Forskningsprojekt: Identity (re)construction and improvement in intercultural competence

Mariya Aida Niendorf
Yumi Takamiya, University of Alabama at Birmingham
As an increasing body of research in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) demonstrates, technology can create authentic intercultural contexts and has the potential to enhance language learning, especially in foreign language (FL) contexts. While opportunities to interact with target language speakers tend to be scarce in the traditional FL classroom, technology-mediated telecollaboration can electronically connect learners to expert speakers of the target language and stimulate their motivation to communicate with them in a meaning-focused manner. While exchanges between native speakers and learners of the target language are beneficial, as shown in the above literature, recent studies have shown that exchanges between two parties learning the same foreign language has considerable potential in terms of improving intercultural competence and identity construction. Pennycook (2004) describes language and identity as being continuously performed and reshaped. Pennycook defines and interprets what he calls performativity, or the way in which we perform acts of identity as “an ongoing series of social and cultural performances rather than as the expression of a prior identity” (p.8). Performativity, especially in its relationship to the notion of performance, opens up ways of understanding how languages, identities, and futures are ‘refashioned.’ Based on this perspective, we examine how learners (re)construct and negotiate identities through language and social behavior while blogging (an asynchronous tool) and taking part in online joint seminars (a synchronous tool) and how technology plays a role as part of this process. Specifically, learners’ reflections, interactions, and social behavior in their blogs and online joint seminars are analyzed in depth in terms of how their identities were performed, shaped, and reshaped. Finally, the role of technology as part of these processes is also discussed.
Interkulturella studier