Using technology to develop transcultural competence in a Portuguese language class (Teresa Valdez, University of Rochester, United States & Glaucia Silva, UMass Dartmouth, United States)
Teresa Valdez, University of Rochester, United States & Glaucia Silva, UMass Dartmouth, United States
Title: Using technology to develop transcultural competence in a Portuguese language class
Keywords: technology; transcultural competence; Portuguese
In foreign language teaching and learning contexts, transcultural competence aims to move beyond seeing culture as assimilatory (Hick, 2015) and to allow learners to reflect on the world and themselves through the lens of another language and culture (MLA, 2007). According to Godwin-Jones (2013), the inclusion of technology in the foreign language classroom can support teachers and learners to explore and better understand the language through culture and vice-versa. He also notes that students that are exposed to other culture(s) for the first time might experience "personally disorienting and potentially disturbing experience"; therefore, instructors’ guidance and time are essential for a successful outcome. The use of technological tools allows instructors to maximize their guidance as well as to overcome constrains of textbooks in terms of culturally current materials. Such tools may also increase opportunities for live interaction with native speakers of the language and development of projects that address personal interests, among others, thus helping to develop critical cultural awareness. This presentation discusses a study that involved the use of tools such as websites and apps to help develop transcultural competence in a Portuguese language course at the intermediate level. Pre- and post-activity surveys suggest that participants were able to develop an understanding of different world views, whereas learners in a control group that did not use the same types of activities did not show significant change over the semester. The presentation closes with suggestions for implementation of these types of activities in other levels.