Teaching Intercultural
Competence: Case Studies
Gateway 4
Cindy Lee
Contents
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Case I - Elementary School Stage
(1) – (5)
Case II – Secondary School Stage
(1) –(5)
Conclusion
Appendix
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Case I:
Elementary School Stage (1)
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Case:
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An NHK English Learning Program for Japanese
Elementary School Students (age 8-10 years old)
The first series of the program was shown twice a
week in a 15-minute time slot
Objectives:
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To Introduce international understanding as part of
English language education
To develop an awareness of the multicultural and
multilingual nature of the world in elementary children
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Case I:
Elementary School Stage (2)
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Content:
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Each program presents everyday English
expressions and focuses on a key phrase and
function
Stories are presented through a main
Japanese character - Yuji
In the series, a wide variety of cultures, races
and nationalities is deliberately presented by
featuring many other guest characters from all
over the world
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Case I:
Elementary School Stage (3)

Example <Program I – Greeting>:
 In the program, attention is drawn to alternative
forms of greeting (bowing, shaking hands,
hugging) and to the common underlying
significance of these gestures.

This is in response to points which often bother
foreigners greeting Japanese people, details such
as eye contact and ways of shaking hands.
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Case I:
Elementary School Stage (4)

Suggestions:
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Young children have to be taught more
knowledge of world geography in order to
realise where all other guest characters come
from.

Instead of repeating the key phrase to make
an impression on the children, the program
can exploit a even richer source of material for
cultural knowledge.
Cindy Lee
Case I:
Elementary School Stage (5)

Implications:

This series of program helps children to develop positive
attitudes towards and way of thinking about one’s own
and other languages and cultures.

Even though the language proficiency is minimum, the
development of intercultural competence can still reach
a maximum state.

Teaching intercultural understanding can be an integral
and effective part of foreign/English language learning
from the earliest stages.
Cindy Lee
Case II:
Secondary School Stage (1)
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Case:
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Teaching intercultural competence through literature
A fictional text was used in four English sessions in
the 9th grade of a German secondary school with 1415 year-old- pupils
Objectives:
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Learners can respond to a story from different
perspectives
Learners can identify aspects of a foreign culture in
the story and further compare their own culture
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Case II:
Secondary School Stage (2)
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The Text:
 The short story: ‘The Circuit’, by Francisco
Jimenez
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It is a story about a large family of Mexican
migrant workers who are illegally moving from
one harvest site in the American South to the
next one.
(More detailed summary please see the appendix.)
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Case II:
Secondary School Stage (3)
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The Lessons, Techniques and Functions:
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Give students story strips without title and the ending
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Ask students to find a correct order of the story line
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Writing Exercises
Discuss the choices of the possible endings
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Reading Comprehension
Students write an ending for the story / write a
dialogue for the scenes
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Warm-up
Speaking and Listening Comprehension
Bring in cultural dimensions and discuss further

Intercultural Understanding
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Case II:
Secondary School Stage (4)
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Challenges:
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This approach which contains several tasks
and activities costs time.

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To complete the procedure takes at least 5
teaching hours.
The teacher has to guide students to discuss
systematically
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Case II:
Secondary School Stage (5)
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Within the lessons, pupils
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Learned language skills with deep understanding of
the themes in the text
Internalized the text by searching for an ending, rewriting scenes or adding scenes to the story
Had chance to share their opinions that correspond
with the characters and their problems
Were aware of migration problem in the United States
as well as in their own country
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Conclusion

Educators attempt to introduce cultural and
international understanding to English language
teaching.

Students learned not only linguistic skills but
also intercultural knowledge.

Intercultural competence can be introduced and
developed from early stages throughout the
learning process.
Cindy Lee
Appendix – “The Circuit’
by Francisco Jimenez
Summary by Eva Burwitz-Melzer
It is a story about a large family of Mexican
migrant workers who are illegally moving from one harvest site in the
American South to the next one. All their belongings fit into a
ramshackle car, the huge pot in which all family meals are cooked
being strapped on top of it. In the first person narrative, Panchito, the
second eldest child of the family , describes his life between swiftly
changing harvest sites and equally rapidly changing schools. It is a new
kind of Experience for him as a non-native speaker in American schools,
surrounded by children who are strangers and reject him, that a kind of
teacher not only offers him help in class with his English but also starts
teaching him to play the trumpet. If it were not for his situation, Panchito
would have a lot to look forward to in school, but he fears the day when he
will have to leave again. IN the end, he returns from school full of plans and
expectations only to see his family round the car packed to leave once
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again.
End
Thank You !
Cindy Lee
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Teaching Intercultural Competence: Case Studies