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Abstract

Cultural awareness and intercultural competence (IC) of students in foreign language (FL) instruction have been widely examined (e.g. Byram, 1997; Belz, 2002). The importance of the FL teacher in aiding students’ IC development is less extensively researched, however. Author (2014), Kohler (2015), Sercu et al. (2005) and Sercu (2006) are a few exceptions. The purpose of this study is to shed light on graduate student instructors’ (GSIs) perspective of understanding IC and its incorporation into FL courses. Eight GSIs of German at a large US university participated in this qualitative study, which addresses the struggles that these instructors encounter when attempting to understand and teach IC. Findings show that the GSIs do not fully comprehend the term of IC and hence have difficulty including IC in the classroom. This has implications for teacher training and professional development.

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