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Although all human beings live in the same planet, the earth, one might think why people differ in many ways such as race, color, gender, language, values, and traditions. In fact, the answer was illustrated in the holy books, which affirmed that God has created people from different races, genders, religions, and tribes to interact and communicate with each other. ” We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another.” (Holy Quran, The Chambers, Al Hujurat: 13). In addition to that, such social differences are considered as distinguished characteristics for humans and a part from their nature. ” He could have made humanity one community, but they continue to differ.” (Holy Quran, HUD : 118). Jesus also taught his disciples to persist in prayer as a way to improve their communication skills. “For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock” (Matthew 7:7 as cited in Moseley, 2009).
These differences stimulate humans as social creatures to search for others to communicate. Through this cultural interaction, people learned from each other and developed the society. Language as distinctive feature is the basic tool of communication to achieve cultural interaction. However, there are also different languages: ” You differ in what you say.” ( Holy Quraan, Al Thariyat: 8) which could affect communication. Hence, there’s a need to search for common understandable language that could help people from different countries to communicate appropriately. Nelson Mandela (n.d) said ,” if you talk to man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart .” The development of technology facilitates communication in the globalized age, which thrusts people to learn English to communicate appropriately in intercultural context.
In fact , in the last two decades, the spread of English language as a global means of communication has increased rapidly. Kramsch (1995) said that English became the password of interaction and the entrance ticket for international community. Thus, nowadays, English becomes an international language that expresses several cultures of the world. ”International English is the concept of the English language as a global means of communication in numerous dialects, and the movement towards an international standard for the language.” (Patel and Jain, 2008 , p.6). They also illustrated that English is spoken all over the world. It is the mother tongue for nearly 320 million people and 200 million people use it as second language. That means that native as well as nonnative speakers foster the development of intercultural communication to own international language to interact. Kashru and Smith (2008) also said that 25% of earth population users use English for social purposes in academic, business, commerce, diplomacy, and visual media. Crystal et al. (2016) said that among the 7000 living languages in the world, English language has a universal position in the international community. Therefore, establishing international relations for communicative purposes and for the exchange of views with different countries of the world is demanding phenomena.
Thus, to meet the international standards, English language becomes lingua franca. It has been transformed from local language to lingua franca (Crystal et al ., 2016; Tran and Seepho, 2015). It has been viewed as neutral language without American, British, Canadian, or Australian coloring. According to this viewpoint, Patel and Jain (2008) had illustrated that international English minimizes the aspects defined by either the colonial imperialism of Victorian Britain or “cultural imperialism” of the 20th century United States. The British colonialism laid the foundation for English over much of the world, while the United States has edited the linguistic transculturation. However, the international language tends to lessen both the USA and the Britain influence. In this way, Crystal et al . (2016) said that English nowadays is used in three circles: The inner circle where English is used in native countries America, Britain, and Australia. The outer circle where English is used as official language such as in Japan, China, and Mexico. The expanding circle where English is used as foreign language as in the remaining countries all over the world. This leads to spread of many cultural varieties of English language that goes beyond its Britain, American or Australian origin (Kashru and Smith, 2008; Northrup, 2013). Therefore, this formal international English allows entry into Western culture as whole and Western cultural values in general to the global world.
This development of English as international language facilitates interaction and communication in cross-cultural community due to the process of globalization and internalization. Regan et al. (2009) said that in the 21st century global village, language diversity spread quickly due to increase of contact between societies. Scorells and Sekimoto (2016) also insisted that the process of globalization, which is associated with the process of bringing people from different cultures into one common market, becomes the key word in academic studies as it is related to every aspect of life (Style, values, traditions … ). Butler (2009) affirmed that the dominance of English language in the world necessitates new ways to view language as a dynamic element that shapes people’s way of life. In addition to that, the development of technology has facilitated communication through cyber technology and social networks. Crystal et al . (2016) said that electronic channels such as email, worldwide webs have brought increase interest in English use. Before 1990, English language was the only language used in technology. Only with the development of Facebook in 2004, YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006, people started to use their own languages in the social media. This leads to the development of New English vocabulary and structures to English language. Neulip (2015) illustrated that modern technology has decentralized the access of information for millions of people, and this this related to the dominance of USA culture. Thus, globalization and internalization demands the existence of individuals who are proficient with intercultural abilities. (Byram, 1997; Byram et al . ,2017; Fantini, 2009; Bennett, 1993) .
Accordingly, intercultural communication has emerged to solve several intercultural conflicts that resulted when people from different cultures interact. This encouraged many governments to adopt cultural educational policies in their curriculum. Byram (1997) illustrated that intercultural communicative competence is consisted of attitude, knowledge, and skills of openness, flexibility, and adopting different perspective that raise the people’s cultural awareness and reduce communication problems. Intercultural communicative competence is the ability to communicate effectively in cross-cultural situations and to interact appropriately in a variety of cultural contexts. (Bennett , 2004).
Developing intercultural communicative competence in cross-cultural context becomes a crucial issue so that researchers have highlighted the importance of incorporating intercultural communication in foreign language teaching. Integrating culture in EFL teaching was viewed as ”fifth skill” in addition to the other language skills in order to move EFL learners to third culture (Kramsch 1993, 1998). In the globalized context, English language has been used as an international language for communication among people from different multilingual and multicultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is vital that learners master not only linguistics competence but also intercultural competence. English language learners, therefore, need to pay significant attention to grasp and enhance the intercultural communicative competence (Tran and Tham, 2017) .This leads to the development of intercultural communicative competence, which is essential to EFL learners (Byram, 1997, 2008, 2013; Byram et al . 2002; Byram and Porto ,2015; Deodoroff , 2006; Fantini ,2000) . In response to the global and local demand for democratic culture and intercultural dialogue, multiculturalism as an educational policy do not help EFL learners to complaint the consequences of the divided educational context. Based on the results, incorporating intercultural communication as its integral part, was recommended as a working educational policy. Thus, many educational policies nowadays adopted interculturalism as a model of pedagogy and modified their curriculum to address equity, diversity, and cultural pluralism (Ayalew, 2012). In fact, ICC is the core component of English language instruction in preparing learners for intercultural communication (Byram, 1997). Burnard et al . (2016) had illustrated that multiculturalism is different from interculturalism. Multiculturalism means people from various countries meet together that lead to cultural diversity and contact between people from other cultures. Whereas, interculturalism means inter relation among cultures in diverse community and understands that the relation between different cultures is social necessity to be shared with different cultures.
However, investigating the EFL curriculum in Lebanese public school seems to be somewhat far away from this global trend. Unfortunately, incorporating intercultural communication in EFL teaching in Lebanese public schools shows a little record. Therefore, EFL Lebanese learners had problems in communicating effectively in the cultural context. This research is trying to find a link on how intercultural communication can be cohered in the context of teaching English.
Thus, this research aims to incorporate intercultural communicative competence in English in primary classes in Lebanese public schools in order to raise learners’ cultural awareness and intrinsic motivation to become more proficient when communicating for different purposes in written and oral context. This will help them to adopt different perspectives, avoid stereotype and overgeneralization, show empathy and tolerance to various different groups so that foreign language learners become not only intercultural competent but also global citizens (Kalsbeek, 2008) .
This research is concerned with developing intercultural communicative competence for EFL cycle II learners for these reasons. On one hand, teaching intercultural skills at primary level is prerequisite because the learners in this stage should learn the appropriate and effective use of language skills and strategies that help them to use language for different purposes in intermediate and secondary levels (Byram, 2008). On the other hand, young learners are generally positive towards diversity as they see such diversity as a normal part of the society and they do not consider different ideas and values as obstacle for communication. Young learners are affected by principle of ” diverse divesities” rather than cultural boxes. Thus, they have more tendency to change than adults (Dervin and Cross, 2016).
In addition to that, this research is interested in developing the productive skills since writing and speaking could easily determine the success of communication process in the intercultural context. As a matter of fact, Juan and Flors ( 2008) insisted that intercultural competence is one component of communicative competence that enables learners to produce and interpret spoken and written discourse with specific sociocultural context. Harper (2014) also said that creative writing is considered as a cultural practice in social sciences because creative writing represents some aspects of cultural phenomenon in the society. Thus, it’s important to develop the learners’ speaking skills to know how to choose words and speak fluently as native speakers.
As we have seen, communication is basic need for humans, which depends on the use of conventional and understandable language. With the development of globalization and internalization in the 21st century, English language becomes lingua franca and the first international language. Thus, people from various cultures learn English as a common language to communicate which creates miscommunication problems due to cultural differences. That’s why educational curriculums recently showed much interest in the concept of intercultural communicative competence and its relevance to enable EFL learners to communicate effectively in written and oral intercultural context. Thus, this research aims to investigate the effect of developing intercultural communicative competence to cycle II EFL learners in Lebanese public schools in order to lower their anxiety and achieve successful communication in intercultural context.
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