Exploring the influences of professional sojourns on teachers' practices, assumptions and beliefs about Intercultural communication

UoM administered thesis: Master's Thesis


The intercultural dimension in foreign language education assumes that foreign language teachers themselves will have acquired intercultural competences to a reasonable level so that they can help their learners to become interculturally competent people. Therefore, in 1993 the Ministry of Education in Mexico (SEP), in collaboration with the British Council, established an exchange programme between Mexican and British foreign language teachers with the purpose of promoting the Spanish language and the Mexican culture in the UK; contributing to the training of Mexican foreign language teachers of English and promoting the exchange of ideas and experiences between Mexican and British foreign language teachers. Thus, the study of this report aims to explore the influences of this professional sojourn or exchange programme on teachers’ practices, assumptions and beliefs about intercultural communication. Its purpose is to discover the impacts and significance of this exchange programme, from the point of view of the Mexican foreign language teachers who participated during the academic year 2011-2012. Using semi-structured interviews as a means of data collection, four Mexican ex-participants voice their experience as professional sojourners. Themes related to the current participant’s perceptions and beliefs about intercultural communication in foreign language education as well as the different effects that the professional sojourn has had on their professional and personal life are vital elements in their responses. This research realises that professional sojourns are an excellent opportunity for foreign language teachers to develop and enhance their intercultural skills, cultural and intercultural awareness as well as a ‘culture-sensitive awareness’ which consists of being aware of the classroom’s culture in order to develop appropriate methodologies for the students. This report concludes with some suggestions for further research.


Original languageEnglish
Award date25 Nov 2014