Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1.  March 2022                                       Pp. 273 – 284

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Anti-Essentialist Culture Conception for Better Intercultural Language Teaching
 in EFL Contexts 

Mohamed Toufik Ghaffour
Laboratory Study of Gender, Languages and Sociolinguistic Diversity
Department of English, Faculty of Foreign Languages
Abdelhamid Ibn Badis University Mostaganem, Algeria


Received:  12/27/2021                  Accepted:2/2/2022                     Published:3/24/2022


Culture is a crucial facet in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. (TEFL) Hence, we shall in this paper discuss the theories underpinning this concept and how we can utilize these epistemological and ontological understandings to promote the TEFL field and the higher education task. Henceforward, we have answered the following question: How to move from the essentialist view of culture to the non-essentialist view of culture, and why it is essential to do so in 21st century English as a Foreign Language context? To answer the proposed question, we have discussed the essentialist and non-essentialist dichotomy of the culture concept and how both frameworks affect TEFL and intercultural language teaching (ILT) differently. In this regard, we aim to help EFL policymakers, EFL teachers, and students alike shift their attention towards the merits of adopting a non-essentialist understanding of the culture concept in the ILT. First, this article covers the theories of culture to understand this concept from different anthropological perspectives. Second, we relied on Byram’s Model (1997) critiques to demonstrate how a misunderstanding of culture as a concept can be damaging. Third, after critically discussing the relevant literature, we recommended an anti-culturalist perspective in the EFL context to improve the ILT experience. This article concludes with recommendations for EFL and ELT policymakers and EFL teachers and students alike. The proposals mainly focus on shifting the attention towards a non-culturalist approach towards culture.
Keywords: Culture theories, English language teaching, English as a foreign language, intercultural communicative competence, global citizenship education, Byram’s Model

Cite as:   Ghaffour, M. T. (2022). Anti-Essentialist Culture Conception for Better Intercultural Language Teaching in EFL Contexts. Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) . 273 – 284..


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Received: 12/27/2021
Accepted: 2/2/2022
Published: 3/24/2022 

Mohamed Toufik GHAFFOUR is currently persuing a Ph.D. in didactics of foreign languages and cultures at Abdel Hamid ibn Badis University (Mostaganem, Algeria). The author interest areas include didactics of foreign languages and cultures, and intercultural studies. ORCiD: