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ERIC Number: ED522434
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 493
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-2039-0
The Emergence of U.S. French Language Learners' Intercultural Competence in Online Classroom Discussions
Garrett-Rucks, Paula
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The aim of this study is to further the understanding of foreign language (FL) learners' development of intercultural competence in an instructed learning environment. In this study, second-semester U.S. French language learners enrolled in a Midwestern two-year technical school were directed to access explicit cultural instruction, authentic texts, and French informant interviews centering on the French cultural practices of greetings, education and family-life. Over the course of the semester, 9 learners participated in weekly online asynchronous classroom discussions in which they were directed to relate their understanding of American cultural practices to the French cultural practices presented in the cultural instruction, and to then respond to peers' postings. Volunteer participants were interviewed three times over the course of the semester to further understand changes in their intercultural competence and subsequent changes in their impressions of French culture. This study investigates the changes in learners' intercultural competence at the individual level and the group level. At the individual level, this study investigates four focus participants' unique developmental trajectory of intercultural attitudes, knowledge and skills (ACE, 2007; Byram, 1997) and subsequent changes in their impressions of French culture over the course of the semester by analyzing the data sources with a content analysis research technique (Berg, 1998). At the group level, this study investigates the ways in which learners' collective mediation of cultural instruction in an online environment leads to the emergence of ethnorelative thinking (Bennett, 1993) by analyzing the transcripts of the discussions within a complex systems theoretical framework (Larsen-Freeman, 1997, 2002). Findings suggest that changes in the focus participants' impressions of French culture were reflected in shifts in their attitudes, but that the learners' attitudes did not shift until they understood the role of culture on their thinking (intercultural knowledge) and personally related to French perspectives (intercultural skills). At the group level, findings suggest that French informants and peers were most influential on learners' shifts between ethnocentric and ethnorelative perspectives. At both the individual and group levels, participants' appeared to personally identify with French perspectives represented in the French informant interviews more than the explicit cultural instruction and authentic texts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A