Cultural Intelligence and the Expatriate Teacher: A study of expatriate teachers’ constructs of themselves as culturally intelligent.
Devitt, Patrick James
Date: 10 April 2014
University of Exeter
EdD in TESOL
This study is situated in the field of cultural intelligence (CQ) research. It involves expatriate teachers employed at a college for Emirati women in the United Arab Emirates who are all EFL trained native English speakers with a minimum of 5 years overseas teaching experience. This interpretive study explores these teachers’ ...
This study is situated in the field of cultural intelligence (CQ) research. It involves expatriate teachers employed at a college for Emirati women in the United Arab Emirates who are all EFL trained native English speakers with a minimum of 5 years overseas teaching experience. This interpretive study explores these teachers’ understandings of cultural intelligence through individual interviews and focus groups. In so doing it contributes to the discussion on expatriate teachers constructs of what it is to be culturally intelligent, and augments knowledge on the cultural intelligence construct itself through rich qualitative data. The research design and subsequent data analysis are informed by Sternberg and Detterman’s (1986) multi-loci of intelligence theory, and Earley and Ang’s (2003) multi-factor construct of cultural intelligence; metacognitive CQ, cognitive CQ, motivational CQ, and behavioural CQ . Results suggest that these four factors of CQ feature in the respondents constructs of cultural intelligence. Metacognitive CQ is evident in the importance placed on being alert to the cultural context and of consciously assessing and reassessing cultural knowledge before making decisions about how to proceed appropriately. Cognitive CQ is displayed in the significance cultural knowledge has for the participants; the data suggest that cognitive CQ is evident in the willingness and the effort made to learn specific cultural information pertaining to the context. For the respondents the desire to travel and engage with different cultures and a confidence in their own ability to manage successfully in novel cultural settings is clear evidence of motivational CQ. The results show that not only do the participants demonstrate behavioural CQ in their actions, they also employ strategies to facilitate accurate acquisition of cultural norms of behaviour through adopting a non-threatening observe and listen approach. In addition the study produced some interesting findings related to the context and attitudes to Arab culture such as the idea of the Arabic language as a cultural ‘gate-keeper’. Other findings that warrant further study include the strong association the respondents made between language learning and CQ, close personal relationships and CQ, age and ‘stage of life’ influences on CQ development, and the correlation these respondents felt exists between EFL teacher qualities and CQ capabilities.
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