1. Components of intercultural communicative competence formation
One of the crucial problems of modern psychology and pedagogy is a problem of people’s readiness to different activities, to the creative execution of specific life tasks. In the present article readiness for intercultural communication is the subjective state of a person who considers oneself capable and prepared to fulfill certain intercultural activity and to carry it out. In general, readiness for intercultural activity is considered as active state of the individual.
According to Byram&Feng, development of cognitive, affective and behavioral components, in addition to cultural knowledge, is demonstrated by such factors as increased awareness of one’s own identity and culture in relation to others, and changes in attitude and behavior. The process of forming pupil’s intercultural communication can be presented as a structure that includes number of elements. Those elements are in certain relationship with each other, thus together provide development of pupils’ intercultural competence [1, 27].
Klopf, Donald William, and James C. McCroskey claim that elements provide the formation of constructive position in the interpersonal process interactions, leveling destructive tendencies. Emotional element ensures the formation of pupil’s positive relationship to him/herself as a subject of intercultural communication, to other representatives of different cultures as subjects of intercultural communication. Cognitive element’s components aim to formulate the knowledge and ideas of pupils about intercultural communication manifesting on a personal and individual level (knowledge and understanding of intercultural communications). The personal element provides development of real manifestations of human qualities in terms of communicative activity (intercultural competence, communicative skills, self-control, etc.) [2, 17].
2. Gaming technology in the teaching process
Methods used today in teaching students the features of country of the studied language during standard educational process on the initial stage are not effective enough. Here, a special role can play application of gaming technology in the teaching process. Steinkuehler says that game application allows, among other things, to compensate information overload, organize mode of psychological relief for students. This approach may expand the possibility of forming intercultural communication competence on the new level, affecting all aspects of competence [3, 34]. Using game activity allows making the learning process creative and interesting for learners at any level. At the same time special attention should be given to the development of intercultural competence - an integral part of the foreign language communicative competence. Use of all sorts of games when conducting classes promotes rational and emotional unification of learning components. Games, making high demands to the skill level of the teacher, allow creating a novice lesson in relaxed atmosphere, at the same time pointing out solutions to specific problems in communication situations.
3. Usage of gaming activities
Let’s consider some forms of gaming activities possible to apply in classes in educational institutions. According to Chapelle, Carol, and Shannon Sauro imitation games combine such elements as cooperation and competition. Participants of such games can rate one’s ability to work in a team showing analytical, leadership and other business qualities. The essence of the role-playing game is to transform learner in this or other character in his/her actions corresponding to the game task [4, 180]. The key educational moment in such games is precisely the process of transformation, that is the development of the ability to look on the outside world through the eyes of another person. Pedagogical and didactic value of business game is that it allows participants to reveal themselves, learn to take active life position, decide on the choice of the future professions. Chapelle, Carol, and Shannon Sauro say that biographical reflection implies understanding one’s own biographies and the subsequent clarification of the basics of its own identity and its forms’ manifestations in daily life and further comparison with peer life abroad [4, 131].
Gaming tricks provide higher degree of manifestations of cognitive learners’ autonomy than with traditional method. Transition occurs with position of the object of study to the position of the subject activities and communication. D.K. Deardorff offers some means providing more activity of students at the lesson: students’ motivation in task performance; use of various types’ of speech activity - dialogue, monologue, polylogue; use of visual materials; new vocabulary; group form of cognitive activities; differentiated approach to students; comfortable and creative atmosphere at the lesson [5, 9]. Thus, every action of the learner during the lesson must comply with lesson objectives and be motivated: it is necessary not only to ask questions on the topic, but also try the role of correspondent and interviewee. Thus, the introduction of gaming technology in English classes in schools may prove its effectiveness. Usage of gaming technology has a positive effect on the formation of intercultural competence of students, allowing them to focus on mastering speech skills in natural colloquial situation.
4. Practical use of gaming technologies
All the participants stand in the circle. One person is holding a ball. The task is to throw it to someone else and at the same time to say a name of one country. The person who catches the ball has to say the first thing that comes to his/her mind when he/she hears the name of that country. This exercise can be used as starting point to discuss about citizenship and stereotypes. The purpose of the game is to help participants to understand the idea, power and importance of culture and learn how to value cultural differences.
Every participant has the task to draw a flower with 8 petals which represent the basic values more important for each of them. The most important the value is for a person, the bigger the petal should be drawn. Then they should also think how these values/needs can be fulfilled for everyone. When participants are ready they are divided into groups and every group has to decide together which values are the most important. This exercise can be used, for example, as starting point for a discussion about the relation between social problems and human rights in different countries.
Two simulated cultures are created: an A culture and a B culture. The teacher/facilitator briefs the participants on the general purposes of the simulation and then assigns them membership in either the A or B culture. To each of the two cultures belongs a certain behavior, which corresponds to an implicit cultural code. Each group moves into its own area where members are taught the values, expectations and customs of their new culture, without knowing anything about the other civilization. The following key questions may be helpful:
• How do we deal with each other?
• What makes us happy?
• Is my culture peaceful or warlike?
• Will my culture rule, observe, adapt?
• What is the goal of my culture (love, rule …)?
• Religion of my culture: Is there an idol or a priestess who is worshipped or any other form of religious activity?
• What do people in my culture live from and can I get what I need?
Once all the members understand and feel comfortable with their new culture, each culture sends an observer to the other. During the “observer” period, groups will roleplay the values, expectations, norms, and customs of their new culture. The observers attempt to learn as much as possible about the other culture without directly asking questions. After a fixed time, each observer returns to his or her respective culture and reports on what he or she observed. Based on the report of the observer, each group develops hypotheses about the most effective way to interact with the other culture. After the hypotheses have been formulated, the participants take turns visiting the other culture in small groups. After each visit, the visitors report their observations to their group. The group uses the data to test and improve their hypotheses. When everyone has had a chance to visit the other culture, the simulation ends. The participants then come together in one group to discuss and analyze their experience. If the purpose of the training is to train a person to interact or travel to a different culture, then the facts of that culture are presented as part of the discussion. If the focus is on diversity, then the discussion and analysis focuses on methods for creating a school culture that allows everyone to feel safe, feel included, be productive, and do their best work. The definition of a culturally competent person then, not only includes the ability to adapt or interact with people who are different, it means being able to design and sustain a work culture that includes everyone and allows each person to do their best work.
It is very important that the groups, together with the teacher, are in a position to reflect and answer the following questions:
Feelings when you were preparing to take on the role of a new culture.
Feelings as suddenly strangers came into your ‘home’.
Feelings as you visit a culture whose language, gestures and behaviors are unfamiliar.
Did the other culture react the way you expected them to? Why (not)?
How did you try to adapt?
Can you try to explain the culture of the other group?
Can you explain your own culture?
What does this game remind you of?
BaFa BaFa is a face-to-face learning simulation. It is intended to improve participants’ cultural competency by helping them understand the impact of culture on the behavior of people and organizations. Participants experience “culture shock” by traveling to and trying to interact with a culture in which the people have different values, different ways of behaving and different ways of solving problems.
5. Development of assessment tools
Different approaches to the interpretation of intercultural competence should not present difficulties for researchers on the way of developing assessment tools. It is crucial to have several ready-made assessment tools of intercultural communication competence. In this regard Brighton C. suggests the following three stages, under the abbreviation ASSESSING Framework:
1) Aim - what is the purpose of the evaluation, and what do we want to measure?
2) Structure and Style - what approach we use in evaluation: traditional questionnaire or long-term portfolio?
3) Evaluation, Statistics and Show - how do we make the transition from interpretation of points for visual demonstration results easy to understand trainees? In the classroom you can only identify a range of problems and concepts and also to achieve a deeper the respondent’s understandings of their relationship and views [6, 15].
The process of evaluating has to stress the fact that students are not obliged to get full marks on lessons. Intercultural communication competence is a dynamic process. In other words, intercultural competence is a development of skills that can be improved over time. This is why self-reflection and self-awareness through the use gaming techniques is important.
Assessing students’ intercultural communicative competence properly is highly interwoven with creating assignments. Thus, it is extremely crucial for the teacher to choose tasks and assignments according to the level of children. The necessity for a greater number of approaches and development of intercultural assessment tools is apparent. With access to more information it would be possible to develop different and more specialized tools which are applicable to specific competences or concepts of intercultural communicative competence.
Byram, Prof Michael, and DrAnweiFeng. Living and Studying Abroad: Research and Practice. Multilingual Matters, 2006.
Klopf, Donald William, and James C. McCroskey. Intercultural Communication Encounters. Pearson Allyn and Bacon, 2007.
Steinkuehler, Constance, et al. Games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age. Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Chapelle, Carol, and Shannon Sauro. Handbook of Technology and Second Language Teaching and Learning. Blackwell Pub, 2017.
Deardorff D. K. Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in Intercultural Education. – 2007. – № 10.– С. 241–26
Brighton C. Evaluating Intercultural Competence: a review of selected self-assessment tools. In A. Witalisz (Ed.), Papers on Language, Culture and Literature 3. Krosno:Multigraf, 2011.