Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Sedique Popal

Second Advisor

Susan R Katz

Third Advisor

Sarah Capitelli

Abstract

This mixed-method study examines the perceptions of Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) by English teachers in the Preparatory Year (PY) program at King Saudi University. Studies that aim to investigate teachers’ perception of ICC and its implementation in a foreign language classroom are relatively scarce. Additionally, the majority of the studies that generally targeted the concept of ICC in a foreign-language learning context were studies that either relied on online blogs, discussion forums, and chat rooms to allow students to communicate cross-culturally, or examined ICC development during sojourns or study abroad periods in the target country. Relatively fewer studies have addressed the concept of ICC in a classroom context.

The researcher employed a mixed-method study conducted in two phases to investigate the importance of the 10 ICC objectives adapted from the work of Byram (1997) and Fantini and Tirmizi (2006). The quantitative data were collected during the first phase of the research through a survey aiming to identify patterns and trends of teachers’ perceptions of ICC objectives and their relevance to the curriculum content and classroom activities. The qualitative data were collected during the second phase of the research using focus group discussions and class observations.

The main implication of this study for the field of language teaching and learning is that there is a gap between English teachers’ perceptions of ICC objectives and their current practices in the classroom. The fact that ICC objectives are not an explicit part of the current curriculum limits their systematic integration. Additionally, the current study findings call for the introduction of learning strategies that can accelerate the students’ standard academic language learning, one of the ICC objectives that was found to be rather important for the English PY program. The findings also reiterate the need to incorporate other English variations in teacher training sessions. On the other hand, familiarizing students with other English variations will enable them to communicate more effectively and appropriately with the locally expanding Indian and Philippine communities, which would make English learning more relevant for them and more attuned to local demand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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