and not of skills such as logical thinking. It is not clear how this interaction is conducted in the individual’s mind or how it is implemented in social contexts. It is not clear weather these competences contribute equally to all the outcomes of interaction or weather each competence’s contribution differs depending on the context of interaction.
4. There are more clues to point in the direction of interaction with other interlocutors because, for example, in terms of strategic competence some assistance on the part of the interlocutor is needed.
In this sample we can see that there is a topic and a specific pattern from the system which is expected to be learned by the students. The skills in development correspond to the basic level: decodification, recognition, memory and association. Language is understood as a stable system.
In this exercise, the learners are supposed to applied the specific pattern sudied before. These examples correspond to the grammatical competence, of course.
Regarding reading comprehension skills, the communicative approach concentrates on decofication and topic exploration from a common perspective, this is, the content is usually connected to experiences that are common and meaningful for the second language learner. However, real life interactions contain all kinds of topics. Breakdowns in communication occur because interlocutors are not aware of cultural differences or have not developed strategies to cope with them.
The activity presented by this textbook does not apply strategic competence, because it does not present or put into practice explicitly the internal processes needed by the learner to complete the task, managing personal variables, such as motivation, anxiety, memory exploration and mental organization and environmental variables.
According to Byram (1997) there are two important reasons to criticize the native speaker as a model: The target is impossible because the conditions under which learners and native speakers learn and acquire the language are different. It suggests separation from one’s own culture and the acquisition of a native sociocultural competence, and a new sociocultural identity. It is also important to consider the psychological stress of the ‘culture shock’ involved in this process. Byram (1997) also states that the more
This definition of ICC involves three types of competence: linguistic, sociolinguistic and discursive. When Byram refers to the ability to manage the relationships between the inidividual, he is emphasizing the axiological component that should be present in the process of learning a second language. The ICC does not force the individual to abandom his or her native culture; on the contrary, it is necessary to develop cultural awareness to participate in a respectful communicative exchange. This aspect, helps to manage affective variables that may interfere with second language learning, such as the affective filter.
This diagram allows us to appreciate the intercultural speaker as a multilevel individual. There are internal and external factoris in this model. Teaches play a fundamental role in the presentation of a pedagogic discourse which selects and situates reality. Linguistic, sociolinguistic and discursive competenece (all from the communicative approach) interact in ICC model. Learning is not undestood as an exclusive proceess in the classroom but as part of an experience, specially
When two speakers from different cultures interact, the mutual perceptions of the social identities of the interlocutors is a determining factor in the interaction. It is clear that we cannot describe such an interaction there were two “native speakers” of the language involved, one of whom is a native speaker and the other attempting to be so. The sucess of such interaction can be judged in terms of the effective exchange of information, as has been the tendency in much communicative language teaching, but also in terms of mantainance of human relationships. The latter in particular depends on attitudinal factors, for example the willigness of the interlocutors to expect problems of communication caused by lack of overlap in their respective knowledge of the world and of each other’s country. It may also depend on their willigness to accept at least initially that they will be perceived as a representative of a particular country.
Attitudes: they need to be attitudes of curiosity and openness to analyse meanings and behaviours from the viewpoint of others. Knowledge: about social groups in one’s own country, and similar knowledge of the interlocutor’s country on the one hand, and similar knowledge of the procesess of interaction at individual and societal levels, on the other hand. Skills: Interpret: discover the connotations present in a document. Relate: it may be confined to work on documents to determine the individual’s timescale for interpretation, not constrained by the demands of social interaction. Discovery: it comes into play when the individual has no, or only partial existing knowledge framework. It is the skill of building up specific knkowledge as well as an understanding of the beliefs, meanings and behaviours which are inherent in particular phenomena, whether documents or interactions. Interaction: ability to manage constraints of time and mutual perceptions and attitudes in particular circumstances with specific interlocutors.
It needs to be recognised that the content of educational processes is influenced by the teachers’ views as much as by official syllabuses and coursebooks. The way education is executed in the classroom depends very much on what individual teachers think is appropriate. Hence trying to see what is inside the teachers’ minds seems prerequisite to any steps undertaken in order to implement any necessary changes (or support the existing system).
Carla Chávez Saavedra
Magíster en Lingüística Aplicada
Many opportunities for education and
sustainable human development are being
undermined by the lack of tolerance and
intercultural understanding, upon which
peace is founded.
Language from three perspectives
The communicative approach
The intercultural communicative competence
The intercultural English teacher: a
The concept of growing globalization requires
the development of intercultural citizenship.
It is always necessary to try new ways to engage
students in learning a second language.
Emphasizing the cultural dimension fosters
critical thinking, independent learning and
Currently, most teacher training programmes at
Chilean universities seek to develop
competences from the communicative approach
in their language levels. A globalized world
requires to emphasize the ICC in teacher training
to turn them into intercultural speakers.
There is an interest to reorganize and improve English
teaching trainning programmes at universities.
The results in public schools, in terms of proficiency and
comprehension in EFL, are not satisfactory.
The opportunities to learn and practice English as a second
language in private schools are varied. Students have the
possibility to sit for international certificates such as PET,
FCE, IB or IGCSE. They have contact with international
students in exchange programmes or in sports activities. In
this context the three dimensions of languages are in
integrated, so this scenario provides the necessary
elements to form intercultural speakers.
Canale and Swain (1983) present a four-
component model, which has been the
basis for most second language syllabi
for more than thirty years. The
components of this traditional approach
1. The grammatical competence
2. The sociolinguistic competence
3. The strategic competence
4. The discursive competence
1. It doesn’t consider the ability for using
the language because the authors
consider it beyond the limits of any
theory of human action.
2. However, strategic and discoursive
competence make implicit references
to this ability (Johnson 2001).
3. There is no explanation or identification
of the mechanism responsible for
interaction among the competences.
4. The definition of interaction is ambigual up
to certain point. It is not clear if they refer
to the individual’s mind or the one with the
outside environment or both.
Nowadays, it is necessary to integrate the
development of an appropriate linguistic
competence with the cultural dimension,
forming an intercultural speaker able to
interact in real situations. (Byram 1997)
Most recent theory has stressed that when a
foreign language is used for verbal
communication between living individuals in real
time, linguistic competence is insufficient.
(Byram and Doyé 1999)
It is necessary to consider different ways of
behaving, different beliefs and understanding of
the world when communicating in a second
It is defined as:
“The ability to see and manage the
relationships between themselves and their
own cultural beliefs, behaviours and
meanings, as expressed in a foreign
language, and those of their interlocutors,
expressed in the same language, which may
be the interlocutor’s native language, or
not” Byram (1997)
Develop a sense of national identity.
Integrate linguistic and sociocultural skills.
Widen world knowledge as much as possible.
Develop other perspectives with interest and
Know, investigate and analyse the product
and practices of social groups.
Interpret and relate
Of self and other:
An intercultural English teacher:
Guides learners through the cultural
experience to develop cultural knowing.
Organizes cultural experience joining
cultural content and the learning process.
Helps learners to participate, describe,
interpret and respond to cultural input.
Uses different teaching strategies.
5. Presents or elicits cultural information.
6. Coaches and models cultural behaviors.
7. Guides and conducts research and
8. Listens, emphathizes and shares their
own experiences as culture learners.
9. Is willing to take the time to thoughtfully
design new activities or modify existing
Ability to perform the behaviours effectively,
Ability to select the appropriate forms of
Ability to recall or restate the information
Ability to separate “fact” from their
interpretation or evaluation of that
Ability to understand cultural content (the
target culture, the learner’s culture,
concepts of culture, personal experiences).
Ability to compare cultures.
Awareness of one’s own feelings,
perceptions, beliefs, values and attitudes.
use videos, CD-ROMs or the Internet to illustrate an aspect
of the foreign culture.
ask your pupils to think about what it would like to be like
to live in the foreign culture.
use role-play situations in which people from different
decorate your classroom with posters illustrating
particular aspects of the foreign culture.
ask your pupils to compare an aspect of their own culture
with that aspect in the foreign culture.
talk with your pupils about stereotypes regarding
particular cultures and countries or regarding the
inhabitants of particular countries.
Organize chitchat clubs with native speakers.
Include activities that call for story sharing and personal
Participate in Internet-based collaborative learning.
Encourage students to enroll in volunteer programmes in
different parts of the world.
Celebrate festivals and celebrations from other cultures.
Produce a guidebook, poster or webpage for visitors to
your town, country or region.
Intercultural communicative competence
provides the opportunity to work with the
communicative approach from an interactive
There are many factors that intervene in SLT
(learning environment, learner’s motivation
and affective filter, materials available,
etc); in this way, teachers are called to
promote innovative ideas and new
approaches to help learners to be effective
second language users in the global village.
Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and Assessing
Intercultural Communicative Competence.
Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical
bases of communicative approaches to
second language teaching and testing: