First Advisor

Kimberley Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




English language -- Rhetoric, Self-knowledge, Theory of, Intercultural communication, Teachers -- Training of



Physical Description

1 online resource (xv, 363 pages)


Culture is at the core of language teaching. Because classrooms are contact zones (Pratt 1991), teachers must have a well-developed sense of their own intercultural competence so that they may better facilitate the cross-cultural discovery inherent in language teaching. Teacher preparation programs need to provide opportunities for new teachers to increase their intercultural awareness. The purpose of this research was to qualitatively understand the experiences of pre-service teachers in a required culture-learning class at a large urban university. Specifically, the focus of this study was the completion of a mini-ethnography project designed to give the students a cross-cultural exchange. Since such contact zones can be the site of reflexivity and transformation, this study sought to understand the contexts in which reflexivity and transformation might occur, as well as how these changes might influence a person's intercultural competence. This research used student writing as a primary source for illustrating change. Writing samples from all course assignments were collected from the class. Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Profiles were collected from three individuals who also agreed to extensive interviews. This data was used to create case study portraits of the class as well as the three individuals, illustrating a variety of experiences with the ethnography project. Change in intercultural competence was measured according to the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (Bennett 1993) and the IDI. Each person had a markedly different experience with the project, and each person experienced some kind of intercultural change. Overall, the results suggest that ethnography is a useful classroom tool. When used at an appropriate stage of a student's intercultural development, reflexivity and perspective transformation can occur, thus leading to intercultural competence.


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