A Study on ESL Teachers’ Intercultural Communication Competence

  •  Yechun Zhang    


Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC) is the absolute necessity for talents in the 21st century. Meanwhile, the development of ICC competence has already become a new teaching concept, which will penetrate in all aspects of language teaching activities. Indeed, to facilitate language learners to develop ICC, language teachers, especially those teaching English as Second Language (ESL), should first be competent intercultural communicators with great confidence and sufficient experience.

The study is undertaken to discover real picture of the ESL teachers’ ICC competence by measuring their individual system, episodic system, and relational system. Most ESL teachers under the test are strong in their individual system in that they are highly proficient in English, and they have a good deposit of cultural and linguistic knowledge in target language. In this case, they are mostly likely to achieve communication effectiveness in intercultural communication. Nevertheless, they don’t have well-built episodic system and relational system. This is largely due to the facts that they haven’t experienced varying intercultural contexts, and the interpersonal relations with foreigners are inclined to be simple. All these factors contribute to ESL teachers’ incompetence in accomplishing different tasks in intercultural communication, as well as in intercultural education. Therefore, ESL teachers should improve their ICC through real intercultural practices. Besides, the study also tests statistical significance between ICC and overseas experience, and the significance between ICC and frequency of contact with foreigners.

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