Delving into English language education in Vietnam, this theory-oriented article aims to generate a new debate on critical cultural awareness (CCA) in light of increasing literature on intercultural communication competence (ICC), thus offering practical implementations to academic agents. Once ICC is strongly considered indispensable within communication, CCA can strengthen the power of sociocultural and psychological relationships. This study specifies the role of intercultural communication, aiming to develop Vietnamese learners to reach beyond abstract linguistic features towards language awareness by engaging in cultural and societal plurality. Seemingly, they need use language that advocate the enactment of change, fostering their abilities in their civic life. Coupled with that, they are obliged for learning the power of positive attitudes in terms of intercultural engagement, such as sympathy towards and acceptance of differences. Critical cultural awareness as a contribution to intercultural communication drives two primary aspects, namely social and psychological dimensions. In addition to dragging learners out of traditionally perceived skills related to native-like competences, the framework application expands potential goals and instructional steps that cover learning based on learner voice reflected upon privilege and power. Apparently, it is relevant in response to learning environment driven by social mechanisms which focus on citizenship, expecting that they learn and possess knowledge for certain purposes relating to career goals and social needs. Comprehensively, this study will outline the short examination of language education in Vietnam as a way to understand existing hindrances to be resolved. It anchored this analysis in a theoretical paradigm: critical cultural awareness, which is then critically embedded to involve social and psychological pedagogies. This enables to shift learners’ desire and willingness that hone their learning skills which influences academic success and communicative adaptability. Pedagogical implications are also suggested.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).