Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
February 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM in Patterson Hall, Room 448
Advisor: Teresa Dalle
Exploring Teaching Intercultural Communicative Competence among Saudi University EFL Teachers
ABSTRACT: Intercultural communicative competence (ICC) is an essential part of instruction in the diverse English as a Foreign or Second Language classroom (EFL, ESL), but instructors may not have sufficient knowledge, skills, or tools to be able to promote ICC in their classes. The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Education's (MOE) policies on teaching English encourage students to be cross-culturally competent. However, there is observable resistance from students and parents to the notion of teaching the target culture's beliefs, values, and ideologies in classrooms. Consequently, there are discrepancies between the Saudi conservative society and the MoE's policies, which cause EFL teachers to encounter pedagogical challenges. Using Byram's Intercultural Model as a framework, this study explored Saudi EFL teachers' ICC, with a focus on their beliefs about, reported cultural teaching practices of, and impediments to ICC teaching. The study used a mixed methods explanatory design, incorporating a narrative framework. Current Saudi teachers in university EFL classrooms provided 197 survey responses and 11 qualitative interviews. Analysis of the data included descriptive and correlation statistical procedures and descriptive and provisional coding. Findings indicate that teachers have a strong belief in integrating ICC in their teaching. However, their reported classroom practices revealed that ICC was not addressed systematically, and there were restrictions to discussing sensitive topics. Some of objectives within the dimensions of the model were preferred over others. Teachers favored raising awareness of home culture values and beliefs over those of the target culture. The research also identified external (content, hierarchical decision-making, and intergroup dynamics) and internal (conscious and unconscious) impediments to ICC. Implications of this study suggest that enriched teacher training programs, curricular support, and research exploring the pedagogical development of ICC in the context of Saudi Arabia are critical and timely given the country's educational goals.