Research proposal: Intercultural communicative competence (ICC) as a goal of formal education

Globalisation and geographical mobility of people have resulted in more heterogeneous societies and more regular communication with people from different linguistic and cultural background. An ideal situation for interaction is the one when one interlocutor speaks the language of the other; more often, however, people communicate using a third language, known by both parties. The aim of a foreign language course is to teach the learners to communicate not only with native speakers, but also, more frequently, with non-native speakers. In a foreign language classroom, students usually learn a lan-guage while living in their own country. They access to target culture is limited; there-fore, other means of familiarising them with the L2 culture must be incorporated into the curriculum. The students of the English language, as they learn an international lan-guage, become able to interact with people from different countries, which makes such communication intercultural. In order to successfully function in a culturally diverse world, they need to develop intercultural communicative competence (ICC).
The importance of ICC as a goal of formal education in Europe is reflected in its inclusion in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, the Euro-pean guide for language teaching. However, the implementation and its potential suc-cess are not widely researched in Poland. The objectives of this thesis are to present theoretical underpinnings of ICC, its teaching and learning, and to investigate by means of a questionnaire the outcomes of introducing ICC to schools.
The first chapter discusses the origins of the notion of communicative compe-tence and its models. As the authors of these models redefined the existing ones, the models show the development from CC to ICC. The chapter also focuses on the culture itself and its relationship to language.
The theory of both learning and teaching the target culture is the focus of the se-cond chapter. Its first part covers various stages of familiarising oneself with an un-known culture, the concept of cultural awareness, and advantages of learning a foreign culture.
The further part of the chapter focuses on various aspects of teaching culture, namely different ways of teaching culture, various approaches to teaching culture, the goals of teaching culture, techniques, the actual cultural content to be taught, and choic-es and challenges that a teacher faces as well as the hindrances to teaching culture.
Finally, the third chapter contains the details of the study conducted to find out how high-school learners of English evaluate their own ICC. The chapter also provides some rules of ICC assessment and an overview of the tools that can be used in assessment, with the emphasis on critical incidents.

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