University of Tasmania
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Views and attitudes of staff and students towards the significance of intercultural awareness in foreign language teaching and learning in an Australian university context

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posted on 2023-05-27, 06:38 authored by YanJun WangYanJun Wang
Globalisation is influencing foreign language education at universities worldwide. People now live in an increasingly multicultural world where different cultural practices have blended. Thus, intercultural awareness has now become a vital part of foreign language learning. The aim of the study was to investigate teachers' and students' beliefs and understandings of the significance of intercultural awareness in foreign language teaching and learning in a university context. As the study was situated within the Tasmanian context, it sought to provide contextual information and implications meaningful and appropriate to the local language learning environment. The investigation focused on three areas: generalising the participants' perceptions of the importance of intercultural awareness in general; examining their intercultural experiences, personally and professionally, especially in relation to language teaching and learning; and identifying the factors that influenced the way they teach and learn. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative research approaches for data collection and analysis. It included two phases: questionnaire survey and subsequent interview. The statistical data were analysed using the SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Science) software version 20.0. The textual data collected from the interviews were analysed using the NVivo qualitative data software version 10.0. Thematic analysis was used in the qualitative data analysis. The results of this study indicated strong recognition of the key role that intercultural awareness plays in foreign language teaching and learning. Based on the findings, pedagogical implications and directions for further research were also addressed. The findings suggested that language learners should cultivate intercultural awareness in the process of their language learning as it is considered the major goal of foreign language learning. Meanwhile, teachers' intercultural awareness could influence their language teaching methodology and course design. A paradigm shift from a traditional to an intercultural stance in language education poses a challenge for both language teachers and students if they wish to meet the goals of foreign language education for the global context.


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