Investigating The Effect of Attitudes on Learners’ Intercultural Awareness Development
Keywords:Native speaker, intercultural speaker, intercultural communicative competence, intercultural awareness, attitudes, knowledge, universal values, cultural issues.
This article aims at investigating intercultural awareness development among Moroccan high school learners. It focuses on the central role of the ‘attitudes’ component in helping learners get involved in successful intercultural encounters. The study adopts Byram’s (1997) intercultural communicative competence (ICC) as an influential model that has brought intercultural education to the forefront of the teaching-learning process.
Research reveals that the concept of the native speaker as an ideal is no more valid. Instead, targeting intercultural speakers who can interact with the other with no communicative breakdowns should receive a primary goal. Developing the learners’ intercultural awareness has become essential to the success of intercultural encounters among interlocutors belonging to different cultures.
This study employed a mixed-method design. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods, in the form of a questionnaire and program evaluation, were used to gather information. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyze the data quantitively.
The overall findings of attitudes showed unfavourable statistical scores. Universal values and cultural issues activities that are responsible for promoting positive attitudes have been proven to be decontextualised in the textbook high school students use in Morocco. Students are, therefore, unaware of target cultures as almost all teaching activities are language oriented. The results clearly demonstrated that learners have not developed the intercultural component as the teaching approach in Morocco does not target ICC as a primary goal.
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