Transforming a Beginner's Foreign Language Course Into an Internationalized Course: Language Exchange Pal Project

Transforming a Beginner's Foreign Language Course Into an Internationalized Course: Language Exchange Pal Project

Rong Liu (Georgia Gwinnett College, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2791-6.ch008

Abstract

To internationalize the campus, a Language Exchange Pal Project was developed to enhance students' cross-cultural experiences in a beginner's Chinese foreign language course. The Language Exchange Pal Project, using Skype or QQ (similar to Skype), is a great tool to increase students' global perspective by working in communities of practice with individuals in China who are learning English as a foreign language. Through the technology, students enjoy the opportunity to use the target language in an authentic communicative context and collaborate with their international partners. These two groups collaborate about their language and culture through messages and/or live connections via Skype, chat, or other software systems such as QQ. This chapter shares the process of transforming Chinese 1001 into an i-course, present the Language Exchange Pal Project, describe its challenges, and discuss the preliminary results of the research findings of the Language Exchange Pal Project based on students' survey and interview.
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Introduction

In response to the call to internationalize the campus and to rethink the curricula to meet the changing needs of students in the new century, a Language Exchange Pal Project was developed to enhance students’ cross-cultural experiences in a beginner’s Chinese foreign language course. Three key objectives of this i-course are for students to be able to describe and evaluate their own cultures, describe and evaluate the target cultures, and communicate with persons of different cultures. The Language Exchange Pal Project, using Skype or QQ, a social networking tool similar to Skype, is a great program to increase students’ global perspective by working in communities of practice with individuals in China who are learning English as a Foreign Language. Through the technology, students enjoy an opportunity to use the target language in an authentic communicative context and collaborate with their international partners who teach each other their language and culture through messages or live connections via Skype, chat, or other software systems such as QQ.

This chapter will share the process of transforming Chinese 1001 into an internationalized course, i.e., an i-course, present the Language Exchange Pal Project, describe its challenges, and discuss the initial results of the research findings of the Language Exchange Pal Project based on students’ survey and one student’s interview. The data collection is very limited and ongoing. However, based on past research (Darhower, 2007; O’Dowd, 2006; Ware & Kramsch, 2005), the project has great potential on helping students achieve communicative and cultural competence in the target language.

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