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Abstract

The article examines the use of cinema as a tool for teaching about Arab culture and assesses the process in which learners acquire a higher level of intercultural communicative competence. The essay draws primarily on multilayered class activities and students’ responses to pre- and post- screening surveys related to eight Arab films. The article reveals that the evaluation of the learners’ intercultural competence and their familiarity with Arab culture in particular is a long process that filled with misunderstandings, gaps, inconsistencies, and contradictions on the part of the learners. To successfully conduct this type of teaching, the article also points to a number of measures that ought to be taken into consideration. First, the instructor needs to be familiar with the learners’ cultural background in order to understand their intercultural awareness and perception of the ‘Other.’ Second, students should be provided with adequate historical and cultural background information against which Arab cinema emerged. Finally, the inclusion of atypical and thought-provoking films is an indispensable feature of the learning process because these types of films will challenge students intellectually and placed them in unfamiliar and non-relatable territories. The procedure of guiding students effectively towards achieving a better understanding of Arab cultures and subsequently attaining a higher level of intercultural competence, therefore, proved to be a multi-faceted process of growth, whose anticipated outcomes affect both the learners and the instructor.