Rethinking the Role of Intercultural Skills in English Teaching at Colombian Universities
There seems to be a worldwide crisis in education in terms of developing imagination, critical thinking, and empathy in students given the dominance of economic models that see profit and economic impact as the priorities of education (Nussbaum, 2010). This article argues that the aforementioned qualities can be developed by university English professors at Colombian universities by ensuring that English courses have a sufficient focus on the development of intercultural skills. It is important to ensure that there is sufficient breadth and depth of intercultural knowledge and that discussions that will allow students to do a cultural comparative analysis take place. Educators must also do some self-reflection to avoid the negative influence of linguistic imperialism and coloniality in the classroom to avoid that positive and negative stereotypes deprive students of intercultural skill development. This article will start with an introduction of the Colombian ELT (English Language Teaching) context, followed by a description of the purpose and chosen methodology. The theoretical framework will then be presented and it will lead to two discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of intercultural learning in the university classroom and the best practices associated with the development of intercultural skills in students, and a conclusion.
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