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Crossing Boundaries

Studies in English Language, Literature, and Culture in a Global Environment

Edited By Richard Nordquist

The articles in this volume were originally presented in spring 2009 at an international conference hosted by the Institute of Germanic and Romance Languages and Cultures at Tallinn University in Estonia. The theme of «crossing boundaries» is reflected in the rich mix of genres, cultures, applications, and critical theories considered here. Indeed, these articles demonstrate that crossing boundaries can be a companionable journey as well an intellectually enriching experience.

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Liljana Skopinskaja - Raising Intercultural Awareness through Dialogic Interaction in the EFL Classroom - 109

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109 Liljana Skopinskaja RAISING INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS THROUGH DIALOGIC INTERACTION IN THE EFL CLASSROOM Introduction Nowadays, it is a well-known fact that the aim for learning a language, as wide- spread as English, is not only to communicate with native speakers but also with non-native speakers belonging to a diversity of nations and cultures. English as a foreign language (EFL) learners are typically learners of English as an Interna- tional Language (EIL), and they are supposed to become skilled at international, or rather intercultural, communication in the process of EFL instruction. There- fore, the main target for EFL learners is no longer to imitate the native-speaker model, but instead, they should acquire intercultural awareness as well as an ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of international situations. In other words, they should become “intercultural speakers“, defined by Byram and Zarate as someone who “crosses frontiers, and who is to some ex- tent a specialist in the transit of cultural property and symbolic values“(11). Interacting effectively across cultures means mediating between two or more cultures. This however does not imply that the “intercultural speaker“ is a cosmopolitan being who floats over cultures (Guilherme 298), but rather, this is someone who is able to accomplish a negotiation between people based upon both culture-specific and culture-general features that is on the whole respectful and favourable to each (Guilherme 297). The process of becoming interculturally competent entails the development of such attributes as respect, empathy, flexi- bility, patience, interest, curiosity, openness,...

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