Cultural Competence In English Language

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Language plays an important role in communication, understanding of a person’s own/other cultures and acquisition of knowledge in different fields (Icelandic National curriculum). English has gained status as a global language based on the fact that it is linked to international sports, politics, technology, science, etc. hence, to the idea that the English language learner has a chance of economic advancement (Larsen-Freeman & Andersen, 2013). However, learning a language is not an easy task. According to McLaughlin (1992), learning a second language takes long, it is hard and complex, for both children and adults. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to know how learners acquire a second language, understand what the learner needs to learn (McLaughlin, 2013) as well as have an in-depth knowledge of the language; because a teacher’s understanding of the language affects the way he/she teaches. Surely, language teaching and learning is much more than just acquiring grammar, vocabulary and the four skills but social, cultural, economic, and political factors greatly influence it. However, in this paper I intend to discuss my personal understanding of a good theory of practice in English language teaching (ELT) with a focus on cultural competence, while acknowledging the importance of linguistic and communicative competencies. I refer to culture as people’s approach to life; their way of living and thinking and transmitting meaning to one another (Jiang, 2000). Before
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