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Presentation of a mixed-methods approach to identify the development of a third space in a telecollaboration project.

Presentation of a mixed-methods approach to identify the development of a third space in a telecollaboration project.

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  • Are we still really only focusing on attitude?
  • discussions of intercultural competence in the same configuration have been characterized primarily in alinguistic terms (Belz 2003) Diaries have been used in study abroad context more than telecollaboration Learner diaries are also useful as data for telecollaboration research as they are longitudinal in nature and provide a record of learners’ immediate reactions to the exchange and the process of intercultural learning. In the field of intercultural learning, diaries have been used as support for students on their year abroad as a ‘way of structuring their learning’ and also as ethnographic research tools (Pearson-Evans, 2006; University of Sheffield, 1999). Reflection and journal writing is reported to help learners to develop critical thinking and metacognitive skills which enable them to become more autonomous learners (Benson, 2001). To facilitate reflection, learners can be guided; for instance, specific issues can be suggested for the learners to reflect on (Little & Perklova`, 2001), or diaries can be structured (University of Sheffield, 1999). For the purposes of research it has been suggested that unstructured diaries may provide more natural, uncontaminated raw data for the researcher to explore as unprompted diaries reveal issues that are unconsciously revealed in learners’ accounts of events (Pearson-Evans, 2006). However, when the researcher is also the teacher, it is difficult to justify such an approach as guided reflection has great educational value. Diaries are also recognised as a valuable tool for assessing intercultural competence1 (Deardorff, 2006), although they are not very widely used.
  • “ great opportunity for us who are studying international politics: first of all we’ll improve our english, we’ll learn to exchange different points of view …” “ this is my first time speaking online with people from all the world …” “ I was worried like Marco during the morning before the first session about my English level & my language skills” “ seeing our peers, hear them talk, laughing together and exchanging informations about each others life, country, hobbies makes us so close that we almost forgot about the geografical distance”
  • n analysing the diaries both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The body of diaries collected in electronic format is, to all effects, a learner corpus which, as Prat Zagrebelsky (2004, p. 44) writes, is ‘the result of a principled collection of learner productions in electronic form’. Learner corpus research is a relatively new field, and its main applications lie in the areas of second language acquisition, with corpora providing concrete examples of interlanguage, data for error analysis, and pedagogic applications such as the creation of materials for specific nationalities (Granger, 2004). Corpus linguistics is traditionally a quantitative research approach but can also be a way into qualitative research, as quantitative investigations ‘enable you to consider investigating patterns that you might not otherwise have even observed’ (Prat Zagrebelski, 2004). A corpus approach to intercultural studies is not totally new. The Interculture Project corpus developed at Lancaster University was perhaps the first to explore intercultural learning in the context of a study year abroad (Eppler, Crawshaw, & Clapham, 1999). The corpus consists of data gathered from students returning from year abroad experiences and consists of their perceptions of their cross-cultural encounters. A corpus based on discourse produced in the context of telecollaboration has been compiled by Belz (2005), Telekorp, ‘a bilingual contrastive learner corpus estimated at 1,500,000 words’, which has been used to study the linguistic development of American and German learners involved in telecollaboration exchanges (Belz, 2004) and as a pedagogic tool for learners to examine their own L2 use.
  • Attitude is perhaps the most difficult component of ICC to measure and yet it is identified by Byram as both a prerequisite for and objective of intercultural learning. Also attitude and ICC are more ‘internal’ Intercultural attitudes (savoir eˆtre) curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend disbelief about other cultures and belief about one’s own intercultural attitudes. . Knowledge (savoirs) of social groups and their products and practices in one’s own and interlocutor’s country. . Skills of interpreting and relating (savoir comprendre): ability to interpret a document or event from another culture, to explain it and relate it to documents or events from one’s own. . Skills of discovery and interaction (savoir apprendre/faire): ability to acquire new knowledge of a culture and to operate this knowledge in real-time communication. . Critical cultural awareness (savoir s’engager): an ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, practices and products in one’s own and other cultures and countries. Although these savoirs are interdependent, it has been suggested that they can be assessed independently from one another (Deardorff, 2006) and indeed as some of the savoirs are external outcomes and emphasise behaviour and communication while others are more internal, such as attitudes and critical awareness, there does seem to be a strong case for a combination of instruments in both the study and assessment of intercultural competence.
  • seeing our peers,hear them talk, laughing together and exchanging informations about each others life,country,hobbies makes us so close that we almost forgot about the geografical distance

Guarda guth helm_final Guarda guth helm_final Presentation Transcript

  • QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE ATTITUDINAL COMPONENT OF ICC IN TELECOLLABORATION: A DIACHRONIC STUDY Marta Guarda Sarah Guth Francesca Helm University of Padova
  • Telecollaboration …
    • … is
    • Internet-based intercultural exchange
    • between students with different cultural/national backgrounds organized in institutional contexts
    • … aims to develop
    • language skills (Belz 2003; Belz & Thorne 2006; O‘Dowd 2006, 2007)
    • intercultural communicative competence (ICC) (Byram 1997)
    • online literacies (Helm & Guth 2010).
  • Research on ICC and telecollaboration
    • Language learning / focus on form
    • The influence of technology on learning
    • Development of ICC
      • Non-linguistic - Surveys, interviews, transcripts
      • Linguistic – Appraisal analysis to measure attitude (Belz 2003)
    • Corpora: focus on student interactions for development of language (Belz 2006, Belz & Vyatkina 2005)
  • Aims of study
    • To investigate the diachronic development of attitudes of curiosity and openness and critical cultural awareness during a telecollaboration exchange through analysis of the diaries of a group of learners
    • To explore differences between individual learners  
    • To identify common linguistic markers of attitude and critical cultural awareness
    • To explore the ‘added value’ and limitations of qualitative and quantitative approaches to the same data using a mixed methods approach
  • The Exchange
  • The diary writers
    • Characteristics of group – interculturally experienced, knowledge of at least 2 foreign languages, well-travelled, motivated, English level min. B1
    • Maria – Political Science student, Italian, insecure about language and technology
    • Elisa – Political Science student, Italian
    • Marco – Political Science student, Italian
    • Andrea – Political Science student, Italian
    • Farah – Modern Foreign Languages student, Lebanese, lived in France, Beirut, Italy
  • Data
    • Diachronic corpus of learner diaries of 5 students
      • 44 entries over 9 weeks
      • total 24,000 tokens
      • based on discussion, text transcripts, posted as comments to blog
    • Why diaries?
      • They are a form of first person narrative, only recently recognised as legitimate data in our field of research (Pavlenko and Lantolf 2000)
      • to gain insight into the factors, both individual and pedagogical, that can foster or hinder ICC development in telecollaboration
  • Definitions of constructs (Byram, 1997)
    • Attitude
      • Curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend disbelief about other cultures and belief about one’s own. 
    • Critical Cultural Awareness/political education
      • An ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, pratices and produts in one’s own and other cultures and countries.
  • Research method: Mixed approach learner diaries qualitative analysis quantitative analysis manual coding LIWC corpus anlaysis
  • Qualitative Analysis
    • Coding diaries
      • Starting point – Byram’s savoirs
      • New codes emerged related to specific context and research aims,
      • Reliability - 3 coders, established codes, separate coding and discussion of differences to reach agreement.
      • ‘ Units of meaning’ (of various length) were assigned codes
      • Multiple and embedded codes were accepted
      • Quantified codes to identify patterns, emergent patterns between learners, and over course of exchange
  • Weekly patterns (whole group)
    • Critical cultural awareness
  • Total x student
    • Critical cultural awareness
  • Findings
    • Different identities and patterns in different learners
      • Focus on different aspects of exchange
      • Different roles (in situated context) eg. Farah – Moderator, Marco – curious ethnographer, representative of values of ‘western male’, Elisa - stimulated discussions with provocations and parallels
    • Emerging trends
      • Changing attitudes, perspectives and identity – Farah became much more politically aware and interested, Elisa became much more critically aware of similarities
  • Quantitative Analysis
    • To see how attitude is reflected through language
    • Computerized content analysis – using LIWC
    • Corpus analysis used both quantitatively and qualitatively to further explore findings from coding and LIWC
    • To identify linguistic indicators of a ‘third space/culture’
  • LIWC – Computerized text analysis
    • LIWC – developed by Pennebaker, Booth & Francis in 1990s
    • Psychological meaning of words (see Tausczik and Pennebaker 2009).
    • “ The words we use …reflect what we are paying attention to, what we are thinking about, what we are trying to avoid, how we are feeling, and how we are organizing and analyzing our worlds”
    • 2 components:
    • Dictionary – 80 categories of words reflecting language dimensions
      • linguistic processes: articles, pronouns, verbs: auxiliary, past, present…;
      • psychological processes: social, affective, cognitive …,
    • Processor - compares each word in a given file with the dictionary file
    • Compares linguistic features across different genres: emotional writing, science, blogs, novels, talking
  • Observations
    • Categories analysed:
      • 1° person single and plural
      • Social processes
      • Affective processes
      • Cognitive processes
    • Comparison with LIWC output variable information
      • Marked use of plural pronoun ‘we’ compared to all genres
      • Marked presence of social processes in all students
      • Marked development of cognitive mechanisms in some students
      • Marked positive emotion overall, marked negative emotion in certain weeks for certain students
  • Corpus analysis
    • Methodology
      • Wordlists – corpus and individuals
      • Keywords – comparing each learner to rest of group
        • Confirm identity/attitude differences?
      • Concordances (Keywords in Context) for:
        • adjectives which convey attitudes and contribute to group membership
        • personal pronouns and in-group identity markers
        • agreement and disagreement
  • Findings from corpus analysis
    • Confirmation of qualitative study:
      • Identities and approaches of different learners (keywords handout)
    • Emergence of ‘third space’:
      • A new and fluid space where identities are negotiated and re-constructed through intercultural encounters and dialogue
  • A third space?
      • In-group identity markers
      • Agreement/disagreement
      • Adjectives that indicate group membership and attitudes
      • Results reinforced by qualitative analysis of:
      • Empathy
      • Proper names and reference to the group
  • Third space (1)
    • Pronoun use indicating
    • group membership
    • Reference within the group (688 total occurr.):
    • “ With the same joy and freshness, we met
    • yesterday for our second Soliya session!”
    • “ Bye bye for now...and see you next time!”
    • “ Then everyone tried to explain what they want to get out of Soliya”
    • Reference outside the group (116 total occurr.):
    • “ Palestinian people have no choice to make their reasons heard”
    • “ so if you , young people of Palestine, refuse to give peace a chance, who else would do that for you ?”
  • Third space (2)
    • Agreement (15 occurr.)
      • “ All the guys agreed with my opinion”
      • “ The last question showed a total agreement within us”
    • Disagreement (8 occurr.)
      • “ And once again we weren’t agreeing because from Mark’s point of view some occupation is an attempt to stabilize the region…which made me disagree”
    • Disagreement seen as “constructive”:
      • “ Respecting other points of view even if it’s different from ours helps us create a better dialogue and makes us closer to one another, even if we disagree! Then disagreeing mixed with understanding makes the discussion more exciting!”
      • “ I like very much my friends because (..) they like to take part in the discussion in a strong way, I mean if they disagree they underline why they haven’t the same opinion giving examples”
  • Third space (3)
    • Adjectives that indicate attitudes
    • To evaluate the session
      • Interesting (51), great (17), fantastic (7), exciting (4), good (3), wonderful (2)
      • i.e. “ my last Soliya session represented a really good moment to reflect about my future”
    • To convey feelings and attitudes
      • Sad (10), surprised (6), afraid (4), curious (4)
      • Not all adjs have negative connotation: i.e. “The time finished quickly and we were sad to end the session, but luckily one week is short”
  • Third space (4)
    • Explicit reference to the
    • group and its members
    • NAME
      • “ In the end Mary asked us to talk about something funny so I declared that I wish a ‘geometric beard’ like Mustafa!”
    • GROUP-IT
      • “ I hope not to have been too boring. See you next week!”
    • GROUP-SO
      • “ I miss u all, my friends and soliya’s sessions”
  • Third space (5)
    • Empathy
    • (12 occurrences)
    • Within the group (6 occurrences)
      • “ As she lives in Palestine she is emotional involved and so closed to the conflict that we can understand this choice of perspective”
      • “ I was very mooved by his experience in the palestinian refugee camp and about what he told me on the humanitarian conditions of the palestinians!”
    • Outside the group (6 occurrences)
      • “… everyone was stun about the situation that Palestinian people are living”
  • Conclusions
    • Mixed methods approach useful in validating/ triangulating data
    • Importance of diaries as data source
      • as evidence of attitudes
      • development of IC competence and change(s) in perspective
    • Importance of diaries as learning tool
  • Comparing methods
    • Quantity of Data Time
    Qualitative Corpus Analysis Computerized Text analysis Qualitative Analysis Corpus Analysis Computerized text analysis
    • Danke
    • [email_address]
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