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The place of native culture in the intercultural training of pre-service English language teachers : the Turkish case

Kaçar, Mustafa
This study explored pre-service English language teachers' definitions of culture and their views about the incorporation of cultural content, in particular Turkish cultural content, into English language classes. The study also examined the place of Turkish culture in the intercultural training of pre-service English language teachers in Turkey. The data for this study were collected through a questionnaire administered to 80 senior pre-service teachers studying in the Department of Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University (METU). Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 10 interviewees who had filled in the questionnaire. The findings of the study indicated that despite their static definitions of culture, pre-service teachers were very positive about integrating Turkish cultural elements into EFL classes together with other cultures. They were also aware of the fact that the presentation of Turkish cultural content in EFL classes had a significant effect on learners' intercultural competence development. However, results also showed that pre-service English language teachers did not attain the desired levels of intercultural competence, since the departmental courses they took did not play a role in giving them an intercultural outlook on Turkish culture from different dimensions (attitude, knowledge, skills and awareness). Furthermore, this study revealed that pre-service teachers also lacked the professional knowledge and skills needed to convey intercultural competence to their "future" learners because these courses did not give them enough chance to gain awareness and experience of integrating Turkish cultural elements into English language classes.