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Academic Paper


Title: A survey of Internet-mediated intercultural foreign language education in China
Author: Liang Wang
Institution: The Open University
Author: James A. Coleman
Institution: The Open University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: In all educational contexts, technological developments and changes in pedagogical theory mean that any picture of current practice and attitudes must be dynamic. In many countries, the learning outcomes of foreign language courses now include intercultural communicative competence (ICC), although the precise model for teaching ICC varies even across the English-speaking world. Internet-mediated approaches are widely used to support intercultural learning. In China, the geographical scale of the country and the speed and extent of contemporary socio-economic evolution, allied to long-established and distinctive cultures of learning, make the interface of new technologies and intercultural learning objectives particularly interesting and significant. A small-scale study of college teachers’ and learners’ perceptions of intercultural classroom instruction, with a special focus on Internet mediation, was conducted in mid-2007, using questionnaires and semi-structured questions, to explore the professional, personal and technical issues associated with Internet-mediated learning of languages and cultures. The results show that textbooks remain the predominant authority, while Internet tools are used as a source of information rather than a means of communication. Findings suggest recognition by teachers and students of the potential of the medium, and of the validity of intercultural goals for foreign language classes, although there are some divergences between the views of teachers and students. However, it is suggested that national policy, local incentives and resources and above all educational traditions do not yet allow optimal use of Internet-mediated approaches.

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This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 21, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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