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Intercultural awareness: A qualitative study of foreign language students in an Australian tertiary context


Wang, Y and Le, Q, Intercultural awareness: A qualitative study of foreign language students in an Australian tertiary context, The International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research, 2, (3) pp. 33-42. ISSN 1839-9053 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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In line with internationalisation goals of Australian universities, the development of intercultural understanding, awareness and practical communication skills has become most useful in a multicultural society. This study aimed to investigate how teachersí and studentsí view and interpret intercultural awareness in an Australian tertiary education, and discuss the role of intercultural awareness in the development of studentsí intercultural communication and interaction skills in foreign language learning.

Mixed methods study was adopted. A questionnaire was used to gather the participantsí views, attitudes, beliefs, values, and perceptions toward the significance of intercultural awareness in their foreign language teaching and learning experience. Interviews were conducted to provide comprehensive insights into factors which were not captured in the questionnaire but were really important to them.

The questionnaire was completed by 293 participants from two main campuses in total, including 273 students (response rate 62%) and 20 teachers (response rate 74%). Twenty-six participants (9 teachers and 17 students respectively) consented to participate in the interviews. There were over 27 written comments from the questionnaires. This paper reports the written comments from the survey and interviews. Three main themes emerged from the data, namely i) Interpretation of intercultural awareness, ii) Significance of intercultural awareness, and iii) Attitudes towards intercultural awareness.

This study has reviewed a comprehensive description of teaching staff and studentsí overall perceptions in relation to their foreign language teaching and learning, both personally and professionally in an Australian tertiary education. The research findings indicated that in this case study, both teaching staff and students highly valued the role of intercultural awareness in foreign language teaching and learning in tertiary education. Suggestions and expectations of teaching staff and students with regard to strategies to enhance cultural sensitivity also provided.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:globalisation, intercultural awareness, foreign language study, internationalisation, Australian tertiary education
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Multicultural, intercultural and cross-cultural studies
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Wang, Y (Dr Isabel Wang)
UTAS Author:Le, Q (Dr Quynh Le)
ID Code:100593
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2015-05-21
Last Modified:2015-09-07

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