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The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

Enhancing Students’ Cultural Competence through a Cross-Cultural Understanding Subject: A Case Study of 4th Grade Students at the Pasundan School of Higher Learning and Education, Cimahi, West-Java, Indonesia


Ridha Mardiani,


Abstract

Current pedagogy stresses that language cannot be taught without culture and that culture is a necessary context for language use. This leads to a need for English teachers in Indonesia to develop their competence in holistic language competence, particularly cultural competence. In this research site, Pasundan School of Higher Learning and Education, the basic concept of culture related to the teaching and learning a language has been accommodated by the Cross-Cultural Understanding (CCU) subject. This study seeks to explore how the CCU subject could enhance the students’ cultural competence. The primary method for this research is a case study, involving the fourth year students within a single selected class as the sample. Observation, students’ questionnaires and a Cross-Cultural Self-Assessment Checklist were used as instruments for data collection. Results of the study indicate that: 1) students’ cultural competence was enhanced after the CCU course; 2) through discussion and interaction with the native speaker of English in the class, the students gained clear understanding of the target language’s culture; 3) culture shock and the process of adjustment to a new culture were the most interesting topics; and 4) the data from the Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Checklist showed that the students achieved significantly higher scores on the three areas of cultural competence: a) cultural knowledge with an average score of 27.7; b) cultural awareness with an average score of 24.4; and c) cultural skills with an average score of 24.6. Furthermore, all respondents (100%) agreed that CCU contributed to their understanding about culture, cultural differences and cross-cultural communication.

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Key words: Cultural Competence, Cross-Cultural Understanding,
     
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