Emerging intercultural competence in trilingual education

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

Author: Alzhanova Ainash, Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages, Kazakhstan

The problem of a language situation in modern Kazakhstan is reflected in the President's N. A. Nazarbayev`s call of the Republic of Kazakhstan "New Kazakhstan in the new world" of 2009, where the purpose defines in providing competitiveness of the country and its citizens, implementation of the cultural project "Trinity of Languages" is being installed step-by-step, according to which development of three languages is necessary: Kazakh as state language, Russian as language of international communication and English as language of successful integration into global economy. The presidential decree approved the state program of languages` development and functioning in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011 - 2020.

In Kazakhstan new system of teaching children in schools is being installed. The innovative key is – learning lessons in three languages, they are: Kazakh, Russian, English. Society debates whether this changing is the cause of future problems of young generation. Educators bother that there are not enough qualified teachers who can teach subject in foreign language. Chairmen, ministry of education and science confirm that setting trilingual education is not an immediate step. Although some parents and educators oppose trilingual education, there is some evidence that trilingual education yields positive results.

Opponents of trilingual education claim that children will have a lingua mixture in heads while learning three languages at once. But, this is nothing more than just a human fear. Psychologists say that children’s brain especially in early years is very flexible. Children learn very quickly and remember the information for a long time. There is no mixture if one learns hard and intentionally. It happens if person suffers from psychic disease or if one is emotionally unstable, however, it is very individually and it is not a widespread phenomenon.

Opponents also maintain that trilingual education is not a good idea because teachers and the whole educational system are not ready. However, they ignore the fact that the turning trilingual education on is in the process. It is logically that training teachers of how to teach Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and many other subjects in English is a time taking process. The system needs new ways of developing. Otherwise, there will be no progress, growth. Nowadays, many teachers get the workshops, seminars to be qualified enough for trilingual education.

The final argument advanced by opponents of trilingual education is that children will forget their mother tongue or will speak in mother language not well. On the contrary, to learn languages from early childhood has a positive result for further development of human being. Those who learn several non-native languages adjust for life changing faster than those who don’t. Sayasat Nurbek is a nice example of polyglot in the state; he held some top positions and even continues to.

It should be evident that arguments against trilingual education are not sufficient and can’t be proven. Furthermore, trilingual education is aimed for better living in future, it is being done for wealth of country, and Kazakhstan needs such alternations. Therefore, the trilingual education should be an irreplaceable innovation in future to set up.

The trinity of languages in Kazakhstan is one of the main priorities of state policy. As it is noted in the State program of languages` development and functioning in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020: "… enhancement of the regulatory framework directed to strengthening of the institutional status of Kazakh as state, to preserving sociolingual activity of Russian and to development of English as integration tools in world space is necessary".

At the same time, in the ministry’s of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan document "DEVELOP-MENT of STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2015-2020” it is noted that in system of trilingual education there is no universal and commonly accepted definition of the "trilinguality" and "trilingual education" concepts, and also the lack of pupils` results` studying of other countries within implementation of trilingual educational programs various types and also methods of their achievement is observed. Routine planning goes in the conditions of insufficient awareness on trilingual education and is partially based on some false representations.

The problem of emerging necessity of the intercultural competence in terms of trilingual education is to be solved. The lack of adequate normative documentation in aspect of implementation trilingual education issue into modern educational system is needed. Trilinguality is the direction to which much attention is paid now, both from the state, and from society.

The globalization, immigration and migration processes are increasing nowadays and intercultural focus is in the centre of discussions. Language links cultures. Foreign language students need to develop an intercultural competence. Authors` thesis statement is the following one: “When language skills and intercultural competency become linked in a language classroom, students become optimally prepared for participation in a global world.”

The article “Building intercultural competence in the language classroom” by Moeller A.J. & Nugent K. summarizes the literature on intercultural competence and intercultural communicative competence in order to better understand how notions can impact the cultural component of a foreign language curriculum. This research focuses on necessity of building intercultural competence among students for examining their own beliefs. The article represents various models of intercultural communicative competence, examples of cultural tasks that promote intercultural communicative competence. Moeller A.J. & Nugent K. claim that ICC should be an integral part of language classroom.

It is clear from the introductory part that this is no simple issue. The authors start with identifying the principal terms and present an activity of forming and using ICC (intercultural competence). What can make ICC work in foreign language classroom?

Another influence, outside of individual “self-awareness and identity transformation”, is the existence of great variety of ICC models. Moeller A.J. & Nugent K. made a comparative analysis of ICC models and their main factors and functions. The authors also acknowledge the importance of Council of Europe`s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2001), where the principal standards are written.

To such a complicated issue the authors sum the research up well by saying that there are times for teachers to integrate ICC into foreign language classroom curriculum and “students begin to see how their attitudes, knowledge, and language skills can affect their intercultural experiences”.

This is good concept for how the problem of building intercultural competence in the language classroom should be handled. However, there doesn’t appear to be any concrete guidelines that could be based on empirical experience; activities that are presented based only on theoretical knowledge; no empirical value was taken into consideration. Moeller A.J. & Nugent K. cite people like Schulz, Byram, Furstenberg. These are good well-known authors and it adds a great deal of credibility to the piece as a whole.

According to Kulyash Shamshidinova, the chairman of the board "Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools" it turned out that because of shortage of the employees knowing foreign languages mutually advantageous contracts at 11% of the European entities didn't take place. In general, availability of common language of communication increases a goods turnover by 70%. The British firms lost 20% of a goods turnover only because they speak English only, and there are countries which on they don't speak. The research data conducted in Switzerland show that ownership of two or more languages leads to high compensation and the high level of employment of the population.

Educational process is specially organized purposeful interaction of teachers and pupils directed to the solution of the developing and educational tasks which is characterized by the continuous, consecutive movement from the purposes to results, under construction and developing, taking into account certain principles, forms and methods.

One of the most important priorities of long-term Strategy "Kazakhstan - 2030" is education. The president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev set the task to provide the new level of development of university education and science. Modernization of education shall become a basis on which future economic, political and welfare prosperity of the country will rely. Effective upgrade requires, first of all, competent management of education and, first of all, educational process that requires refining the "management of educational process" concept.

One of unqualified successes of the country - the developed unique model of a great number of various ethnos and cultures peaceful co-existence. In Kazakhstan unique experience of interaction and mutual enrichment of national cultures is developed. The unique institute of cultural and religious interaction - the Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan which had, as we know, an opportunity directly to participate in legislative activities of Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan is created. In the Republic of Kazakhstan always with special care and attention treated development of language wealth of the people of the state, its role in development of modern society was understood.

It can be understood, having studied one of the first laws adopted in sovereign Kazakhstan - "About languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan" (of 11.07.1997) which announces all languages of the people of Kazakhstan national property, historical and cultural heritage of the country. Questions of languages` development constantly were in Kazakhstan under control and guardianship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev, who in his annual messages to the people of Kazakhstan always tried to focus attention on development of education, cultures, and language skills. In the President's letter it is specified: "The people will be wise in education of posterity, caring about their health, education and outlook … They will know equally well Kazakh, Russian and English languages ".

In Kazakhstan the Concept of development of foreign-language education which determines the purposes and content of foreign-language education according to international standards - the all-European competences of foreign language skills representing system of levels of proficiency in language and system of the description of these levels with use of single system of concepts which can be used for the description of any system of certification and, therefore, and any training program, is more whole than training and finishing with the competences reached as a result of training.

The presidential decree of the Republic of Kazakhstan of June 29, 2011 No. 110 approved the State Program of development and functioning of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011 - 2020 in which main objectives, tasks and the directions of language policy of the state are planned. Subjects of educational process in case of a learning of foreign language first of all are students and teachers. The relations of the student and the teacher are under construction on the basis of cooperation, respect of the identity of the student and reasoning to freedoms of development according to specific features. And students play more and more active role in educational process, the most demanded are a capability to self-training, increase in personal responsibility and activity in acquisition and knowledge transfer, and the teacher acts more as the manager of training process and as the mentor, therefore from it such qualification characteristics as presence of high level of information and technological, organizational, communicative, pedagogical and professional competency are required; presence of innovative culture and mobility, great pedagogical and professional skills, and also rather high level of proficiency in English. The important role in case of the organization and maintenance of educational process is played by also educational and methodical services of higher education institution.

The purpose of management of educational process in conditions a trilinguality can be formulated as increase in management efficiency that, in turn, leads to more effective assimilation of knowledge, skills and allows to intensify training process to a foreign language and to achieve for rather small amount of hours of good results both in the language plan, and in respect of co-managing and self-government by training process.

As it is noted in the article "Kazakhstani trilinguality - a Unique Formula of Language Policy" of Eshimbetova Z. B. and Demeuova A. M. the basic principles of educational process management in conditions of trilinguality are the following:

• democratization and humanization of training;

• systemacity and integrity in management;

• rational combination of centralization and decentralization;

• interrelation of one-man management and collective nature;

• scientific justification of management;

• objectivity, completeness and regularity of provision of information.

Training process to a foreign language was based on the following fundamental principles:

• creative nature of training;

• activity nature of training;

• development of autonomy of the trainee in educational activities;

• communicative nature of training;

• training in culture of native speakers;

• a support on speech, educational and cultural experience.

Content of educational process in conditions a trilinguality submit, first of all, the regulating documents describing competences which the pupil needs to seize, and also the specific language material which is subject to assimilation in certain terms, somehow: state educational standard, curriculum, standard training program, educational and methodical complex and training working program of this discipline.

Trilingualism is the direction to which much attention is now paid, both from the state, and from society. Today a problem the trilingualism, methods of development of this program see many differently. But it is necessary to remember that it is a general task and responsibility. Because the society today, builds the tomorrow. Increase in number of people who speak three languages perhaps in case of scientific approach to the matter, application and implementation of innovative methods, and also in case of the use of the available experience promoting effective studying of languages.

Now children of Kazakhstan need to know three languages in the future to manage to support itself and the family. The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev shared such opinion during the XXIV session of Kazakhstan`s people`s assembly "Independence. Consent. Nation of the single future". "I am absolutely convinced, children should be taught when they are children. Trilinguality is needed for our children. They are children of all planet: the state language shall be known, Russian - our language of communication, English - world language, language of world science, innovations, the Internet", - N. Nazarbayev emphasized. According to the Head of state, trilinguality implementation in the sphere of school education is training of the Kazakhstan children for the future. "Who knows what language will dominate in the world? On the second place, by the way, there is Chinese - by the number of people who apply language. Perhaps, once Chinese we should learn also, I don't know, maybe, language of Hindus whom one billion two hundred thousand. But now for advance, for education, for formation of the young man who capable will contain himself, the family and to raise children, - English is necessary", - the President of Kazakhstan added.

Fundamental basis of studying of this problem are:

- cognitive and linguoculturological methodology (S. S. Kunanbayeva);

- linguo-didactic and psychological bases of training in languages and communicative linguistics (Baryshnikov N. V., Vygotsky L. S., Vermke Yu., Zhinkin N. I., Winter I.A., Koryakovtseva N. F., Leontyev A. A., Rubenstein S. L., Tsakharias V., etc.);

- questions of studying of language as reflections of ethnocultural values (Arutyunova N. D., Likhachev D. S., Stepanov Yu. S., Thalia V. N., Shaklein V. M., etc.);

- problems of bilingualism, interaction and interference of languages, language situations and language policy (Altynbekova O. B., Arayev L. A., Belousov V. N., Golev N. D., Guboglo M. N., Zalevskaya A.A., Isaev M. K., Karlinsky A. E., Kopylenko M. M., Kostromin T. A., Krysin L. P., Madiyeva G. B., Neroznak V. P., Smagulova ZH.S., Suleymenova E. D., Chasanoff B. H., Shaymerdenova N. Zh., etc.);

- forming of language identity (Golev N. D., Khayrullina N. G.);

- the communicative system of language described by G. A. Zolotova;

- cognitive and functional and communicative approach to training in languages (Passov E. I., Bulatbayeva K. N.).

The system analysis of the corresponding scientific literature, legal acts in the field of language and education, studying of educational documentation of higher education institutions and schools allowed formulating the following contradictions between:

- requirement of society for the Multilanguage personality and lack of system of trilingual education as process of its preparation in the conditions of training;

- awareness of need of development of the system of trilingual education and segmentation of its standard and legal and scientific and methodical providing;

- need for reasons for need of systematization and enhancement of standard and legal and scientific and methodical base of trilingual education.

Permission of these contradictions constituted the main problem which caused the choice of a subject of a research in the following formulation: "Scientific and methodical bases of intercultural competence and communicative competence developing in conditions of trilinguality ".

Intercultural competence and communicative competence developing in conditions of trilinguality is effective if:

1) As a single universal platform of the theory of foreign-language and trilingual education the cognitive and linguocultural methodology is chosen;

2) The educational and organizational format of trilingual education is developed (on the example of Universities);

3) To disclose categorical essence of cross-cultural and communicative competence as the purposes and contents of foreign-language education in aspect of its orientation on trilingualism,

that it will cause systemacity, integrity, logical succession and internal unity its standard and legal, scientific and methodical and educational organizational support, as will be implemented cognitive and linguocultural, competence-based, personal oriented approaches.

Purpose is to determine scientific and methodical bases of intercultural competence and communicative competence developing in conditions of trilingualism.

Research problems:

1. To develop the theoretical-methodological bases of training a trilingualism in the conditions of foreign-language education on the basis of the analysis a trilingualism as cross-disciplinary category, competence-based and activity approaches.

2. To determine component structure of cross-cultural and communicative competence of conditions a trilingualism;

3. To develop an educational and organizational format of trilingual education (on the example of high institutions and Universities).

4. To prove and to experimentally confirm efficiency of implementation of substantial technological support of model of intercultural competence developing and communicative competence in conditions of trilingualism.

Degree of a material that has been studied of the offered scientific research is determined that in modern domestic science theoretical-methodological and applied aspects of trilingual education are studied:

- with the characteristic of a modern language situation which causes set of historical and pedagogical prerequisites, theoretical base and social and pedagogical conditions of its formation;

- with the theory of polylingual education as which acts - with methodological ensuring trilingual education which is caused by the ethnolinguo-didactic approach representing set of the fundamental principles, specialized methods and specific means;

- with a regulatory framework of the organization of trilingual education which contains the Concept of trilingual education development in the Republic of Kazakhstan and some other program documents regulating process of trilingual education.

Works of overseas, Russian and domestic scientists are devoted to theoretical and practical problems of intercultural competence developing.

Are researched by the Russian scientists:

- problems of intercultural competence developing in training process – Parfyonova T.A., Tkachenko T. A., Pluzhnik I.L., Mureeva S.V., Sviridon R. A., Kapichnikova O. B.

- in the field of a multilingualism and a trilingualism – Amrakhova A. K.

Kazakhstani authors dealt with problems: Chaklikova A. T., Eshimbetova Z. B., Demeuova A. M., Abdiyeva R. S., Kurmanbayev A. A., Omarova B. A., Serikbay B. F.

The foreign researchers who devoted works to questions of a cross-cultural and communicative kompeiyention: Margaret D. Bush, Nakayama T. K., Martin Yu.K., Kim Yu. Yu., Derdof D. K., etc.

Scientific novelty of a dissertation research are that in dissertation work:

- The theoretical-methodological bases of training a trilingualism in the conditions of foreign-language education on the basis of the analysis a trilingualism as cross-disciplinary category, competence-based and activity approaches are developed;

- The component structure of cross-cultural and communicative competence of conditions a trilingualism is determined;

- The educational and organizational format of trilingual education is developed (on the example of the higher school).

- Efficiency of implementation of substantial technological support of model of forming of cross-cultural and communicative competence of conditions a trilingual’s is proved and is experimentally confirmed

The theoretical importance is determined:

• a contribution of this research to development of the scientific priority directions in a technique of foreign-language education;

• enriches the theory of cognitive and linguocultural methodology;

• in reasons for need of systematization and enhancement of standard and legal and scientific and methodical base of polylingual education.

Practical importance of a research:

• The main conclusions and provisions can be used in the course of teaching a technique of foreign-language education;

• In practice of foreign-language education when developing sociocultural, linguocultural sub competences as components of cross-cultural and communicative competence;

• When holding seminars on mastering of cross-cultural and communicative competence in trilingualism surrounding.

Methodology of scientific research (the used methods and forms of scientific research, the comparative analysis of scientific approaches to scientific research).

The methodological base of a research is constituted: theoretical concepts of modern science of science: synergy, axiological; theory of integration of scientific knowledge; crosscultural theories of well-known researchers, etc.;

- set of methodological approaches and principles: system and activity, structurally functional, dialectic-logical, integrative and complete, cross-cultural and communicative, ethnopedagogical, ethnolinguo-didactic, semantic-functional, etc.

The main methods of a research are connected with specifics of an object of a research:

- among theoretical methods the analysis of scientific literature, meta-analysis, a modeling method, a method of sociological and pedagogical measurements, methods of systematization and generalization are important;

- empirical methods are prioritize: polling methods (questioning, testing, an interview), the direct and mediated, pedagogical observations.


1. European competences of foreign language knowledge, (2001). Strasbourg, http: // www. linguanet.ru/ ipk- REMA/

2. Galskova N.D., (2003). Modern Methodic of foreign language teaching. 2nd ed., М.: ARKTI

3. Kunanbayeva S.S., (2010). Modern foreign language education theory and practice, Almaty

4. Moeller A.J. & Nugent K., “Building intercultural competence in the language classroom” (2014). “Unlock the Gateway to Communication”, Central States Conference Report

5. Nazarbayev N.A., (2012). Call for the people of Kazakhstan of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan www.akorda.kz / presidentkazakhstan/ poslanie_ prezi-denta

6. Yeshimbetova Z. B., Demeuova A. M., (2012). Kazakhstani trilinguism – language policy’s unique formula – Novosibirsk: SibAK

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

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