Developing Intercultural Communicative Competence through Short Stories: A Qualitative Inquiry

Document Type : Original Article


Languages and Linguistics Center, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


This study investigated the role of literary texts in the development of Iranian English language learners’ Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC). To fulfill this general objective, an intercultural syllabus was designed for a fourteen-session course of American English short story at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Theoretically informed by Byram’s (1997) ICC model and following Kraft’s cultural pattern as introduced in Chinaka (2010), the course syllabus was an integration of various cultural topics by using short stories written by some eminent American writers whose fictions lent themselves well to the topics selected for this ICC course. The participants, who were 13 students at the intermediate to upper-intermediate level, were taught these short stories with a contrastive approach where both L1 and L2 cultural points were highlighted. Two main sources of data collection were 1) a series of questions, in the form of journal entries, written by the participants as part of their assignments, and 2) semi-structured interviews at the outset and end of the course. The qualitative analysis of the data indicated that the learners developed intercultural competence under the definitions of Byram’s model. The results of the study provide us with valuable insights about the integration of literary texts in teaching culture. The results can be further used by textbook writers and fed into teacher training courses