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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 e-forum

- 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

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?