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‘Successful’ participation in intercultural exchange: Tensions in American-Japanese telecollaboration

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Title:‘Successful’ participation in intercultural exchange: Tensions in American-Japanese telecollaboration
Authors:Nishio, Tomoe
Nakatsugawa, Masanobu
Keywords:Technology-Mediated Communication
Learners’ Attitudes
Date Issued:01 Feb 2020
Publisher:University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
(co-sponsored by Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, University of Texas at Austin)
Citation:Nishio, T. & Nakatsugawa, M. (2020). ‘Successful’ participation in intercultural exchange: Tensions in American-Japanese telecollaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 24(1), 154–168.
Abstract:The concept of successful participation is context-dependent. Learners have different definitions, which are subject to potential tension in the manner of participation that affects other aspects of the interaction. Drawing on activity theory (Vygotsky, 1987), the present study analyzes tensions that emerged during a six-week telecollaborative project between American learners of Japanese (AMU students) and Japanese learners of English (JPU students) through their understandings of successful participation. Transpacific dyads engaged in online discussions regarding assigned topics and a series of reflective tasks. Using a three-stage grounded theory data coding strategy, major contradictions are identified and analyzed. The findings suggest emergent contradictions in two dyads deriving from differences in the definition of participation. In one dyad, the JPU participant negotiated the imbalanced division of labor due to her passiveness by intentionally changing her participatory behavior. In the other dyad, the AMU participant displayed frustration and disappointment by his JPU partner whose definition of successful participation comprised prompt responses instead of proactive engagement in the discussion. These two cases illustrate how learners’ understandings of successful participation informed their actions and how local definitions affected their overall evaluation of the interaction.
Appears in Collections: Volume 24 Number 1, February 2020

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