Intercultural step of the scale: From Denial to

     Intercultural competence and intercultural
sensitivity are sometimes mentioned interchangeably by some scholars to refer
to the same thing. However, Hammer, Bennet, and Wiseman (2003) have asserted
that intercultural sensitivity is the prerequisite for intercultural
competence. Intercultural competence is in fact the behavioral manifestation of
intercultural awareness and intercultural sensitivity (Peng, Rangsipaht,
&Thaipakdee, 2005). In
the area of language pedagogy, intercultural communication is introduced to
complete the communicative language teaching (CLT) movement in which
communicative competence (CC) is shaped beyond native speakers because of the significant
role of English as a global lingua franca (Baker, 2016; Gu, 2015). So far,
intercultural communicative competence has been an essential part of curriculum
documents, instructional materials, and assessment (Baker, 2015). Coupled with, intercultural
sensitivity is defined as an “attitudinal forerunner to successful
intercultural encounters and a predictor of cultural competence” (Altshuler et
al., 2003, p.388). In this respect, Chen and Starosta (2004) suggested that
intercultural communication sensitivity may help promote an individual’s
ability to respect cultural differences, foster multiple cultural identities,
and maintain multicultural coexistence. Equally important, some scholars have
defined intercultural sensitivity as the affective aspect of intercultural
communication where the individuals have “active desire to motivate themselves
to understand, appreciate, and accept differences among cultures” (Peng, 2006,
p. 39). One attempt to define cultural sensitivity is made by Bennett (1993) as
the ability to overcome ethnocentric worldviews and deal with cultural
differences. Bennett’s (1993) Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity
(DMIS) is considered as a theory of how individuals develop intercultural
communication competence. In his theory, Bennett describes the changes through each
step of the scale:

Denial to Defense: the person acquires an awareness of difference between
Defense to Minimization: negative judgments are depolarized, and the person is
introduced to similarities between cultures.From
Minimization to Acceptance: the subject grasps the importance of intercultural difference.From
Acceptance to Adaptation: exploration and research into the other culture begins.From
Adaptation to Integration: subject develops empathy towards the other culture.

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      During these stages one seeks cultural
difference through “accepting its importance, adapting a perspective to take it
into account, or by integrating the whole concept into a definition of
identity” (Bennett, 2004, p.153).