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Teaching language and culture with computer -mediated communications technologies

Emily Ann Gillen Ballou, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Much of the recent research on computer-assisted language learning has focused on computer-mediated communication (CMC) which links learners for on-line discussion, using local or global networks. While many of these studies claim that CMC promotes communicative competence by supporting interaction in the target language, few have explored the potential for promoting cultural competence by linking learners with native speakers. The definition of communicative competence includes the notion of cultural competence. CMC appears to support a communicative approach to FL teaching, in that it provides environments for learner-centered activity and meaningful interaction between peers, but it could be even more useful in addressing an on-going problem in the FL curriculum, that is, how to bring more of the target culture into the FL classroom, by linking learners with native speakers for meaningful interaction in a communicative context. This paper reports on a study involving the use of three CMC technologies, e-mail, on-line chat, and videoconferencing, between native and non-native speakers, for the purpose of providing authentic exposure to the target language and opportunities for interaction with representatives of the target culture, for the promotion of intercultural as well as communicative competence.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Language arts|Educational software

Recommended Citation

Ballou, Emily Ann Gillen, "Teaching language and culture with computer -mediated communications technologies" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3068539.