Intercultural peer review


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Presentation given at the 2010 International Conference on Developing Intercultural Competence.

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Intercultural peer review

  1. 1. Developing intercultural competence with dual-language peer review Todd Ruecker, University of Texas at El Paso
  2. 2. Rationale for study•  Lacina (2002) wrote about international students struggling to meet resident students in the “linguistically unsophisticated” US •  “international students may experience extreme loneliness and culture shock or physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, mental exhaustion, and many other symptoms due to stress caused by adjustment to a new culture” (24).•  Marginson’s (2007) Australian study showed universities’ reluctance to invest in innovative curricula for international students•  Language knowledge or simply being sent abroad not enough for one to develop intercultural competence (Deardorff, 2009) © The University of Texas at El Paso
  3. 3. Rationale (cont.) ChileanUS students little mediated studentsstudying academic interaction studyingSpanish between them. Englishcomposition composition © The University of Texas at El Paso
  4. 4. A brief overview of peer review•  Studies on peer review have focused on the following: •  L2 students in an ESL classroom •  L1 students in a mainstream classroom •  Minimal study on L1 and L2 students working together•  BUT little to no study on L1 and L2 peer reviewing to help each other with their respective languages, a gap this project intended to fill (exception: Hedderich, 1997) © The University of Texas at El Paso
  5. 5. A brief overview of peer review•  Peer review success limited by failure to activate ZPD (see Vygotsky, 1978).•  Litowitz (1993) explained the individual’s lack of motivation or resistance to learning can be a hindrance in activating the ZPD•  This model addresses this and is based on dual-language bilingual education •  facilitates second language acquisition because it promotes authentic, meaningful interactions among speakers of the two languages. Because students in TWI programs are fluent speakers of one of the two languages of instruction, proficient language models are available in the classroom for both groups of second language learners (Christian, Howard, & Loeb 2000: 259). © The University of Texas at El Paso
  6. 6. Situatedness of study & participants •  One of the top three •  Group 1 (met twice): universities in Chile. A state funded, Catholic institution. •  2 U.S. students: •  Chilean students preparing Molly & Julie to become English teachers. During the study they were •  2 Chilean students: in enrolled in the first Ubaldo & Mauricio semester of a two-semester composition sequence. •  Group 2 (met once): •  U.S. exchange students •  2 U.S. students: enrolled in a Spanish Jackie & Danny composition class or in another class with significant •  1 Chilean student: amount of writing in Spanish. Andrea © The University of Texas at El Paso
  7. 7. Situatedness of studyStudent strike shut down university for 5 weeks. © The University of Texas at El Paso
  8. 8. Study design•  Texts: •  Groups met one or two times to peer review compositions that the U.S. students had written in Spanish and the Chilean students had written in English. •  Chilean students used learning logs, 2 page ungraded compositions about something they learned recently •  US students brought papers on an aspect related to Chilean culture for their first meetings, student strikes and high bread consumption, and papers for their Latin American poetry class for the second meeting.•  Peer review: •  Students reported having done it before so no special training was given •  Feedback sheets and discussions concerning the Spanish papers were in Spanish and discussions concerning the English papers were in English.•  Data collected: •  recorded sessions, copied papers with comments, and student interviews after project. © The University of Texas at El Paso
  9. 9. Intercultural exchange•  Seeing an outside perspective: •  “I really like it because we are so used to be just Chilean, in a Chilean environment, so you really don’t get much insight about you being examined by someone else. It’s just like in a language, you’re really aware of the rules underlying your language, so it’s really refreshing, can I say that? When someone comes here and says you Chileans eat too much bread. Wow, bread, really, it’s something so usual for us, we really don’t think about that.” – Andrea, group 2 •  “The content of the first essay, concerning the strikes…she was shocked about this thing, the demonstrations everywhere, and people protesting in the streets…so that essay was very interesting to see a foreign opinion about these social issues..” –Mauricio, group 1 © The University of Texas at El Paso
  10. 10. Intercultural exchange (cont.)•  Exchange of ideas (2 perspectives): •  “What a great opportunity to have a native speaker…to meet another Chilean to exchange ideas. It’s a great opportunity.” – Jackie, group 2 •  “I mean our communication was limited by our work, you are studying to be a teacher, you are studying to be a psychologist…so I think we should have, she should have elaborated opinions about other things, rather than just our work. They were straight to the point, we are doing an investigation and that’s it. –Ubaldo, group 1•  Cultural word use: •  Discussion on the use of Chile-specific words like micro for autobus led to an explanation of transportation in Chile. © The University of Texas at El Paso
  11. 11. Intercultural exchange (cont.)•  Value of facilitated exchange: •  Several noted a barrier between Chilean students and U.S. exchange students. Mauricio commented, “Sometimes its very funny when we see a bunch of foreign students and none of them sometimes take the time to talk with us about our own culture…” •  Jackie explained that the organized peer review helped break the awkwardness in meeting new Chileans saying: “Not only to meet another Chilean, and you actually needed it to exchange ideas and connect with a Chilean, it was a great opportunity.” •  Julie was more pragmatic, saying that she needed help with her papers but that it “is super awkward to ask a Chilean that you don’t really know that well…” to read a paper. © The University of Texas at El Paso
  12. 12. Shared understanding of thedifficulties of language learning•  In peer review sessions: –  “We have trouble with those also in Spanish.” – Molly, during a discussion on false cognates in the Chilean students’ English writing –  “We share the same error in this sense. Because of the transfer between languages.” – Mauricio•  During interviews: –  “We got to discuss some different pitfalls that we deal with as people learning each other’s languages…” – Molly –  “First I learned that we are not the only ones who have problems writing in a foreign language.” – Mauricio © The University of Texas at El Paso
  13. 13. Motivated by working with an“expert” native speaker•  …”I felt I was more motivated to get their critique as well, it’s like we’ve been given an opportunity to work with an expert on what we need, whereas if they’re working with fellow Chileans or if we’re working with fellow American students, I kind of just, I’m not as excited about it because there’s a chance that they don’t..they have the same level of knowledge that I do” – Molly•  “I found her suggestions to be really helpful because it’s one thing to go through it by yourself and try to translate things or give it to another English speaking student but I think the best way to learn is to sit down with a native speaker and have them explain why we made this error or why they made this correction. – Jackie © The University of Texas at El Paso
  14. 14. Challenges Potential to foster native speakerism (Holliday 2005) U.S. students discussing Chilean students •  “I feel like I’m more willing to take everything they said and say that this is how it probably should be because they’ve grown up speaking this language and they know when something sounds a little awkward…but another foreign speaker like myself, doesn’t have that ear for the language and can’t accomplish that” -Julie, group 1. •  “If they had been English speakers criticizing me, I would also hesitate to change it right away” –Molly, group 1 •  “I think the best way to learn is to sit down with a native speaker and have them explain why one made this error or why they made this correction” –Jackie, group 2 © The University of Texas at El Paso
  15. 15. Challenges Potential to foster native speakerism (Holliday 2005)Chilean students discussing US students•  “it was a reliable source, I mean, we cannot correct them. There’s no way they can be wrong. It was authentic.” – Mauricio, group 1•  “It was quite interesting to give them feedback…to foreigners, imagine that. Now we were the teachers, the masters of the knowledge” –Ubaldo, group 1•  “the fact that we are nonnative speakers is really different, because we still have enough problems tend to pollute English with our Spanish and if we have to correct someone else’s it’s even worse, because we have two pollutions, theirs and ours” –Andrea, group 2 © The University of Texas at El Paso
  16. 16. Challenges•  Reluctance of professors to use graded compositions•  Scheduling times to meet outside of class•  Choice of paper topics affecting motivation Mauricio: So that essay was very interesting to see a foreign opinion about these social issues. Ubaldo: But I mean the second time we were together, the essay was so dense. Mauricio: The essay was boring, be honest.•  Different expectations •  Ubaldo: Here, in Latin American cultures we have the predisposition to go beyond the work. We can have this time to get to know you better…Sometimes foreign students keep to themselves to workUniversity of Texas at El Paso © The on their studies, and that’s it.
  17. 17. Overall attitude was very positive“I  think  everyone  would  benefit   “I’m  glad  to  have  par8cipated  from  it.  I  wish  everyone  had  the   here.    I  think  it  was  a  very  good  opportunity  to  do  something  like   idea.”  –  Mauricio  this.”  –  Jackie   “First  of  all,  prac8cing  my  English,  I   loved  that….I  can  get  some   “I  think  it’d  be  a  good  idea  to   feedback  on  my  wri8ng…and  I  had   do  it  on  a  big  scale  for  sure   a  good  8me,  they  were  a  nice   because  even  though  I’m  here   people.”  –  Andrea   in  Chile,  a  lot  of  8mes  I  feel   “I  think  if  were  more   like  I’m  burdening  my  family,   widely  known  about,   my  Chilean  family,  if  I’m   people  would  be  eager  to   asking  them  to  edit  5  or  6  page   get  involved  with  it”  –   papers…”  –  Molly   Julie   © The University of Texas at El Paso
  18. 18. Recommendations•  Create a cross-cultural or dual-language composition course or link courses •  Some precedent in Matsuda and Silva (1999) and here at UA.•  Things to consider •  An equal amount of people learning different languages •  Paper topics—writing about respective countries or other cross-cultural experiences/issues •  Team-taught or link courses © The University of Texas at El Paso
  19. 19. Future studies•  Should consider designing, implementing, and studying dual-language cross-cultural peer review exchanges and possibly two-way composition classrooms centered around the process. Some questions: –  What challenges prevent or limit such programs/classes? –  How do these programs/classrooms foster cultural interaction? –  How can they avoid reinforcing the NS hierarchy? –  What is the most effective way to divide language use in dual language peer review and classrooms? –  Do both groups of students benefit equally or does one group benefit more? –  What should students’ writing focus on? © The University of Texas at El Paso
  20. 20. ReferencesChristian, Donna, Howard, Elizabeth R., and Loeb, Michael (2000). Bilingualism for all: Two- way immersion education in the United States, Theory into Practice, 39(4), 258-266.Deardorff, D. K. (Ed.) (2009). The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.Hedderich, Norbert (1997). Peer tutoring via electronic mail. Teaching German, 30(2), 141-147.Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford UP.Lacina, J.G. (2002). Preparing international students for a successful social experience in higher education. New Directions for Higher Education, 117, 21-27.Litowitz, B. E. (1993). Deconstruction in the zone of proximal development. In E. Forman, N. Minick, & C. A. Stone (Eds.), Contexts for learning: Sociocultural dynamics in children’s development (pp. 184-196). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Marginson, S. (2007). Global position and position taking. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(1), 5-32.Matsuda, P.K & Silva, T. (1999). Cross-cultural composition: Mediated integration of U.S. and international students. Composition Studies, 27(1), 15-30.Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. © The University of Texas at El Paso
  21. 21. Thank you!If you would like to dialogue more about these issues, please email me at tcruecker@miners.utep.eduIf you would like to read more about myresearch on the US-Mexico border anddownload this presentation, please visit my website at © The University of Texas at El Paso