Toward “Living Together”: Developing Intercultural Sensitivity Through Arabic Foreign Language Coursework
This paper investigates intercultural sensitivity as an expected outcome of an Arabic as a foreign language class in higher education. The study used pretest and posttest design to measure the change in 26 students’ intercultural sensitivity after a semester of language study. The participants studied elementary level Arabic as a foreign language at an American university in the northeast United States. The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) was used to measure intercultural sensitivity. No significant difference was found in the Arabic students’ levels of intercultural sensitivity as measured by the IDI, on average. The students’ Arabic instructor was interviewed, and the elementary level Arabic textbook was critically reviewed to understand how students’ intercultural sensitivity might be improved; a primary recommendation is to provide instructors with training on incorporating culture into foreign language curriculum.