Networking-Based Strategies of Intercultural Communicative Competence Development Among Kazakhstani University Students

Networking-Based Strategies of Intercultural Communicative Competence Development Among Kazakhstani University Students

Azamat Akbarov (Busan University of Foreign Studies, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8128-4.ch010

Abstract

This chapter presents an empirical study of the intercultural communicative competence of students of Kazakhstani universities. The study results indicate that students should develop their cultural knowledge, intercultural receptivity, communication strategies, intercultural awareness etc. A number of issues related to the formation of intercultural competence in the process of teaching foreign-language communication, taking into account the cultural and mental differences of the native speakers, which is a necessary condition for a successful dialogue of cultures are also discussed. The concept of communicative competence in teaching foreign languages stipulates development of students' knowledge, skills and abilities that enable them to join the ethno-cultural values of the country of the studied language and use the foreign language in situations of intercultural understanding and cognition in practice. Conjunction of such knowledge, skills and abilities constitutes communicative competence. Based on the results of the research, proposals are made for the curriculum and teaching of intercultural communication and methods of developing intercultural communicative competence of students of Kazakhstan universities in a networked environment.
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Introduction

The present study is a theoretical and empirical research of the methods of developing intercultural communicative competence (ICC as abbreviated) for students of Universities of Kazakhstan. This is one of the phased objectives that we managed to address in the framework of the project in Kazakhstan “Development of courses on intercultural communication in a networked environment”. This study is a research of the issue, where we chose the Kazakh National University (KazNU), the most significant and largest university in Almaty city and Kazakhstan, as a key university, and students in KazNU as participants in the study.

Often, IC is defined as communication “between people from different cultures and many scientists limit it to face-to-face communication” (Gudykunst, 2002, p.179). Judging by this definition, the situation in Kazakhstan may be different, as it is probably not always possible for Kazakhstanis to communicate with people from different cultures. Nevertheless, it is important for Kazakhstani people to better understand other cultures.

In growing globalization and integration of the economy, IC is becoming more and more popular. A similar situation is observed in Kazakhstan. Being a place where talents are brought up, universities must inevitably take responsibility for development of students’ ICC. As a result, at present, there is a tendency in universities to conduct a number of courses on IC. The purpose of such courses is development of students’ ICC, which is of primary importance for university teachers and students inside and outside the process of foreign language teaching. In Kazakhstan, the idea of multilingual education and trilingualism was first announced by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2004. In October 2006, at the 12th session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, the President reiterated that knowledge of at least three languages is important for the future of the country. So in 2007, in his address to the people of Kazakhstan, “New Kazakhstan in the New World, Новый Казахстан в новом мире»)” President Nazarbayev proposed a phased implementation of the cultural project “Trilingualism”, which stipulates development of three languages: Kazakh as a state language, Russian as a language of interethnic communication and English as a language of successful integration in global economy: “The world should perceive Kazakhstan as a highly educated country, whose population uses three languages.” At the same time, this initiative emphasizes the importance of educating university students for receptivity and tolerance to cultural differences, easy interaction with such differences, and meeting the growing need for intercultural communication. Therefore, we can conclude that development of students’ ICC is one of the main policies and ultimate goals for teaching English in higher education, which can meet the immediate need for talent in modern society (Akbarov, 2017). It provoked the research interest of teachers in the teaching of the IC.

Research in ICC is of academic and pragmatic interest among many scientists due to the relevance of the subject in today's intellectual society (Arasaratham, 2007b). Historically, Western scientists conducted a lot of research on ICC (Ruben 1976, 1977, 1978, 1989; Kim 1986, 1991; Yum 1988; Collier 1989; Gudykunst1993, 1995; Spitzberg 1997; Fox 1997; Van de Vijver & Leung 1997; Smith 1999; Stephan, Stephan & Gudykunst 1999; Yoshitake 2002; Arasaranam 2007a). Compared with studies in the West, IC studies in Kazakhstan began rather late. However, recently they have seen rapid development. According to incomplete statistics, since the beginning of the 2000’s, more textbooks and academic articles have been published on IC. Despite the abundance of IC research, and although recent research in this area has touched on the development aspect of ICC, no in-depth study of the IC has yet been conducted.

This article analyses the current situation of students in relation to the ICC with the help of literature and empirical research, offers suggestions on how to develop ICC of Kazakhstan students in a clean environment. The subject of the research pertains to the following issues (1): What is the level of current ICC of students at Kazakhstan universities? (2): How to improve the ICC in the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL)?

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