《中国应用语言学(英文)》2020.2︱Using Social Media to Promote Intercultural Communication Between Chinese and American University Students

发布时间 2020/07/28

Yingli ZHOU(China University of Mining and Technology-Beijing)

Jin’ai SUN(North Central College, USA)

Abstract:This paper reports a five-year computer-mediated intercultural exchange project between Chinese and American university students that explores the use of various social media tools with WeChat application as the main medium in collaborative intercultural assignments. The study combines quantitative and qualitative approaches by using questionnaires and action research, to investigate how Chinese EFL and American CFL learners increase their intercultural communication competence by assessing their knowledge, awareness, attitudes, and skills of discovery and awareness. The findings reveal their changes and progress in the following variables: knowledge about the variety and subtlety of both the home and target cultures, a different worldview, and cultural study methods; awareness of the importance of differences and similarities between the home and target cultures, their negative reactions to these differences (e.g., fear, ridicule, disgust, feeling of superiority, etc.) and therefore, critical evaluation of the target and home cultures; attitudes from excitement or blind admiration of the target culture to confusion, anxiety or frustration about the cultural differences, later to toleration and appreciation of cultural differences, adaptation to the target culture, and eventually to openness and readiness to suspend disbelief about other cultures and belief about one’s own; skills to contrast the target culture with their own, to demonstrate a capacity to interact appropriately in a variety of different social situations in the target culture and resolve cross-cultural conflicts and misunderstandings. This research will serve as a valuable reference for computer-mediated intercultural communication teaching and open up new possibilities to extend classroom teaching by bridging the gap between second-hand knowledge and hands-on experience.

Keywords: social media, intercultural communication competence model, intercultural exchange project, WeChat application

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