Business English students’ multifaceted and contradictory perceptions of intercultural communication education (ICE) at a Chinese University

Ashley Simpson*, Fred Dervin, Jian Tao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intercultural communication education (ICE) is occurring in different departments and faculties of higher education globally. Yet, there is a lack of research on how this complex field is perceived by both teachers and students. The same goes for the perceptions of the ideal teacher of the subject. This article proposes to fill these gaps by problematizing current discussions about ICE. First, the article presents an overview of the field and shows how polysemic, ideologically and politically oriented ICE is. Based on focus groups with Chinese students of Business English at a Chinese university, this case study examines how they discuss, construct and perceive, on the one hand, the idea of intercultural communication as a subject, and on the other, those who teach it. ICE is multifaceted in Chinese higher education and we do not claim to generalize for the field as a whole in this paper. Based on a dialogical approach to students’ discourses, the results show that they do not seem to have a uniform and coherent way of representing intercultural communication. As far as teachers of the subject are concerned, native/non-native and Chinese/non-Chinese dichotomies seem to dominate. Implications are discussed for the future of ICE in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Early online date19 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • business English
  • China
  • intercultural communication education
  • dialogism

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