Intercultural peer review

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


  • 1. Developing intercultural competencewith dual-language peer review Todd Ruecker,University of Texas at El Paso

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 andculture shock or physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia,mental exhaustion, and many other symptoms due to stress causedby adjustment to a new culture (24). Marginsons (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. Rationale (cont.)ChileanUS studentslittle mediated studentsstudyingacademic interaction studyingSpanishbetween them.Englishcomposition composition The University of Texas at El Paso 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. A brief overview of peer review Peer review success limited by failure to activate ZPD (see Vygotsky, 1978). Litowitz (1993) explained the individuals 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 promotesauthentic, meaningful interactions among speakers of the twolanguages. Because students in TWI programs are fluentspeakers of one of the two languages of instruction, proficientlanguage models are available in the classroom for bothgroups of second language learners (Christian, Howard, &Loeb 2000: 259). The University of Texas at El Paso 6. Situatedness of study & participants One of the top three Group 1 (met twice):universities in Chile. A statefunded, Catholic institution. 2 U.S. students: Chilean students preparing Molly & Julieto become English teachers.During the study they were 2 Chilean students:in enrolled in the first Ubaldo & Mauriciosemester of a two-semestercomposition sequence. Group 2 (met once): U.S. exchange students 2 U.S. students:enrolled in a SpanishJackie & Dannycomposition class or inanother class with significant 1 Chilean student:amount of writing in Spanish.Andrea The University of Texas at El Paso 7. Situatedness of studyStudent strike shutdown university for 5weeks. The University of Texas at El Paso 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 inEnglish. Chilean students used learning logs, 2 page ungraded compositionsabout something they learned recently US students brought papers on an aspect related to Chilean culture fortheir first meetings, student strikes and high bread consumption, andpapers 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 werein Spanish and discussions concerning the English papers were inEnglish. Data collected: recorded sessions, copied papers with comments, and studentinterviews after project. The University of Texas at El Paso 9. Intercultural exchange Seeing an outside perspective: I really like it because we are so used to be just Chilean, ina Chilean environment, so you really dont get much insightabout you being examined by someone else. Its just like ina language, youre really aware of the rules underlying yourlanguage, so its really refreshing, can I say that? Whensomeone comes here and says you Chileans eat too muchbread. Wow, bread, really, its something so usual for us,we really dont think about that. Andrea, group 2 The content of the first essay, concerning the strikesshewas shocked about this thing, the demonstrationseverywhere, and people protesting in the streetsso thatessay was very interesting to see a foreign opinion aboutthese social issues.. Mauricio, group 1 The University of Texas at El Paso 10. Intercultural exchange (cont.) Exchange of ideas (2 perspectives): What a great opportunity to have a native speakerto meetanother Chilean to exchange ideas. Its a greatopportunity. Jackie, group 2 I mean our communication was limited by our work, you arestudying to be a teacher, you are studying to be apsychologistso I think we should have, she should haveelaborated opinions about other things, rather than just ourwork. They were straight to the point, we are doing aninvestigation and thats it. Ubaldo, group 1 Cultural word use: Discussion on the use of Chile-specific words like micro forautobus led to an explanation of transportation in Chile. The University of Texas at El Paso 11. Intercultural exchange (cont.) Value of facilitated exchange: Several noted a barrier between Chilean students and students. Mauricio commented, Sometimes itsvery funny when we see a bunch of foreign students andnone of them sometimes take the time to talk with us aboutour own culture Jackie explained that the organized peer review helpedbreak the awkwardness in meeting new Chileans saying:Not only to meet another Chilean, and you actually neededit to exchange ideas and connect with a Chilean, it was agreat opportunity. Julie was more pragmatic, saying that she needed help withher papers but that it is super awkward to ask a Chileanthat you dont really know that well to read a paper. The University of Texas at El Paso 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 Chileanstudents English writing We share the same error in this sense. Because of thetransfer between languages. Mauricio During interviews: We got to discuss some different pitfalls that we deal withas people learning each others languages Molly First I learned that we are not the only ones who haveproblems writing in a foreign language. Mauricio The University of Texas at El Paso 13. Motivated by working with anexpert native speaker I felt I was more motivated to get their critique as well, its like weve been given an opportunity to work with an expert on what we need, whereas if theyre working with fellow Chileans or if were working with fellow American students, I kind of just, Im not as excited about it because theres a chance that they dont..they have the same level of knowledge that I do Molly I found her suggestions to be really helpful because its 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. ChallengesPotential to foster native speakerism (Holliday 2005) U.S. students discussing Chilean students I feel like Im more willing to take everything they saidand say that this is how it probably should be becausetheyve grown up speaking this language and they knowwhen something sounds a little awkwardbut anotherforeign speaker like myself, doesnt have that ear for thelanguage and cant accomplish that -Julie, group 1. If they had been English speakers criticizing me, Iwould also hesitate to change it right away Molly,group 1 I think the best way to learn is to sit down with a nativespeaker and have them explain why one made this erroror why they made this correction Jackie, group 2 The University of Texas at El Paso 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. Theres no way they can be wrong. It was authentic. Mauricio, group 1 It was quite interesting to give them feedbackto 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 elses its even worse, because we have two pollutions, theirs and ours Andrea, group 2 The University of Texas at El Paso 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 foreignopinion about these social issues. Ubaldo: But I mean the second time we were together, theessay was so dense. Mauricio: The essay was boring, be honest. Different expectations Ubaldo: Here, in Latin American cultures we have thepredisposition to go beyond the work. We can have this timeto get to know you betterSometimes foreign students keepto themselves to workUniversity of Texas at El Paso The on their studies, and thats it. 17. Overall attitude was very positiveI think everyone would benet Im 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 itd be a good idea to feedback on my wri8ngand I had do it on a big scale for sure a good 8me, they were a nice because even though Im here people. Andrea in Chile, a lot of 8mes I feel I think if were more like Im burdening my family, widely known about, my Chilean fa