A Documentary Study of the Integration of Intercultural Communicative Competence in Bhutan’s English Curriculum


  • Sonam Lhamo Thimphu
  • Tashi Wangchuk




Intercultural communicative competence, Bhutan’s English curriculum, documentary research, thematic analysis


This study aimed to analyze the integration of Intercultural Communicative Competence (hereby ICC) in Bhutan’s English curriculum for key stage II. ICC is defined in this study as a set of skills that allows one to engage effectively and appropriately with others who are linguistically and culturally different. Bhutan’s English curriculum for key stage II refers to students in grades IV, V, and VI in Bhutan. A documentary research design was employed to analyze one hundred eighteen numbers of classroom activities suggested in the curriculum for students. A Thematic Analysis method was used to analyze the data, which involved deriving codes and categories. The findings of the study revealed the amount of classroom activities related to ICC in Bhutan’s English curriculum is minimal. According to the findings, there is no clear mention of any classroom activity that involves students in understanding various cultures. Based on the findings, the present study discusses Bhutan's English curriculum for key stage II should include a variety of activities in the curriculum that would let students compare different cultures.


Aguilar, M. J. C. (2010). Intercultural communicative competence as a tool for autonomous learning. Revista Canaria De Estudios Ingleses, 61, 87-98.

Alptekin, C. (2002). Towards intercultural communicative competence in ELT. ELT Journal, 56(1), 57-64.

Alvior, M. G. (2014, December 13). The meaning and importance of curriculum development. https://simplyeducate.me/2014/12/13/the-meaning-and-importance-of-curriculum-development/

Bista, K., & Foster, C. (2011). Issues of International Student Retention in America Higher Education. The International Journal of Research and Review, 7(2), 1-10.

Barrett, M. (2011). Intercultural competence: Statement series. European Wergeland Centre.Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 1-41.

Bowen, G. (2009). Documents analysis as a qualitative research design. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27-40.

Byram, M. (2021). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence (2nded.).Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Multilingual Matters.

Byram, M., Gribkova, B., & Starkey, H. (2002). Developing the intercultural dimension in language teaching: A practical introduction for teachers. Language Policy Division, Directorate of School, Out-of-School and Higher Education, Council of Europe.

Choden, J. (2017). From Bhutan to Mexico border: Acculturation experiences of Bhutanese students in American classroom[Masters’ thesis, University of Texas]. Open Access Theses & Dissertation.

Clouet, R. (2013). Understanding and assessing intercultural competence in an online environment: A case study of transnational education programme delivery between college students in ULPGC, Spain, and Ices, France. Spanish Journal of Applied Linguistics, 26, 139-158.

Corbett, J. B. (2003). An intercultural approach to English language teaching. Multilingual Matters.Deardorff, D. K. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in InternationalEducation, 10(3), 241-266.

Department of Curriculum and Professional Development. (2022). National school curriculum. English curriculum framework classes PP-XII. Ministry of Education.

Fantini, A. E. (2000). A central concern: Developing intercultural competence. SIT Occasional Paper Series, 1, 25-42.

Garcia, J. V. (2022). Integration of intercultural communicative competence: A case of English language teachers in higher education. EFLIJ, 26(1), 30-62.

Gunantar, D. A. (2017). Textbook analysis: An analyzing English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbook from the perspective of Indonesian culture. Journal of Language and Literature, 11(2), 173-182.

Grant, A. (2019). Doing excellent social research with documents. Practical examples and guidance for qualitative researchers.Routledge.

Hall, E. T. (1959). The silent language. Doubelday & Company.

Huber, J., & Reynolds, C. (2014). Developing intercultural competence through education. Council of Europe.

Jackson, J. (2014). Introducing language and intercultural communication. Routledge. LaPrairie, M. (2014). A case study of English-medium education in Bhutan. [Doctoral thesis, University of London]. ULC discovery.

Leavy, P. (2017). Research design. Quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, arts-based, and community-based participatory research approaches.The Guilford Press.

Liddicoat, A. J., & Scarino, A. (2013). Intercultural language teaching and learning.

Wiley-Blackwell. Liu, Y. (2021). On the cultivation of intercultural communicative competence in the English viewing-listening-speaking course. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 11(8),968-974.

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research. A guide to design and implementation(4thed.).

Jossey-Bass. Mihoub, M., & Sifour, A. (2021). Investigating the role of applying project-based learning to enhance intercultural communicative competence: The case of third year EFL learners at the University of Centre of Mila[Master’s thesis, Abd Elhafid Boussouf University]. E-theses.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge.

Rodriguez, L. F. G. (2015). The cultural content in EFL textbooks and what teachers need to do

in Teachers’ Professional Development, 17(2), 167-187.

Rogers, E. M., Hart, W. B., & Mike, Y. (2002). Edward T. Hall and the history of intercultural communication: The United States and Japan. Keio Communication Review, 24, 3-26.

Royal Education Council. (2021). English curriculum framework classes PP-XII. Implementation starting 2021.

Royal Government of Bhutan. (2019). National education policy (Draft).

Santana, A. M., & Cely, B. L. (2021). The importance of intercultural communicative competencies in English classes on the context of current migration waves. Paradigmas Socio-Humanísticos, 3(1), 61-72.

Sercu, L. (2002). Autonomous learning and the acquisition of intercultural communicative competence: Some implications for course development. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 15(1), 61-74.

Sercu, L. (2005). Teaching foreign languages in an intercultural world. In M. Byram, & A. Phipps (Eds.), Foreign language teachers and intercultural competence. An international investigation(pp. 1-18).

Multilingual Matters Ltd. Singye. (2018). English oral communication needs of Bhutanese students: As perceived by the teachers and students. English Language Teaching, 11(4), 74-81.

Thinley, D., & Maxwell, T. W. (2013). The role of English in culture preservation in Bhutan. Journal of Bhutan Studies, 28, 1-29.




How to Cite

Lhamo, S., & Wangchuk, T. (2023). A Documentary Study of the Integration of Intercultural Communicative Competence in Bhutan’s English Curriculum. TRANS-KATA: Journal of Language, Literature, Culture and Education, 4(1), 67–77. https://doi.org/10.54923/jllce.v4i1.61