On Becoming Cultural-Insiders/Old-timers of the Mainstream English Cultures: Lessons from Southern Taiwanese EFL Pre-service Teachers
Dr. Valentin Ekiaka Nzai, Dr. Yu-Lin Feng

The increasing diversity in today’s classrooms in the global world mandates preservice teachers to be well prepared to effectively teach their future students with different backgrounds. One key element to successful diversity education for many teachers is being able to relate to their culturally and linguistically diverse students. The purpose of the study is to examine EFL pre-service teachers’ cultural competence in order to identify effective strategies which they used to become cultural insiders/old-timers of mainstream English cultures in an EFL context. A mixed methods research approach was used to explore this topic of inquiry. Seven graduate students, enrolled at Methods of Teaching English in an EFL course in Southern Taiwan agreed to answer two mixed data collection instruments. The first instrument, the Cultural Competence Inventory (CCI), was designed to predict participants’ cultural competence stages. The second instrument, the Interview Protocol for Cultural Competence (IPCC), assisted the researchers in underpinning the different intercultural learning strategies that participants used to move from lower cultural competence stage to the higher one(s) and what kinds of challenges they faced to become old-timers of mainstream English cultures. Findings suggested that participants were still at the second stage of cultural competence of Ekiaka & Reeves’s (2010) cultural competence scale which included six levels. Further mixed data analysis revealed not only the different strategies participants are currently using to overcome the dark side of the cultural responsiveness stage, but also the importance of English media as a pivotal intercultural learning tool aimed at strengthening their developmental process of intercultural sensitivity. Practical recommendations for creating culturally responsiveness classrooms in an EFL context are concluded.

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