Developing Intercultural Awareness Through Webquest

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Proceedings of CLaSIC 2012

USING WEBQUEST
TO DEVELOP INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS:
A MATERIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR COMMUNICATION
CLASS IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
Yudi Setyaningsih
(yudi.setyaningsih@machung.ac.id)
Universitas Ma Chung, Malang, Indonesia

Abstract
Intercultural awareness in communication is important so as to bridge communication gaps between different cultures. In this era of globalization where there are interdependences caused by changes in global economies and communication technology, such awareness is badly needed when one enters an international workplace with employees coming from various countries. This article discusses the importance of Intercultural awareness for students in the English Department of Universitas Ma Chung where there are two concentrations: Public Relations and Tourism. These students are prepared to meet the real world situation as soon as they graduate from the university. As technology becomes more available in classroom, it is increasingly important that teachers be comfortable with the use of technology. WebQuest, an Internet-based inquiry program, is one of technology usages designed to be employed in the classroom. Using WebQuest for students in the communication classroom is hoped to be one of the best ways to increase their Intercultural awareness later when they enter the job’s world. A small research is conducted to support students’ perceptions on the importance of Intercultural awareness.

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Introduction

We are now living in the global world where there are technological advances, international media, the Internet, international cooperation, and so on and so forth…as there are no boundaries between nations and people are connected one to another. Today’s citizen must be able to communicate with other people from different cultural backgrounds.The world is a much smaller place now than it ever was. ‘Global village’, ‘globalization’ and ‘global markets’ are the new words found everywhere. People are traveling more and the number of people working or settling down in foreign countries, in search of better jobs or better living conditions, is increasing all the time. One of the key changes that has triggered is the need to communicate effectively with people from different cultures in different languages. The highlight: the world is becoming increasingly bilingual and knowing a second language is almost a necessity now.With companies growing globally and the outsourcing of jobs, the work force finds itself having to interact with people from different countries every day. People with knowledge of a foreign language find themselves at a distinct advantage.An ignorance of the culture someone has been visiting or interacting with can and does lead to development of stereotypes and occasionally, causing offence. It is often the case that Intercultural misunderstandings lead to negative consequences. The rapid development in information, communication, and technology (ICT) brings insights on how vast is the world with numerous differences in cultures carried by people traveling and working across countries. Students in the English Department must be prepared not only in mastering English as the global language but also some Intercultural awareness used later when they graduate and enter the real jobs world. By mastering English, it is hoped that they can have good Intercultural communication competence to raise their Intercultural awareness. Technology, in this case the Internet, might help a lot in bringing insights on different cultures. Therefore, WebQuest, as anInternet-based program with topics on cultures from some parts of the world is used by the teacher in classroom activities.

This paper discusses Intercultural awareness that must be owned by students in order that they will enter the jobs world with some possibilities that their colleagues are people from different cultural backgrounds. In teaching and learning activities, WebQuest, as one of...
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