The Development of Intercultural Communicative Competence through Community-Service Learning in the Hispanic Community

Salgado-Robles, Francisco (2012) The Development of Intercultural Communicative Competence through Community-Service Learning in the Hispanic Community. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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This pilot study investigates the effects of community-service learning (CSL) in the development of the intercultural communicative competence (ICC) among intermediate level Spanish learners. The ICC highlights the importance of appropriate and effective interaction in communicative contexts between non-native speakers (NNS) and native speakers (NS), which is relevant for the teaching-learning of foreign languages (Coperías Aguilar, 2007). For this communication event to occur, the incorporation of CSL into the foreign language curriculum makes it possible. As cited by Hale’s (1997), a volunteering service in the target language (TL) community “enable[s] students to learn from a different segment of society than that which he or she would normally interact with; [and] (...) teach students the meaning of service, patience, cross-cultural understanding, interdependence, humility, and simplicity” (Slimbach, 1995:10). Using Fantini’s (2006) theoretical framework of ICC, this study uses a quantitative method to measure university-level, intermediate Spanish learners’ intercultural competence in the TL before and after experiencing their volunteering service. To that end, fifteen students who were registered in an undergraduate course on Service Learning in the Hispanic Community participated in this study. Throughout the semester they were required to volunteer total of 35-40 hours of community service outside of the classroom in several nonprofit organizations in Lexington (Kentucky, USA). The participants completed pre and post questionnaires which explored their intercultural competence in Spanish. The findings of this study point to a need to encourage further civic engagement in an explicit manner throughout Spanish CSL courses and curricula (Bruno, 2003). By having the opportunity to be exposed to a continuous vernacular input in meaningful interactions (Kinginger y Blatter, 2008), the results show a clear-cut connection between the instruction methodology and the ICC development.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intercultural communicative competence; community-service learning; second language pedagogy; Spanish as a second language
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. Ibrahim Kinal
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 06:15
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 06:15

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