Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Spring 2022


THE JOURNAL OF ASIA TEFL Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring, 2022, 247-256


Copyright © 2022 AsiaTEFL All rights reserved



In the current age of globalization, migration, and immigration, integrating interculturality into language instruction is essential in order to prepare language learners to become competent intercultural speakers (Byram, 2020), described as competent communicators (Byram & Zarate, 1996) who engage with complexity and multiple identities and who “avoid the stereotyping which accompanies perceiving someone through a single identity” (Bryam et al., 2002, p. 5). Intercultural speakers are successful not only in communicating information but also in developing human relationships with people of other languages and cultures with whom they live and work. In contrast to monolingual native speakers (NSs), intercultural speakers are able to navigate the intercultural space where communication occurs among speakers of various linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Kramsch (1993, p. 236) defines the space that combines the culture of the target language and the social characteristics of the learner’s environment as a “third place” of intercultural communication. Resonating with this concept, Wilkinson (2020) opines that intercultural speakers can navigate the space between languages and cultures in communication with people of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Defining intercultural communicative competence (ICC) is challenging, and scholars have offered a variety of definitions. A popular definition is “the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations based on one’s intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitude” (Deardorff, 2006, p. 247-248). Byram (1997) provided one of the most comprehensive ICC frameworks designed to guide foreign language teachers in integrating language competence (linguistic, sociolinguistic, and discourse competence) and intercultural competence (IC) into language classrooms. His ICC model is a combination of five elements: attitude, knowledge, skills (skills of interpreting and relating; skills of discovery and interaction), and critical cultural awareness (CCA). This paper provides an approach to integrating critical cultural awareness in the language classroom that promotes curiosity, inquiry, and empathy aimed at transforming understanding and behaviour of another culture.