Intercultural communication in the Spanish language classroom in Thailand: Differences in Power Distance, Individualism and Expressiveness

Benedanakenn Jenvdhanaken (1) , Nunghatai Rangponsumrit (2)
(1) Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Communication Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand , Thailand
(2) Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Communication Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand , Thailand

Abstract

This study aims to explore cultural differences between Thais and Spaniards in the classroom setting to identify problems caused by cultural differences and propose guidelines for coping with those issues. We interviewed forty Thai university students majoring in Spanish and ten Spanish teachers working in Thai universities about their expectations and experiences with regards to teachers’ and students’ behaviors and interactions in the classroom. The results highlighted the two cultures’ stark differences in power distance, individualism and expressiveness and revealed insights that can help international teachers cope with the learning disposition of students from hierarchical, collectivist, and reserved cultures.

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Authors

Benedanakenn Jenvdhanaken
benenaje@gmail.com (Primary Contact)
Nunghatai Rangponsumrit
Author Biographies

Benedanakenn Jenvdhanaken, Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Communication Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Benedanakenn Jenvdhanaken holds an M.A. in Spanish from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. She taught Spanish at Chulalongkorn University Demonstration School 2015-2019. She served as a research assistant in the Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Communication Research Group of Chulalongkorn University 2017-2018. Her research interests include intercultural communication and teaching Spanish as a foreign language. She is currently secretary to the ambassador at the embassy of the Republic of Guatemala in Thailand.

Nunghatai Rangponsumrit, Translation, Interpreting and Intercultural Communication Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand

Nunghatai Rangponsumrit holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand and a Master’s degree in English translation from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Madrid, Spain. She has been working as a lecturer in the Spanish section of the Faculty of Arts of Chulalongkorn University since 2006 and in the Master’s program in interpretation of the same university since 2007. Her research interests include Spanish linguistics, teaching Spanish as a foreign language, interpreting, and intercultural communication.

Jenvdhanaken, B., & Rangponsumrit, N. (2020). Intercultural communication in the Spanish language classroom in Thailand: Differences in Power Distance, Individualism and Expressiveness. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(3), 17–30. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v20i3.309

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