Intercultural to understand, appreciate, and accept differences among

Intercultural competence and
intercultural sensitivity are sometimes mentioned interchangeably by some
scholars to refer to the same thing. However, Hammer, Bennet, and Wiseman
(2003) have asserted that intercultural sensitivity is the prerequisite skill for
intercultural competence. In other words, intercultural competence is the
behavioral manifestation of intercultural awareness and intercultural
sensitivity (Peng, Rangsipaht, &Thaipakdee, 2005). In the area of language teaching, intercultural communication
trend started to complete the communicative language teaching (CLT) movement in
which communicative competence (CC) is shaped beyond native speakers because of
the changing role of English as a global lingua franca (Baker, 2016; Gu, 2015).
So far, intercultural communicative competence has been considered as an undeniable
part of curriculum documents, instructional materials, and assessment (Baker,
2015). Coupled with, intercultural sensitivity is defined as an
“attitudinal forerunner to successful intercultural encounters and a predictor
of cultural competence” (Altshuler et al., 2003, p.388). In this respect, Chen
and Starosta (2004) suggested that intercultural communication sensitivity increases
an individual’s ability to respect cultural differences, foster multiple
cultural identities, and expand multicultural coexistence. Equally important,
some scholars have defined intercultural sensitivity as the affective aspect of
intercultural communication where the individuals have “active desire to
motivate themselves to understand, appreciate, and accept differences among
cultures” (Peng, 2006, p. 39). One attempt to define cultural sensitivity is
made by Bennett (1993) as the ability to overcome ethnocentric worldviews and deal
with cultural diversities. Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of
Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) is considered as a theory of how individuals
develop intercultural communication competence. In his theory, Bennett describes the
changes through each step of the scale:

Denial to Defense: the person acquires an awareness of difference between
Defense to Minimization: negative judgments are depolarized, and the person is
introduced to similarities between cultures.From
Minimization to Acceptance: the subject grasps the importance of intercultural difference.From
Acceptance to Adaptation: exploration and research into the other culture begins.From
Adaptation to Integration: subject develops empathy towards the other culture.

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      During these stages of intercultural communication
competence, one seeks cultural difference through “accepting its
importance, adapting a perspective to take it into account, or by integrating
the whole concept into a definition of identity” (Bennett, 2004, p.153).