Lecturer in English and Communications at Les Roches Marbella, Dr. Elisabeth Arevalo-Guerrero, has been published recently in “América para todos los Americanos: Prácticas Interculturales” (America for all Americans: Intercultural Practices), by the Centro de Enseñanzas para Extranjeros (CEPE) in Mexico.
América para todos los Americanos: Prácticas Interculturales was officially presented in Mexico City, on September 6, 2012 as a resulting volume of the international, inter-institutional, and interdisciplinary seminar: “Interculturality in the Americas: A relationship of equity and equality”.
The book contains the work of researchers at CEPE, the Centro de Enseñanza de Lenguas Entranjeras (CELE) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in addition to other collaborations from distinguished intellectuals and specialists in interculturality in Latin America.
The content presented in the CEPE publication includes a variety of studies (on academic research, teaching practices, art, literature, etc.) and in-depth discussions of historical issues related to the inequality inherited from the colonial system on the American continent; mainly by indigenous villages and current social indigenous movements.
“The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy–the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately” – J. W. Fulbright
In particular, Dr. Arevalo´s chapter presents an experimental study based on an intercultural Spanish course she designed and taught during her doctoral research at the University of Maryland, USA. In her study, two theoretical frameworks (the Bennett Scale and Byram Model) together with mixed methods were used to assess the development of learners´ intercultural sensitivity and communicative competence. These two concepts work to establish the pillars for an effective and appropriate communication practice among members of different cultural groups.
Dr. Arevalo’s contribution to this important scholarly publication outlines how the development of intercultural sensitivity and communicative competence involves creating awareness of differences across cultures, as well as how specific knowledge, skills, and self-reflection influence our attitudes towards our own culture and others.
Her work opens a vital dialogue that invites teachers, students, and those involved in intercultural encounters to discuss ways to improve relationships in an increasingly multicultural world.
(“América para los americanos. Prácticas Interculturales” is currently available in Spanish only. A copy of this publication can be found in the Les Roches Marbella library.)