In search of a third place: a telecollaborative model for languaculture learning
Gourvès-Hayward, Alison (2004) In search of a third place: a telecollaborative model for languaculture learning. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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This thesis presents a five-year, global classroom project, in which French and American students study the same texts (literature, film remakes, works of sociology and anthropology), while corresponding using ICTs. Their reflections provide the basis for the development of conceptual and perceptual toolkits, containing consciousness-raising activities on individual and culturally-biased semantic and perceptual differences and similarities. Students compare home culture images and the corresponding images from the other culture(s), in an attempt to arrive at a "third place" (Kramsch 1993), as an intercultural speaker (Byraml995; 1997).
Feedback and transcripts from participants are used to assess the effectiveness of this pedagogy of languaculture in broadening discourse options and educational opportunities, and of the role of telecollaboration in student motivation and engagement. The analytical framework draws on insights of Bakhtin, Vygotsky and Flarre and Gillet, focussing on the learner as agent, and language as fundamentally dialogic in nature.
Telecollaboration provides access to multiple discursive perspectives and negotiation of meaning, whereby students, especially the more motivated, ask real questions and receive real answers. The global classroom leads to a change in the locus of control, increasing motivation and encouraging students to appropriate their own learning. Significant individual, group and cross-cultural differences emerge in the interpretation and degree of appropriation of the materials and opportunities for intercultural communication.
This thesis provides research-informed, pedagogical guidelines for developing similar intercultural telecollaborative courses and makes a creative contribution, both to the dialogic teaching of language as culture and to the integration of new technologies into the curriculum.
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