Communicating intercultural competence in German language classes
Koehler, Kathrin Susan
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Intercultural competence is often seen as an uncomplicated, natural byproduct of foreign language classes, whereas really it is its own objective without which communication would not be possible, no matter how high the language proficiency. Effective communication requires proper development of a learner’s understanding of another culture’s perspective and worldview. This thesis reviews the challenges in intercultural communication and carries out an analysis of German and American textbooks of German on the quantity and quality of activities they include that address intercultural communication. The thesis identifies four objectives as key characteristics of intercultural differences that help develop the student’s intercultural competence and communication. It identifies visible differences in the textbooks’ approaches that can be attributed to a higher cultural homogeneity between America and Germany than between Germany and its main countries of immigration. It also outlines those elements of the textbooks that seem most suitable to develop intercultural communication skills.