Intercultural Conmmunication

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UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO Greeley, Colorado The Graduate School

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A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences School of Teacher Education Program of Educational Studies

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Minhui Lu May 2012

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USING THE LEARNERS-AS-ETHNOGRAPHERS APPROACH TO ENHANCE INTERCULTURAL LEARNING AMONG AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS LEARNING CHINESE AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

UMI Number: 3523438

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UMI 3523438

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This Dissertation by: Minhui Lu Entitled: Using the Learners-as-ethnographers Approach to Enhance Intercultural Learning Among American College Students Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language has been approved as meeting the requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Education in College of Education and Behavioral Sciences in School of Teacher Education, Program of Educational Studies Accepted by the Doctoral Committee ______________________________________________________ Dana Walker, Ph.D., Chair _______________________________________________________ Madeline Milian, Ed.D., Committee Member _______________________________________________________ Elizabeth Franklin, Ph.D., Committee Member _______________________________________________________ Deborah Romero, Ph.D., Faculty Representative Date of Dissertation Defense: February 6, 2012 Accepted by the Graduate School ______________________________________________________ Linda L. Black, Ed.D., LPC Acting Dean of the Graduate School and International Admissions

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ABSTRACT Lu, Minhui. Using the Learners-as-ethnographers Approach to Enhance Intercultural Learning among American College Students Learning Chinese as a Foreign Language. Published Doctor of Education dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2012. This study explored how the learners-as-ethnographers (LAE) approach facilitated intercultural learning among American students learning Chinese as a foreign language.

learning experiences in a non-immersion context. I designed six ethnographic tasks for the 15 university students who registered for the Elementary Chinese class in 2010. The students were required to complete four of the ethnographic tasks, write an essay for each, and report their explorations of the linguistic and/or cultural phenomena in the U.S. and a Chinese-speaking community. At the end of the semester, I conducted two focus groups and interviewed 11 of the students.

A total of 56 students’ essays and two interview transcriptions underwent thematic analyses. Results show that the ethnographic tasks created learning opportunities for students to recognize and evaluate cultural stereotypes, impacts of contextual or situational factors on cultural artifacts/practices/perspectives, culture-specific connotations or misunderstanding, and potential bias in the intercultural exploration. Moreover, the intercultural learning assignment added an important dimension to the foreign language course, motivating learners to notice, contemplate, and inquire into the taken-for-granted linguistic and cultural phenomena in their native community. Students

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Two research questions addressed the effectiveness of the LAE approach and students’

became aware that culture was situational and contextual. Gradually, their intercultural communicative competence developed....
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