Intercultural an “attitudinal forerunner to successful intercultural encounters

     Intercultural competence and intercultural
sensitivity are sometimes mentioned interchangeably by some scholars to refer
to the same thing. However, Hammer, Bennet, and Wiseman (2003) have asserted
that intercultural sensitivity is the prerequisite skill for intercultural
competence. In other words, intercultural competence is the behavioral
manifestation of intercultural awareness and intercultural sensitivity (Peng,
Rangsipaht, &Thaipakdee, 2005). In
the area of language teaching, intercultural communication trend started to
complete the communicative language teaching (CLT) movement in which
communicative competence (CC) is shaped beyond native speakers because of the changing
role of English as a global lingua franca (Baker, 2016; Gu, 2015). So far,
intercultural communicative competence has been considered as an undeniable
part of curriculum documents, instructional materials, and assessment (Baker,
2015). Coupled with, intercultural sensitivity is defined as an
“attitudinal forerunner to successful intercultural encounters and a predictor
of cultural competence” (Altshuler et al., 2003, p.388). In this respect, Chen
and Starosta (2004) suggested that intercultural communication sensitivity increases
an individual’s ability to respect cultural differences, foster multiple
cultural identities, and expand multicultural coexistence. Equally important,
some scholars have defined intercultural sensitivity as the affective aspect of
intercultural communication where the individuals have “active desire to
motivate themselves to understand, appreciate, and accept differences among
cultures” (Peng, 2006, p. 39). One attempt to define cultural sensitivity is
made by Bennett (1993) as the ability to overcome ethnocentric worldviews and deal
with cultural diversities. Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of
Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) is considered as a theory of how individuals
develop intercultural communication competence. In his theory, Bennett describes the
changes through each step of the scale:

The
first stage is change from Denial to Defense: during this stage, the individual acquires
an awareness of the differences between cultures.The
second stage is change from Defense to Minimization: at this stage, negative judgments are
depolarized, and the person is aware of the similarities between cultures.The
third stage is change from Minimization to Acceptance: the individual understands the significance
of intercultural differences.The
fourth stage is change from Acceptance to Adaptation: there is a desire to learn about other cultures.The
fifth stage is change from Adaptation to Integration: there is empathy and respect towards other
cultures.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

      During these stages of intercultural communication
competence, the individual understands cultural difference through
“accepting its importance, adapting a perspective to take it into account, or
by integrating the whole concept into a definition of identity” (Bennett,
2004, p.153).