Fostering Intercultural Communication Competence Through ICT: Mediated Teaching
Intercultural interaction and communication have witnessed a considerable increase in the world. Globalization necessitates the ability to interact efficiently with people across cultures. The social, economic, cultural and technological shifts in the modern world namely the increase of migration, the professional and educational mobility in addition to the exponential growth of technology, have yielded fertile settings in which EFL learners have to implement the target language in multi-ethnic contexts. Contemporary EFL teachers’ response to the mounting increase of globalization as well as multiculturalism is the implementation of Intercultural Approach to foreign language teaching (Byram 1997, Byram 2003). According to Byram’s view (1997; 2008) the advisable model of competence in the contemporary world is a mixture of both types of competence: Communicative competence and Intercultural competence. The latter involves four main elements that are supposed to foster effective and efficient cross-cultural interaction a) Attitudes b) Knowledge c) Skills d) Critical Cultural Awareness.
The goal of language learning is to develop the learners’ language competence in the target language, and equally important, the Intercultural competence as Byram (1997) recommended. Intercultural communicative competence, be it global or international, is now an integral part of our lives. Therefore, furthering the learners’ intercultural communication competence is a prerequisite for EFL teachers. Equally important, ICT provides an authentic learning environment by developing the learners’ interaction through involving them in a variety of communicative task. Fostering Intercultural Communication Competence by means of Information and Communication Technology has become a necessity as ICT offers an opportunity to EFL learners to get involved in a learning format which includes a set of varied hyperlinked multimedia resources. They provide a relevant projection of the cultural phenomena that they discover through intercultural incidents that they deal with. Hence, the learners become more involved in the discovery process.
Several studies have been carried out on various aspects of intercultural communication competence in the EFL contexts. Luis Fernando (2012) focused on fostering intercultural communicative competence through reading authentic literary texts in an advanced Colombian EFL classroom. Jen Jun Chen (2014) tackled the issue of fostering foreign language learning through technology-enhanced intercultural projects. Mahdjouba Chaouche (2016) dealt with incorporating intercultural communicative competence in EFL classes. Qun YU & Jan Van MAELE (2018) placed an exclusive emphasis on fostering intercultural awareness in a Chinese English reading class. Yet, no attention has been given to Moroccan EFL teachers’ perceptions of fostering cross-cultural communication competence through ICT-mediated teaching. Simply put, no research paper has dealt with investigating EFL learners’ perceptions of fostering intercultural communication competence through ICT –mediated language teaching. This study, however, will attempt to fill in the gap. The results will certainly offer language teachers’ or educators insights on learners’ attitudes toward fostering intercultural communication competence through ICT to advance new practices and methodologies embedding technological tools for making a difference for learning in a multi-cultural world.
The problem in this study is that no attention has been given to EFL teachers’ perceptions of the use and effectiveness of ICT as a means of fostering intercultural communication competence so that there is a lack of appropriate data to to prepare the grorund for a more reseasoned use of ICT-mediated teaching in fostering EFL leearners’ intercultural communication competence.
According to the discussion we have made earlier, we will address the following questions:
The goal of this research is:
This study will give deep insights for many educational stakeholders.
This research attempts to investigate EFL teachers’ perceptions of fostering intercultural communication competence through ICT –mediated teaching. Owing to time constraint, this study will be limited to Moroccan EFL teachers’ who have taken part in the project of Connecting Classrooms Version 3.
The first concept to be considered in this study is intercultural communication competence.
According to (Bachman,1990,Savignon, 2001) Intercultural Communication Competence (herafter ICC) is seen as the ability of the speakers to interact efficiently with people from other cultures. That is, the ability to deal with one’s own cultural background while interacting with others. Hymes establishes the relashionship between linguistic and socio-cultural competences as he perceives language as another form of cultural knowledge through which speakers interpret social life.
Several authors view ICT as an important tool in teaching languages as it offers learners a more individualized experience and back-up during the learning process (Pardo, 2013). Equally important, Ruthven (2003), states that ICT augments the learners’ involvement in a stress-free context. Further, the author affirms that through ICT tools, the teacher can promote the learners’ autonomy and collaborative learning.
Likewise, another important contribution to the literature in the field of ICT is
According to Byram language teaching should be geared towards developing the learners’ ability to cope with their own cultural meanings along with the other cultures. ICC primarily involves the acquision of language competence and cultural competence. Sihui (1996) confirms that language and culture are inseparable parts because people use language as a means of imparting their ideas, interests, beliefs and identitites.
Wayan (2019) affirms that the ICC model can be used as good reference and guideline for teachers in discussions to
Sandra ( , in her study on developing intercultural communication competence using digital storytelling, reveals that digital storeytelling is able to engage students in a serious and productive debate revolving around technology-enhanced learning and cultural differences empowering them to construct new personal and group meanings and improve their cultural competence.
Alyssa; Anders (2010) discuss a curriculum developed to make innovative use of collaborative digital technologies, including video conferences, collaborative blogs, writing on a Wiki, and dynamic chat as part of an activity-based research project to foster intercultural competencies among students in golobally-distributed teams. They present qualitative and quantitative data that indicate successful implementation of the curriculum for facilitating global learning via communication technology tools.
Dorothy (2011) Based on Byram’s definition of intercultural communicative competence and on specific types of discourse analysis proposed by Kramsch, Thorne and Ware, this article explores how online exchanges can play a role in language learners’ development of pragmatic competence and ICC. With data obtained from an intercultural exchange between students learning German in an American university and students studying English at a German university, it illustrated how culture is embedded in language as discourse, how advanced learners of German as a foreign language and English as a foreign language employ different discourse styles in their online postings as they seek to understand the discourse genres of their partners. (2012)
Robert (2013) looked at the ways in which technology could support teachers and learners as they seek to understand language through culture and culture through language. This study looked at the growing interest in moving beyond traditional representations of culture in the classroom to the concept of intercultural communication competence , defined by Alvino Fantini as the ‘complex of the abilities needed to perform effectively and appropriately when interacting with others who are linguistically and culturally different from oneself’.The study also focused on looking at the most common approach to providing intercultural experience and learning to students through telecollaboration.
Lina ; Alfred (2014) report a Spanish-American telecollaborative project through which students use Twitter, blogs and podcasts for intercultural exchange over the course of one semester. Their research outlines the methodology for the project including pedagogical objectives, task design, selection of web tools and implementation. Using qualitative and quantitative data collection, the study explores how the application of Web 2.0 facilatates cross-cultural communication. The findings of their study reveals that students view online exchange as a superb venue for intercultural communication with native speakers. Through social engagemants, students not only gain cultural knowledge but also become more aware of their own beliefs and attitudes toward their own culture.
Kamila (2015) ICT in Intercultural Competence Training views ICT through teaching modules or simulation software help teachers build more attractive content and more convincing messages. The e-learning course can support the acquisition and development of intercultural competence. Special attention is put to internet communication technology for academic purposes in form of e- learning platforms.
Luana, Maria, Iciar (2018) focused on proposing a theory-informed task sequence to facilitate the integration of telecolloaboration into university courses for the development of intercultural competence. Based on the typology of tasks from O’Dowd and Ware (2009) and enriched with contributions from other authors, the task sequence facilitates the development of intercultural Competence according to EMIC model and adds a new block to its composition in order to approach the specificities of virtual teamwork; the seqauence also contains detailed instructions for each task and provides guidelines on implementation, on the selection of technology and on the integration of tasks to the syllabi and it offers an assessment plan that is accompanied by a list of learning evidences that are expected to be manifested by students per task.
Shii-Yin, Robert (2019) to create a brand new opportunity to boost the the target language interactions, this study utilses two computer-mediated tools, namely email and Skype, to involve Taiwanese students’ reflective journals, as a post-project questionnaire, and interviews. The results of the study indicate that despite encountering numerous problems initially, Taiwanese students eventually have strong positive perceptions and attitudes toward intercultural CMC learning experiences , which can facilitate efficient online discussions with native speakers of English as a foreign language and can promote intercultural competence.
Ayse (2020) this study has intended to gain insights about the learners’ experience following a 5-week telecollaboration activity between 100 English as a foreign language (EFL) students from Jiangxi University of Finance and Econonomics in China and Anadolu University in Turkey. The telecollaboration activity included three different stages in which learners from both countries were expected to be able to communicate using different channels synchronously, to analayse and compare their own and their peers’ culture to build understanding of each other’s identities and to collaborate together to produce a cultural piece of work. At the end of the activity Turkish EFL students were invited to answer a questionnaire that aimed to gain insights about their experience related with telcollaboration activity. Results revealed that the participants mostly enjoyed the activity. They also believed the activity contributed to their language learning process, motivation and intercultural communicative competence.
The chief aim of this study is to investigate the perceptions of Moroccan EFL teachers on the use of ICT as a tool in fostering the EFL learners’ intercultural communicative competence. The findings of this study will help policy makers and and all the educational stakeholders in designing programs in relation with the use of ICT as a means of fostering the EFL learners’ intercultural communication competence.
Given that this study is dealing with the individual experiences that he or she faces and that may affect his or her development ,the methodology selected for this study,which ,in turn, focuses on the teachers’perceptions and how they make sense of their experience is the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis.
The participants in this study will include Moroccan EFL teachers who have taken part in Connecting Classroom Project: a global education program for schools, delivered by the British Council in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
Semi-structured interviews with purposefully selected EFL teachers as participants from different regions and who have experienced the use of ICT as a tool to foster EFL learners’ intercultural communicative competence. The reason for using semi-structured interviews is to gauge the participants’ attitudes and perceptions and gather relevant qualitative input.
After obtaining the permission from Directorate where the EFL teachers are working, the data will be gathered. To analayze the data, according to Smith and Osbon’s suggestions on Analysis of Interpretive Phenomenology, semi-sructured interviews will be transcribed, coded, and emergent themes will be noted.
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