Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Developing Intercultural Communicative Competence: A Cornerstone in EMI in-service Training Programmes in Higher Education

Carmen Maíz-Arévalo, Elena Orduna-Nocito


Globalisation and technological advances have contributed greatly to increasing mobility in higher education (HE). One of the main stakeholders in this process are lecturers, for whom internationalisation is often understood as simply the use of a lingua franca—usually English—in their teaching (then known as English medium instruction, EMI) to the detriment of other key factors such as intercultural competence. The present study focuses on the analysis of a specific in-service training module intended to develop the intercultural communicative competence (ICC) of a group of 21 Spanish lecturers working at two public universities. Adopting an empirical approach, we specifically aim to contrast the participants’ beliefs about their own ICC before and after taking the training course. Adopting a mixed-method approach, two data gathering processes were used prior to and after the training: questionnaire and self-reflection report. The results show that before the training participants were willing to learn but mostly unaware of the importance of ICC. Once trained, many of them seem to have become aware that EMI goes beyond language issues and that there is a crucial need to work on the intercultural component to fully develop HE internationalisation. Furthermore, this study highlights the need for major changes in in-service training courses as well as in language policies for EMI in order to give ICC the presence it should have.


Intercultural communicative competence; in-service training; EMI; Internationalisation of Higher Education

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