Developing ICC within Activity Theory

Teresa Siek-Piskozub, Poland, ID LLCE2016-223;             The major goal of my presentation is to introduce the Activity Theory as a way of developing intercultural communicative competence (ICC) of prospective foreign language teachers on the example of students from the Faculty of English (FE) at Adam Mickiewicz University. In the presentation I will refer to the concept of ICC resulting from the evolution of the concept of language competence in which social and cultural components have become important, and the reference to the mythical native speaker’s competence in the context of foreign language teaching has been questioned (e.g. Byram 1997). Many applied linguists agree that language and culture are two inseparable components (e.g. Moran 2001, Liddicoat et al. 2003), and non-native speakers of a language need to be aware of the possible pitfalls of an intercultural communication. Yet, research shows that not all foreign language teachers (FLTs) are able, or willing, to integrate culture teaching into their language class and teach their learners to become intercultural mediators (e.g. Lázár 2007, Białek 2009, Szczepania-Kozak 2010). It is a signal to FLTs’ trainers that ICC needs more emphasis in the course of teacher education.

Having an experience in running ICC seminars for FE students in their Master Degree programme, I want to share my observations and reflections.  I will discuss the socio-constructivist approach to teaching in which the Activity Theory (AT) is grounded. I apply AT approach to assist my students’ ICC development, as well as to show them ways of applying it in their language classroom. I also find the AT approach as an useful scheme for  educational research (Siek-Piskozub 2013, 2014, 2015).

Key words: intercultural communicative competence, socio-constructivist approach to teaching culture, activity theory, prospective EFL teachers



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Siek-Piskozub, T. 2013. Using simulations to develop intercultural communicative competence in and EFL methodology seminar. In:  Krystyna, Droźddział-Szelest & Mirosław, Pawlak (eds.), Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives on second language learning and teaching. Studies in Honor of Waldemar Marton. Berlin Heidelbertg: Springer-Verlag, 221-232.

Siek-Piskozub, T, 2014.  Educating FL teachers for the role of intercultural mediators - challenges and options. In: Piotr, Romanowski (ed.)  Intercultural Issues in the Era of Globalization. Studi@Naukowe 27 pod redakcją naukową Sambora Gruczy. Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Naukowe Instytutu Komunikacji Specjalistycznej i Interkulturowej Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 191-199.

Siek-Piskozub, T. 2015. Use of simulations for the development of intercultural communicative competence in EFL teacher education.” In: Arik, Engin (ed.) New research into language teaching, learning and assessment. Ankara: Macroworld, 77-86.

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