Grasping Vietnamese high school students’ intercultural sensitivity in a rural EFL context

Grasping Vietnamese high school students’ intercultural sensitivity in a rural EFL context

Duong My Tham Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics and Finance, Vietnam
Tran Thi Thanh Thuy Xuan Truong Secondary and High School, Vietnam
In the era of globalization, one of the ultimate goals in English language education is to equip learners with intercultural sensitivity (InS) to effectively communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds; however, EFL learners in rural contexts are supposed to encounter difficulties in achieving InS. Therefore, this mixed-methods study aims at exploring EFL students’ InS in a rural high school where students have few opportunities to interact with foreigners in person. The study involved 185 EFL high school students in Lam Dong province, Vietnam, in answering the questionnaire, and 18 students in responding to the focus group interview questions. The results indicated that participants possessed a high level of InS. Among the five constructs of InS (e.g. interaction engagement, respect for cultural differences, interaction enjoyment, interaction attentiveness, & intercultural confidence), the participants were most aware of respect for cultural differences, had interaction enjoyment and attentiveness, and showed their intercultural confidence. Nevertheless, they were likely to have difficulties in interaction engagement. It can be implied that the EFL high school students could, to some extent, gain their InS except socially intercultural interactions.
High school student
intercultural communication
intercultural sensitivity
rural EFL context

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