Collaborating Together: Linked Intercultural Learning Activities for Undergraduate Japanese and American Students

| March 28, 2007
Title
Collaborating Together: Linked Intercultural Learning Activities for Undergraduate Japanese and American Students

Keywords: intercultural learning, intercultural competence, language learning, task-based learning, collaborative education, learning communities

Authors
Linda Heuser

Bio Data
Linda Heuser has taught sociology courses in English to Japanese students for the past 15 years. During that time, she has used a variety of pedagogical approaches such as service-learning and linked courses to enhance the educational experiences for students. A number of her publications have been devoted to describing these different instructional techniques.

Abstract
A sociologist, linguist, and Applied English professor designed a joint curriculum for Japanese students enrolled in an American Society course and for American students registered for a Modern Japanese Society and Culture course. Students collaboratively engaged in a series of short-term linked tasks, conducted in English, related to the topics of dating, weddings, elementary education, and the sempai-kohai relationship. Additionally, seven groups, with equal representation from Japanese students and American students, worked on a semester-long project in which they researched, scripted, and acted out a play about dating or weddings. Written from the sociologist s perspective, this paper tells our story about how, grounded pedagogically in intercultural learning and learning communities, we used these activities as a way to increase students intercultural competence and language fluency.

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Category: Quarterly Journal