Intercultural communication and the negotiation of local and foreign cultures in the EFL literature classroom

Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, Christopher Denman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Intercultural communication skills are increasingly demanded of individuals in the globalized world, with this being especially the case in the domains of higher education, international commerce, and travel. A number of authors maintain that some of the most important skills individuals can possess to operate successfully in these domains include the ability to accept people from different backgrounds and proficiency in intercultural communication. Within EFL classrooms, one of the best ways to develop intercultural communication skills is through the use of authentic literary texts such as short stories, poetry, speeches and so on. The use of these literary products in the EFL classroom not only helps create a learning context in which learners can actively engage with the English language in the full flight of its expression, but also encourages learners to reflect upon the similarities and differences that exist between their own cultural backgrounds and the culture/s reflected in the text. In this way, learners can start to appreciate how various cultural aspects from their own societies are experienced by people all over the world and can thus turn a critical eye on the way culture influences meaning-making in both the English language and their L1. This paper argues for the use of authentic literary texts within EFL classrooms and offers ways in which these can be employed in a practical and engaging manner. It argues that incorporating such texts into the class can bridge the social and psychological distance between the learners' own cultures and the L2 cultures expressed in the text. It is through this process that intercultural communication abilities can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBridging the Gap between Education and Employment: English Language Instruction in EFL Contexts
PublisherPeter Lang AG
Pages335-348
Number of pages14
Volume198
ISBN (Print)9783035108422, 9783034316811
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 18 2015

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Keywords

  • Cultural identity
  • Intercultural communication
  • Reading classroom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Al-Mahrooqi, R., & Denman, C. (2015). Intercultural communication and the negotiation of local and foreign cultures in the EFL literature classroom. In Bridging the Gap between Education and Employment: English Language Instruction in EFL Contexts (Vol. 198, pp. 335-348). Peter Lang AG. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-0351-0842-2