Intercultural Awareness of Iranian English Language Learners: An Exploration
The present paper reports on a qualitative study investigating how Iranian learners of English as a foreign language understand culture and the extent to which this understanding meets the needs of efficient intercultural communication. In order to gather data, in-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with eight participants. The interviews were designed and thematically analyzed using Baker’s (2011) model of intercultural awareness. The model, which served as the analytical framework of the study, has been used to account for the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to communicate through English as a lingua franca. Based on the findings of the study, the main elements of the model are relevant in accounting for intercultural awareness—which varied among the participants—not only in English as a lingua franca setting but also in contexts where partners with different cultural backgrounds speak the same first language. Moreover, with the aim of developing learners’ intercultural awareness, the policies and practices of English as a foreign language teaching in Iran need to be revised.
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