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Learning Module- ICCCT

Intercultural Communication Competence through Critical Thinking (ICCCT)

Learning Module

The Intercultural Communication Competence through Critical Thinking (ICCCT) module introduces Pashto language learners to the culture of the Pashtuns and knowledge of the areas where the Pashto language is spoken. The target learners are high school graduates who have some prior knowledge about the language. These adult learners are enrolled in a Foreign Language Education Program as a part of their government duty. These learners are exposed to the history, traditions, identity, religion, values, beliefs, customs, and ethnic characteristics. As it is widely accepted that “you cannot teach a target language (TL) without teaching the target culture in a process called “cultural assimilation” of the “authentic” (Yahya et. al, 2017, p.44). Hence, we can not teach culture and language learning in isolation. As students progress through the program, an increasing amount of background and cultural knowledge are needed to achieve a higher level of proficiency in Pashto. 

Although our teachers periodically touch upon similar topics in the classroom, some of the materials that are previously taught that is now being transformed into a learning module. Research studies in foreign language education highlight it is significantly effective using videos to teach about other cultures(Nambiar & Anawar, 2017). The students analyze the digital information provided in the modules on Sakai about the TL countries from an outsider’s perspective. The modules are composed of the following: A link to a higher-level media resource that discusses topics that may generate discussion and present topics specific to the TL countries. These topics elicit students’ critical thinking the most.

Students will work on this assigned module every week in English.
The window to complete each assigned module opens on Friday morning and closes on Wednesday. Provide answers to open-ended questions and write down 300-500 words essays are due on Monday. Students provide feedback on at least one classmate’s posting.

The teaching team will grade the ten modules with the best scores per student.

  • Questions: 30%. Automatically graded in Sakai. Teachers acquire the points from the Gradebook in Sakai.
  • One update: 50%. Students must address the topic in no less than 250 words; graded by the teaching team. Teachers assign 50 points for completed work, 30 points for incomplete work, and 0 for no work.
  • One peer comment: 20%. No less than 50 words. Teachers assign 20 points for completed work, 12 points for incomplete work, and 0 for no work.

All three parts are counted together for 20% of the area studies subject. 

Grading scale

100-90 A

69-60 D

89-80 B

59-0 F

79-70 C





For Student

Students will enhance student knowledge, awareness, and understanding of important cultural and societal issues in Pashto speaking areas. As students reflect upon and discuss these issues, their understanding of the target culture and history will deepen their critical thinking skills.


For Teacher

Students will enhance their background knowledge of the target language culture and history.

Students will deepen their critical thinking skills through knowledge of the target language country.

Update I: Afghanistan History



For Student

Peer feedback must be completed before midnight, Wednesday.

Activity I: In a group of two or three, students discuss the following questions and later share their thoughts with the whole class.

What is the role of culture?
How did you learn your native language?
How long did it take you?
What skills (listening, reading, speaking, writing) came first? Which were developed later?

Activity II: Students will watch the following video describing three main theories about first language development.

Watch the following video:

Media embedded October 3, 2019


Now go through the following reading of the importance of history and culture in foreign language learning.

Make a comment: What did you learn from the above video? What does the video clip say about the history of Afghanistan?

Make an update: Why is history matters in language learning? Please share your thoughts.

Additional Resources:



For Teacher

Using these activities, provide students the opportunity to get a brief knowledge of the target language country history.

Students will be able to reflect on the importance of background knowledge and history of the target language learning.

Encourage peer work and will complete both activities if time allows.

Update 2: Pashtunes

For Student

Please watch the following videos:

Afghan Ethnicities and Pashtuns  

Media embedded October 3, 2019

Who are Pashtuns?

Media embedded October 3, 2019

(UNICEF, 2005)

Activity I: In a group of two or three, students discuss the following questions and later share their thoughts with the whole class in the form of a presentation, artwork, or video.

What are the major ethnicities of Afghanistan?

Are there any ethnic divisions in Afghanistan?

How is ethenic diversity affecting the state-building in Afghanistan? 

Who are Pashtuns?

Comment: share your comment on the following question

What did you think of the above video? 

Make an update: use above or your own resources and make an update on the strenghts and weaknesses of ethnic diversity. Challenges and solutions

Additional Resources:

For Teacher

Encourage students to share their thoughts with the class.

Through group learning, they will be able to reflect on the ethnic diversity and its impact on the country. 

Help students understand the basic knowledge of ethnic diversity in Afghanistan.

Update 3: Pashtunwali

For Student

Watch the following video:

Media embedded October 3, 2019

Activity: Please write down the key concepts and definitions of Pashtunwali on a class blog. Also, answer to the following questions:

According to the code of Pashtunwali, what should a Pashtun man do when an enemy asks for protection?

Which is the most central feature of the code of Pashtunwali?

For further information, please read the following brief literature highlighting Pashtuwanli and its pillars. Click on the following link:

Additional Resources:

Comment: Share your thoughts on Pashtunwali?

Make an update: What is the significance of the codes of honor in the context of culture? Do you have anything similar in your own culture? 

For Teacher

Students will be able to learn about the major pillars of Pashtunwali.

Students will be able to work in groups and discuss the contrasts between Pashtunwali and codes of honor in their own culture?

Students will make informed updates on the topic and share it on the blog.

Update 4: Religious Identity in Afghanistan

For Student

Please watch the following video:

Media embedded October 3, 2019

Read the following articles:


Activity I: Write down major concepts discussed in the reading and video in the blog.

Activity II: Exchange and discuss them with your partner. Students will then review these concepts with all classmates in the class.

Additional Resources:

Comment: Using your experiences and examples, share your thoughts on the significance of religious identity.

Make an update: Compare the differences and commonalities of the role of religion in Afghanistan with other countries.


For Teacher

Students will be able to understand the factors affecting second language learning. Teachers will ensure students understand the significance of each factor.

Update 5: Pashtun Women

For Student

Complete the following readings:

Write down a summary of the articles and share your thoughts on the role of women in Afghanistan  

Make a comment: What is the current status of Afghan women? What are some of the major achievements and challenges? 

Make an update: How similar are the challenges of Afghan women and women around the world? What are the best case practices for the improvement and empowerment of Afghan women's rights?


Additional Resources:



For Teacher

Students will have background knowledge about the role of Afghan women in the society.

Students will be able to express their opinion on Afghan women using acquired background knowledge.


Update 6: Jirga (Grand Council)

For Student

(UNICEF, 2005)

Please complete the following reading:

Now compare your own culture to the Pashtun culture. Explore and analyze what are the differences and commonalities between the two cultures. Students share their thoughts and respond with a presentation, artwork, or video.


For Teacher

Students are able to understand the key role of Jirga in Afghanistan.

Students share their thoughts after reading and watching materials.

Students exchange their experiences with culture and people.

Update 7: Reflection

For Student


Students share their thoughts and respond with a presentation, artwork, or video reflecting on the following questions:

What interesting points or concepts have you learned in this hour?

How can these concepts help you in your language learning?

What interesting points or concepts have you learned from this hour?

How do you think your Student Learning Plan will be useful?

For Teacher

The teacher assesses all the culture and area related big ideas that are reflected in students' presentation, video, insights, blogs, comments, updates, and perspectives.

The teacher will analyze student reflection for further improving this learning module.  



A brief history of Afghanistan. (2017, July 5). Retrieved from

Afghanistan profile - Timeline. (2019, September 9). Retrieved from

Epimetheus. (2019, April 24). The history of Afghanistan summarized[Video File]. Retrieved from

New World Encyclopedia. (2010). Pashtun people. Retrieved from

Nambiar, R. M. K. ., & bt Anawar, N. A. (2017). Integrating Local Knowledge into Language Learning: A Study on the Your Language My Culture (YLMC) Project. Arab World English Journal, 8(4), 167–182.

Nasimi, S. (2014, July 11). The devastating truth of women's rights in Afghanistan. Retrieved from

Pashtuns. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Pearson, Alexis. (2017, May 6). Pashtunwali: Honor Code of the Pashtun. Retrieved from

PittGlobalStudies. (2013, Feb 1). Tribal and Religious Identity in Afghanistan. Retrieved from

Rzehak, L. (2011, March 21). AAN Papers. Retrieved from

Serious Science. (2015, October 4). Ethnicity in Afghanistan. Retrieved from

School of Public Policy at Central European University, F.M. [Username]. (2016, May 9). An Interview with Abubakar Siddique on the Pashtuns. Retrieved from

UNICEF. (2005). Towards Understanding Pukhtoon Jirga. Retrieved from

Web Content Display Web Content Display. (n.d.). Retrieved from

wdm_afghanistan_pashtuns.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Yahya, Z., Ibrahim, N., Ramli, R., Md Yusof, N. & Othman, Z. (2017). Your Language My Culture (YLMC): Developing a Local Culture ELT Matrix for Schools in Terengganu. Kajian Malaysia, 35, (2), 39-66.