Educating critically about language and intercultural communication: What and who is at stake?
Keywords:criticality, education, intercultural communication, interculturality, language, reflexivity
This paper reflects on the literature on Critical Language and Intercultural Communication Education in light of learnings gained from designing and delivering a course titled ‘Intercultural Communication’ over four years to large cohorts of first-year tertiary students in Australia. It is based on a qualitative research project which involves the analysis of two sets of data: a) ethnographic notes from teaching staff meetings, tutors’ interviews, and tutorial observation, and b) student formal and informal feedback surveys as well as focus group discussions. The paper explores what and who is at stake when teaching and learning about language and intercultural communication from a critical perspective. It unveils from a praxis perspective (theory informed by practice and vice versa) the deeply political and ethical level of engagement that is required of teachers, the kind of metalinguistic and metacultural knowledge, as well as the kind of disposition towards critical thinking and reflexivity, that are called for when teaching and learning in this domain in an Australian tertiary environment.