Lecturer’s perceptions of intercultural communicative competence and its impact on teaching performance : a case study in a New Zealand higher education institution
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2350
This research explores Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) with specific focus on lecturers teaching English as a second language (ESL) in a New Zealand tertiary institution. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the ‘lived’ experiences of lecturers in the tertiary educational sector. This research aims to address a gap in the literature about lecturers’ understanding of their own intercultural communicative competence (ICC) by illuminating the key components, namely knowledge, motivation and skill, which impact upon ICC in the English language (ESL) classroom. A qualitative approach that incorporated triangulation was used to analyse Intercultural Communicative Competence in practice in the Department of Language Studies (DOLS) Unitec. The research consisted of two data collection methods, namely reflective journal entry and focus group discussions, which enabled data collection related to the participants’ personal perceptions, opinions, attitudes, values, power distance, and non-verbal communication on ESL classroom experiences. Although the reflective journal entry was collected from only lecturer participants as they are the primary focus of this research, the focus group discussions were conducted with lecturer and student participants in separate groups to give the research a valuable comparison. Overall, the findings of this study indicate the lecturers have an awareness of intercultural communicative competence and they view ICC as an on-going process. However, the lecturers’ perceptions about ICC are different from students’ perceptions. While the findings of the student analysis generally indicate they believe lecturers display satisfactory ICC, there were two points of contention. One important difference was lecturers’ assumptions of students’ ability in understanding New Zealand academic norms. The other difference was non-verbal communication. These different perceptions indicate that although lecturers believe they make a conscious effort to gain knowledge about students’ cultures in order to interpret and react to a situation, the students believe otherwise, and this impacts on students’ learning. Finally, the research proposes future research directions for a longitudinal study across Unitec, including further exploration of the theme of ‘Western’, and makes recommendations to the DOLS management team for professional development on ICC.