The Intercultural Effectiveness of Bilingual Students


This study looks at the bilingual students’ experience in school and on the job in relation to their cultural adaptation in the U.S. It assesses bilingual students’ competency in cross-cultural communication and the extent to which they think the competency facilitates their learning and working. The study attempts to address two interrelated questions, of which the second is the primary focus of its analysis: 1. What intercultural effectiveness abilities do bilingual students in the School-To- Career program possess or lack? 2. Which of them do bilingual students consider important for their effective functioning in the classroom? Which of them are important for their effective functioning in the workplace? The subjects are bilingual students participating in the School-To-Career program of the Boston Public Schools. Forty-six bilingual students responded to the survey, which was designed based on a list of twenty-four intercultural effectiveness abilities compiled by Hammer, Gudykunst, and Wiseman (1978). The data collected are analyzed using a conceptual framework reflected in the three-factor model developed by Hammer, Gudykunst, and Wiseman. The ability items that are found important as well as those found unimportant are discussed in relation to bilingual students’ experience in academic and work environments. The study also compares and contrasts its findings with previous studies. It concludes with recommendations on how the results can be used to improve the School-To-Career program and on what aspects future research should focus.


Education | International and Intercultural Communication

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