Telecollaboration in Foreign Language Curricula: A Case Study on Intercultural Understanding in Video Communication Exchanges

Telecollaboration in Foreign Language Curricula: A Case Study on Intercultural Understanding in Video Communication Exchanges

Linda van der Kroon (Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands), Kristi Jauregi (Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands) and Jan D. ten Thije (Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCALLT.2015070102
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The development of intercultural communicative competence is increasingly important in this globalised and highly digitalised world. This implies the adequate understanding of otherness, which entails a myriad of complex cognitive competences, skills and behaviour. The TILA project aims to study how the use of digital communication means in foreign language education can contribute to the development of intercultural understanding when communicating with peers across borders. Understanding is the result of a collaborative construction of shared knowledge, which can be supported through the use of meta-communicative devices (MCDs) (). This case study investigates how pupils used communication strategies during video communication sessions to achieve intercultural understanding. Results reveal that task-based telecollaboration sessions offer learners the opportunity to achieve mutual understanding by utilizing a variety of meta-communicative devices that help the learners to compare their cultures in relation to time, space and habits, verify meaning and clarify utterances.
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Literature Review

Our society today is largely characterized by the global economic, political and cultural integration driven by technology and international commerce. Increasingly people view themselves as ‘global’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ citizens (Osler & Starkey, 2005). Borders are becoming less important while mobility across borders is increasing (Byram, 2012). As a result of these developments, traditional viewpoints in terms of national categories are experiencing a radical change and a more transnational perspective is often adopted, which underlines the importance of managing cross-cultural encounters with the ‘other (Wilson, 1993; Ten Thije & Maier, 2012).

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