The Intercultural Dimension in the Tunisian Higher Education EFL Context: Teacher and Student Perceptions and Practices

Anouar Smaoui


Despite the growing flow of data on the intercultural dimension in EFL education worldwide, relatively little attention has been paid to the EFL teacher and student perceptions and practices of this dimension in the Tunisian higher education context. The present study explores these issues using a mixed-method exploratory design. The data were obtained through informal group discussions, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires with student and teacher participants from a Tunisian higher education EFL setting. The results revealed a significant awareness among the teachers of the relevance of the intercultural dimension in EFL but little to ambivalent understanding of the notion among the student population. Overall, the data indicated that both groups of participants were predisposed to the introduction of the intercultural dimension to EFL education. The results also demonstrated that various approaches to culture teaching and learning were at work in the EFL context under investigation, suggesting that important steps have been made towards the intercultural orientation of EFL education, but further efforts are still needed to fully develop this orientation. It seems imperative to accurately define intercultural competence (IC) and refer to it explicitly in the EFL curriculum. This study contributes to an understanding of the current status of the intercultural dimension in the Tunisian HE context and could form a critical foundation for further research and development. Further studies are needed to replicate the results of this work with larger samples, and additional experimental and quasi-experimental studies are required to further explore actual learning experiences involved in the iEFL teaching process.


Culture; IC; iCLT; Intercultural; IaH; Student cognition; Teacher cognition.

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