Towards Intercultural Literacy of Language Teacher Education in the 21st Century

Towards Intercultural Literacy of Language Teacher Education in the 21st Century

Ping Yang (Western Sydney University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2722-1.ch002

Abstract

In the 21st century, language teacher education faces new challenges to cultivate multiliteracy in culturally diverse classrooms. This chapter focuses on the intercultural literacy language teachers need to develop as part of their teacher education and proposes a new model of intercultural literacy which includes intercultural verbal communication competence, intercultural attitudes, intercultural nonverbal communication competence, and intercultural awareness. These skills will contribute to language teacher education of the 21st century and the teachers' newfound intercultural literacy will help them meet the intercultural challenges and learning needs of culturally diverse students. This raises the question of why language teachers may need intercultural literacy. The four components of the model are described in detail, supported with current research, and illustrated with examples of literacy practices that can be implemented in the classroom.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

The 21st century has witnessed an increasing flow of population from East to West as well as from West to East for the purpose of studying abroad (Barkhuizen, 2017; Sánchez-Hernández & Alcón-Soler, 2019; Tavakoli, 2018; Yang, 2016). For example, the U.S. topped the tally when it hosted 1.09 million international students in 2017 (Zong & Batalove, 2018). The U.K. hosted 458,450 international students in 2017/2018 (UK Council for International Student Affairs, 2019), and Australia had 399,087 international students enrolled at its universities in 2018 (excluding 477,312 international students enrolled in non-university courses) (Australian Government Department of Education and Training, 2018). The released statistics of the international student flow to the East show that China hosted 492,185 international students in the university programs offered in mainland China alone (The Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, 2019), and that Japan reported its intake of 298,980 international students in 2018, a 12% increase from the previous year (Japan Student Services Organization, 2019). Such a massive international student movement between East and West means that many of these students need to study the language of the destination country. It follows that language (e.g., first language and second language) teachers, including pre-service teachers, should develop and upgrade their cultural literacy as part of their education programs, and attend professional development to meet the challenges of the 21st century education.

This chapter aims to conceptualize a new theoretical framework of intercultural literacy and offer relevant tips for language classroom practices as part of language teacher education. It first reviews relevant literature about intercultural literacy and then presents a new model of intercultural literacy. Next, it considers four components of intercultural literacy: 1. intercultural verbal communication competence, 2. intercultural attitudes, 3. intercultural nonverbal communication competence, and 4. intercultural awareness, which are then applied to multilingual classrooms to help teachers optimize instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Intercultural Attitudes: Either positive or negative responses a person has to another person with different cultural identity.

Intercultural Education: The systematically designed courses or training programs with the teaching philosophy to focus on openness and willingness to interact with speakers of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds with mutual understanding and in culturally appropriate manners.

Intercultural Nonverbal Communication Competence: Capacity to develop intercultural knowledge, skills, and intercultural awareness to engage in successful and effective interaction through paralinguistic, kinesic, and proxemics cues with speakers of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Intercultural Verbal Communication Competence: Capacity to develop intercultural knowledge, skills, and intercultural awareness to engage in successful and effective interaction with speakers of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Language Teacher Professional Development: Training sessions and programs designed to improve and upgrade the skills needed by first/second/foreign/additional language teachers in their professional work.

Language Teacher Education: This inclusive concept covers first/second/foreign/additional language courses pursued by pre-service teachers at various levels (e.g., BA, MA, and PhD) for various cohorts (e.g., pre-school, primary, secondary, and post-secondary) and includes professional development training undertaken to meet the current education and professional needs.

Intercultural Awareness: A conscious understanding of the culturally appropriate behaviors and an ability to practice in intercultural communication.

Intercultural Literacy: A person with intercultural literacy has working knowledge, high level of intercultural skills, open-mindedness, and strong intercultural orientation to diverse cultures. The new model proposed in this chapter includes four supporting dimensions of intercultural literacy: intercultural verbal communication competence, intercultural attitudes, intercultural nonverbal communication competence, and intercultural awareness.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset