An Ethnographic Approach to Developing Intercultural Awareness: A Case Study of EFL Learners at Najran University
Keywords:ethnography, intercultural awareness, intercultural communication, native culture, target culture
The teaching of culture in foreign language classrooms has gained widespread acceptance in today's globalized world. However, the teaching resources and curricula at present in use promote stereotypes and otherization by supplying pupils with a "us vs them" worldview and knowledge. As a result, learners with little or no intercultural experience are unable to effectively communicate in an intercultural environment. The aim of this study is to assist learners in becoming active cultural observers and interpreters, in improving their comprehension of others, in anticipating and dealing with misunderstandings, and in decentring themselves during intercultural encounters. It is a retrospective account of an experiment that explores why and how intercultural awareness can be developed through an ethnographic-based intercultural syllabus at Najran University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thirty two male students participated in the experiment. A pre-and post-tests were used to determine whether or not participants improved their intercultural comprehension. The findings indicate that teaching culture through an ethnographic lens is feasible and worthy of developing learners' intercultural awareness and analytic attitude against culture and intercultural interactions.
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