Intercultural Communication in Language Education College and University Education Research-Oriented Presentation
Reflecting on Intercultural Experiences in a Writing Course in Japan
This presentation discusses Japanese university students’ reflections on intercultural encounters in an English writing course taught over a semester. The main aim is to discover how Japanese students’ intercultural competence can be developed through interpreting intercultural experiences. 24 university students took part in the study and data were collected with a course feedback questionnaire, student interviews with questions designed by the teacher and written assignments. The questionnaire consisted of items using a 4-point Likert scale and open-ended questions. In the task, students conducted semi-structured interviews with participants in English and reflected on the encounters through a written assignment. The writing course applied a communicative language teaching approach and a process approach to writing. Students identified intercultural themes in a prior discussion task about their own intercultural encounter. They linked Byram’s (1997) intercultural dimensions with example sentences prior the analysis. Content analysis was used with the assignments, interview transcripts, and open-ended items; descriptive statistics were used for Likert-scale items. Results suggest that the writing task provided the students with knowledge on how to behave in intercultural situations, how to maintain positivity, establish good relations, and be aware of preconceptions; some learnt to reflect critically on themselves and others.