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E-LEARNING AND THE

DEVELOPMENT OF INTERCULTURAL
COMPETENCE
MEEI-LING LIAW
AS PRESENTED BY KATHLEEN HAMEL

PREVIOUS RESEARCH
Development of teaching culture in the foreign language classroom:
Factual transmission method Cross-cultural contrastive approach
Communicative competence-based teaching Intercultural competence
perspective

Culture and CALL


Many stages of incorporating CALL and culture
Use of computer-mediated communication to develop L2 learners intercultural
competence as well

Culture and Corpus Linguistics


Utilize corpora to understand differences in the language

RESEARCH FOCUS
- Can intercultural competence be taught
through:
-

reading an article about one's own culture

- discussion article with e-pals about their native culture over via an eforum

- Explored the efficacy of:


- two corpora based e-referencing tools for reading and writing English

METHOD: MATERIALS
- Reading materials:
- Sinorama articles

- Four instructional units, each contained:


- Article, 5 comprehension questions, 5 vocabulary questions, response
section and a forum for cross-cultural discussions

- Two corpora based e-referencing tools:


- Sinorama - based bilingual concordancer
- TOTALrecall - online dictionary

METHOD: PARTICIPANTS
16 Freshman, Foreign Languages and Literature major, central
Taiwan
32 students at Sam Houston State University (Texas)
Prospective ESL/bilingual educators

METHOD
Data from the web-based system was collected from the
built-in account management system
Discussion was content-analyzed by Byrams (1997)
model of intercultural communicative competence
Informal interviews were conducted with:

EFL students
Instructor of the students at Sam Houston State
University, via e-mail

RESULTS: INTERVIEW
Student:
Enjoyed reading English articles about their culture
*Technological difficulties
Using the e-tools

Online dictionary helpful but not convenient


Concordancer students used it for links to extensive reading
material
Teacher:
E-mails were mostly sent about technical problems

RESULTS: E-FORUM
- Four types of intercultural competences were
discussed:
-

knowledge about ones own and others culture for intercultural


communication (N=121)

interest in knowing other peoples way of life and introducing ones own
culture to others (N=30)

knowledge about intercultural communication processes (N=4)

ability to change perspective (N=2)

RESULTS: E-FORUM
Each student Taiwanese logged on ~9.45 times/instructional unit
Only three students answered all the comprehension & vocabulary
questions in all units
1 16 answered both
2 11, comprehension, 13, vocabulary
3 6 answered both
4 4 answered both

The use of e-referencing tools decreased as well


1 716
2 982
31
4 - 121

DISCUSSION
Strong Points
Effectiveness of the e-referencing tool was questionable
Compared the journey of discovery & reflection of culture with Furstenberg et. als
(2001) study
Discussion forum is conducive to development of knowledge and attitudes, not
development of empathy and intercultural skills

Weak Points
The findings showed that all EFL participants were able to communicate fluently in the
target language (p. 59)
Why did students decrease in the amount of tasks completed and use of e-tools
throughout the study?